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United, Delta, and American – Get Rid of Change Fees

Last updated: September 22,2020
Originally Published: September 06,2020
by Rosen Valchev

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Do you have travel plans for this Fall or Winter that were rescheduled? If you do, don’t worry. The Coronavirus pandemic caught all us by surprise – both airline companies and travelers. The whole situation forced many people to change their departure dates. Of course, those flight changes are not free.

Do you know how to handle your airline change fees? Do you know how to avoid paying as many change fees as possible? You shouldn’t worry if you don’t. In this article, we will provide you with all the information you need.

After reading it you will be able to get the most of your flight change. The airlines we chose to present to you are the most popular and well-known in the United States. We will discuss American, Delta, and United. We will give you some tips for other renowned US airlines as well.

1. United change fees

United Airlines was accused by many travelers for not refunding money on time. We all saw the crash of the entire airline industry a few months ago.  Easy to predict that all airline companies had a hard time dealing with change fees and flight cancellations.

The airlines had to keep the money they’ve already charged to survive. Regardless, United was sharp-minded and preyed on the situation. Unlike other companies, United put a lot of effort to avoid paying refunds. They redefined the term ”cancelation” in March 2020. More on that topic:

RELATED ARTICLE United Airlines Coronavirus Flight Change and Cancelation

On Sunday, Aug. 30 United Airlines had all the details prepared for a major announcement. Social media attacks and email blasts were prepared. Finally, the press release was published. United eliminated the change fees on standard, economy, and premium tickets for domestic travel.

At this moment, United change fees for national travel won’t apply to all standard economy and premium-cabin tickets. Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are free of change fees as well. You shouldn’t worry even after the pandemic. This change is permanent for those tickets. Sweet!

The entire industry was shocked by that press release. Customers were happy with that decision and the media was all over it. You can take advantage of that if you are a United Airlines customer. Most of the United change fees are gone for good.

With all that media attention other competitors in that industry couldn’t stay still. Maybe not at the same pace, but Delta and American had to do something to keep up with the competition. You know what that means, right? Even in the Coronavirus situation, it’s a great time to take advantage.

There were many comments on social media and bets – who will follow this policy first? Indeed similar changes were made very quickly by the other “Big 3” in the industry. It took American a day to respond, but the airline already put a very good offer on the table. You can read more about it in the next section.

If I were United Airlines CEO I would try to attract customers with more advantages. Why would he do that? Simple. Starting October 1, American Airlines will offer you the best basic economy experience. Soon customers will be able to buy seats, upgrades, and other extras. Hard to compete with that.

Do I have a change fee on award tickets?

United change fees will be eliminated. Unfortunately only for domestic flights, but it’s still better than paying $125. That was the amount of the previous change fee penalty. On top of that, you can have your money waived if you cancel your flight 30 days or more before departure. This includes international flights too.

Sometimes unexpected things occur and you are unable to cancel 30 days before departure. What’s up next? This time redeposited awards within 30 days before departure will cost you a $125 fee. You should hope for the best and plan in advance to avoid those change fees.

United is one of the few airlines that will return your miles if you miss your flight. So don’t worry if you forget to cancel or change and never show up. There is an option to get your points back.

What about change and cancelation fees for tickets booked with Credit Points?

United change fees waiver policy covers the tickets booked with credit points too. All tickets that are not included in the Coronavirus policy have a change and cancelation fee. The same goes for paid tickets. All rules for pay tickets apply for those too.

Did you book your flight with Amex travel or Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal? If so you can cancel your ticket on United’s website. The instructions on how to do that are pretty straightforward.

united change fees

You tried, but I didn’t work? Don’t worry. You can check all the instructions here.

If you used another third-party to book your flight the procedure is more or less the same. This time you must contact your bank to cancel your flight. Be aware that sometimes you will pay a cancelation fee of $25 if you use third-parties.

If you book your tickets with credit points you should be aware of one thing. You do not get a financial refund or credit points back for flight change or cancelation. What you get as compensation is a travel voucher to use for future United flights.

