The answer to this question may change as the situation with the virus changes. But here is a general rule. If you have booked a flight using award points, you should be able to cancel the flight and have the points returned to your account. American Airlines is currently refunding any fees associated with booking the original flight and there is no fee for the return of the points.
If you paid for a ticket and the airlines cancels your flight, you are entitled to a full refund in accordance with the regulations of the Department of Transportation. Apparently, if you are one that cancels the flight, then the airlines are giving you a credit for the ticket towards a future flight. Often, this credit has a time limit, so be sure you know what the terms are.
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