I’ve cancelled American AAdvantage award tickets and Delta SkyMiles tickets for travel in the next month and neither program charged their usual mileage redeposit fee. These fee waivers are normally in place for top tier elite frequent flyers, but where a ‘no change fee’ fee waiver applies to travel, the redeposit fee for mileage tickets has been waived as well.
Not so with United. In many ways this isn’t surprising, they’ve been one of the worst offenders with customer-unfriendly policies during these challenging times. Fortunately it appears this has changed and though there’s been no public announcement or written change on their website, several reports (first brought to my attention by @Haplo859) are that United has ceased imposing these fees.
@OneMileataTime @garyleff @DansDeals As of yesterday UA is waiving redeposit fee on award cancellations (previously they only allowed free changes but not free cancellations/redeposit). Dunno if this applies to all awards – My awards were booked on 3/7 for travel in May.
— Zack (@Haplo859) March 28, 2020
A mileage redeposit is, effectively, the same as getting a voucher for future travel. The airline isn’t giving you back cash (a conserving cash is the reason so many airlines are resisting legally-required refunds for cancelled flights). And the miles will be used primarily for… future travel on the airline. Miles are a future travel voucher in another form.
For paid tickets many airlines are still fighting refunds. They are waiving change fees but requiring you to hold the funds in the form of a voucher for future travel, which generally has to be ticketed within a year of original purchase.
- Don’t cancel travel when flights haven’t been cancelled until the last possible minute.
- You want to wait for the airline to cancel your flight
- Some airlines have played games with this, not cancelling until within 6-48 hours of travel
- Carriers are required to provide a refund when they cancel a flight (at least in the U.S. and the E.U.)
- If they do not provide you with a legally required refund, file a complaint with the Department of Transportation
- And remember to dispute with your credit card because a merchant cannot keep funds for a service they haven’t delivered.
Good move by United to quietly change their policy on award tickets. They’re still not honoring prompt refunds for cancelled and changed paid flights, however.