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Airline Award Ticket Change and Cancellation Fees

A couple of weeks ago I shared my anxiety about booking travel in advance and a reader suggested a post about award change and cancellation fees might be in order. Booking flights with airline miles is great but sometimes things come up and you may have to cancel or change your plans. Some airline penalize you heavily for this if you’re not an elite member. Others have a refreshingly generous policy, with $0 fees for changing your flight or even redepositing miles. Without further ado, here is a list of airline award ticket change and cancellation fees for the most commonly used airline rewards programs:travelers at an airport gate area looking over a plane

Air Canada Aeroplan

Award Ticket Change Fee: $100 CAD/$73.25 USD

Award Ticket Cancellation/Mileage Redeposit Fee: 150 CAD/$110 USD

Air Canada increased their award change and redeposit fees back in December, so now it costs $100 CAD to change award flights (up to 2 hours before departure). Cancelling an award ticket and redepositing the miles up to 22 days before departure costs $150 CAD. The conversion rate is currently in our favor, so you’re looking at $73.25 and $100 respectively for Air Canada Aerolplan award change and cancellation fees.

Air France/KLM Flying Blue

Award Ticket Change Fee: €45/$50

Award Ticket Cancellation/Mileage Redeposit Fee: €45/$50

Air France and KLM’s joint Flying Blue program charges a 45 fee for award ticket changes and cancellations. This translates to roughly $50. The fee is waived on changes made to Flex Awards (i.e. Non-saver awards). Redepositing miles from a cancelled Flying Blue will cost $70.

Alaska Airlines

Award Ticket Change Fee: $0 – $125

Award Ticket Cancellation/Mileage Redeposit Fee:$0 – $125

Alaska Airlines is pretty fair when it comes to their award ticket change and cancellation fees. At least 60 days prior to departure, award tickets can be changed or cancelled free of charge. Changes or cancellations made less than 60 days before departure will incur a $125 fee. Alaska Airlines also offers same-day flight changes for just $25 on Alaska operated flights. 

American Airlines

Award Ticket Change Fee: $150

Award Ticket Cancellation/Mileage Redeposit Fee: $150

The great thing about American Airlines is that they allow free changes to AAdvantage award tickets when the origin and destination remain the same. Otherwise, there is a $150 fee for award ticket changes. Cancelling an award ticket will set you back $150 for the first award ticket and $25 for additional tickets reinstated into the same account.

British Airways

Award Ticket Change Fee: $55

Award Ticket Cancellation/Mileage Redeposit Fee:$55

British Airways award change and cancellation fees vary by region of departure. Flights departing from North America will incur a $55 fee for date/time changes, and cancellations with a redeposit request. Making changes or cancellations via phone will incur an extra $25 Service Center fee.

Delta Air Lines

Award Ticket Change Fee: $150

Award Ticket Cancellation/Mileage Redeposit Fee:$150

Surprise, Delta has some of the highest award ticket change and cancellation fees of any airline. Delta allows award ticket cancellations at least 72 hours before departure for a $150 fee. Sky miles members who cancel their tickets later than this will not be eligible to get their miles redeposited.

Frontier Airlines

Award Ticket Change Fee: Up to $99

Award Ticket Cancellation/Mileage Redeposit Fee: $75

Frontier Airlines award tickets can be changed free of charge 8 or more days before travel. After this, a change fee of up to $99 is imposed. Redepositing the miles into your Frontier EarlyReturns account will cost $75, though it is waived for Last Seat Availability awards. 

Korean Air

Award Ticket Change Fee: $0

Award Ticket Cancellation/Mileage Redeposit Fee: $0

Starting August 1, 2017 Korean Air will begin charging change fees on international award tickets and increasing the cancellation penalty on domestic and international awards. International award tickets will incur a 30,000 KRW change fee, which is roughly $26. Changes to flights departing from Canada will cost 30 CAD or $22, while flights departing from Indonesia will cost 350,000 IDR or about $26. 

Cancelling a Korean Air award ticket and redepositing the miles currently carries no penalty as long as the cancellation is made before departure. If your departure time has passed, there is a 10,000 mile penalty for both domestic and international award flights. Starting August 1, the cancellation penalty will increase to 500 miles for flights within Korea and 3,000 miles for international flights. If the travel date on an award ticket has passed, redepositing miles will cost 3,000 miles for flights within Korea and 10,000 miles for an international flight.

