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Delta finally eliminates the strict 72-hour award cancellation rule

Dec. 16, 2020
2 min read
Delta finally eliminates the strict 72-hour award cancellation rule
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Delta award tickets have just become a lot more flexible.

That's because the Atlanta-based carrier has now dropped its restriction on changing or canceling a SkyMiles redemption within 72 hours of departure — for all flights globally, a carrier spokesperson confirmed to TPG.

This applies to all awards purchased with SkyMiles for all destinations, including those operated by the carrier's Skyteam partners.

For over nine years, Delta required that all awards be changed or canceled three or more days before departure. Otherwise, you'd forfeit your miles for making a last-minute modification.

In late August, following similar moves made by its major competitors, Delta started to rethink ticket flexibility. The carrier permanently eliminated change fees for domestic tickets and dropped the 72-hour rule from domestic SkyMiles awards, too.

Just last week, Delta expanded its no-change-fee policy to cover all international flights departing from U.S. — and subsequently eliminated the 72-hour rule from those flights as well.

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But Wednesday's move makes all SkyMiles tickets infinitely more flexible, regardless of itinerary or destination.

While this is certainly a customer-friendly move, do note that both American and United have long allowed flyers to modify award tickets at any time before departure. Regardless, it's great to see Delta making this change, even if it's playing "catch up" with its Big 3 competitors.

Just because it's now easier to change or cancel a Delta award doesn't mean that it's going to be free. Some award tickets no longer carry a change or redeposit fee, including those:

  • Booked on or after Aug. 31, 2020, for travel within the U.S. (including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands).
  • Booked on or after Dec. 9, 2020, for travel originating from North America to anywhere in the world.
  • Booked on or after Dec. 9, 2020, for travel between the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean.

However, for all other awards, flyers will be on the hook for $150 to change or cancel an award. Platinum and top-tier Diamond Medallions will continue to receive free changes to all awards, regardless of destination.

American Airlines, on the other hand, has led the way when it comes to award fees. The carrier has permanently dropped change and redeposit fees for all awards modified any time before departure.

Featured image by (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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  • Intro Offer
    Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.

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    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
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Why We Chose It

Sometimes it's worth a large investment to reap the benefits of a great credit card. That's exactly the case with the Amex Platinum card. In exchange for the annual fee, you'll unlock access to the Amex Membership Rewards program that let you access airline and hotel transfer partners, along with new lifestyle and travel credits. This card is also incredibly rewarding for travel purchases, helping you rack up a ton of Membership Rewards points for your next award trip.

Pros

  • The current welcome offer on this card is quite lucrative. TPG values it at $1,600.
  • This card comes with a long list of benefits, including access to Centurion Lounges, complimentary elite status with Hilton and Marriott, at least $500 in assorted annual statement credits and so much more. (Enrollment required for select benefits.)
  • The Amex Platinum comes with access to a premium concierge service that can help you with everything from booking hard-to-get reservations to finding destination guides to help you plan out your next getaway.

Cons

  • The high annual fee is only worth it if you’re taking full advantage of the card’s benefits. Seldom travelers may not get enough value to warrant the cost.
  • Outside of the current welcome bonus, you’re only earning higher rewards on specific airfare and hotel purchases, so it’s not a great card for other spending categories.
  • The annual airline fee statement credit can be complicated to take advantage of compared to the broader travel credits offered by competing premium cards.
  • Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum Card®, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings, which requires a minimum two-night stay, through American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Audible, Disney+, The Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, Peacock, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax. Plus Ups are excluded.
  • American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. There are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one select qualifying airline.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only.
  • Get up to $300 back per calendar year on the Equinox+ digital fitness app, or eligible Equinox club memberships when you pay with your Platinum Card. Enrollment required. Learn more.
  • Breeze through security with CLEAR® lanes available at 100+ airports, stadiums, and entertainment venues and get up to $189 back per calendar year on your membership when you use your Card. Learn more.
  • $695 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees