[Updated] Changing An Airline Ticket? Here Is A Chart Comparing Which Airlines Now Allow Free Changes On Paid And Award Tickets!

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Update, 1/4: The chart below has been updated with the latest updates!


Originally posted on 9/30:

United shocked the airline industry when they announced they would permanently eliminate change fees on domestic flights.

Of course given that United sold lifetime Club Memberships, lifetime Silver Wings Memberships, and awarded lifetime million miler benefits which they didn’t honor as promised, I’ll take “permanently” with a huge grain of salt. The change will last as long as they want it to last, and not a day longer.

But part of the strategy is to get more people to buy up from basic economy fares to standard economy fares, as basic economy fares are excluded from the free changes. If that’s successful then the change may indeed stick around.

Of course Southwest never charges change fees, refunds the residual value when switching to a less expensive flight, and they don’t sell basic economy fares. Even with the competition eliminating some fees, Southwest is still a step ahead of everyone else.

At any rate, each of the airlines’ policies have many nuances, so I’ve collected them in the chart below for comparison sake. Of course these are all subject to change, but this is how things stand now.

This chart applies to tickets purchased under current COVID-19 waivers, for travel anytime:

Ticket typeAlaskaAmericanDeltaHawaiianJetBlueUnited
Use this chart for tickets purchased by:3/31/211/31/213/30/213/31/212/28/213/31/21
Paid tickets worldwide, including basic economyNo change fees. All funds can be deposited into Alaska Wallet so that no value is lost.No change fees.
Voucher issued for residual value when making a change to a less expensive flight.
No change fees.
Voucher issued for residual value when making a change to a less expensive flight.
No change fees.
You will lose residual value when making a change to a less expensive flight.
No change fees. All funds can be deposited into JetBlue TravelBank so that no value is lost.No change fees. Request an electronic travel certificate as a refund so that you don't lose any residual value when making a change to a less expensive flight.
Award tickets worldwideNo change or redeposit fees.No change or redeposit fees.No change or redeposit fees.No change or redeposit fees.No change or redeposit fees.No change fees. Redeposit fees waived if award is cancelled 30+ days prior to departure.

 

This chart applies to tickets purchased after the end of COVID-19 waivers:

Ticket typeAlaskaAmericanDeltaHawaiianJetBlueUnited
Paid basic economy worldwideChanges not allowed.Changes not allowed. Basic economy can now purchase upgrades, priority boarding, or preferred seating, and elite benefits will apply.Changes not allowed.Changes not allowed.Changes not allowed.Changes not allowed.
Paid tickets in the USNo change fees. Voucher issued for residual value when making a change to a less expensive flight.No change fees.
Voucher issued for residual value when making a change to a less expensive flight.
No change fees.
Voucher issued for residual value when making a change to a less expensive flight.
No change fees.
You will lose residual value when making a change to a less expensive flight.
Change fees apply.No change fees.
You will lose residual value when making a change to a less expensive flight.
Award tickets in the USNo change or redeposit fees.No change or redeposit fees.No change or redeposit fees, except basic economy awards.No change or redeposit fees.Change fees apply.No change fees. Redeposit fees waived if cancelled 30+ days before departure.
Paid tickets to CanadaNo change fees. Voucher issued for residual value when making a change to a less expensive flight.No change fees.
Voucher issued for residual value when making a change to a less expensive flight.
No change fees.
Voucher issued for residual value when making a change to a less expensive flight.
Hawaiian doesn't fly to Canada.JetBlue doesn't fly to Canada.No change fees if travel originates in the USA.
You will lose residual value when making a change to a less expensive flight.
Award tickets to CanadaNo change or redeposit fees.No change or redeposit fees.No change or redeposit fees, except basic economy awards.Hawaiian doesn't fly to Canada.JetBlue doesn't fly to Canada.No change fees if travel originates in the USA.
Redeposit fees waived if cancelled 30+ days before departure.
Paid tickets to Mexico or CaribbeanNo change fees.
Voucher issued for residual value when making a change to a less expensive flight.
No change fees.
Voucher issued for residual value when making a change to a less expensive flight.
No change fees.
Voucher issued for residual value when making a change to a less expensive flight.
Hawaiian doesn't fly to Mexico or the Caribbean.Change fees apply.No change fees if travel originates in the USA.
You will lose residual value when making a change to a less expensive flight.
Award tickets to Mexico or CaribbeanNo change or redeposit fees.No change or redeposit fees.No change or redeposit fees, except basic economy awards.Hawaiian doesn't fly to Mexico or the Caribbean.Change fees apply.No change fees if travel originates in the USA.
Redeposit fees waived if cancelled 30+ days before departure.
Paid tickets elsewhere in the worldNo change fees.
Voucher issued for residual value when making a change to a less expensive flight.
No change fees if travel originates in North or South America.
Voucher issued for residual value when making a change to a less expensive flight.
No change fees if travel originates in North America.
Voucher issued for residual value when making a change to a less expensive flight.
No change fees.
You will lose residual value when making a change to a less expensive flight.
Change fees apply.No change fees if travel originates in the USA.
You will lose residual value when making a change to a less expensive flight.
Award tickets elsewhere in the worldTBD. Alaska has not yet decided on this policy.No change or redeposit fees.No change or redeposit fees if travel originates in North America, except basic economy awards.No change or redeposit fees.Change fees apply.No change fees if travel originates in the USA.
Redeposit fees waived if cancelled 30+ days before departure.
Standby Fees WorldwideRegular standby fees apply.No fees on paid, basic economy, and award tickets.Regular standby fees apply.Regular standby fees apply.Regular standby fees apply.No fees on paid, basic economy, and award tickets.

