I don't know if most people are aware of this but American Eagle has a lifetime guarantee on all their jeans. Most people don't realize this and just keep on buying new AE jeans everytime their pair wears out or rips. My sister used to work at an AE and this is how I heard about it. I have brought back old pairs that had rips in them and also ones that have had the bottoms of them ripped from walking on them. When you bring them in just tell them you would like to exchange these under their lifetime warranty program and they shouldn't have a problem with it. Last time I brought a pair in they told me since they were so old they couldn't exchange for the same style but could allow me any pair that was $29.95 and under for the exchange.
EDIT: Try calling your local store and asking for a manager first to verify they will take your jeans before you waste your time/gas driving to the mall to only get shot down.