Airline Award Ticket Change Fees

Filed Under: Awards

I am fortunate to have nearly unlimited flexibility in my schedule – as long as I can be “connected” to the internet 10-12 hours a day it doesn’t really matter what continent or time zone I’m in. This makes it a bit easier for me personally to redeem airline miles, as I truly don’t care where I travel as long as it’s an interesting experience. I was planning on going to India this week, but am truly just as thrilled to be exploring Lisbon.

That’s an extreme example, but having some type of flexibility makes award travel much easier. Whether that’s a range of dates you can travel, or fixed dates with a list of two or three potential destinations, or being open to supplementing your award ticket with cash for fuel surcharges or positioning flights, giving yourself some wiggle room can open up better redemptions and better products.

Another strategy (and one that is probably most realistic for the majority of people), is to budget in the cost of change fees. In most cases the cost to change an award ticket is surprisingly reasonable, so I’ll often recommend clients of my award booking service “lock in” something acceptable that works for their dates, and then try to improve the itinerary closer to departure.

As an example, let’s say you’re looking to travel from Los Angeles to London. There is almost zero chance of finding nonstop award space on United in advance, but they reliably open up unsold seats to award inventory, even if only a day before departure. So it could make sense to book an alternative itinerary so you can confirm hotels and tours, then hope to streamline the itinerary closer to your travel date.

Change Award Tickets
Would you pay $100 on the day of departure to switch to the direct routing?

This isn’t foolproof, of course, so it’s important for the backup option to be something you’re willing to fly. In this case routing on Swiss through Zurich would mean a lie-flat seat and no fuel surcharges if you were booking through Aeroplan, so I’d consider this a reasonable alternative. There’s also a good chance of award space opening up between Chicago and London, so you’d have two “shots” at streamlining the itinerary.

The change fees and redeposit fees for each airline vary and there are also some cases where fees can be waived, so I thought it would be helpful to break all of this down. It’s worth noting that if you have elite status with an airline many of these fees will be reduced or waived, so that’s something to keep in mind as well.

Airline - ProgramChange Fee Redeposit Fee
Air Canada - Aeroplan$90$90
Air France / KLM - FlyingBlue€45€45
Alaska - Mileage Plan none$125
American - AAdvantage none$150
Avianca - LifeMiles $150$50
British Airways - Executive Club$55$55
Delta - SkyMiles$150$150
Korean Air - SkyPassNo chargeNo charge
Singapore - KrisFlyer$12$30
Southwest - Rapid RewardsNo chargeNo charge
United - MileagePlus$100$200
Virgin Atlantic - FlyingClub£30 / US$50 £30 / US$50

Alaska Mileage Plan

Alaska will allow you to change or cancel award tickets for free up until 60 days before departure. Within 60 days, the fee is $125.

It is also important to remember that Alaska no longer allows holds on award tickets.

American AAdvantage

American doesn’t charge any fees to change award tickets as long as the origin and destination and award type remains the same. You can change the routing, dates, times, airlines, etc.

If you do change the origin, destination, or award type (like switching from a standard award to a saver award, downgrading from a business class award to economy award, etc.), the change fee is the same as it would be to redeposit — $150 for the first passenger and $25 for each additional passenger on the same record.

In order to redeposit an AAdvantage award ticket, American charges $150 for the first passenger, and $25 for each additional passenger on the same record locator. In other words, if you need to redeposit an award ticket and have three people on the same record locator, you’d pay a total of $200 in cancellation fees, which is quite reasonable.

The policy for making a change from one award type to another is that you must reinstate the award ticket, which will cost $150 (though this generally isn’t charged if you’re upgrading the class of service).

British Airways

Making changes to award tickets with British Airways results in a $55 fee. The redeposit/cancellation fee is also $55.

What makes Avios bookings interesting is that you don’t necessarily have to pay the full cancellation fee when redepositing an Avios ticket. In order to redeposit an award ticket and get the Avios back in your account you have to either forfeit the taxes or pay the $55 fee to get the residual taxes refunded.

This means if you book an award ticket between Tampa and Miami for 4,500 Avios plus $5.60 in taxes you’d just forfeit the $5.60 and get the 4,500 Avios redeposited.

Meanwhile if you booked an award ticket that involves fuel surcharges, like Los Angeles to London in first class for 75,00 Avios plus ~$500, you’d have to pay $55 in order to get the ~$500 refunded.

British Airways Executive Club award tickets can’t be changed or cancelled within 24 hours of departure, so that’s something to keep in mind as well.

Air Canada Aeroplan

Changes to the flight time, date, destination or routing up to two hours before departure will result in a $90 fee per ticket.

Canceling the ticket outright also incurs a $90 fee, but it’s worth noting the miles aren’t fully returned to your account if you cancel within 21 days of departure. In that case, you can cancel your itinerary more than two hours before departure and your unused reward tickets will remain valid for travel for one year from the date of their original issue.

Avianca LifeMiles

Changes to Avianca award tickets come with a $150 change fee, but outright canceling the award is only $50, so that’s what I would recommend in most cases.

Avianca doesn’t allow mixed-cabins on award tickets, so if you’re looking to upgrade from Business to First you would have to refund the ticket and start over. Keep in mind that all changes or cancellations must be made by phone, which definitely is not an easy process, and chasing down the refunded taxes can be an adventure.

