Alaska axing free changes & cancellations June 5th

Alaska Airlines has long had a terrific change and cancellation policy allowing for free changes/cancellations if made 60 days or more before departure. Starting June 5th, all changes / cancellations made more than 24 hours after booking will be subject to a $125 fee unless you have MVP Gold or 75K status with Alaska.

Alaska Airlines Companion Fare

Changes coming June 5th

Starting on June 5th, the following adjustments to the change & cancellation fee structure will take effect:

  Policy  Current fee  New fee starting 6/5/18
 Changes or cancellations to flights purchased within 24 hours of departure  Free  $125
 Changes or cancellations made 60 days or more in advance  Free  $125
 Same Day Confirmed Changes (which can be made during the check-in process)  $25  $50

You will still be able to cancel for free within 24 hours of booking your ticket provided your flight is scheduled to more than 24 hours after booking. Here is a link to the full announcement from Alaska. Interestingly, change fees do not apply to travel that is wholly within the state of Alaska.

Tickets booked before June 5th are subject to the current (generous) change & cancellation policy. Those who may be looking to make tentative plans with the backup of being able to cancel and fill up your Alaska Wallet will want to do so before June 5th.

Bottom line

This is disappointing as Alaska’s change & cancellation policy has been the best in the business apart from Southwest. With the flexibility of the Alaska companion fare, it was nice being able to change more than 60 days in advance without a fee. That said, the change fees are still lower than most competitors.

Note that Alaska also announced some award chart changes, though only for flights on Alaska metal and the negative changes are mostly affecting non-saver level awards. It’s not generally a very good value to redeem when Alaska doesn’t have the cheapest saver-level availability — the award chart changes just reinforce that.

H/T: Travel Codex

About Nick Reyes

Nick Reyes is a (fairly) regular guy with an animalistic passion for maximizing the value of miles and money to travel the world in comfort and style. There is little in life that he loves more than finding a fantastic deal and helping you shop smarter & harder to achieve your travel dreams.

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AlaskaQ
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AlaskaQ

To use an expiring gift card I booked a flight for March 2019, to cancel and rebook when I have some plans to use it. Will I still be able to cancel and change booking post June 5th, since I booked it earlier? Or booking earlier means the flight date has to be before 5th June to have free changes?

Kimmie
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Kimmie

Booked spec tix with cp today for March 2019. Can I change them only once under old rules or change dates a few times after June 5th?

Jimm
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Jimm

Thanks for the heads up Nick, always much appreciated…

I’m not super happy about this change though. Alaska is slowly going the way of the other major carriers with recent changes like basic economy and now this. Sad. Used to really love this airline.