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My Experience Getting Out of Delta Flight Change Fees

by on October 19, 2012 · 26 comments

in Delta, Points Guy Pointers

A couple weeks ago I booked a one-way domestic flight on delta.com for $152. A week later my plans changed and I had to go a day earlier. Unfortunately, that meant I would essentially lose out on all but $2 of my original ticket since Delta charges a $150 change fee plus fare difference on domestic flights. If I simply didn’t show up for my flight, I’d automatically get an e-credit for $2 for future use on a domestic flight. Bummer.

I decided to just book a brand new ticket, because if the weather ended up being terrible on my originally scheduled day of departure, there’s a chance I would be able to get a refund (or change) for free, so there was no reason to cancel in advance. This is what I recommend to people who have award tickets they want to cancel – if you don’t need the miles right away, you might as well wait and see if there’s a significant schedule change or weather event that could allow you to get free changes (just note on Delta that you must make all changes more than 72 hours prior to departure on award tickets).

However, when I was viewing my reservation on Delta.com -> Travel Information -> Itineraries & Check-in, I noticed a button that I couldn’t help clicking: “Request Refund”.

Request a refund…why not?

It brought me to this page, which allows you to enter your name and confirmation number and then enter in a reason for requesting a refund. I simply put “Other” and in the comments box “Needed new flight”. Ambiguous. Yes, but true.

I didn’t actually expect to get a refund, but it never hurts to try! Lo and behold, I get this email two days later:

“Dear Mr. Kelly,

 RE: Case Number XXXXX

 Thank you for contacting us regarding a refund of ticket 006 XXXXXX. We appreciate the opportunity to review your request.

We processed a refund in the amount of $152.00 on October 18, 2012.

For credit card purchases, we generally transmit our credit instructions to the credit card processing company within one business day of the date the refund is processed. However, it can take up to 2 billing cycles for the credit card issuer to show this credit on your statement. The refund was issued to a American Express credit card with an account ending in XXXX. Please refer to your issuing bank for further details regarding account posting.

 You may check the status of your refund via one of the following options:

 Online: Delta.com/refunds and ‘Check My Refund Status’

Phone: 800-847-0578 within the U.S. and Canada

404-715-5417 outside the U.S. and Canada or in the Atlanta area

 Your business is valued and very important to us. We hope you will continue to choose Delta Air Lines, our SkyTeam partners, and our Delta Connection Carriers for your future air travel needs.”

So instead of simply letting $150 evaporate into thin air, I got it back by simply asking. I’m not guaranteeing this method will work for you, but it can’t hurt to try!

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author.s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.

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  • http://twitter.com/annabelleblue Annalise Kaylor

    This has worked for me in the recent, past, as well. I had checked in for the flight, but then became ill enough that an ER visit was in order and I couldn’t take the flight. I didn’t have to submit any paperwork or anything, just the form. It was a pleasant surprise, indeed!

  • Evan

    status probably matters. I used this page three weeks ago as GM but my $300 ticket came back $150, losing the $150 fee. I cancelled one day before my flight though

  • Anthony

    I had a similar experience recently…I price of a ticket I had bought from NYC to MSY had dropped by 40 dollars. I called and asked for a voucher with the outside chance someone might actually have pity on me. IT ACTUALLY WORKED!!! I got a 40 dollar voucher that I used to book a flight to FLL!

  • Smith222

    He was just lucked out, how often you can forecast weather 72 hours ahead?? I don’t see anything new from here on “how to get out of Delta Flight change fees”, except if you are really sick and lucked out or one’s account has 2 milllion mileage!! Tell me something new please…

  • http://twitter.com/jamucsb Jamison

    status def helps.. Platinum or higher

  • http://twitter.com/jamucsb Jamison

    APPLYING FOR A REFUND

    We’re sorry, this ticket is Non-Refundable based on the rules of the fare purchased.
    If your flight was cancelled or delayed, or if you experienced a downgrade of service, then please click here.

    You may cancel all flights in your itinerary, however, a refund will not be issued. Subject to the fare rules and ticket policy, the remaining value of the ticket may be applied to another itinerary. Change fee may apply.

  • SeaBee3

    Didn’t work for me on my two recent experiences – and I am a Plat. Something came up on one of them that would have been even more compelling than Brian’s instance and got the $150 taken off. Definitely YMMV

  • thepointsguy

    Others have lucked out too, so the point is that it never hurts to try. Or wait and see if weather/mechanical issues arise

  • thepointsguy

    I’m sure… FYI I’m currently Platinum

  • cg2323

    I got a lot out of this post. I will def be trying this. Thank you.

  • http://twitter.com/howtotraveler Brad Benner

    I didn’t know that you could book travel through Chase… this looks like another amazing option for me to obsess about! Have you written any longer articles on the pros/cons of going this route vs. award travel directly with the carrier?