Delta SkyMiles

Delta charges $150 for any changes to an award ticket, provided you’re staying at the same redemption “level,” so if you’re shifting from a mid to low level award you’ll need to redeposit the miles and start over.

Changes are only allowed at least 72 hours prior to departure, though the return flights can still be modified after the outbound has been flown. If you have to cancel your award ticket, there is a $150 award ticket redeposit fee per ticket.

Korean Air SkyPass

You can make changes to a Korean Air award ticket without a fee, but changes can only be made within the same season and cabin class. There’s no fee to redeposit awards prior to departure.

Singapore KrisFlyer

For award tickets on Singapore Airlines, KrisFlyer allows you to make changes to the date of your award travel at no charge, but there are different charges associated with making changes to the route, class or award type. Making a change to the date of your travel is permitted and there is no fee. If you want to make a change to the route, cabin class or award type there is a $12 fee.

For travel on Star Alliance partners, changing the flight, date, route or carrier results in a $20 fee. If you decide that redepositing your miles is the best option, this will cost $30, so it can be well worth it to lock something in and make changes later given how reasonable the fees are in comparison.

United MileagePlus

United has gone from having one of the more generous award change policies to one of the more restrictive, with a tiered fee structure based on elite status and the time prior to departure. You can still make changes to your routing more than 21 days prior to departure provided you aren’t changing the date, origin, or destination for a reduced fee, but in most cases that won’t apply.

Otherwise, the fees are as follows:

Award Ticket Change TypeFee
Change of date
(21 or more days prior to travel date)
$75 for a general member
*No fee for Premier Silver, Premier Gold, Global Services, Premier 1K and Premier Platinum members
Change of date
(less than 21 days prior to travel date)
$100 for a general member
$50 for Premier Silver member
$25 for Premier Gold member
*No fee for Global Services, Premier 1K and Premier Platinum members
Changing origin/destination at any time$100 for a general member
$50 for Premier Silver member
$25 for Premier Gold member
*No fee for Global Services, Premier 1K and Premier Platinum members
Re-crediting miles$200 for a general member
$125 for Premier Silver member
$100 for Premier Gold member
*No fee for Global Services, Premier 1K and Premier Platinum members

Bottom line

Compared to the costs of changing revenue tickets, the fees to modify award tickets are generally quite reasonable.

In many cases it can make sense to factor in the cost of these change fees when budgeting your travel, especially if a mild fee reduces your fuel surcharges, improves your routing, or opens up better products.

  1. Lucky-while I have been following your posts for about six months now, I was completely aware of your “award booking service”. Where do we find details about this?

  2. Lucky – Sorry, if this is a stupid question, but for AA, when you say the origin and destination have to be the same, do you mean the city? For example, let’s say I am doing Narita to NYC (NRT to LGA), does that mean the Narita/NYC part have to be same and I can switch my flights to (HND to JFK/EWR) and be within the no fee rule? Or the airports have to be the same too? Thanks in advance! =)

  3. @ Ang — In practice American’s computers seem to charge the fee if you switch airports within a city, though I know some agents will waive the fee.

  4. I really with the free changes with AA would allow you to go back and forth between Oneworld member airlines and partner airlines

  5. On AA – If you do change award type by moving to a higher class of service or higher points requirement, do you get still get charge the $150 first passenger change fee? Specifically, my question relates to booking CX business class ticket using AA miles, can you upgrade to CX F without the $150 change fee?

  6. “On AA – If you do change award type by moving to a higher class of service or higher points requirement, do you get still get charge the $150 first passenger change fee? Specifically, my question relates to booking CX business class ticket using AA miles, can you upgrade to CX F without the $150 change fee?”

    Going up Y->J or J->F has no fee … self downgrade has a fee

    the bad thing about AA is that they don’t discount the redeposit fee for the 50K flyer (the plats) or the 75K flyer (high plat) – UA discounts it down to $100 for 50K and $0 for 75K

  7. Lucky,
    Today I tried changing dates on a QR flight booked using AA miles. There was no issue or fees for changing the date of the tickets, but they claimed that I was incorrectly charged 10% of full fare when they initially issued an infant ticket, but it actually should be 20%, ~$350 difference. Is this right? I thought the airline miles you use controls ticket costs (10% for AA, 10% of miles for BA, flat fee for AC, etc.). Thanks

  8. @ Ismael — It should be 10%, though a lot of agents calculate the “full fare” different. I would hang up and call again.

  9. Lucky I have some questions about US Airways awards.

    If I book a US Airways award, and have not started the travel yet, can I change the routing (same origin/destination)? or would I need to redeposit and pay the redeposit fee?

    Also if I change a US Airways award dates to a flight within 21 days, will I need to pay the change fee + close in booking fee $75 too?

  10. @ Greg — Yep, you can change the routing as long as the award type stays the same. You don’t have to pay the close-in ticketing fee unless you’re issuing an award within 21 days of departure.

  11. Nice summary. Given that these fees range from $0 to $200, it seems to suggest that these are mostly made up as a profit for the airlines.

  12. Are there any limits to the AAdvantage free date changes? If you booked a trip say 10 months out and then wanted to make changes 7 days in advance of departure, could you move the trip back by several months, say an additional 6 months (16 months from original booking date). If that is allowed, it seems like you could kick the can down the road forever…

  13. @ Tom — The major limitation is that tickets are valid for one year from the date of issue, so you can’t change the ticket to travel after that date.