2. American change fees

American Airlines usually charge you for canceling or changing your flight. They do so if your ticket is non-refundable. Changing your internal flight used to cost you $200 and the international flight changing fee can go up to $750. This was the policy before the Coronavirus.

RELATED ARTICLE: American Airlines Coronavirus Flight Cancelations

A few days ago this policy changed. On 31 August American Airlines joined the no-change-fee policy of its competitors. American needed one day to respond to the United change fee policy. AA arguably became the best of the Big 3 for now. Why is that true?

American will offer you credits when you switch to a cheaper flight. The policy applies not only to all domestic flights but also to short-haul international destinations. Travel destinations departing from the U.S. to Mexico, Canada, Puerto Rico, the Caribbean, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  

Unfortunately, if you booked a basic economy flight you can’t enjoy this policy. Travel to any other international destination, besides the listed above, and you will pay a fee. Unfortunately, the new policy is not perfect for basic economy AA tickets.

If you are patient and travel with economy flight tickets read with caution. Starting from October 1, you will be offered an amazing basic economy experience. Purchasing seats, upgrades, and same-day changes will be part of AA’s most affordable tickets very soon.

Don’t worry if you want to change your flight – most of the flights are still changeable, but non-refundable. Of course, unless you bought a refundable ticket.

Your American change fee is waived if you buy a ticket before or on September 30, 2020. Your flight has to be scheduled to travel between March 1 and December 31, 2020. If there is a price difference in the tickets when rebooking you might owe the difference.

What if I have American Airlines AAdvantage award tickets?

Are you worried that you might pay more fees if you booked your flight with AAdvantage points? If so don’t worry about them. The airline introduced a brand-new fee policy for all AAdvantage award airline customers. The new change-fee policy applies to AAdvantage award tickets as well.

 Every award ticket purchased till the end of 2020 will not have any change or cancel fee for you. Soon we will find out exactly what the policy for 2021 will be. The announcement of new fees was delayed until September 9, 2020. Below you can see what AA decided on June 1, 2020.

If by any chance your trip isn’t eligible you will be able to get your miles back in 48 hours. If you don’t receive them within this period you can call American Airlines’ Reservations department. Then simply request a refund for the miles.

If you travel daily you may want to check some of these airline card offers. You can find offers from American Airlines and other big companies.

latest airline change fees

Change tickets you bought with credit-card points

Using credit points to book your ticket through travel portals like the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal or Amex Travel portal is like the standard procedure.

But don’t worry, you can change or cancel your flight if you booked it that way too. Despite that, it’s best if you contact your bank directly to rebook or cancel your ticket.

Also if you are interested, you can see here the variety of credit cards that AA offers you.

And if you want to see more ways to earn miles with American Airlinesyou can visit their bonus offers website.

How should I reach to American Airlines for more specific questions?

There are many ways to get in touch with American Airlines. The best and easiest way is through social media if you have a certain question. They will gladly provide an answer to a Facebook comment, for example.

Keep in mind that American wants to preserve its reputation and will be quick to answer you.

Live chat with their representative on social media can take some time to respond. Regardless, if you are not in a hurry it’s a very undemanding way to get the information you need.

But if you have a serious situation it is best to call them ASAP. You can do that on 1-800-433-7300.

3. Delta change fees

Delta dropped change fees like the other members of “Big 3” as well. Not all fees of course. Hopefully, the ones that concern you are dropped.  All Delta change fees are dropped for domestic flights, including those to U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

Delta’s new policy is effective immediately. Unfortunately, basic economy fares are excluded from that policy.

Delta is extending its waiver on change fees for all newly purchased flights. This includes all international flights and basic economy fares. All tickets purchased by the end of 2020 can benefit. All travel credits will be extended through December 2022. In case you booked your ticket before April 17, 2020.

If you book flights till the end of this year, you’ll receive a voucher. In a case, of course, you change to a cheaper flight. If you plan on booking for 2021 don’t rush it yet. Delta’s final decision is still unknown about the 2021 change fees.

Delta SkyMiles award tickets change fees

Do you want to change or cancel an Award ticket that is not covered by Delta’s Coronavirus policy? If you do there are still some fees and restrictions. Booking with SkyMiles points still can’t save you from the fees.

