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Here are the award change, cancellation, and hold policies for 25+ airlines

by on Wed August 3, 2016 • 1 Comment
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Using miles to redeem for flights can save you a lot of money, but if you are unsure of your plans, award change and cancellation fees really can add up.

The good news is that depending on what airline’s miles you use to book your flights, you might be able to make some changes, such as date changes, for no additional cost. In some cases, airline change or cancellation fees are quite low, so they might not impact you very much.

It’s always a good idea to keep a stash of transferable points on hand like Chase Ultimate Rewards or Amex Membership Rewards, so you can take advantage of opportunities like more generous change policies with some programs.

For example, with American Airlines flights you can avoid $150 in refund fees by using British Airways Avios to book flights, which is useful if the number of Avios for an award is the same or lower than what you would pay with American AAdvantage.

U.S. airlines tend to charge the highest award fees and have the least generous hold policies, but for most, you can generally refund an award ticket that include a U.S. origin or destination within 24 hours of ticketing with no penalty, in the spirit of the government’s 24 hour refund policy for tickets.

Below is a round up of award change fees for awards booked though all U.S. airlines and some of the most popular international transfer partners of the transferable point currencies American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Citi ThankYou Points.

U.S. airline award change/cancellation fees

Alaska MileagePlan

  • Date change fee: Free up to 60 days prior to departure, $125 otherwise
  • Destination change fee: Free up to 60 days prior to departure, $125 otherwise
  • Refund/redeposit fee: Free up to 60 days prior to departure, $125 otherwise
  • Close in booking fee: None
  • Waivers: MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75K members are exempt from award change and redeposit fees
  • Hold policy: None allowed

American AAdvantage

  • Date change fee: $75 if the new date is within 21 days of the originally booked date, otherwise $150 for the first passenger and $25 for each additional passenger on the same record.
  • Destination change fee: $150
  • Refund/redeposit fee: $150 for the first passenger and $25 for each additional passenger on the same record
  • Close in booking fee: $75
  • Waivers: Executive Platinum members are exempt from all award fees, Gold members and higher are exempt from close in booking fees
  • Hold policy: Up to five days for flights that are 15-330 days before departure, up to one day for flights that are 1-14 days before departure, up to two hours before departure for flights that are within one day of departure

Delta SkyMiles

  • Date change fee: $150
  • Destination change fee: $150
  • Refund/redeposit fee: $150 – must be done at least 72 hours before departure of first flight
  • Close in booking fee: None
  • Waivers: Platinum and Diamond members are exempt from award fees
  • Hold policy: None allowed.

Frontier Early Returns

  • Date change fee: None eight or more days prior to flight, $99 within seven days of flight
  • Destination change fee: None eight or more days prior to flight, $99 within seven days of flight
  • Refund/redeposit fee: $75
  • Close in booking fee: None
  • Waivers: None
  • Hold policy: None allowed. You may also change your ticket eight or more days prior to departure for no fee

Hawaiian Airlines HawaiiMiles

  • Date change fee: $50 ($30 for inter-island flights)
  • Destination change fee: $50 ($30 for inter-island flights)
  • Refund/redeposit fee: $150 ($30 for inter-island flights)
  • Close in booking fee: None
  • Waivers: No inter-island change fees for Pulani Platinum members
  • Hold policy: None allowed

JetBlue True Blue

  • Date change fee: 60 days or more prior to departure, change fees are $70 for Blue, $60 for Blue Plus, and $0 for Blue Flex Fares. Less than 60 days prior to departure, change fees are dependent on the value of the fare, ranging from $70 to $120.
  • Destination change fee: Same as above
  • Refund/redeposit fee: Same as above
  • Close in booking fee: None
  • Waivers: Mosaic members are exempt from all change fees
  • Hold policy: None allowed

Southwest Rapid Rewards

  • Date change fee: None
  • Destination change fee: None
  • Refund/redeposit fee: None
  • Close in booking fee: None
  • Waivers: N/A
  • Hold policy: None allowed, but no fees or penalties to make changes or cancellations

Spirit Free Spirit

United MileagePlus

Until October 6, 2016:

  • Date change fee: 21 or more days prior to travel – $75 for general members, none for all other members. Less than 21 days prior to travel – $100 for general members, $50 for Silver members, $25 for Gold members
  • Destination change fee: $100 for general members, $50 for Silver members, $25 for Gold members
  • Refund/redeposit fee: $200 for general members, $125 for Silver members, $100 for Gold members
  • Close in booking fee: $75 for general members, $50 for Silver members, $25 for Gold members
  • Waivers: No award fees for Platinum, 1K, or Global Services members
  • Hold policy: None allowed, but some agents may hold reservations until midnight the next day in the city of departure from a prior policy.

For October 6, 2016, and later change / cancellation fees will adjust:

  • Change / cancellation fee: 61 or more days prior to travel – $75 general members, $50 for Silver members, $25 for Gold members
  • Change / cancellation fee: 60 days or less prior to travel: $125 general members, $100 for Silver members, $75 for Gold members, $50 for Platinum members
  • Waivers: No fee for Platinum members 61 or more days before departure. No fees for 1K / Global Services members at any time.