  14. @ Pals Smurf — Absolutely. I actually think Alaska has the right approach. If you book an award ticket 11 months out and want to cancel it 10 months out, there’s virtually no cost to the airline. The closer you get to the departure date, the bigger the cost of potential lost revenue, because the chance of being able to fill that seat with another passenger decreases. So I think Alaska is smart for changing within 60 days when it’s actually potentially costing them something/displacing other passengers.

  15. Does Aeroplan allow award type change (say from First to Business or vice versa)? is that also 90CAD change fee?

  16. aeroplan workaround- just change the flight (90 CAD) to somewhere outside 21 days, then cancel it (90 CAD), basically it’s 180 CAD to cancel a flight within 21 days

  17. I have a situation where I won’t be able to fly the first segment.
    My original award reservation is YYZ (AC)-ORD (JAL)-NRT (JAL)-ORD (AC)-YYZ with US Airways DM.

    -In general, on a booking like this, if I don’t take the first flight, would the rest of the flight reservation be cancelled?

    – Is changing the booking with change fee the only way I can skip the first flight?

    Thank you!!

  18. Two questions: I just booked for 3 passengers First Class on AA – LAX-DFW-LHR for June 23, 2015. If I find 3 First class seats the day or two before departure on the nonstop LAX-LHR would I incur a $75 close in booking fee or not? Also you mentioned United nonstop to London opening up close in, how likely in your experience is it for 3 F for AA to open up on the LAX-LHR nonstop in late June…I saw US Envoy open up a few days before departure for returns from Brussels this July early August. Thinking about waiting til last minute for wife and child’s return [they are both US & EU citizens so they would not need a return flight to go without a return ticket].

  19. Hi Lucky,
    I’ve been looking and searching everywhere and still not clear. If I want to fly standby or same day change on an award ticket on AC, is it $90? $150? Thanks.

  20. Ben- For United your wrote, “You can still make changes to your routing more than 21 days prior to departure provided you aren’t changing the date, origin, or destination.” United’s web site says “fee will be charged for any change to cabin, award type, carrier, date or time.” It sounds like they won’t let you change anything without a fee for non-elites.

  21. @ Erin — Yep, the rest of the itinerary would be canceled if you didn’t cancel the ticket. And you’d have to pay the change fee to cancel. Not sure how you mixed Star Alliance and oneworld on a single award, though — well done!

  22. Hi Ben,

    This post answers the question I asked you over the weekend not only about by USAirways award change question but the other airlines as well.

    I took your advice this weekend and chose Option 2. I went ahead and changed the outbound ORD-HKG on CX from J to F when F opened up to lock it in. The interesting part was the agent told me he can change it but I have to redo my entire itinerary because the change from J to F required additional miles. I pointed out to him that I’m already booked in F on the inbound and explained that F was not available only J on the outbound. Since F opened up on the outbound, I told him that I just wanted to change from J to F and no other changes to the itinerary.

    After being put on hold again (at this point, I’ve been on the phone for almost 45 min), he came back and said that everything was good. He changed the outbound from J to F. The best part was it was free. I didn’t have to pay the $150 change fee. So, I’ll be monitoring if two F seats open up from JFK to HKG. Then, I’ll be prepared to pay the change fee.

    Thanks again for your help.

  23. @ Marriott Marty — Nope, no close-in booking fee, that only applies if the ticket is originally issued within 21 days of the departure date. That being said, HIGHLY unlikely three first class seats open up nonstop LAX-LHR in an eight seat cabin. Almost impossible, in my opinion.

  24. @ S — Not too familiar with Air Canada’s standby policy, though whatever they normally charge would also apply on award tickets as far as I know.

  25. Lucky – I’m a newcomer to all this. Can you send me to a tutorial re: valuing award miles, hotel miles, credit card points and how you decide what to transfer where? Also a tutorial re: how to decide whether to use award magic, book your award, etc to book trips using miles. I have all my miles with US Airways DM. No other award program. And all my hotel points with SPG. Good or bad idea?



  26. Hi Lucky – Question about redepositing a BA award ticket. As you mentioned if you had booked an award Tampa to Miami for 4,500 Avios plus $5.60 in taxes you’d just forfeit the $5.60 and get the 4,500 Avios redeposited. What if you made the reservation with Cash + Avios? Would you still be on the hook for just $5.60 or would they also charge against the cash portion which was paid in lieu of the additional Avios?
    Thanks for your input.

  27. Q1: Are United’s fees additive? i.e. if I change destination and dates do I get both fees?
    Q2: Is it still possible to avoid AA close-in fee of $75/pax by booking 22 days out and moving your dates in closer after booking?

  28. @ James from BNA — Nope, not additive. And no, if you move up dates with American you’ll be charged the fee — it’s based on the original date the ticket was issued.

  29. Hi Lucky,

    I booked my award traveling on First through US Airways, and because of availability was only able to book indirect flights, one long haul segments of it is in Business Class(highest class of service). If spaces open up later, do you think it’s likely I can change to a direct service in First Class and persuade them to waive the change fee?

