Award ticket change and cancellation fees by transfer partner

9

Award ticket change and cancellation fees vary wildly from one airline program to another. One of my favorite things about booking award tickets with foreign programs is that many of them have more reasonable change and cancellation fees than the major domestic US programs (you pay the change or cancellation fees assessed by the ticketing carrier rather than the carrier operating your flight). This post lays out the key information for award changes and cancellation policies of the transfer partners of each of the major international programs with an easy-reference table of contents below.

COVID-19 Note

Many airlines have adjusted policies temporarily due to COVID-19 and are allowing free changes and cancellations in some circumstances. This post indicates change and cancellation fees under normal circumstances rather than temporary policy.

Elite members often pay less

It’s worth noting that if you have elite status with the ticketing airline (the airline whose miles you are using to book the ticket), you may pay reduces fees or no fees at all. The fees indicated in this post assume no elite status and thus should be the highest you would expect to pay with each partner.

Award ticket change and cancellation fees by transfer program and partner

Amex Membership Rewards transfer partners award ticket change and cancellation fees

AeroMexico Club Premier

  • Deadline: Not specified
  • Change fee:
    • Domestic (presumably Mexico): 1,070 MXN (about $48 USD)
    • International: 1,930 MXN (about $88 USD)
  • Cancellation fee:
    • Domestic:  1,930.00 MXN (about $88 USD)
    • International:  2,900.00 MXN (about $132 USD)
  • Notes: AeroMexico isn’t known for great customer service, but you can refer to this page for award change fees.

Air Canada Aeroplan

  • Deadline: 2 hours prior to departure
  • Change fee: $100
  • Cancellation fee: $125 via aeroplan.com or $150 via Aeroplan service center
  • Notes: I believe the fees above are in Canadian dollars.

Air France KLM Flying Blue

  • Deadline: Latest check-in time
  • Change fee: €45
  • Cancellation fee: €45
  • Notes: Promo Rewards can not be cancelled or refunded. They typically can not be changed but changes have been temporarily allowed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alitalia MilleMiglia

  • Deadline: None (flights can be changed even in the event of a no-show at the airport)
  • Change fee:
    • Prior to departure:
      • Change date or time: No fee
      • Change of itinerary and/or passenger name and/or service class and/or carrier: €55 or 5,000 miles
    • After departure (no-show):
      • Change date or time: €55 or 5,000 miles
      • Change of itinerary and/or passenger name and/or service class and/or carrier: €110 or 10,000 miles
      • No-show for outbound but want to keep return flight: €55 or 5,000 miles + any additional miles required for a one-way award ticket
      • No-show for outbound but want to keep return flight and change date/time/class/name: €110 or 10,000 miles + any additional miles required for a one-way award ticket
  • Cancellation fee: Award tickets can not be refunded. You would lose the miles.
  • Notes: Change an award ticket rather than cancelling. See fee explanations here.

ANA Mileage Club

  • Deadline: Before departure. Most blogs say up to 24 hours before departure. This page on the ANA site says “Customers must change their flight award before the departure of their originally reserved flight and up to 96 hours prior to the departure of their preferred flight.” In other words, you need to make the change at least 4 days in advance of the flight you want to change to — though in my experience, I made a change barely 24 hours in advance of departure that pushed my trip back one day (i.e. new departure was 48 hours from the time of the change), so YMMV.
  • Change fee: $0 (none for time/date/routing/destination)
  • Cancellation fee: 3,000 miles
  • Notes: Miles will not be refunded if their expiration date has passed.

Avianca LifeMiles

  • Deadline: None (LifeMiles at least theoretically allows cancellation even after departure, though YMMV on getting a competent agent)
  • Change fee: $150
  • Cancellation fee: Varies. $50 for a ticket within a single region, $200 for tickets between regions
  • Notes: You can see the change and cancellation fees during the booking process. It’s always worth taking a screen shot of that type of information for your booking.

British Airways Avios

  • Deadline: 24 hours prior to departure
  • Change fee: $55
  • Cancellation fee: $55
  • Notes: If the taxes & fees on your ticket were less than $55, British Airways allows you to instead forfeit those fees rather than pay $55. However, in practice, they sometimes still refund the taxes. This makes British Airways a very good option for booking American Airlines flights in many instances given much lower fees than you’d pay if ticketed through AA.

