After 9 Years, Delta Drops Draconian Award Change/Redeposit Rule

Nine years ago Delta started requiring all changes or cancellations of award travel be made at least 72 hours prior to departure. If you had a last minute change of plans, you’d have to forfeit your ticket and buy a new one. If better award space opened up close to departure, you were out of luck.

Delta did once waive this for me and allow me to redeposit miles just before departure when my uncle was hospitalized with a stroke. (They had to document hospital details.)

As Zach Griff notes Delta has dropped the 72 hour requirement to change or cancel an award. We live in uncertain times. The policy didn’t make sense for consumers before. It’s impossibly hard on them now. And I’d bet the cost of process Covid-exception requires simply made it no longer worth enforcing.

While United and American have had a tendency to copy all of Delta’s customer-unfriendly changes this isn’t one that spread. American has even just moved in the opposite direction, eliminating AAdvantage mileage redeposit fees altogether making awards even more changeable. It’s nice to see Delta catching up to others for once, or rather reverting to what the rest of the world’s less draconian policies used to be.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Everything I hear about DL lately makes me happy to fly AA. They were once the target, they are becoming a follower more and more. AA’s service during the pandemic has been far superior in the cabin and throughout their network. All things rise and fall, DL rose on the back of NWA, now most of those leaders are gone and it’s cracks are starting to show.

  2. @ Gary — Now I can say this since it doesn’t matter anymore — I have cancelled numerous DL award tickets with less than 72 hours notice and Delta always gave back our miles and never changed us any fees. Basically, these rules were never enforced for Diamonds.

  3. Gary, thank you for the update. I am glad that Delta Airlines could copy and match American Airlines by improving the Delta mileage redeposit customer service policy.

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