  30. Ben–could you clarify something that seems contradictory? You said about Singapore: “Making a change to the date of your travel is permitted and there is no fee. If you want to make a change to the route, cabin class or award type there is a $12 fee.

    Changing the flight, date, route or carrier results in a $20 fee.”

    So are date changes free or $20? And routes $12 or $20?


  31. @ KG — To be honest don’t have firsthand experience with that, since I tend to think it’s a pretty poor value. That being said, I believe it’s the same as just buying Avios, so the “trick” should still work. But I could be wrong.

  32. @ Norman — Nah, they’ll very rarely waive change fees, so if you make the change I’d expect to pay the $150.

  33. @ Gaurav — My mistake. Updated the post to fix that. The former fees referred to awards on Singapore, while the latter fees referred to awards on partner airlines.

  34. Lucky,

    How do you just forfeit the taxes and redeposit the BA Avios back in the account?



  35. Lucky – thanks for your reply. I’m a Chairman with US Airways DM. We get upgrade certificates yearly that allow you to purchase a coach ticket to Europe and upgrade to Business with the certificate. Since the merger they have severely restricted the upgrade availability, telling me ” to buy the coach ticket and go on the waiting list for the upgrade.” No way. No upgrade availability and I’m in the back of the bus. I’m thinking I may have to abandon their standard Business Class offerings and begin using an award booking service to maximize the use of my miles. Your thoughts.

  36. @bobbieddie – I’m Chariman’s Preferred as well. I agree that you don’t get the upgrade immediately using the certificate. However, in my experience, myself and my companion have always been cleared on the wait list and get upgraded. The upgrade usually clears the wait list for us between a month to two weeks prior to departure.

  37. somewhat off-topic question re UA ticket: i booked BKK to BOS (F on LH and TG) back in Nov 2013 for travel in June 2014. In Feb 2014, right before the devaluation, I added BOS to BKK (J on LH and F on TG) to the reservation and made it a RT itinerary with stopover in Munich, for a total of 140K points. In June 2014, I cancelled the reservation and selected the rebook later feature. I was under the impression that my ticket is good only until Nov 2014, one year from the original booking date. But for some reason, my receipt has a ticket issue date of May 2014 (Not sure why) I tried a BOS-BKK dummy booking for March 2015, and I made it all the way to the “payment information” screen. The new flights are in J on partner airlines and showing 120K miles required and 20K miles to be redeposited. From your experience, if I have made it as far as the payment screen, does it usually mean my reservation will go through?

  38. @ mangoceviche — United’s website can be glitchty, but I don’t see any reason it wouldn’t work. If you really only issued the ticket in November then I think you’re good.

  39. I have been on a “stopover” in Europe for several months on my return from Australia earlier this year on a DM award, multiple of my flights were cancelled and I have done some rebooking I.e. Thai cancelled a syd-bkk and at the time DM could not see LH space after a quick 23 hour stop in London so they put me on some Brussels flights into Milan. Also united axed many flights from Cleveland including my yul-cle now is via phl.

    My question is, due to the circumstances, can I change the location of my final return to the states without incurring a fee? Can I change Lin-fra-yul-phl-cle to say mad-JFK-cle? This makes it an open jaw, but given all the cancellations and the pita, would they allow? As of now it’d be a 13 segment award, my PR for a r/t. Thanks!

  40. @ Vic — Unlikely especially since travel already commenced, but if you call often enough it may be possible.

  41. Excellent summary of the various change fees Ben! Now I don’t have to look at every carrier’s website and dig for that info. Thanks so much!

    This might be worth it to your readers, but I just booked a biz class ticket 10 months out for my mother’s first every trip to Europe. Problem is, we don’t know if she’ll get approved for vacation until this December(she has to bid on it). But I had to lock the seats down just in case.

    Long story short, on the final reservation page there is an option to buy trip cancellation insurance for $26 which explicitly covers award mile redeposit fees, and as you said, you cancel up to 72 hours before the flight.

    To me it was worth being able to pay $26 as opposed to $150 if she ends up not getting approved for the vacation time.

  42. Delta changed my itinerary by 15 minutes and I was able to get the change fee waived. They consider a significant change 90 minutes but I told them (the truth) that a member of our party would be late for work with the new times. This was a US Bank FlexPerks booking on Delta.

  43. Marvin- Usually trip cancellation insurance is very restrictive. You can only cancel for a covered reason like illness. Not being able to get vacation isn’t usually covered. Am I correct or will it cover most reasons?

  44. Great. Thanks Lucky. Any idea if SQ’s reasonable award change fees can be used to effect to combine the discount on SQ awards booked online with other legs? For e.g. I’d like to book a one way BOS-DEL ticket. However, SQ will not display BOS as a departure city to get the 15% discount but they do have an itinerary from JFK. If I booked JFK-DEL online to get the 15% discount on miles, could I then call in and add a BOS-JFK leg for $30?

  45. @ Gaurav — Nope, the 15% discount only applies to tickets exclusively on Singapore, so since Singapore doesn’t fly there you wouldn’t get the discount.

  46. Ben- For United your wrote, “You can still make changes to your routing more than 21 days prior to departure provided you aren’t changing the date, origin, or destination (for no fee).” United’s web site says “fee will be charged for any change to cabin, award type, carrier, date or time.” It sounds like they won’t let you change anything without a fee for non-elites. Ben, which is correct?

