Life doesn’t always go according to plan, which sometimes means you have to change or even cancel your travel plans. A family vacation might get cancelled because of a sick family member, or a work trip is affected due to a last-minute client meeting date change. But, if you’ve booked a flight using points or miles, what happens in the event of a cancellation? 

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Below is a handy breakdown of five popular airlines’ award cancellation policies.

American Airlines

If you booked an AAdvantage award ticket and it has not yet expired, you can request to have your AAdvantage miles reinstated for a wholly unused AAdvantage award ticket. However, you’ll face a $150 fee per account for the first award ticket, and then $25 each for any other tickets booked through the same account. Depending on how many tickets you need to cancel and the original cost of your ticket, you’ll have to weigh the pros and cons to determine whether or not it’s worth it to pay the fees. If you’re an Executive Platinum member using AAdvantage miles, the reinstatement charge can be waived.

Delta

Delta frequent fliers with Diamond or Platinum Medallion status have the option to waive any award booking cancellation fees. For other members who have not reached this status, there is a cost of $150 per ticket to re-deposit your miles. You must cancel award tickets at least 72 hours prior to the originating flight departure time for the award miles to be re-deposited into your account.

JetBlue

For JetBlue TrueBlue members, cancellation fees vary depending on the price of the ticket and fare options (Blue, Blue Plus or Blue Flex). For cancellations within 60 days of departure date, it ranges from $70 (fares under $100) to $135 (fares more than $150) for Blue. For Blue Plus, cancellations within 60 days of departure date range from $60 (fares under $100) to $120 (fares more than $150). Travellers who book tickets with Blue Flex are fortunate enough to have the fee waived.

Southwest

Southwest Rapid Rewards has perhaps the most flexible reward flight cancellation policy of any airline loyalty program. The airline promotes a “change fees don’t fly with us” policy, so no fees or penalties apply. Any customers who request a cancellation will just have to wait until four days after their flight date for the points to be returned to their accounts.

United

If you don’t have status in its MileagePlus program, you’ll face a $200 fee to re-credit the miles used to book an award flight, up to one year from the original date of issue. Premier Silver status holders are charged $125, Premier Gold members pay $100, and there is no fee for Premier Platinum members.

Whether you’re booking with one of the airlines listed above, or another, be sure to check the fine print before booking so that you don’t lose your reward miles, or have to pay a steep fee for cancelling.

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