Award Ticket Change/Cancel Fee Clarification

Discussion in 'Alaska Airlines | Mileage Plan' started by Ed Chandler, Dec 22, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. Ed Chandler
    Original Member

    Ed Chandler Silver Member

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    Hey, all

    I knew that Alaska stopped charging change/cancellation fees on tickets if the change/cancel was >60 days away from travel, but I wanted to make sure that applied to award tickets as well, so I called and asked. The guy confirmed that, yes, it applied to award tickets as well. So I hopped over to the web site and searched for some award flights. I found them, but I was confused to see that each class of service offered "Lowest" and "Refundable" options.

    "Wait a minute," I thought. "Why would there be a 'refundable' option if they're all refundable? What gives?" So I called again.

    Short version:
    • "Lowest" = No change or cancellation fees >60 days away from travel.
    • "Refundable" = No change or cancellation fees, ever.
    Awesome.
     
    thesterlingtraveler, iolaire and MX like this.
  2. thesterlingtraveler

    thesterlingtraveler Gold Member

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    That is true. Also, what I found out is that even on revenue tickets, >60 means that you can cancel the ticket without a fee but your refund will be in the form of a credit (not money back).
     
  3. Ed Chandler
    Original Member

    Ed Chandler Silver Member

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    Whoa, that is NOT what the rep said. I specifically asked, "So the points go back into my account, money is refunded, and it's as though nothing ever happened?" The answer was "yes."

    Sigh. I guess I'll be making a third call asking exactly the same thing, ... again.
     
  4. timfrost

    timfrost Silver Member

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    So, this is confusing. You're looking for a refund on the fees for booking an award ticket or are you looking for a refund on a revenue ticket? It seems like you're talking about two things at once. You should always be able to get the miles reinstated to your account but there is no provision I am aware of to refund any fees associated with booking that ticket.

    More than 60 days out from travel, a revenue nonrefundable fare is still nonrefundable. Just for "fun" I plugged a flight into their system for July 15th. These are the fare rules:
    • This fare is nonrefundable.
    • Reservations require immediate purchase and may not be held. Fares and availability are subject to change without notice until purchased.
    • If travel has not yet commenced, you may make one change to this itinerary OR cancel and refund to original form of payment with no fee within 24 hours of original purchase.
    • Changes to this itinerary are subject to additional fare and taxes. A fee of $125 USD per person will also be assessed for changes/cancellations made on or after May 17, 2014. Change fees are waived for travel wholly within the State of Alaska on flights operated by Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, and for all MVP® Gold members.
    Note that it adjusts the free change date to exactly 60 days prior to the trip. Change fees are always waived for MVPG and above.
     
  5. Ed Chandler
    Original Member

    Ed Chandler Silver Member

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    Yes, ... that was my point. ;)
    Neither - I'm just doing pre-purchase research because the worst time to realize you didn't understand is after an airline has your money. The information you gave below was very helpful. Thank you.
    Indeed, but knowing that their fee changes are less than 2 months old and knowing that information on the web site doesn't always change immediately, or consistently, ... or sometimes at all, I wanted to make sure before making a purchase.

    As it happens, it's a good thing I did because I got three different answers from three different call reps, so clearly I'm not the only one who didn't follow on first read.

    Following call #3
    • "Lowest" revenue fares have no change/cancel fees > 60 days from travel, but you don't get a refund after the first 24 hours. You get a fare credit good for 1 year.
    • "Refundable" revenue fares have no change/cancel fees ... full stop ... and are fully-refundable at any time.
    Furthermore
    • "Lowest" award fares have no change/cancel fees > 60 days from travel, but you do get your miles back and the taxes/fees ($5 or whatever) you paid.
    • "Refundable" award fares have no change/cancel fees ... period ... and you get both your miles and your taxes/fees back.
    That seemed odd to me so, I asked again to clarify: With an award ticket >60 days from travel, you get your miles and money refunded regardless of whether you redeem at the "Lowest" rate or the "Refundable" rate? The rep said yes, you get your miles and money back on an award ticket either way if it's more than 60 days from travel.

    I'm curious to know whether that was your understanding as well, or whether even this rep has it wrong.
     
  6. timfrost

    timfrost Silver Member

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    I am not an elite with Alaska and have precisely zero miles, so I have never seen their miles booking pages. I achieved Platinum on American this year primarily flying AS so I became well versed in their policies. I read into it the same that you do after this third call. :)
     

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