  47. So essentially SQ would make you redeposit your whole award and then rebook you at full fare? Is that how it would work?

  48. I guess I was lucky that USAirways didn’t charge me a change fee on the return of my RTW Star award ticket when LH went on strike at CDG and stranding me, after a few calls from Paris to both LH and US, I was able to get a J seat on the direct CDG-PHL flight.

    Also on your example of non-stop United LAX-LHR, Air NZ has a direct flight on this route, is there any (or better) availability on that flight for a partner award rather than the connections with United? Btw, have you reviewed that flight yet? I often recommend it to my staff out of LHR and they generally like it.

  49. @ Gaurav — Essentially. You’re either booking a Singapore award, or a partner award. They have different charts, and are considered different award “types,” with different pricing, so you can’t combine them.

  50. @ philatravelgirl — When there are operational issues like that the airlines are typically good about making space available.

    I don’t think I’ve seen even a single award seat on that Air New Zealand flight in years, unfortunately.

  51. Thanks Lucky. I have to say I subscribe to a few blogs but I have never seen a blogger who is so prompt and attentive to his comments. I really appreciate the input you provide here because it often builds well on the original blog post. On a semi-related note, any chance you can bring in nested comments with a reply feature? For someone reading the comments, it would be so much easier to see comments grouped together…

  52. @ Gaurav — Thanks for the kind words! Regarding nested comments, stay tuned till tonight, have a development regarding that. 🙂

  53. Hi Ben,

    I have a quick question and I believe I have seen an comment from you about this in the past already.. but just to confirm the following: “If I would book an First class award travel on Oneworld partner award travel with USDM, would I be able to change my business class seat that I already booked with Cathay Pacific to First class when it opens up 1-3 days before departure (talking about my first flight) without having to pay the change fee?”

    Thanks in advance!

  54. @ John (August 4, 2014 at 8:36 pm) and @ Lucky – a couple questions about AA’s phone booking fee for partner awards.

    1.) If you call to upgrade class of service on an award ticket, there is no change fee, but do they charge you another $25/$35 phone booking fee?

    2.) I booked two partner award tickets at the same time, for myself and wife but using our separate AAdvantage accounts for each ticket (not enough miles in one). The agent made me pay the $35 phone booking fee twice, because it was per person. I tried to get it waived as the booking was done virtually simultaneously (making it easier on AA, preventing my wife calling back after me and starting the whole process over again.) Is it normal to be charged for two phone booking fees when booking an award like this? Seems unnecessarily punitive to me.

  55. Great to know about #1, and #2 is still super annoying as it literally took the agent 10 seconds to book the second ticket…

  56. @John – I printed out the trip cancellation policy and also screen captured the text. The insurance provided by Delta (Allianz) explicitly states that redeposit fees are also covered. I can’t say the same for other carriers, but in my case it was clearly defined. I can’t confirm success on claiming it yet. Hoping Mom’s vacation gets approved and I won’t need to redeposit. 😉

  57. @Marvin–I think what people are saying is not that redeposit fees are not covered, it is that not getting vacation is not usually enough to trigger an insurance claim. You usually need to show a greater emergency. I would focus on the part of your policy that discusses covered events.

  58. Informative post.
    Agree that it is reasonable for one person on one leg, but it starts to add up when traveling with a family of four and then trying to get both outbound and return with minimum stops.

  59. I find triple-digit change/cancellation fees a very, very bad policy, especially when they are not done last-minute. So I love SQ’s policies and support BA’s policy to charge the lesser of fees or $55.

    However, I’d like to add that airlines need to move into 21st century and allow more of these actions to be done online as opposed to tying up phone lines. This is especially true for cancellation/redeposit. I am looking at you, Avianca (no changes/cancellations online on award tickets) and you, BA (can cancel partner awards but no change dates).

  60. I have a United award flight going from Delhi to EWR via LHR. If I have Premier Gold status can I just pay $25 to fly to LHR and then stay a few days and take a different connecting flight from LHR back to EWR?

  61. @ Keith — No, if it’s a one way a stopover wouldn’t be allowed, so you couldn’t do that. Sorry.

  62. I have used your award services back in 2011 and Alex did outstanding job! Most likely I will be using your service again sometime in September or October.

    For example, SFO-JFK segment on United in economy (First not available at time of booking) and JFK-FRA segment on Singapore in First. These flights are book on Singapore miles. Let’s say 5 months later First becomes available on the SFO-JFK segment. I would be able to call Singapore or your award service, back to make the cabin change? Would this be considered a change fee? I’m assuming since the original booking was in First, additional miles are not needed.

  63. @ Andre — Thanks for the kind words! Yes, you could make that change, though Singapore’s change fee would apply, as far as I know. It’s a reasonable fee, though.

  64. If you want to redeposit US Airways miles on a mileage award, is it $150 to cancel it and another $150 to redeposit the miles? Or is it just $150 total to get the miles back into your account?

  65. Lucky is there a requirement on partner tickets booked with Alaska miles similar to AA in that you must start travel a year from ticketed date? I just ran into that issue with an AA award and I want to know if I need to be mindful of it with Alaska. Thanks.

