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Continuing our series on award change and cancellation fees, this time we tackle some of our favorite frequent flyer programs from Europe and the Middle East. When compared to the US (except for Southwest, which has possibly the best change policy on the planet), the programs listed below share a common theme of relatively small fees and a simple, easy to understand set of rules covering change policies.
Remember, if your travel plans turn upside down and you find yourself on the wrong end of an award ticket cancellation policy, check your credit card benefits to see if your travel insurance cover out of pocket expenses. Cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® (See Terms), and the Citi Prestige® Card all offer stellar trip delay, interruption, cancellation, baggage delay, and primary auto rental insurance policies, potentially saving you thousands of dollars.
BA charges $55 to cancel or make changes to an award ticket, plus a service fee of $25 per ticket if you phone in the changes to the service center. You must cancel a minimum of 24 hours prior to departure, or your Avios will not be re-credited to your account. One of the quirks of Executive Club’s policy is you either pay a $55 cancellation fee or forfeit the fees and taxes paid with the ticket, whichever is lower. Taxes and fees on BA awards can be as low as $5.60 for US domestic awards, saving you a bunch of cash if you elect to cancel an award ticket.
- Change Fee: $55 per ticket plus a $25 service fee if calling the BA reservation line – service fees are waived for Gold members
- Redeposit Fee: $55 per ticket, no charge for changes to Gold Priority Reward bookings
Flying Blue charges a flat 45€ fee to change or cancel a Classic Award ticket, and no charge for Flex Awards. Before departure, you can change both the date and destination staying within the same award zone. After initial departure, only the date and flight number can change. Flying Blue’s popular Promo Awards don’t allow any changes.
- Change & Redeposit Fees: 45€ for Classic Award, free for Flex Award
Another straightforward set of rules from Lufthansa, the cost to change or cancel an award ticket is a flat €50/US$60 per person or €150 for Same Day award ticket changes. You can only change the date and time of the flight, not the destination or routing. A bonus with Miles & More is the lack of close-in booking fees.
- Change & Redeposit Fees: €50 per person or €150 for Same Day awards
Etihad Guest allows date changes and cancellations to GuestSeat award tickets up to 24 hours before departure, with changes priced at AED 100 (~ $27 US) per person, per seat, and cancellations priced at 10% of the total miles required for the award booking excluding fees and taxes. A change of destination or routing requires the award to be canceled and rebooked.
- Change Date Fee: AED 100 up to 24 hours before departure
- Redeposit Fee: 10% of total miles required for the award ticket
Making a date change to Skywards Saver awards will set you back a cheap $25. This includes both date and destination changes, as long as the destination stays within the same award zone. Flex and Flex Plus awards attract no change fees. You can cancel a Saver ticket for a $75 fee ($50 for First Class Flex).
- Change 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
Qatar’s change and cancellation fees are more complicated than the other Gulf Carriers, with fees dependant on lead time and membership tier. Gold and Platinum members can cancel just 3 hours out from departure without it costing a dime (unless you need to call the customer care center which costs a minimum $10 per ticket). Changes will cost all other Privilege Club members between $25 and $100 depending on lead time. Privilege Club Gold and Platinum members also have the option of paying service and change fees with Qcredits.
- Change & Redeposit Fees 3-24h From Departure: Burgundy and Silver members $100
- Change & Redeposit Fees 24h+ From Departure: Burgundy and Silver members $25
- Fees waived for Gold & Platinum elites
SAS' EuroBonus change and cancellation fees are a unicorn in a world of fees. Award booking, changes, and cancellations that can be completed online are completely free. You'll pay if you need to call member services to make a change, but cancellations are still free.
- Change Fee: 0€ if done online
- Redeposit Fee: 0€
Award ticket change and cancellation policies vary widely between frequent flyer programs, but knowing the rules can save you from paying exorbitant change and cancellation fees or potentially forfeiting your miles. We’ll be wrapping this series up with the next post which covers Asia Pacific airline loyalty programs.
In the meantime, if you have any questions or there’s a program we’ve missed you would like to see added, get in touch via the comments section below.
For rates and fees of the cards mentioned in this post, please visit the following links: Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® (See Terms)
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