Virgin America Elevate

  • Date change fee: $100
  • Destination change fee: $100
  • Refund/redeposit fee: $100
  • Close in booking fee: None
  • Waivers: Elevate Gold members do not pay award change or redeposit fees
  • Hold policy: None allowed

International airline award change/cancellation fees

AeroMexico Club Premier

  • Date change fee: $26
  • Destination change fee: $26
  • Refund/redeposit fee: $26
  • Close in booking fee: None
  • Hold policy: None allowed

Air Canada Aeroplan

  • Date change fee: $90 CAD
  • Destination change fee: $90 CAD
  • Refund/redeposit fee: $90 CAD
  • Close in booking fee: None
  • Hold policy: None allowed

Air France/KLM Flying Blue

  • Date change fee: 45 EUR (No changes to promo awards)
  • Destination change fee: 45 EUR (No changes to promo awards)
  • Refund/redeposit fee: 45 EUR (No redeposits of promo awards – may be possible in cases of medical emergency, but no guarantees)
  • Close in booking fee: None
  • Waivers: Free changes allowed for Flex Awards
  • Hold policy: None allowed

Alitalia Mille Miglia

  • Date change fee: None
  • Destination change fee: 55 EUR or 5,000 miles
  • Refund/redeposit fee: 55 EUR or 5,000 miles
  • Close in booking fee: None
  • Hold Policy: Alitalia-only awards can be help for up to 14 days, partner award holds are agent dependent. For partner flights, per Department of Transportation, you may cancel within 24 hours of booking for no penalty if flights touch the U.S. See details at Alitalia.com.

ANA Mileage Club

  • Date change fee: None
  • Destination change fee: None
  • Refund/cancellation fee: 3,000 miles
  • Close in booking fee: None
  • Hold policy: None allowed

Asia Miles

  • Date change fee: $25 or 1,000 miles
  • Destination change fee: $100 or 10,000 miles
  • Refund/cancellation fee: $120 or 12,000 miles
  • Close in booking fee: None
  • Hold policy: None allowed

British Airways Avios

  • Date change fee: $55 (it’s usually better to just refund your ticket if the taxes on it are less than $55)
  • Destination change fee: $55 (it’s usually better to just refund your ticket if the taxes on it are less than $55)
  • Refund/cancellation fee: $55 or the taxes from your ticket, whichever is less
  • Close in booking fee: None
  • Hold policy: None allowed

El Al Matmid

  • Date change fee: $60
  • Destination change fee: $50 – $125, depending on when the change is made and where the flight is from and to
  • Refund/cancellation fee: $60 – $150, depending on when the cancellation is made and where the flight is from and to
  • Close in booking fee: None
  • Hold policy: None allowed

Emirates Skywards

  • Date change fee: $25
  • Destination change fee: $25
  • Refund/cancellation fee: $75
  • Close in booking fee: None
  • Hold policy:  None allowed

Etihad Guest

  • Date change fee: First date change is free of charge, all subsequent date changes cost AED 100
  • Destination change fee: Not permitted, must refund ticket and rebook
  • Refund/cancellation fee: 2,000 miles
  • Close in booking fee: None
  • Hold policy: 24 hour holds are permitted – though not for partner awards.

Iberia Plus Avios

  • Date change fee: 25 EUR/$40
  • Destination change fee: 25 EUR/$40
  • Refund/cancellation fee: 25 EUR/$40
  • Close in booking fee: None
  • Hold policy: None allowed

Japan Mileage Bank

  • Date change fee: None, must be made four days prior to departure online or one day prior to departure over the phone
  • Destination change fee: Not permitted, must cancel and rebook ticket
  • Refund/cancellation fee: 3,100 miles or 3,100 Yen at least 15 minutes prior to departure
  • Close in booking fee: None
  • Hold policy: None allowed. See details at jal.com.

Korean SkyPass

  • Date change fee: None (effective August 1, 2017 – 30,000 KRW – about $30 USD)
  • Destination change fee: None (effective August 1, 2017 – 30,000 KRW – about $30 USD)
  • Refund/cancellation fee: None unless done more than one year after ticket was issued, then 10,000 miles. (effective August 1, 2017 – 3,000 mile charge, or 10,000 miles for refunds more than one year after the ticket was issued).
  • Close in booking fee: None
  • Hold policy: Partner award holds allowed for five days. Holds for Korean flights are allowed only two days prior to departure

LifeMiles Avianca/TACA

  • Date change fee: $150
  • Destination change fee: $150
  • Refund/cancellation fee: $50
  • Close in booking fee: $25 ticketing fee at all times
  • Hold policy: None allowed.

Lufthansa Miles & More

  • Date change fee: 50 EUR
  • Destination change fee: Not possible, must cancel and rebook
  • Refund/cancellation fee: 50 EUR
  • Close in booking fee: None
  • Hold policy: Up to five day holds allowed for Lufthansa Group Airlines and select partners (Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian, Brussels, Croatia Airlines, Asiana, Ethiopian, and Jet Airways)

Singapore KrisFlyer

  • Date change fee: None for flights on Singapore, $20 for partner flights, $75 within 24 hours of departure
  • Destination change fee: $12 for Singapore flights changed online, $20 for Singapore flights changed over the phone and partner flights, $75 within 24 hours of departure
  • Refund/cancellation fee: $30 at least 24 hours prior to departure
  • Close in booking fee: None
  • Hold policy: None allowed.

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

  • Date change fee: $50 at least 24 hours before departure
  • Destination change fee: $50 at least 24 hours before departure
  • Refund/cancellation fee: $50 at least 24 hours before departure
  • Close in booking fee: None
  • Hold policy: 24 hour holds are permitted

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Miles dont expireas long as card is open
Learn more

Partner Offer

50,000 bonus points

Intro Offer

$0 introductory annual fee, then $95

Annual Fee

$0

Foreign Transaction Fee Waived

Yes

Points Can Transfer to Airline Miles ?

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