Award flights are a fantastic strategy for airlines to boost customer retention and incentivize loyalty — but what if you have to cancel one?
Many of us have to change our travel plans at one time or another, even if it’s simply catching a later flight or upgrading our seats. But if you have to cancel a flight altogether, you may feel as if this is a much bigger process, particularly if you’re traveling with frequent-flyer miles.
Different airlines handle award-flight cancellations in their own way. Many brands will actually impose a fee when you decide to drop out of your scheduled flight, which can be incredibly annoying if money’s tight.
Below, The Miles Market’s experts take a look at the major airlines’ cancellation policies — so you know what to expect if you find yourself unable or unwilling to take that award flight.
Air Canada is one of the foremost names in the travel industry, and it imposes a cancellation fee of $150 CAD (or around $112 USD) on award flights.
Needless to say, that’s not exactly cheap, so you have to be sure you really want to cancel before you make that call. You’re required to make cancellations at least 22 days before the flight is scheduled to take place, which may be impossible in certain situations (such as emergencies).
British Airways cancellation fee is somewhat lower than Air Canada’s, at just $55 USD.
Have Gold status in the British Airways Executive Club? Your fee will be waived.
Canceling your award flight with Delta will cost you $150 USD per ticket. This will be waived for members of the SkyMiles program holding Platinum or Diamond status.
Emirates imposes no charge on canceled award flights at all — but ONLY for unused Flex Plus tickets.
That’s pretty good, but if you’re cancelling a First Class Flex ticket you’ll be hit with a modest fee of $50 USD. On Saver reward tickets, the charge stands at $75 USD.
With Lufthansa, you’ll face a cancellation fee of $60 USD when you drop out of a scheduled award flight.
Your fee may be waived or the amount of the fee could vary in certain circumstances, but most customers should expect to be charged for cancellations.
Virgin Atlantic charges $50 for cancelled award flights which originate in the USA, and $50 in the local equivalent for international flights from any other region (it stands at £30 for journeys originating in the UK).
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