Best & Worst Award Cancellation Fees

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Best & Worst Award Cancellation Fees

Category : Uncategorized

Fees are never good, but sometimes you have no choice but to cancel an award. Some of those cancellation fees hurt more than others. (Fees for cash tickets may be different. This is only for award tickets).

Keep in mind that if you use Delta miles to book an Air France award flight, you will be subject to Delta’s rules, not the more flexible rules of Air France’s Flying Blue.

From best to worst, in alphabetic order.

Best

ANA

As I’ve wrote about elsewhere, the ANA program is great, but you can only book roundtrips. Either way… NO FEES.

  • Refund/redeposit = 3,000 miles

British

British Airways Avios are really great for booking U.S.-based short/medium -haul awards, and having the ability to easily cancel the ticket if necessary makes them all the more valuable.

  • Refund/cancellation is $55, unless the taxes paid on the flight are less.
    • For example, a New York – Los Angeles flight using British Avios is 12,500 miles + $5.60. If you cancel this ticket, you will get the miles back (for no cost), but you’ll lose the taxes.
  • You’re better off fully canceling an award and then rebooking; as opposed to paying $55 to change the ticket.

Etihad

  • Refund/redeposit = 2,000 miles

Korean

Currently, Korean does not pass on any fees for date change or cancellations, but beginning August 2017, they will. Here’s the info that will go into effect August 1, 2017.

  • 3,000 miles for redeposit
  • 10,000 miles for redeposit for itineraries that are one year after the ticket was issued

Southwest

Southwest has the most generous cancellation policy of any airline in the U.S.

  • Free cancellation and redeposit of miles
  • Taxes will be refunded to credit card, or can be used at a later date for an alternative flight (be sure to keep track of the confirmation number, as that’s how you’ll apply the funds at a later date.

Not Bad

Air Canada’s Aeroplan

A solid Star Alliance award chart, and reasonable fees (well more reasonable than $150!).

  • About $69 (90 CAD) for refund/redeposit or other changes.

Air France/KLM Flying Blue

Flying Blue is the award program of Air France and KLM. Compared to most U.S. based carriers, their award cancellation and change fees aren’t too bad.

  • 45 Euro (about $50) for refund and redeposit of award tickets, with the exception of promo awards.
  • Having recently done this on a flight with taxes around $140, they automatically subtracted the $50 from the refund to my credit card, and I was credited back the balance to my credit card. Painless

Alaska

Alaska airlines is the Swiss Army Knife of frequent flyer programs. They also have a respectable cancellation policy.

  • Free cancellations and award changes 60+ days before departure.
  • After the 60-day mark or less to departure, $125 for cancellation and redeposit of miles.

Emirates

  • $75 refund/redeposit fee

jetBlue

If you were able to take advantage (and you still can!) jetBlue’s top-tier Mosaic Status Match, all these fees are waived.

  • For refund/redeposit 60+ days prior to departure, depending on your fare booked (Blue, Blue Plus, Blue Flex) will be $70, $60, or $0.00.
  • Within 60 days of departure, fees may be the same or higher depending on your flight.

Lufthansa

  • About $56 for refund/redeposit

Singapore 

  • $30 for refund/redeposit, and must be 24 hours before departure.

Virgin Atlantic

  • $50 for refund/redeposit and must be 24 hours before departure.

Worst

American

  • Redeposit of miles for the first passenger is $150 and then $25 per passenger on the same reservation (so if you have two different reservations you’ll need to pay $150 per!)
  • You can make changes and pay any extra award miles if you satisfy the following:
    • Date, time, routing as long as the origin and destination remain the same
      • JFK – LHR – FCO and change to JFK – ORD – LHR – FCO would be okay
      • JFK – LHR – FCO and change to JFK – LHR – MXP would not be okay
    • You can go up a class a service, but not down (you will be charged the award miles difference)
    • This must be within one year of booking, not a year from the date of the flight.

Asia Miles (Cathay Pacific) 

  • $120 or 12,000 miles for refund/deposit

Delta

As we’ll see, the U.S. Big 3 carriers charge exorbitant fees across the board, but particularly with cash refunds and mile redeposits. (Side note: Delta makes many schedule changes and if there is one and you need to cancel your ticket anyways, you may be eligible to do so at no additional cost).

  • $150.00 for refund/redeposit or change of ticket

El Al

  • $60 – $150 depending on when the cancellation request is made

Hawaiian Airlines

  • Refund and redeposit are $150 and only $30 for intra-island.
  • Change of date or destination is only $50

United

  • $200 for refund/redeposit

Notice that Big 3 U.S. are in the ‘Worst’ category. Shameful. It’s also a shame because these programs have mileage that are easy to accrue and have a lot of good uses.

 

-The Miner

 

 

 


2 Comments

Debra Thune

May 18, 2017 at 4:09 pm

I have to cancel an Alaska Airlines flight for which I paid 10,000 Alaska mileage points (5000 points each for me and my travel companion). To cancel, Alaska will charge me $250 to put the 10,000 points back in my account ($125 change fee per person). How do I figure out if it’s worth it to pay the $250 or if I should not pay the $250 and just walk away from the points?

    mordechai

    June 19, 2017 at 11:17 pm

    I’d probably just take it as a loss.

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