Singapore Airlines

Award Ticket Change Fee: $0 – $75

Award Ticket Cancellation/Mileage Redeposit Fee:$30

Singapore Airlines doesn’t charge any fees for date changes on Singapore and SilkAir award flights. There is a $20 fee for route and cabin class changes, which I think is perfectly reasonable. Changes to partner award flights incur a $20 change fee, while redepositing miles will cost $30. 

No-shows as well as changing or cancelling an award flight less than 24 hours before departure will result in a $75 fee. 

Southwest Airlines

Award Ticket Change Fee: $0

Award Ticket Cancellation/Mileage Redeposit Fee:$0

I love Southwest Airlines. I don’t care that they’re not super fancy and don’t offer a premium cabin – I like that they provide equally good service and amenities to everyone. And the crew has a great sense of humor, so what more could you want? Furthermore, Southwest doesn’t charge any change or cancellation fees on award tickets. Tickets booked with Rapid Rewards points can be changed and cancelled any time before departure, though if you’ll have to pay any fare difference. For cancelled award flights, points are redeposited into your Rapid Rewards account immediately.

Spirit Airlines

Award Ticket Change Fee: $100

Award Ticket Cancellation/Mileage Redeposit Fee: $100

Spirit may be known as the most ratchet airline flying the friendly skies these days, but I was surprised to find out they do in fact allow award ticket changes and cancellations. For a $110 fee, you can change your flight, origin, destination, or class of service up to an hour before departure. Award ticket bookings made at least 7 days before departure are eligible for refunds, if the request is made within 24 hours after reservation. With spirit’s low fares, it might make sense to just pay for a new ticket rather than pay the award change or cancellation fee.

United Airlines

Award Ticket Change Fee: $75

Award Ticket Cancellation/Mileage Redeposit Fee: $125

Non-elite United MileagePlus members changing or cancelling an award flight 61 days or more before departure will incur a $75 fee. Changing or cancelling an award flight 60 or fewer days before departure will cost $125. It’s important to note that changes to ANA flights within Japan must be made at least four days before departure, while changes to other Star Alliance award flights must be made at least 24 hours before departure.

Virgin America

Award Ticket Change Fee: $100 – $150

Award Ticket Cancellation/Mileage Redeposit Fee: $100

Virgin America charges between $100 – $150 for award ticket changes, depending on the region. Considering how cheap Virgin America flights can be, it might work out cheaper to book a new flight rather than change an existing award ticket. Redepositing miles from a cancelled flight will incur a $100 fee. 

Virgin Atlantic

Award Ticket Change Fee: £30 – $50

Award Ticket Cancellation/Mileage Redeposit Fee: £30 – $50

Virgin Atlantic imposes a $50 fee on award ticket changes and cancellations, although for international flights originating in the UK the fee is £30. For flights cancelled at least 24 hours of departure, 100% of the miles are redeposited. Flights cancelled less than 24 hours before departure are not eligible for a mileage refund.

Are there any other airline change and cancellation fees you’d like to know about? I’m going to do my best to keep this post up-to-date going forward.

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Ariana Arghandewal

7 Comments

  1. Thanks for this post. If I use AA miles to book Cathay (say, JFK-HKG-BKK), I would be governed by the AA rules listed above, correct? Meaning I could, in theory, change the dates or potentially even change to a higher class of service without any additional fees?

  2. Sorry for double post, but I have a followup: let’s say I book tix on Cathay for the JFK-HKG-BKK using AA miles, departing on April 15, 2018. As that date gets closer, could I change the tix to April of 2019 (or whatever their end-of-schedule is)? Any idea how far one can push the tickets into the future / any limit that you are aware of related to how many times you could do this?

    I’m trying to use AA miles to get to Asia, but I don’t know if we’d be able to travel in Spring of 2018. If we couldn’t do it then, we’d pretty much have to wait all the way til Spring of 2019.

    Thanks in advance if anyone knows/has experience. Cheers

  3. Thanks for this survey, Ariana. Yes, indeed, Southwest Airlines deserves MUCH credit for its no change fee policy, and mega boos to Delta for being the nastiest. (only slightly balanced off by Delta not assessing close-in booking fees.) I also hadn’t realized changes were possible w/o fee via AA, if itinerary the same. Maybe, just maybe I’ll now get over my own high anxiety about booking AA reward travel. (now, finding available reward seating on AA is a different matter)

    • Glad this alleviated some of your anxiety. There’s many reasons to love Southwest and their no-change fee policy definitely deserves top billing. Delta seems to be on the warpath with their customers, so I wasn’t the least bit surprised they had the highest fees.

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