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Frequent flyer ticket fees, airline by airline

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Frequent flyer ticket fees, airline by airline

Posted by George Hobica on Monday, September 17, 2012

Frequent flyer tickets are supposed to be free, right? Well, not exactly. Airlines are socking it to passengers with all kinds of fees.

In addition to "fees" there are also penalties. Cancel your trip on Delta within 72 hours of departure and the miles you spent on the flight will be forfeited. Spirit wipes out your miles if you change within 24 hours of departure.

One thing to note: airline agents all seem to have different interpretations of the rules and fees. It never hurts to hang up and call back to see if another agent offers a cheaper fee or allows you to change something for free. Air Tran is notorious for agents who give varying information.

Below are the results from our most recent verification of fees. We called several agents at each airline to verify the information and also verified it with their websites.

Airline Last Minute Ticketing Ticket issued by phone or in person Date/itinerary change Redepositing miles/points Same day change fee (confirmed travel)
Airtran $0 $15 one free change allowed, additional changes cost $75 $75 $25
Alaska $0 $15 $100 $100 $25 (only if same award seat is available within six hours of flight)
American Travel ticketed 21 days or fewer   incurs $75 charge $25 by phone/$35 in person $150 (MileSAAver Award tickets for which the only confirmed change is to the date and/or time will not incur the change fee) $150 (all additional award tickets returning to same account at same time are $25 each) $75 (free if award seats are available in the same category)
Delta $0 $25 $150 (no changes/cancelations are permitted within 72 hours of departure; all miles are forfeited) $150 (no changes/cancelations are permitted within 72 hours of departure; all miles are forfeited) $50
Frontier $0 $0 $50 (if changes are made within 7 days before departure, otherwise free) $50 $50
JetBlue $0 $20 $50-$100 $50-$100 $50
Spirit $0
$25+$0-100 booking fee $110 (not permitted within 24 hours of departure) $110 (not permitted within 24 hours of departure) $25 (only for an earlier flight)
Southwest $0 $0 $0 $0 Depends on type of award and possible point difference if using new award system
United $75 if booked within 21 days of departure $25 $0-$75 (depends on if origin/connecting city/destination changes and if the change is made within 21 days of departure) $150 $75
US Airways $75 if booked within 21 days of departure $30 for domestic travel/$40 for international travel+

$25-50 award processing fee

$150 $150 $75
Virgin America $0 $20 by phone $75-$100 $75-$100 $25-$50

To learn more, visit George Hobica's profile on Google+

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