Airline Award Ticket Change and Cancellation Policies

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Due to award availability, it’s often necessary to book award flights months in advance to secure your seat, particularly for business and first-class awards. With such a long period between the date you book and the date you fly, it’s easy for a change of plans to require alterations to an award, or worse, for you to cancel your flight and request your miles be returned to your account.

Unfortunately, award change and cancelation policies differ widely by airline. Ranging from free changes with Southwest, ANA, and SAS, up to a draconian $150 per ticket with North American based programs like Delta, American, and JetBlue. With such a wide array of policies in play, we decided to compile the award change & cancelation policies into the table below as a reference which we’ll keep updated as policies change.

SAS EuroBonus charges no award change or cancelation fees.
SAS EuroBonus charges no award change or cancelation fees.

Before we dig into the details, it’s important to note that each frequent flyer program features rules and exclusions unique to that program. In attempting to fit the main criteria into one table, we’ve condensed the policies down to the key takeaways and linked the change and cancelation terms and conditions for each airline for further investigation. We’ve also expanded on the policies in the posts below.

Award Ticket Change & Cancellation Policies

Frequent Flyer ProgramChange & Cancelation Policies
AeroMexico Club PremierDate & Destination Change Fees: Domestic $1,070 MXN (~$57), International $1,930 MXN (~$102) – Waived for Titanium Club Premier Members 21+ days from departure
Cancelation/Redeposit Fees: Domestic $1,930 MXN (~$102), International $2,900 MXN (~$153)
Aeroplan (Air Canada)Change Fees (up to 2 hours before departure): C$100 (plus taxes) per direction, per ticket – Aeroplan Diamond members pay a reduced fee
Redeposit Fees (up to 2 hours before departure): C$150.00 fee plus taxes per ticket will apply if the flight is cancelled via the Contact Centre, or $125 if canceled online – Aeroplan Diamond members pay a reduced fee.
Exceptions: C$200 (plus taxes) per ticket flat fee for changes to round-the-world awards booked before September 1st, 2019
Air France/KLM Flying BlueChange & Redeposit Fees: €50 for Classic Award, No fee for Flex Award
No changes to Promo Awards
Air New Zealand AirpointsChange Fee: Ranges from NZD $0 for Flex Plus tickets to NZD $50 for all other fare types up to 24 hr before departure
Redeposit Fee: Changes are free for Flex Plus fares, non-refundable for all other fare types
Alaska Airlines Mileage PlanChange & Cancellation Fees: $125 waived for MVP Gold / 75K
Alitalia MillemigliaBefore Departure Change Fees: Date change - Free, Destination/Passenger/Class change - €55 or 5K miles (~$65 USD)
After Departure Change Fees: Date change - €55 or 5K miles (~$65 USD), Destination/Passenger/Class change - €110 or 10K miles (~$129 USD), No-Show Outbound - €55 or 5K miles (~$65 USD) + integration in miles for new one-way ticket & €110 or 10K miles (~$129 USD) with any changes, Partially Used Award - €55 or 5K miles (~$65 USD) + integration in miles for new one-way ticket
*No redeposit of miles for cancelation of award
American Airlines AAdvantageChange Origin or Destination Fee: $150 for MileSAAver Award - waived for AAnytime Award (if not changing airline) & Exec Platinum
Change Date Fee: $75 fee to change outbound award travel date to within 21 days of the original booking date – waived for Elites. No fee to change dates if 21+ days prior to travel
Redeposit Fee: $150 for the first ticket, $25 for each additional ticket – waived for Exec Platinum
ANA Mileage ClubChanges must be at least 96 hours before departure
Change Fee: Free
Redeposit Fee: 3,000 miles – must be canceled prior to first flight on the itinerary
Asiana ClubChange Fee: 1 Free Change – no changes to carrier, boarding class, or number of miles used
Redeposit Fee: 3,000 miles/$30 within 12 months of ticketing or 10,000 miles/$100 if canceling more than 12 months from tickets being issued
* Domestic awards charge a 500-mile (or KRW 5,000) fee to redeposit miles
Avianca LifeMilesChange Fees: Date change only $150
Redeposit Fees: Single-region $50, Multi-region $200, some awards non-refundable
Exceptions: $25 ticket fee on ALL award tickets
British Airways AviosMust cancel minimum 24 hours prior to departure
Change Fee: Forefiet the taxes paid on your award up to $55 per ticket
