Joe: I dealt with American in the past month on two trips. The first would have been to the UK starting April 14. When the flight itself was finally canceled in late March because they could not fly from the US we received a full refund on our credit card--the entire amount we paid, which includes fare, fees, taxes, and seats (AA has cheap seats in economy). We then rebooked it for about the same price for mid-October, and that is under their latest cancelation provisions. We had a second trip planned for late August to the UK also with AA. A couple weeks back they canceled our direct return flight from Dublin, it is off their schedule until mid-October, and replaced it with an indirect flight that would cost us 6 hours and was not to our liking. Again, we canceled for a full refund - fare, fees, taxes, seats -but before we clicked through on that their website offered us the option of taking a voucher with a 20% bonus, which we opted for. The vouchers do NOT include seats, they are refunded. So the seats were refunded to the card, and we received 2 vouchers for $480 each where we had paid $400 for fare, fees, taxes. The vouchers must be used to purchase within 1 year, the flights then purchased merely must fly within normal time frames from purchase date. As for the late summer trip, we rebooked it for about $100 less per ticket with United (including what we will pay for the NJ Transit train to Newark), but we suspect we will be winding up with refunds our vouchers from them. Refund approval took up to 4 days by the time we did the second cancelation, and crediting to the card took 1-2 days from approval.
If you wait for AA to cancel, then you always have the refund options. If you want to cancel or reschedule before then, your options are as per their website based on when you purchased the flight and when it is flying. You may have only voucher or free rebooking if you initiate the action.