So, which airline did it best?

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92 Comments On "[Updated] Changing An Airline Ticket? Here Is A Chart Comparing Which Airlines Now Allow Free Changes On Paid And Award Tickets!"

All opinions expressed below are user generated and the opinions aren’t provided, reviewed or endorsed by any advertiser or DansDeals.

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KSMH

It might help to add that HUCA is required many times to get an ETC on UA
https://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=2046.msg2329645#msg2329645

Sam

What about Air Canada?

Yank

Can I change name on ticket to someone else ?

Nic

So I booked an AA award ticket in May 2020 for travel in March 2021 – at the time I don’t think redeposit was free – is it now or am I held to the original rules?

Elchanan

Does anyone know about Avianca lifemiles award ticket ?

Mr. CC

What’s the number to SMS United?

rediplus

Used BA and Alaska to book on AA …how to change or cancel ?

Izz

Thanks for putting this together! I have been looking for exactly this type of list a couple weeks ago and will be a good resource. Until the policy changes that is..

Danfan+

Is that for changes only or also if i want to cancel?

Mordy

I used a electronic travel certificate for United and I lost the residual value

Yitz

This a great must’ve taken you a ton of time to put this together! Question, on UA and AA, with domestic award tickets in 2021, can I change a ticket indefinitely rather than cancel and redeposit? Eventually il use it somewhere. Is there a max number of times or a latest date that it can be changed until? And can I change city pairs or just dates?

David

Thanks Dan!
I was waiting for such a post, Its great.

ari3

Clear and informative as usual. Now it’s time for the int’l airlines to jump on the bandwagon.

Alan

Does frontier allow free cancellations now?

jef

If I book a BA operated flight with AA miles in 2020, how will AA treat the huge taxes and fees if I cancel? Do they refund the cash portion 100% as part of the ‘redeposit’?

Eli

Can i change an upcoming united ticket to more than 30 days away and then cancel to avoid the change fee?

...

AA redeposit waiver is even in web special?

ETP

This is fantastic! Thank you. It will be great if you can write a similar post for foreign airlines which are frequently used for award redemptions (British Airways, Air Canada, Avianca, Turkish Airlines, Cathay Pacific, and maybe Air France or Qantas)

mord1

so basically, if you use miles you can cancel the ticket and get your miles back, if you book a flight with cash then you can change it for later, but you cannot receive a full refund of the cash?

anon

So basically if I already have a united ETC and I see a flight I might want there’s nothing to lose by booking it bec I can just cancel it back to an ETC, right?

J

Wondering this too with Delta’s eCredit

meir

Great Post…,
I have an Explorer Card, if i purchase multiple tickets under my itinerary and i end up not flying (and don’t cancel my ticket) will the carry on bags be waived for the others automatically ?

chaz

As always the GURU comes through with an extraordinary post.

JetBlue travel bank won\'t expire?

Your chart seems to imply that. Is it the case?

