Delta Institutes Strict 72 Hour Award Change/Cancel Rule

Aug 10, 2011

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Yesterday, while enjoying my day in scorching hot Las Vegas, I got a very unpleasant email from Delta. Basically,  as of August 15, 2011, you can no longer change award tickets within 72 hours of departure. This even applies to Platinum and Diamond Medallions, who can change award tickets for free- but are now locked in like everyone else within 72 hours of departure.

This is a huge devaluation of Delta miles. With this new rule, if 48 hours of your award flight a family member dies, you can no longer make a change – you will lose the entire award. Same thing if you are on vacation and need to come home a day earlier. If you are within 3 days of the end of your trip, you will have to let your return trip expire and go unused and then book a new award. And remember – Delta does not allow one-way awards, so it’s not like you can even burn a small amount of miles to get a one-way flight- you’d need to redeem at the roundtrip level.

As many of you know, I’m a Delta Diamond and while I realize the program has major flaws, there have always been ways to get around them. For example, we all know Delta is the worst with low level award availability. However, you’ve always been able to book a flight at the medium/high award level and then rebook the flight in the couple days leading up until departure when they finally release low level space. With this new change, even if low level award space opens up a day or two before a flight, you are locked in at your higher level (which I believe is the real reason why this crazy rule is being instituted). Or if you booked a round-about routing just to get a low level award, you can’t switch to the non-stop if it opens up – especially for international flights because Delta does not allow same-day confirmed changes on any itinerary with an international flight. All around, these are bad changes for anyone with Delta miles.

So I highly recommend letting Delta know that you are not happy with this new customer-unfriendly rule. You can send an email here and I also recommend sending them a tweet, since Delta is probably the most active airline in social media. As with all airline complaint emails – be short and to the point.

I truly feel like this is a boneheaded move on Delta’s part and I hope that they receive enough negative responses (especially from top tier elites) and revise the rules. No other US airline has such a ridiculous policy and in fact most others have gotten more generous when it comes to award ticket changes. If Delta is concerned about people making award reservations and then not flying them, they can simply make a rule that any award unflown will be forfeited. That way, these alleged rogue award bookers who don’t show up for their flights and don’t cancel them, will lose their miles.

What are your thoughts on this new rule?

Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Visa® credit card

This card from Bank of America gets really interesting if you have a BofA checking, savings or investment account. Depending on the value of your combined accounts you can potentially get as much as 3.5x points on travel/dining and 2.625x points on other purchases making it the richest consumer banking bonus out there.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Receive 50,000 bonus points – a $500 value – after you make at least $3,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
  • Earn unlimited 2 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases and unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • If you're a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member, you can earn 25%-75% more points on every purchase
  • No limit to the points you can earn and your points don't expire
  • Redeem for cash back as a statement credit, deposit into eligible Bank of America® accounts, credit to eligible Merrill accounts, or gift cards or purchases at the Bank of America Travel Center
  • Get up to $200 in combined airline incidental and airport expedited screening statement credits + valuable travel insurance protections
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
  • Low $95 annual fee
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
17.74% - 24.74% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.