  66. I want to ticket an AKL-SYD-NRT through AAdvantage on QF connecting to JL. doesn’t display JL space. However, QF flies SYD-NRT so I could book and ticket the itinerary exclusively on QF online; and then call in to change the date of travel and the SYD-NRT segment from QF to JL (there is no QF availability on the actual day I want to fly). My understanding is that I won’t have to pay the phone booking fee this way – is that correct?

  67. @ Alex — Yep. Not the easiest process in the world, but that should work if you want to avoid the phone booking fee.

  68. I need to book a one-way BOS-MRU via BA for myself and 2 kids. It seems that i need to call in because of the children. So there is no way of avoiding the phone fee. Can i book mine online and call in for the kids? Can i change the dates for free in the future without incurring a fee, keeping the same routing. Also, i need to do a PER-SYD o/w but not sure of the dates. If I book at the same time, would I only be charged one-fee per passenger.? Thanks

  69. Hi Ben,

    Thanks for your informative post.

    I have a return flight on UA that I need to cancel. The outbound has been flown. Is there a way to pay a fee and get the miles back?

    I have held the miles for the return till Nov 2015. What creative options would you have if I don’t have any need to fly on UA till then, or any Star Alliance carrier for that matter.


  70. @ oldporkchops — Hmmm, I believe you should be able to pay the fee and get the return refunded, though I could be wrong.

  71. For SIA – redeposit of miles, the fee is USD 30. So is it per passenger or per ticket/PNR ? I have two passengers on one PNR.

  72. Recently, I have booked a roundtrip on US Airways using dividend miles within Continental USA on Dec 25 – Jan1. After flying the outbound, I realized that I wouldn’t be able to fly the inbound on Jan 1, I had to fly on Jan 4. I called US Air, totally expecting that they wouldn’t allow me to change the date. To my surprise, they charged $150 as the change fee but allowed me to fly on Jan 4th. So the rule you referred to, does that only apply for partner tickets? Btw, I had enrolled in the trial preferred and have Platinum status right now.

  73. I was just going through the following link:

    and found these lines interesting:

    1. You cannot change award levels, airline carrier or city pairs once travel has begun. (Looks like changing date or routing is allowed)

    2. Travel on US Airways: Changes to the point of origin, destination, stopover, class of service and award level are permitted if the new itinerary is within the travel areas allowed by the original award.

    3. Travel on Airline Partners: Changes are not permitted once travel has begun.

    So, maybe the rules are not so restrictive while traveling on US Air Metal.

  74. @ Aris — Ah, interesting. Guess that makes sense. Never realized the distinction since I always redeemed US Airways miles for travel on partner airlines.

  75. Hey Ben,
    I just had a surprising thing happen when changing the dates on an upcoming itinerary I booked for my parents to Thailand in CX F. I moved the date back by a couple of weeks, but ended up with pretty much an identical itinerary, except that I skipped the layover in HKG and instead had them stopping in HKG with just a few hours before heading to BKK. The agent said that everything looked good but that she had to bring the new award to the rates desk to have it repriced. I asked her why, and she responded because the taxes on the tickets could have increased. Sure enough, when she came back the additional taxes were $28.90 per ticket. A small price to pay certainly, but I have changed reservations before with no additional taxes being levied. Is this a policy change or just slightly confused agent?

  76. I should add that this was an AAdvantage award reservation. Which I thought, allowed changes to date of travel without incurring any additional fees.

  77. @ John K — Policy indeed. Taxes do often change, so it’s normal to reprice the taxes. For example, in the US they recently increased the TSA fees, so that would explain part of the increase. I’m sure more taxes were added somewhere along the line as well.

  78. I just got a email from United that my flight times have changed on my flight from CMH -PVR. in 33 day. I would rather cancle this trip. Does the fact that they changed the time allow me to get a redeposit of my miles without paying a $200.00 fee per ticket?



  79. “American doesn’t charge any fees to change award tickets as long as the origin and destination and award type remains the same. You can change the routing, dates, times, airlines, etc.”

    I have an award SJC-OGG booked on Hawaiian Airlines. I want to change the date but the only availability on the new date is on Alaska and from OAK (which is a coterminal for SJC). AA tells me they cannot change the award.


  80. @ rj123456 — In the case of American, an airport change would trigger a change fee, even if it’s co-terminal.

  81. The quote was from your original posting. You may consider fixing it instead of burying the clarification in an obscure footnote (such as this comments thread!)

  82. FYI, the Avianca change fee seems to be $50 per person now, not $150 (unless it’s different for partner bookings – this was an actual Avianca flight I changed).

  83. the redeposit fee of 150.00, can i claim it from citi as Trip Cancellation / Trip Interruption
    benefit ?

  84. Hey Ben

    I may have missed it in this article but if i have to cancel and re- deposit an AA award do i get the amount of taxes and fees that i initally paid refunded?

  85. Thanks Ben, how far in advance do i need to cancel my award ticket? Can i do it the day before the flight if need be? Whats the rule on that?

  86. I booked to travel on Air Berlin and US airways using AA miles. The AB flight is cancelled now they have another flight that’s an hour earlier. Is it possible to cancel the award booking without the $150 redeposit fee?