Iberia Avios

  • Deadline: 24 hours before departure
  • Change fee: €25 for Blue, Premium Economy, or Business Class (oddly, this page says there is no penalty for changes/cancellations on Full Economy). Only on flights operated by Iberia, Iberia Express, Air Nostrum, and British Airways
  • Cancellation fee: €25 for Blue, Premium Economy, or Business Class (oddly, this page says there is no penalty for changes/cancellations on Full Economy). Only on flights operated by Iberia, Iberia Express, Air Nostrum, and British Airways
  • Notes: Iberia Avios bookings on most airlines are totally nonrefundable. You can only change or cancel if your flight is operated by by Iberia, Iberia Express, Air Nostrum, and British Airways (except for flight series 5xxx). This makes Iberia a poor choice for most oneworld partner bookings as there is no way to change or redposit.

Cathay Pacific Asia Miles

  • Deadline: None specified
  • Change fee:
    • Date / time: $25 or 1,000 miles if done online / $40 or 4,000 miles if done over the phone (fees are per person, per sector)
    • Destination: $100 or 10,000 miles (note: no changes to operating airline or passenger name are allowed)
  • Cancellation fee: $120 or 12,000 miles
  • Notes: This page has a full list of program fees.

Delta SkySmiles

  • Deadline: 72 hours before departure
  • Change fee: $150
  • Cancellation fee: $150
  • Notes: Platinum and Diamond members pay no change or cancellation fees.

El Al

  • Variable. According to this page, “Award ticket conditions, including conditions for change, cancelation or no-show for the flight will be specified during the Award ticket reservation process and before purchase of the ticket.” It further notes that the previous fee schedule was canceled.

Emirates Skywards

  • Deadline: 24 hours prior to departure
  • Change fee:
    • Date change: $25
    • Destination change: $75
  • Cancellation fee: $75

Etihad Guest

  • Deadline: 24 hours prior to departure
  • Change fee: 100 AED (about $27 USD)
  • Cancellation fee: 10% of the miles
  • Notes: A cancellation fee of 10% of the miles could be fairly significant for premium cabin international travel.

Hawaiian Airlines

  • Deadline: None specified
  • Change fee:
    • $30.00 for tickets wholly within the state of Hawaii
    • $50.00 for tickets issued for travel between Hawaii and North America
    • $150.00 for tickets issued for travel to international destinations
  • Cancellation fee:
    • $30.00 for tickets wholly within the state of Hawaii
    • $150.00 for tickets issued for travel between Hawaii and North America
    • $150.00 for tickets issues for travel to international destinations
  • Notes: If you have an award ticket combined with a revenue fare, the more restrictive policy will apply and you will only be charged one fee. Full details on this page.

JetBlue TrueBlue

  • Deadline: 24 hours prior to departure
  • Change/cancellation fees:
    • Blue Basic fares can not be changed or canceled at all.
    • $75 per person for fares under $100.
    • $100 per person for fares between $100 and $149.99.
    • $150 per person for fares between $150 and $199.99.
    • $200 per person for fares over $200 and for all JetBlue Mint tickets.
  • Notes: JetBlue has a horrible change and cancellation policy for award tickets that makes most fares under $200 barely worth refunding.

Qantas Frequent Flyer

  • Deadline: 24 hours prior to departure
  • Change fee: 5,000 points
  • Cancellation fee: 6,000 points
  • Notes: Fees are quite reasonable for international long-haul flights but would be significant on shorter itineraries (and unfortunately, one of the best uses of Qantas points is for short-distance American Airlines itineraries, where these fees would be comparatively substantial). See this page for a full schedule of fees.

Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer

  • Deadline: None specified
  • Changes:
    • Change of date / route / class / add a stopover for travel on Singapore Airlines or Silk Air: $25
    • Change of date / route / class on partner airlines: $50
  • Cancellation fee: $75
    • Note that if you no-show, you pay an additional fee on top of the change or cancellation fee:
      • Economy: $100
      • Premium Economy: $200
      • Business or First: $300
  • Notes: Singapore long had even cheaper change and cancellation fees for partner bookings, but those fees increased a couple of years ago to the rates seen above.

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

  • Deadline: 24 hours in advance
  • Change fee: $50
  • Cancellation fee: $50 (Note: If your original taxes were less than $50, Virgin Atlantic will allow you to simply forfeit the taxes. This is especially useful for Delta flights originating in the US as the taxes are generally only $5.60).
  • Notes: Keep in mind that you must change or cancel at least 24 hours in advance. They will technically allow cancellations within 24 hours of departure, but you won’t receive any miles back.

Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partners award ticket change and cancellation fees

Air France KLM Flying Blue

  • Deadline: Latest check-in time
  • Change fee: €45
  • Cancellation fee: €45
  • Notes: Promo Rewards can not be cancelled or refunded. They typically can not be changed but changes have been temporarily allowed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

British Airways Avios

  • Deadline: 24 hours prior to departure
  • Change fee: $55
  • Cancellation fee: $55
  • Notes: If the taxes & fees on your ticket were less than $55, British Airways allows you to instead forfeit those fees rather than pay $55. However, in practice, they sometimes still refund the taxes. This makes British Airways a very good option for booking American Airlines flights in many instances given much lower fees than you’d pay if ticketed through AA.

Iberia Avios

  • Deadline: 24 hours before departure
  • Change fee: €25 for Blue, Premium Economy, or Business Class (oddly, this page says there is no penalty for changes/cancellations on Full Economy). Only on flights operated by Iberia, Iberia Express, Air Nostrum, and British Airways
  • Cancellation fee: €25 for Blue, Premium Economy, or Business Class (oddly, this page says there is no penalty for changes/cancellations on Full Economy). Only on flights operated by Iberia, Iberia Express, Air Nostrum, and British Airways
  • Notes: Iberia Avios bookings on most airlines are totally nonrefundable. You can only change or cancel if your flight is operated by by Iberia, Iberia Express, Air Nostrum, and British Airways (except for flight series 5xxx). This makes Iberia a poor choice for most oneworld partner bookings as there is no way to change or redposit.

Emirates Skywards

  • Deadline: 24 hours prior to departure
  • Change fee:
    • Date change: $25
    • Destination change: $75
  • Cancellation fee: $75

JetBlue TrueBlue

  • Deadline: 24 hours prior to departure
  • Change/cancellation fees:
    • Blue Basic fares can not be changed or canceled at all.
    • $75 per person for fares under $100.
    • $100 per person for fares between $100 and $149.99.
    • $150 per person for fares between $150 and $199.99.
    • $200 per person for fares over $200 and for all JetBlue Mint tickets.
  • Notes: JetBlue has a horrible change and cancellation policy for award tickets that makes most fares under $200 barely worth refunding.

Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer

  • Deadline: None specified
  • Changes:
    • Change of date / route / class / add a stopover for travel on Singapore Airlines or Silk Air: $25
    • Change of date / route / class on partner airlines: $50
  • Cancellation fee: $75
    • Note that if you no-show, you pay an additional fee on top of the change or cancellation fee:
      • Economy: $100
      • Premium Economy: $200
      • Business or First: $300
  • Notes: Singapore long had even cheaper change and cancellation fees for partner bookings, but those fees increased a couple of years ago to the rates seen above.

Southwest Rapid Rewards

  • Deadline: About 10 minutes prior to departure
  • Change fee: None
  • Cancellation fee: None
  • Notes: Southwest has the easiest award change and cancellation policy in the business. Up until they close the boarding door (about 10 minutes prior to departure), you can change or cancel with no fee. You may pay the difference in Rapid Rewards for changes, but sometimes they don’t even change a difference. Cancellations are immediately redeposited in your account and points do not expire.

United Mileage Plus

  • Deadline: 24 hours prior to departure for Star Alliance bookings (bookings on United can be refunded even after a no-show)
  • Change fee:
    • 61 days or more prior to departure: $75
    • 60 days or fewer prior to departure: $125
  • Cancellation fee:
    • 61 days or more prior to departure: $75
    • 60 days or fewer prior to departure: $125
    • No-show: $125 to redeposit

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

  • Deadline: 24 hours in advance
  • Change fee: $50
  • Cancellation fee: $50
  • (Note: If your original taxes were less than $50, Virgin Atlantic will allow you to simply forfeit the taxes. This is especially useful for Delta flights originating in the US as the taxes are generally only $5.60).
  • Notes: Keep in mind that you must change or cancel at least 24 hours in advance. They will technically allow cancellations within 24 hours of departure, but you won’t receive any miles back.

Citi Thank You points transfer partners award ticket change and cancellation fees

AeroMexico Club Premier

  • Deadline: Not specified
  • Change fee:
    • Domestic (presumably Mexico): 1,070 MXN (about $48 USD)
    • International: 1,930 MXN (about $88 USD)
  • Cancellation fee:
    • Domestic:  1,930.00 MXN (about $88 USD)
    • International:  2,900.00 MXN (about $132 USD)
  • Notes: AeroMexico isn’t known for great customer service, but you can refer to this page for award change fees.