Redeposit Fee: Forefiet the taxes paid on your award up to $55 per ticket
*This means it only costs $5.60-11.20 to change or cancel a domestic award in the U.S.
* Fees waived for BA Gold members
Cathay Pacific Asia MilesChange Fee: $25 or 1,000 miles online - $40 or 4,000 miles via phone, service desk, or at the airport
Redeposit Fee: $120 or 12,000 miles
Delta SkyMilesChange & Redeposit Fee: $150 up to 72 hours from scheduled departure – waived for Platinum and Diamond Medallion members. Within 72 hours no changes allowed.
Emirates SkywardsChange Fee: $25 for Saver ticket date and destination change, waived for Flex and Flex Plus
Redeposit Fee: $75 for Saver ticket and $50 for First Class Flex, waived for Flex Plus awards
Etihad GuestMust cancel minimum 24 hours prior to departure
Change Date Fee: AED 100 up to 24 hours before departure
Redeposit Fee: 10% of total miles required for the award ticket
Eva Air Infinity MileageLandsDate & City Change Fees: $50
Redeposit Fees: $50
Exceptions: Change/Cancelation fees waived for elite members
Frontier MyFrontierDate & City Change Fees: Free 90+ days out, $49 89-14 days before departure, $99 -14 days before departure
Redeposit Fees: Free 90+ days out, $49 89-14 days before departure, $99 -14 days before departure
Exceptions: Same Day confirmed alternative flight option for a flat fee of $99
Garuda Indonesia GaurdaMilesDate & City Change Fees: 20% of of award mileage unless change requires a reissued ticket which costs $20 if issued at a Garuda sales office
Redeposit Fees: 20% of award miles deducted from total refund, up to 4 hours before departure
JAL MileageBankChange Fee: None
Redeposit Fee: ¥3,100 (~$28 US)
JetBlue TrueBlueBlue & Blue Plus Fare: $75 - $200 (based on fare)
Blue Flex Fare: No fee
Mint Fare: $200
*As a revenue-based program, you are required to pay any fare difference when making changes to an award ticket.
Korean Air SKYPASSChange Fee: KRW 30,000 (~$27 US)
Redeposit Fee: 3,000 miles if within 12 months of ticket being issued, 10,000 miles if outside 12 months
* Domestic Korea awards have no fees for changes and reduced fees for a redeposit
Lufthansa Miles & MoreChange & Redeposit Fees: €50 per person or €150 for Same Day awards
Qantas Frequent FlyerChange Fee: 5,000 points
Redeposit Fee: 6,000 points
* Additional fees are assessed if these changes are made via a Qantas call center
Qatar Privilege ClubChange & Redeposit Fees 3-24h From Departure: $100
Change & Redeposit Fees 24h+ From Departure: $25
* Fees reduced for Gold & Platinum Elites
SAS EuroBonusChange & Redeposit Fee : 0€
* No fees are charged for online changes. Using a call center you'll pay up to 40€, depending on the change and your level of elite status
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyerChange Fee (Singapore & Silk Air operated flights): $25
Change Fee (Partner operated flights): $50
Redeposit Fee: $75
Southwest Rapid RewardsNo Change or Cancellation Fees
*As a revenue-based program, you are required to pay any fare difference when making changes to an award ticket.
United MileagePlusChange & Redeposit Fee: 61+ days out $75 – 60 days and under $125. Premier Silver, Gold, and Platinum elite members pay reduced fees. 1K elites pay no fees.
Exclusions: Changes to tickets for flights within Japan (with no international connections) operated by ANA (All Nippon Airways) must be made at least four days prior to departure.

Holding elite status is the most straightforward way of avoiding change and cancelation fees, with most frequent flyer programs offering reduced or waived fees for status holders. If you miss the award change cutoff and it looks like you’ll be out of pocket, check the travel coverage on the credit card used to pay the award fees and taxes, as you may already be covered under your card’s complimentary travel insurance. Worst case, look to use the best credit card for incidental travel fees, it could be the fastest way to minimize the hit to your wallet.

Final Thoughts

Comparing North American policies with those from the rest of the world, it’s clear that U.S. airlines (with the exception of Southwest) are amongst the worst offenders for charging exorbitant change and cancelation fees, while those from the majority of airlines based out of the Middle East and Asia are a lot easier on the wallet. If you have any questions about the policies above or want to see another program added to the list, reach out via the comments below.

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