Jack

Hi Dan,
I booked a united flight through Turkish, do you know if I can cancel?

Andy

I didn’t see Your favorite airline Spirit anywhere in your chart.

David

Thanks for the useful list. In my experience the AA waiver on award tickets only applies to web specials if they are for travel in 2020 — have you seen reports of folks getting bookings for 2021 travel redeposited without a fee?

eli

how long before flight can i cance for ex. jetblue

@yungermanchik

“Request an electronic travel certificate as a refund so that you don’t lose any residual value when making a change to a less expensive flight.”
@dan If you book it now, can you still cancel a United flight for an ETC

berry

With Delta Voucher issued
Can it be used for other names? or only the same as the original?

bs

call them and ask

DD fan

If I already got future flight credit can I have them change it to an ETC?

Amy

What about ANA booked with Virgin Atlantic Miles?

Shilodude21

Hey Dan, I bought tickets to Israel through Priceline on the deal you posted two weeks ago ($692 non stop) now I’m interested in changing the dates, but am getting awful Priceline service without any date change yet, any advice?

Or should I buy tickets directly from the airline next time?

mk

Don’t know if this question belongs here or not but if dan or someone can help out that wud be great. I want to know if I can purchase a ticket to fll for example (rates are really cheap rite now)for this week, then have it changed to about a month from now (tickets are much more expensive) for free?

Mendy

delta DOES allow changes for basic economy tickets at this time due to coronavirus.

Shalom

Hi @Dan, upun checking on United’s website (here https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly/travel/notices.html#nochangefees) it clearly states: “We’re waiving redeposit fees for award flights departing on or before December 31, 2020, that are canceled at least 30 days before the departure date” which means that flights booked before Dec. 31 but for travel in 2021, the award redeposit fees do apply?

anon

With regard to no change fee, some airlines only allow a change one time and some allow more than one change? Also, can you change the flight to more than a year away from the purchase date? Is this info also compiled somehwere?

josh

Do tickets bought using Chase ultimate reward points (through their portal) have the same free change fees apply?

Peter

I can confirm it is not that easy to cancel an award flight without a redeposit fee even if more than 30 days away. I had such a flight. Tried the website, wanted to charge me $75. Then chatted with an agent via SMS, she wanted to charge me $125. After I sent her a link with UA’s policy, she still insisted that’s until Dec 31, 2020 but she’ll make one time exception. That works unless I want to redeposit another flight and they keep records of these exceptions.

sruly

united gave me a travel credit for the ticket but not for the extra i paid for economy plus
so i basically got 1/2 refund ugh

J

If you received a Voucher from Delta for Cancelling a paid cash flight, do you must book with the Airline now directly in order to use it? As opposed to Priceline/ Orbitz..

Eli

This is the email message I received when canceling on United. Can I rebook at a later date for different passengers/ family members?
“Go to My trips and enter the confirmation number from this email and last name on the reservation – or book with credit now.”

bs

if i purchase now a united ticket for april will i be able in april to request a travel certificate

Mendy

Delta:
1. Delta always gave elite benefits to BE except upgrades.
2. Award international flights don’t have any fees
3. Awards between US, Mexico and the Caribbean are also free of change.

Mendy

Delta
#2 meant to write international awards from the US

iahphx

So if I buy a Basic Economy ticket on AA now for travel sometime in 2021, buy my plans change, can I cancel that ticket and get a voucher good on ANY future AA flight within the next year?

Dansdeal\'s fan

Thanks for the updated information, is it possible to get the details for other non US airlines?

J

If you book a delta Flight with an eCredit and then cancel, does it redeposit back into your account? Do you have anything to lose?

Pghtown

Re: Delta Basic Economy Fares: Are redeposit fees eliminated if I use miles for a basic economy fare for a flight in 1-2 weeks? Delta’s website still states that there are no redeposit fees for tickets purchased with miles EXCEPT basic economy fares. Thanks in advance

Baruch Rosenberg

any change in cancelation rules for BA avios?

Josh

So would this allow free changes for the Brazil business class deal?

DS

What happens to taxes booked on award flights if canceled? Is that refunded to credit card or would that turn into airline credit/travel bank etc…?

Yoni

United isn’t allowing me receive a travel certificate for an international flight purchased this month, insisting they only give flight credits now. Did their policy change? Am i just doing it wrong? Thanks

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