INCREDIBLE! Alaska Air Permanently Kills All Change Fees And Award Cancellation Fees Worldwide!

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Update: Alaska writes to me that the previous Alaska agent that wrote the information below to me was misinformed about the changes going forward from 2021 and that Alaska is still deciding how they will handle residual value when changing paid tickets as well as partner award change and redeposit fees. Awards on Alaska will definitely be able to be redeposited for free.

For now, all of the below information will apply for tickets bought through the end of 2020 and next year’s information will be announced at a later date.


Related post: Dear Airlines: Thanks For Ditching Change Fees, But Can We Rewind The Clock On Mileage Program Devaluations?


One constant over the past decade has been the airlines removing benefits and devaluing their mileage programs.

Airlines now realize they’re in for an extended recovery period and the pendulum is finally swinging back in favor of consumers.

On Sunday, United eliminated change fees in the US and standby fees worldwide.

Yesterday, Delta said they would do the same, though they were vague on the details.

American then one-upped United. They included more destinations in their waiver, will provide vouchers for changes to less expensive tickets, and will greatly ease up on basic economy restrictions, especially for elites.

Now Alaska is putting everyone else to shame!

They are eliminating change fees on all domestic and international flights!

Alaska doesn’t fly to very many destinations abroad, so don’t expect any major airlines to match that. However they do have many world class award partners that fly abroad!

The announcement is short on details, so I asked for clarification and it seems truly incredible. Most of the same policies that apply for the current COVID-19 waiver will be implemented permanently.

Alaska tells me that customers will be able to credit their ticket to their Alaska wallet for future travel! That means that unlike United, you won’t lose out if you want to switch to a less expensive ticket. Even better, you can book tickets for other people with your Alaska wallet!

As with the other airlines, they will not allow changes on basic economy/saver paid tickets.

Best of all, they also tell me that you will be able to change or cancel and redeposit awards worldwide on Alaska or any partner airline for travel worldwide at any time for free!

Alaska miles were already valuable, with incredible deals for flying on partner airlines like Cathay Pacific, JAL, and Qantas. Alaska is also joining the OneWorld alliance, headed by American, later this year.

With the elimination of change fees, Alaska miles and buying tickets on Alaska just became a whole lot more valuable!

Alaska also announced that they will extend free changes on all tickets, including basic economy/saver paid tickets, as long as they are purchased in the remainder of 2020.

Has anyone seen JetBlue? Please pick up the red courtesy phone if you can find them…

HT: chff

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39 Comments On "INCREDIBLE! Alaska Air Permanently Kills All Change Fees And Award Cancellation Fees Worldwide!"

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Wow !
Whats turkish airlines policy for award changes ?

Memere613

Don’t wait up for JetBlue; they seem to want to go on a downward spiral.

Dave

JB has been with the race to the bottom for some time already

Jeremy

Will they refund taxes and fees for award cancellations?

Josh

Any idea when we’ll hear more details on partner airline bookings? Would be nice to be able to cancel same day for free.

Mariusz

What about Alaska Wallet? Will they extend the expiration date or expand options?

menachem

have 25k alaska , am based in Europe . Anybody knows what i could use it for ?

Peter

Based on your location in Europe, you can try one-way Aer Lingus (LHR-DUB 8K miles) or FinnAir (LHR-HEL 12.5K miles) with free stopover in another city with Alaska mileage plan.

OD

“Alaska tells me that customers will be able to credit their ticket to their Alaska wallet for future travel! That means that unlike United, you won’t lose out if you want to switch to a less expensive ticket. Even better, you can book tickets for other people with your Alaska wallet!”
what does this mean you can cancel your cash/award ticket any time and use it later for no fee what about fare difference? and why in United do you lose out?

flowerpot

Marriott continues to stay relevant…

David

To which international destinations do they fly from NYC ?

Sandy

Thanks for this update – can you confirm the impact on cancelling cash fares ?

Shaul

I’m curious how much airlines actually made off change fees. Most domestic flights cost less overall than the change fees. This is my theory as to why it doesn’t apply to international flights, as those most likely have much lower change fees relative to the paid fare.

I guess they are potentially cannabalizing revenue from people who end up having to book a second flight, but maybe that will be offset by pricing regular flights (as opposed to basic economy) slightly higher.

AJK

U.S. airlines overall generated $2.8 billion in revenue from change and cancellation fees last year, according to the Transportation Department.

Steve

Permanent until they change it.

Dov

Permanent = No published end day

dale

permanent until … they start charging for something else looney-tunes “who would ever have dreamed they would charge for that?” Alaska IS better than most … it was with United that it became obvious to me that you had to pay extra (not Basic Econ) for the OPPORTUNITY to pay (additional) extra for a seat choice, and then a third level of extra to sit in the front of economy … ALL of it economy.

EliteFlyer

all this hoopla over the airlines “permanently” eliminating change fees is greatly exaggerated.

Airlines are bleeding millions of dollars every day and are desperate for any incremental cash in the door, so the’re offering flexibility until the pandemic lets up and businesses and people feel confident boarding planes again (to say nothing of being permitted and welcome at domestic and international destinations). No one knows when when that will happen or if some of these airlines will even survive until then absent major restructurings and mass layoffs.

Instead of pushing out fee waivers on a monthly, quarterly or even annual basis, they call them “permanent”. That has a nice ring of friendliness to it, but make no mistake about it: Fees will be back as soon as travel demand returns and change fees generate more incremental revenue than initial bookings that can be attributed to added flexibility.

As an aside, my firm has grounded all business travel through at least Q1 2021 and I’d be surprised if we return to the skies with a vengeance before 2022. My kids have to isolate at home and can’t go to school for at least a week if they fly anywhere, so we’re not flying anywhere anytime soon.

Dov

Spot on

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