  87. I booked a flight for May for two passengers with US Airways miles on Turkish airlines before the partnership ended (SFO-IST-GZT). There has been a small schedule change since it was booked (some of the flights moved by 5 minutes). I would like to cancel the ticket and redeposit the miles due to the security situation in GZT. Questions: 1) Can I get the redeposit fee waived because of the schedule change, even though the change is trivial? 2) If not, would it be better to redeposit now or after Dividend Miles is combined with AAdvantage? I think the US Airways redeposit fee would be $300 but the American fee would be $175. 3) Would there be any issues with redepositing miles from a former US Airways partner after the merger with American, since Turkish was never an American partner? I have Gold Preferred status on US Airways, if that matters. Thanks for any advice you can give!

  88. @ Matt — Chances are you’ll be able to redeposit for free, so I’d try giving them a call. Otherwise it would indeed be cheaper through AAdvantage than Dividend Miles.

  89. @Lucky

    So for United partner award tickets you can upgrade the ticket and change airlines if the origin/destination are same for free until 21 days out?

  90. Hi Lucky

    I have booked a flight on EY for 2 pax with AA miles, and now want to change carrier to QR, keeping the origin and final destination the same and keeping the same class of travel (business). Per your post, there should be no change fees, right? I called AA reservations, and they want to charge USD150 per pax (as redeposit fee?). Are you aware of any conditions that would make the change fee applicable?

  91. This is a little known AA rule that tripped me up too. The no charge for same endpoint and destination only works for Oneworld award bookings. I had the same problem where I want to change dates on reservation to Maui on HA but the only availability was on AS and AA wanted the $150 fee.

  92. Hi Lucky, I’m assuming you are referring to changes and cancellations if done after 24 hours after book?? Am I correct in that you can still make changes through United, and other airlines, if done within 24 hours of booking the ticket?



  93. @ Aaron — Not across the board. Airlines legally don’t have to allow 24 hour holds with award tickets, so it all depends on the airline. United will let you cancel for 24 hours, while American won’t, for example.

  94. Hi Lucky,

    A quick question for the man with all the answers. AA award CX F JFK-HKG-JFK, in HK right now, I want to extend my stay (was scheduled to return this weekend). I’m ExP. Can I cancel inbound flight for the 67500 miles refund and without incurring any fees? Looks like CX still releasing plenty of F seats close to departure.


  95. @ Hank — Should be possible, since all awards are priced as one ways nowadays. Enjoy the rest of your trip!

  96. Hi Lucky-

    I made an award change on an AA ticket (I have EXP, so the change fee was waived). The taxes and fees on the new ticket was $5.60 (the original was $103.60). Will I be refunded the $103.60, or is that a sunk cost?



  97. @ Kevin — You should be refunded the difference, though you’ll want to ask them to be sure it was processed correctly.

  98. Hi Lucky, I’m looking to use Aeroplan miles to book flight from LAX to Madrid; the 1st segment is LAX to IST; and 2nd segment IST to Madrid. My desired destination is IST and prefers flying with Turkish airline, what would happen if I do not take the 2nd segment. Aeroplan offers flight to IST with 2 stops, and flying with other airlines, so I’m thinking of doing LAX to MAD, but skip the 2nd segment.
    Thanks for your reply/comments/suggestion.

  99. @ Lena — If you skip a segment then all onwards segments would be canceled. So the only segment you should consider skipping is the very last one on the itinerary. Also make sure you don’t have checked bags if you do that.

  100. Changed an Award booking from a flight in business to a flight in First on the same day / same airline (Etihad) but a different flight time. No fee to change. Expected to pay $150 based on the above – but didn’t have to pay anything!
    Is it my lucky day Lucky?

  101. When I tried to change the airlines (from Etihad to Qatar) without changing origin/destination, I was told there is $150 change fee because Etihad is not oneworld partner. Is this true? I did HUCA but I am getting the same answer. What did I miss?

  102. @ Sam — That’s a technicality, but yep, it’s true. If you switch between American-metal, oneworld, or partner, you do pay the change fee… unfortunately.

  103. Thanks – so no other way than to pay the fee? I already have award flight booked in Etihad. I would like to postpone it to 4 months from now, but there is no availability in Etihad then. So I am holding the seats in Qatar for now in the hope that I can switch airlines without any fee. Would you wait closer to departure date to see if seats are available in Etihad or just pay the change fee now and secure seats in QR? This is from US-India. EY, QR and CX are only programs I know that operate in that route in J class. Am open to F class in CX but that’s always sold out. Boy! these things are very unpredictable.

  104. If I book award tickets using my EXP miles for me and someone else on the same trip and then decide to cancel the award, would the fees be waived, because the EXP was one of the travelers? Because sentence “The award reinstatement fee will be waived for Executive Platinum members using miles from their account” isn’t perfectly clear to me. Whether this applies only to EXP or anyone else travelling with him as well (using miles from EXP account).

  105. @ TokinaMaso — As long as the miles come out of the Executive Platinum member’s account then the redeposit fee would be waived.

  106. Ben–I was going over an award that I had booked after redepositing miles from another award and noticed that I had been charged $300 in cancellation fees for two tickets. Per what you’ve mentioned here it should only have been $175. I just wanted to make sure nothing has changed on the AA guidance here before calling them. Thanks.

  107. According to the AA website,

    Changes to your travel date
    If you change your outbound award travel date to within 21 days of the original booking date, a $75 award processing fee will apply, provided the new date is valid for the original award type claimed

    Is there a way to avoid these fees for a date change on an award ticket?

