Airlines eliminate change fees: Quick reference chart [Delta permanently waives domestic award change fees]

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Airlines eliminating change fees

Update 9/22/20: Among other enhancements, Delta has announced the removal of change, cancel, and redeposit fees for domestic awards.  For these awards they’ve also removed the 72 hour-in-advance requirement.  I’ve updated the tables below accordingly.

Update 9/9/20: United has announced that they’ve extended the elimination of change fees to include Mexico and the Caribbean. H/T View from the Wing.

Recently, each of the domestic US airlines has announced that they are eliminating change fees.  That’s awesome.  But the details can be hard to remember.  Which fare classes apply?  Do we keep the fare difference if the new flight is cheaper?  Are standby fees eliminated too?  What’s happening with award change fees?  The answer to each of these questions differs by airline.  This post is intended to be a quick reference to answer all of those questions.  I expect that we will update this post often as more information comes to light and as each airline tries to outdo the others. (For other continuously helpful resources, check out our resource page.)

Paid Fare Change Fees

AA Delta United Alaska Hawaiian
Tickets issued by 12/31/20 Fees waived in all fare classes Fees waived in all fare classes Fees waived in all fare classes Fees waived in all fare classes Fees waived in all fare classes
Basic Economy tickets issued after 12/31/20 Fees not waived Fees not waived Fees not waived Fees not waived Fees not waived
All other tickets issued after 12/31/20 Fees waived: US 50 States, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands Fees waived: US 50 States, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands Fees waived: US 50 States, Mexico, Caribbean, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands Fees waived for all routes Fees waived for all routes
What if new flight is cheaper? Fare difference preserved for future flight Fare difference preserved for future flight
Customer loses fare difference Greg’s guess: Fare difference preserved for future flight Customer loses fare difference

Award Tickets

AA Delta United Alaska Hawaiian
Awards issued by 12/31/20 Change fees waived in all fare classes Change fees waived in all fare classes Change fees waived in all fare classes Change fees waived in all fare classes Change fees waived in all fare classes
Fees for changing awards issued after 12/31/20 Change fees waived for travel more than 60 days out. Within 60 days, change fees waived for travel within US 50 States, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands Fees waived: US 50 States, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands Fees waived: US 50 States, Mexico, Caribbean, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands Change fees waived for all routes Change fees waived for all routes
Fees for canceling and redepositing miles on awards issued after 12/31/20 Details Not Yet Announced. Fees waived: US 50 States, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands. Cancellation fees waived for travel more than 30 days out. Details Not Yet Announced. $30.00 for tickets wholly within Hawaii; $150.00 all other tickets

Same Day Changes

So far, only AA and United have announced the elimination of same day change fees.  I’ve left cells blank where no announcement has been made:

AA Delta United Alaska Hawaiian
Same Day Standby
Free for all members as of Oct 1 2020. Free for all members as of Jan 1 2021.
Same Day Confirmed
Free for all elite (Premier) members.    

Other Changes and Enhancements

Delta eliminates 72 hour award change rule for domestic flights

Delta has issued the following statement:

Effective immediately, Delta is making the following permanent changes for travel within the U.S. (including Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands):

  • Eliminating the $150 redeposit fee to cancel an award ticket and the $150 reissue fee to change an award ticket for all SkyMiles Members. This covers travel on all tickets, excluding Basic Economy fares.
  • Allowing changes and cancellations on award tickets before departure for all SkyMiles Members, excluding Basic Economy fares. No longer will changes and cancellations made within 72 hours of departure result in the loss of miles on domestic award tickets.

AA Changes Basic Economy

American Airlines announced a number of changes to basic economy:

Later this fall, members who have achieved Elite status with the AAdvantage® program will receive the benefits they’re accustomed to no matter the ticket they purchase. In addition to enjoying Priority Access/Preferred Boarding, our elite members who purchase a Basic Economy fare will now be able to access their:

  • Upgrade privileges.
  • Elite seat privileges, including access to Main Cabin Preferred and Main Cabin Extra seats.
  • Same-day confirmed flight change benefit.

Effective Jan. 1, 2021, Basic Economy tickets will no longer earn elite qualifying dollars, miles or segments toward future status.

As airlines continue eliminating change fees, we’ll continue to update this post.

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