I called but all other options through AA were booked. I found direct flights with United though paid in cash for 4 and points for one.
Will now have to get my money back from AA.
For next time, never lay out money expecting to get reimbursed.
You should have told AA that they need to get your on those UA flights. As Dan mentioned, they might not be able to do it on the phone but the airport agents can do it if they want to (although they may not be "required" to, so be polite and firm).