  108. @ Anthony — As long as you aren’t trying to change for a flight within 21 days of when you booked, there should be no extra fee.

  109. Hey Lucky! Does Singapore have a 24-hour free cancellation policy on award bookings? Just booked a Suite class JFK to FRA and discovered the two sets of two middle seats are already taken….which is VERY disappointing to my girlfriend and I. Thanks!

  110. Lucky, can you clarify the rules on changing airlines on an American award ticket? Above it says you can change routing, dates, times, airlines, etc without a fee. However, I was reading a post on another blog that mentioned if you change airlines you incur $150 fee. I believe my friend earlier this year had an AA award booking on Japan Airlines but then switched it to Cathay Pacific and didn’t incur any fees. Just trying to understand exactly what the rules are on switching airlines. Thanks.

  111. @ Brian P. — If you’re keeping the same type of award (oneworld vs. partner vs. American) then there shouldn’t be a fee to change carriers. So if switching between oneworld carriers there shouldn’t be one.

  112. My wife and I will be traveling to Spain … soon. We’re waiting for our visas to be approved (2 to 4 months from now, roughly). After we get our visas, we’ll have 3 months to leave, but will want to leave basically as soon as possible.

    My goal/desire is to travel in Y on IB (flying direct from ORD to MAD with a connection on each end) for a variety of reasons, including that we are traveling with a cat, so minimizing travel time is a big plus.

    There is pretty limited availability for 2 Y tickets on the ORD->MAD segment (using Qantas for research), with 4 days of availability in December and 7 days in January.

    Do I book now based on the best-case-scenario (earliest date in December), and if it looks like our visas won’t arrive in time, push the date back? How late can I make the change without a fee? That is, I assume I can’t change award tickets for December 15 on December 14 … is that time limit 90 days a well?

  113. I’ve got a LH short-haul intra-Europe flight in a few days booked on United miles and given the strike situation, do you know if, in general, United has waived the redeposit fee of miles in the past for partner airline strikes (assuming the rebooking options are not palatable – ie. not on same day)? I’m willing to train it but would like to get my miles back without a change/redeposit fee. Thanks in advance!

  114. Not sure if there is a more recent version of this post, but AA does not allow a free change of airline. I had an AAdvantage Saver Award booked on Alaska and wanted to change the routing (same date, origin, and destination) but the new flights were on American instead of Alaska, and American told me I had to pay $150, so I decided not to change.

    Unrelated to that—for flights that are on American with the same origin/destination, how many times can you keep rebooking it into the future? I booked a one way in F for 25k AA miles that I can no longer use. I’d rather not spend the $150 right now to recoup those miles, but I would certainly do so at some point in the future. Or, there is the off chance that this particular one way could be useful in a potential future booking. Can I just rebook this flight to the farthest day out possible, or is there some kind of expiry date based on my original booking date or on the date of the flight as booked originally?

  115. Ben, enjoyed reading your blog.
    I have a BA award booking for 4 people, is the change fee per person or per reservation? If it is per person since my taxes are low, I assume it will be better if I cancel and forfeit the taxes and rebook?


  116. “Free Changes if Origin and Destination Remain the Same” for AA —do you know if changing origin airport from IAD to DCA incur the $150 change fee? Not sure they are treated as same origin as the rules apply for transiting/layovers (fly into IAD, but depart for next flight from DCA). thanks in advance!

  117. Hi Ben,
    Just a quick question. I have booked 4 first class tickets on Japan airline in a month or so and now I am thinking of moving up the date of travel. From what I have read so far, I should not be charged any fee even if I change my flight to leave in a couple days from rebooking given the origin and destination will not change.

    Thank you in advance!

  118. Hi.
    I just wanted to be clear. If I book award travel through AA, but the flight is actually on Alaska (1st class from LIH to OAK), and I need to make a change, would there be any fee? Is there a fee for downgrading if 1st class is not available on my new travel date? What if my travel also includes a flight from OGG to LIH, on HA?
    Thank you

  119. PS: If I do change my flights, it would be a difference of only a few days, but these flights would be in November, and changes would be made within a week or two of booking.

  120. I have a multi-leg international partner award ticket for 2 pax that I wish to change the origin (actually add a leg at the beginning). As I understand it I have 2 choices. Pay $150 x 2 ($300) for change fee. Or redeposit the miles and rebook for $150 + $25 ($175), which is obviously cheaper.
    I called AA to do option 2 but the agent said that if I do that she would need to cancel the ticket entirely and start over from scratch and there would be no guarantee that the seats will be available, or if they would even go back in inventory. I asked her if she can just hold the seats while she makes the change. She said that’s not possible. I’m a bit nervous to let all the seats go as there are 5 flights and if 1 isn’t available my itinerary could fall apart.
    I recall being able to do what I wish, i.e. ‘redeposit’ the miles without actually canceling out the reservation. Any advise or experience appreciated.

  121. 2016 Update: American Airlines does apply a change fee for award reservations with the same origin and destination for example if you’re changing from a British Airways seat to a non one-world partner like Etihad. The fee for this change would be $150. However there is no fee for changing between one world partners.

  122. I agree with this:

    “to a non one-world partner like Etihad. The fee for this change would be $150. However there is no fee for changing between one world partners.”

    Just got off the phone with AA and they wanted $150 to change my flight to an Etihad flight….

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