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The Asia Pacific region includes some of our favorite carriers. Airlines such as Qantas, Singapore, ANA, Korean, Asiana, and Cathay Pacific offer a hard product and level of service well above the legacy carriers in the US. There are also differences in the change and cancellation fees when comparing US and Asia Pacific programs, which tend to price in miles rather than cash.
With award travel booked so far in advance, it leaves plenty of room for things to go wrong between when you book your award and when you take the flight. Cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®, and the Citi Prestige® Card all offer stellar trip delay, interruption, cancellation, baggage delay, and auto rental insurance policies, potentially saving you thousands of dollars if things don’t go according to plan.
Qantas Frequent Flyer members can change or cancel a ticket up to 24 hours prior to departure; however, Qantas requires you to pay the fees in points rather than cash. A cool 5,000 points per person to change an award, and 6,000 to cancel. Changes are allowed inside the 24 hr mark dependent on your destination, so you’ll want to check the T&C’s before calling in.
- Change Fee: 5,000 points
- Redeposit Fee: 6,000 points
- Qantas Contact Centre Fees:
- Domestic: 4,000 Qantas Points or $40 per passenger
- Trans Tasman: 4,000 Qantas Points or $40 per passenger
- International: 8,000 Qantas Points or $70 per passenger
We hope the only reason you’re redeeming Air New Zealand’s Airpoints™ is if you collected them before learning about award travel, or you’re located in NZ and don’t have any other choice. As a revenue-based rewards program, the award change and cancellation policies are tied to the fare class and cash price of the ticket, and Air New Zealand’s policies are not particularly generous.
- Change Fee: Ranges from free for Flex Plus tickets to $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
ANA’s change policy takes some work to translate when compared to others we’ve listed in this series. You cannot modify the airline, passenger, sector, route, and service class after ticketing your award, only the date, and flight which, fortunately, doesn’t cost a penny.
“Change Acceptance Deadline: Until before the departure of your reserved flight and 96 hours prior to the departure of the flight, you wish to board. The following changes cannot be made if you do not change or cancel your reservation by the departure of your reserved flight.”
The language is a little hard to decipher, but we interpret it that changes must be made prior to your originally scheduled flight, and they must be at least 96 hours before your desired flight. The good news is that if you want to gut your itinerary entirely, you can do it by redepositing for a fee of 3,000 miles and booking something else.
- Change Fee: Free
- Redeposit Fee: 3,000 miles – must be canceled prior to first flight on the itinerary
You won’t pay to make changes on Asiana awards because you can only make minor edits to ticked awards. The Carrier, boarding class, and redemption amount must remain the same, or you need to cancel and reissue the ticket. Redeposit fees are very reasonable at 3,000 miles or $30 per ticket for changes made within a year of ticketing.
- Change Fee: You're allowed one change free – 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
Cathay Pacific offers a comprehensive list of award flight change fees in the program terms and conditions. Basic changes can be made any time prior to departure for just $25 or 1,000 mileage credits, with ticket cancellation fetching $120 or 12,000 mileage credits.
- Change Fee: $25/1,000 mileage credits online – $40/4,000 mileage credits via phone, service desk, or at the airport
- Redeposit Fee: $120/12,000 mileage credits
The change and cancellation fees recently changed at Korean. As of August 1, 2017, changes to award flights will cost KRW 30,000 (~$27 USD), while canceling an award will set you back 3,000 miles (10K miles if you cancel more than one year out from the issue date).
- Change Fee: KRW 30,000 (~$27 USD)
- Redeposit Fee: 3,000 miles if within 12 months of a ticket being issued, 10,000 miles if outside 12 months
Similar to many of its Asian counterparts, JAL’s award cancellation fees are very reasonable at just ¥3,100 (US$28). Changes are free but must be made at least four days before departure online, or 1 day prior to departure by phone. Changes can only be made to the flight number and date; all other changes require re-ticketing.
- Change Fee: None
- Redeposit Fee: ¥3,100 (US$28)
KrisFlyer’s change fees are carrier, date, and elite tier dependent. Change fees vary from $0 for date changes on Singapore and Silk Air flights through to $75 for close in changes on both Singapore and partner awards.
- Change Fee (Singapore & Silk Air operated flights): $25
- Change Fee (Partner operated flights): $50
- Redeposit Fee: $75
When you need to book an award a year out to secure a seat up the pointy end of the plane, there is plenty of time for life to step in with a reason you can’t make your flight. Knowing the award change and cancellation policies of your favorite programs can provide flexibility to your award travel plans, in addition to saving you plenty of cash over the long term.
If you have any questions on the policies we’ve listed or would like to see an airline added to the list, we’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
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