Unlike the other big airline companies, Delta excludes SkyMiles award tickets redemption. There are few exceptions, which are the elite status Diamond and Platinum members. They don’t have to pay a fee of $150. Learn more about Delta’s Medalion Program.

If you are not a Diamond or Platinium member you will have to pay the necessary fee. This policy includes both domestic and international flights. Don’t worry if you like traveling with Delta. Their policy will update before the end of this year. Hopefully, they will have a greater competitive advantage. One that is better than their competitors till the end of 2020.

Despite their Diamond and Platinium policy, every member (including those two tiers) needs to cancel 72 hours before departure.

Will your SkyMiles disappear? Of course not. They will be redeposited in your online Delta account in case of change or cancelation. Before that, you will need to pay the necessary fee (if there is one).

Do you travel daily? If you do it may be worth your time checking these airline card offers. Here you can find Delta’s and other big airlines great deals.

READ MORE IN DETAIL HERE –  Delta Air Lines Coronavirus Flight Cancelations And Changes

Credit points change and cancelation

All credit card travel portals are considered “third party”.  Have you booked your flight through institutions like City ThankYou, Amex Travel, Chase Ultimate Rewards, or another one? If so better call your bank to cancel the flight.

Your position is favorable if you booked a Delta ticket. Chasing Ultimate Rewards and Amex Travel will let you cancel or change on the airline’s website. The Covid-19 waiver allows them to. If you have any problems you better call your bank institution.

airline change fees get rid 2 airline change fees

4. Southwest, Frontier, and Jetblue change fee policy

Southwest built its reputation for not charging fees. This includes a policy of no change and cancellation fees except for no-shows. Are you not satisfied with your planned flight date and time? Do you want to reschedule? No problem. You can swap to another flight and pay the fare difference.

If your new fare is higher you have to pay the extra cost, but If your new fare is lower you can get a refund for the difference. This policy includes award tickets as well.

They used to have the strongest competitive advantage (no change and cancellation fees). This was the core strength of Southwest. In March and April, the biggest companies changed their policies and more or less became equal to Southwest’s no-change-fee policy.

Yet, Southwest focused on another important competitive advantage – customer care and safety.

READ MORE HERE Southwest Airlines Coronavirus Flight Changes and Cancelations

Frontier is known for its simple cancelation policy. They haven’t changed much during the Covid-19 pandemic. In their latest terms and conditions, which were updated on August 31, 2020, you can get more flexibility.

All bookings made August 31, 2020 – September 30, 2020, are permitted a one-time change without a fee. If you make the change 7 or more days before departure you will be charged with no fees. You can get this special waiver if you follow these terms and conditions

frontier terms and cod airline change fees

For more information about Frontier’s change and cancellation policy Frontier Coronavirus Flight Change and Cancelation

Jetblue has one of the most expensive change and cancellation policies. Whichever cash or credit points you use, Jetblue will issue you a Travel Bank credit. For you to receive them, you will create a Travel bank account where you can use the credits for future flights.

If you are a TrueBlue member you will be able to access your Travel Bank account with the same credentials. Travel credits are also issued as a form of compensation if there is any inconvenience caused by the company.

You can find more on this topic here – JetBlue Coronavirus Flight Cancelations and Schedule Changes

Unlike other airline companies, Jetblue still hasn’t responded to the most recent policy changes. The latest updates include the booking dates between March 27 and May 31, 2020. The travel period is until January 4, 2021.

You can find more helpful information in detail on their website.

Which is the best airline if I want to avoid change fees?

Before the Covid-19 pandemic change and cancelation fees were inevitable. The only airline that provided you with no change fees was Southwest. Today United, American, Delta, and Southwest are the best ones if you want to avoid paying high or no fees at all.

Right now you have the opportunity to change your plans and not pay for it. Well, at least in most cases. I believe this article expanded your knowledge and kept you up to date with the most recent policies of these companies.

Besides, it’s all up to you. If you usually travel with one of these companies why would you change it? If you are an eligible member you can take advantage of their policy and get the best of it now. The best advice I can give you is to plan your travel changes in advance and be safe.

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