Via Gary, Delta recently modified their award travel rules to now make awards non-changeable starting at 72 hours prior to departure.
Previously Delta allowed changes to be made even during travel for a change fee of $150 per passenger. While some airlines don’t allow any changes as soon as the first segment is flown, I could never quite rationalize that. Airlines can rake in a huge amount in change fees for letting people make changes during travel, so why leave the extra revenue on the table? I guess they just count on people booking expensive one way tickets when their plans change, without giving them any sort of a refund.
Anyway, not only is Delta no longer allowing changes to be made after departure, but as of August 15 they’re not allowing any award changes to be made less than 72 hours before departure. That means that within three days of the first segment on an itinerary, the entire amount of the ticket would be forfeited if canceled. Unbelievable, as if Delta miles weren’t already uncompetitive enough.
The problem here is twofold for consumers. First of all, it sucks to not be able to cancel within a few days of departure, since things can happen in life. Equally, though, lots of times airlines open up low level award space within a couple of days of departure. Now if that happens, those changes could no longer be made.
Even worse than the change itself is Delta’s justification, especially from one of Delta’s representatives on FlyerTalk. Two of my favorite excerpts are:
“This change will make those seats available to other members and ultimately increase award availability.”
“This policy change was not an easy decision but it was the right one.”
At least someone’s confident!