Air France KLM Flying Blue

  • Deadline: Latest check-in time
  • Change fee: €45
  • Cancellation fee: €45
  • Notes: Promo Rewards can not be cancelled or refunded. They typically can not be changed but changes have been temporarily allowed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Avianca LifeMiles

  • Deadline: None (LifeMiles at least theoretically allows cancellation even after departure, though YMMV on getting a competent agent)
  • Change fee: $150
  • Cancellation fee: Varies. $50 for a ticket within a single region, $200 for tickets between regions
  • Notes: You can see the change and cancellation fees during the booking process. It’s always worth taking a screen shot of that type of information for your booking.

Cathay Pacific Asia Miles

  • Deadline: Prior to departure
  • Change fee:
    • Date / time: $25 or 1,000 miles if done online / $40 or 4,000 miles if done over the phone (fees are per person, per sector)
    • Destination: $100 or 10,000 miles (note: no changes to operating airline or passenger name are allowed)
  • Cancellation fee: $120 or 12,000 miles
  • Notes: This page has a full list of program fees.

Emirates Skywards

  • Deadline: 24 hours prior to departure
  • Change fee:
    • Date change: $25
    • Destination change: $75
  • Cancellation fee: $75

Etihad Guest

  • Deadline: 24 hours prior to departure
  • Change fee: 100 AED (about $27 USD)
  • Cancellation fee: 10% of the miles
  • Notes: A cancellation fee of 10% of the miles could be fairly significant for premium cabin international travel.

EVA Air Infinity MileageLands

  • Deadline:
  • Change fee: $50
  • Cancellation fee: $50

Qantas Frequent Flyer

  • Deadline: 24 hours prior to departure
  • Change fee: 5,000 points
  • Cancellation fee: 6,000 points
  • Notes: Fees are quite reasonable for international long-haul flights but would be significant on shorter itineraries (and unfortunately, one of the best uses of Qantas points is for short-distance American Airlines itineraries, where these fees would be comparatively substantial). See this page for a full schedule of fees.

Qatar Airways Privilege Club

  • Deadline: 3 hours prior to departure (cancellations within less than 3 hours prior to departure forfeit miles and are only eligible for refund of taxes).
  • Change fees:
    • More than 24 hours in advance: $25
    • Between 3-24 hours in advance: $100
    • Within 3 hours or after departure: Miles are nonrefundable
  • Notes: The fee to change Qatar award tickets at least 24 hours in advance is very reasonable, but don’t wait until the last minute to get on the phone and cancel. See this page for fees including reduced fees for elite members.

Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer

  • Deadline:
  • Changes:
    • Change of date / route / class / add a stopover for travel on Singapore Airlines or Silk Air: $25
    • Change of date / route / class on partner airlines: $50
  • Cancellation fee: $75
    • Note that if you no-show, you pay an additional fee on top of the change or cancellation fee:
      • Economy: $100
      • Premium Economy: $200
      • Business or First: $300
  • Notes: Singapore long had even cheaper change and cancellation fees for partner bookings, but those fees increased a couple of years ago to the rates seen above.

Thai Airways Royal Orchid

  • Deadline: Not specified
  • Change fee:
    • On Thai Airways:
      • Economy / Premium Economy: $85
      • Royal Silk / Royal First: $120
    • On Star Alliance Partners: $125
  • Cancellation fee:
    • On Thai Airways within Thailand: $60
    • Regional / International: $125
    • Intercontinental: $190
  • Notes: Dates or flight numbers can be changed, but all other changes require a cancellation/redeposit and the terms here indicate that you should allow 3 days for miles to redeposit. The redeposit fee schedule can be found here.

Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles

  • Deadline: None (miles can be redeposited after no-show)
  • Change fee: $25
    • Note: No-show fee to change and reissue a ticket is $50.
  • Cancellation fee: $25
    • Note: No-show fee to redeposit is also $25 (you pay this to redeposit if you no-show the flight)
  • Notes: First, it doesn’t make sense that the fee to redeposit after a no-show is less than the fee to change after a no-show, but that’s what this page says. Note also that at least one member reported being quoted change fees of $200 before negotiating down to $150 per ticket. I have cancelled awards in the past and been charged $25 as per the program terms. YMMV.

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

  • Deadline: 24 hours in advance
  • Change fee: $50
  • Cancellation fee: $50
  • (Note: If your original taxes were less than $50, Virgin Atlantic will allow you to simply forfeit the taxes. This is especially useful for Delta flights originating in the US as the taxes are generally only $5.60).
  • Notes: Keep in mind that you must change or cancel at least 24 hours in advance. They will technically allow cancellations within 24 hours of departure, but you won’t receive any miles back.
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