  • Rowergirl7531

    Last Spring, I purchased Delta tix to HNL to take the kids to Hawaii the week before Christmas thinking that I was getting a great deal. Bottom line, their school district issued the calendar late and it’s a departure from the schedule they’ve had for years, so the kids will have finals that week and we can’t go. I clicked “request refund” and received the same “no refund” message mentioned here. I’m Plat on AA, but have zero status on Delta ;-(

  • PJ

    I have no status and got hung for $300 each by United Aeoplan and Delta due to severe illness when I was in taipei on the way to CHina. United already showed me the rope how to get the refund I hope Delta and Aeoplan will follow same rule.. United sited Family dealth and Severe illness as only 2 ways out

  • AMPfromBNA

    Once, as a basic member, I went online to change a flight. I expected to pay the fee. While online, I got an error message saying that the system was down. When I called in, they told me that they were having computer problems – which seem to be frequent on Delta. They offered to assist me via the phone. I asked, as a courtesy for forcing me to use the call center, for them to waive the change fee. The representative on the phone did so without even having to escalate the call.

    On another occasion, I had to change Tickets for both me and my wife. We were flying on separate PNRs (reservations), And were looking to make the change within a seven day window. The new fare was going to be approximately $500 each. Adding in the change fee, made the fair 650 each. Looking at southwest airlines, I could have booked new flights completely for about 550 each. When I talked with the call center rep and explained this, I asked f they would waive one of the two change fees. They agree and again did not escalate the call to a supervisor.

    What surprised me on both of these occasions, is that the standard customer service rep was able to waive the fee without escalating the call. This is surprising, because as a current medallion I often have to have the rep escalate the call to waive the economy comfort fee for my wife. You would think since this is the bigger fee, they would have to escalate it. The lesson to learn here is, if you have a great case to make and get a helpful represent, they might just accommodate your request.

    As a platinum member of Delta, I wish they offered two waivers for the change fee as the platinum or diamond choice gifts. They would definitely be my first choice, as I frequently have changed flight plans over the course of the year.

    AMPfromBNA

  • Tobinwatkinson

    I recently had a somewhat similar experience with regard to Delta waiving it’s change fee(s). In my case, my wife and I missed our one-way flight from Houston to Long Beach. Unfortunately the connecting flights out of Salt Lake City were completely booked, which prevented us from taking advantage of the $50 same day change fee. We were re-booked into LAX as far more flights were available. The change in fare for the two tickets totaled $954, which probably explains why they were so willing to waive the $300 in change fees. Either way it’s something they technically did not have to do so I was happy that they did.

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  • Aaron Sadler

    I accidentally double booked flights, one on Delta and one on another airline and didn’t realize until the morning for the departure. I called Delta and had them remove me from the flight. This left me with a flight to use at another time. As I was walking past the Delta gate, they were asking for volunteers to get off the flight and offering vouchers. I kicked myself. The credit for the flight sat in my account for several months. I eventually got around to call Delta to see if they would just refund the fare. The Delta rep said it couldn’t be refunded becuase it was a non-refundable fare. The following day, I got an email from Delta saying the refund was being processed. Point is just ask. Even if they say no, they may still refund it, even on a non-refundable fare.

  • Michele

    The same thing happened to me in November. I went to cancel the ticket and saw that little button request refund and I said why not? My ticket was $202 and I was told on the phone I could get $52 back. I filled out reason, “canceled hockey game” no pleading, nothing like that and lo and behold I got the same letter as above!! I was thrilled!

  • Michele

    By the way this was for my 15 year old son. He has no status whatsoever- the lowest whatever that is. Definitely not a frequent flyer!

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  • jojo

    I booked a flight on Delta from MIA to LAX using my AMEX sky points. I looked at my reservation some hours later and realized I booked the wrong date. Delta’s website would allow me to change, but of course, charge $150.00. My first thought was to pay it but instead I decided to call Delta to see if they would waive the change fee. After waiting on hold for a good hour or so, the rep was very pleasant, changed my reservation and did not charge the fee. Praise the Lord!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jiakaijer Chua Jiakai Jeremy

    Moral of the story, don’t cancel it until after flight has departed in this scenario.

  • Steve

    I understand that Delta just upped there change fee to $200, i was wondering if they will send me $200 for delaying or making changes to my flight.. it seems only fair!!

  • NYCBK123

    Hah! I just googled this issue. I just had the same thing happen to me for a MSY-LHA flight with about the same price drop. Fingers crossed that I can get a voucher when I call as well.

  • bleary

    Ok, so I saw this when I was at the airport in Midway (Chicago), looking at a 2 hour flight delay for my flight on Southwest Airlines to Minneapolis. I was traveling back on the tail end of a trip with itinerary as follows:
    RDU-MDW on Southwest
    MDW-MSP on Southwest
    MSP-DLH on Delta ($241 roundtrip)

    with the Southwest flights & Delta flights booked separately, obviously.

    Once I realized that I was definitely going to be missing my final flight home on Delta due to the delay with Southwest, I booked a spot on a bus from MSP-DLH & requested a refund for the Delta flight by using the iphone app. I too selected “other” as the reason and then wrote that I had a majorly delayed connecting flight. Yesterday, a week later, I received an email indicating a refund had been processed of $120.50.

    Excellent.

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