Q. I have frequent flyer miles on United, American, Delta and US Air and need to book a flight in the next few days using my miles. American is my preferred airline but they want to charge me $100 because I'm not booking 21 days or more in advance. I earned those miles and it's not fair for them to charge me to use them. Do the other airlines also charge this fee?

A. American does indeed charge a fee if you don't plan ahead. It's $100 for award requests 6 days or fewer before travel and $50 for 20 to 7 days before travel. United, however, no longer charges for "close-in" award ticketing, and Delta has eliminated the fee for holders of its American Express Delta Reserve card. US Airways and Continental also charge close-in ticketing fees. Southwest issues travel awards as soon as you've earned them (they must be used within a year of issuance), and there's no fee to use awards with little or no notice.

All products and services mentioned on Airfarewatchdog are independently selected by our team of expert travelers. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

More Stories You'll Love