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Update: On March 31, 2021, Delta extended the booking window to book Basic Economy flights with no change or cancellation fees. You can now book flights through April 30, 2021 to get this flexibility. This post has been updated to reflect this change.
Delta has announced another wave of positive updates, all of which improve traveler flexibility. First, Delta is eliminating change fees and redeposit fees for all international flights originating in North America. Second, the airline is extending its existing waiver offering free changes and cancellations to all tickets purchased (including Basic Economy tickets) through April 30, 2021.
That's the same date through which Delta is committing to block middle seats.
Delta Eliminates Change and Redeposit Fees
Remember back in September, when Delta eliminated award change and redeposit fees for domestic awards? Well, now it's taking it one step further. Starting December 9, 2020, Delta will no longer impose any change fee for international tickets originating in North America.
If you're like us, this relatively vague statement might leave you with a few questions. To get a clearer picture, we reached out for some clarification. A Delta spokesperson shared these further details with AwardWallet:
- In this context, “North America” explicitly means Canada, the United States, and Mexico.
- This update affects both cash rates and award redemptions. That means eligible award tickets will no longer incur any award redeposit fees.
- One notable exception remains: Basic economy tickets will still incur change and cancellation fees.
- Platinum and Diamond Medallion members can continue to enjoy waived redeposit fees on all award bookings. But now this benefit only applies to award flights originating outside North America.
- Cash tickets on joint-venture partners—like KLM, Air France, and Virgin Atlantic—also qualify for free changes.
In addition, Delta is eliminating its 72-hour deadline for canceling tickets for all award flights. This restriction effectively made Delta award tickets noncancelable within 72 hours of departure. Delta lifted this restriction from domestic awards in September.
In any case, this is a big win for all U.S.-based Delta flyers.
Delta Extends ‘No Change Fee' Waiver through April 30, 2021
The second facet of Delta's recent announcement encompasses ALL flights booked through early spring 2021. Delta's existing policy for no change fees was set to expire at the end of 2020. This was extended through March 30, 2021. Now, it has been extended one more month to cover bookings through April 30.
There are a couple of things to consider with this waiver extension:
- It applies to ALL bookings made before April 30, including award redemptions and Basic Economy fares.
- Canceling a cash booking results in a Delta eCredit valid for one year.
- Award cancellations will not incur mileage redeposit fees.
- If changing to a more expensive flight, you'll be responsible for paying the difference. If switching to a less expensive flight, you'll receive an eCredit for the price difference.
Good on Delta for preemptively extending this policy through the first part of 2021. Travel is still a long way from returning to “normal”, and increased flexibility goes a long way to assure travelers that they won't lose their money.
Which Delta Flights Have Change Fees
These policy changes can be quite confusing. Thankfully we were able to confirm with Delta that this is a summary of the current policies:
Flights ticketed by April 30, 2021
- Cash tickets: No change fees — including on Basic Economy tickets
- Award tickets: No change (reissue) or cancellation (redeposit) fees for all tickets — including on Basic Economy tickets
Flights ticketed after April 30, 2021
- Cash tickets originating in North America: No change fees — except on Basic Economy tickets
- Award tickets originating in North America: No change (reissue) or cancellation (redeposit) fees for all tickets — except on Basic Economy tickets
- Award tickets originating outside North America: Change (reissue) or cancellation (redeposit) fees continue to apply — except for Platinum and Diamond Medallion elites
Delta has extended its policy of charging no change or cancellation fees on all flights ticketed by April 30, 2021. Moreover, the airline has announced it's permanently eliminating change fees for international bookings originating in North America.
Even with a vaccine on the way, the airline industry has a long way to go before it's back to pre-coronavirus levels. It's great to see that Delta recognizes that its customers need more flexibility to feel comfortable booking travel in the current environment. Extending free changes into 2021 is a smart move.
As far as eliminating change fees on international flights, it seems Delta isn't quite catching up to AA's lead—but we're certainly not complaining. The ability to change an international cash book without paying a $200 fee—or an international award without a $150 fee—is a significant improvement in my book.
Are you more likely to book travel with Delta thanks to this added flexibility?
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