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Major US airlines waive fare difference for international flyers scrambling to get home

January 13 2021
2 min read
Major US airlines waive fare difference for international flyers scrambling to get home
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Traveling during the pandemic? Be sure to pack some extra flexibility.

On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control announced that all international travelers to the U.S., including citizens, will be required to show proof of a negative COVID test taken within three days of departure.

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With the new rule going into effect on Jan. 26, some flyers are likely scrambling to get home, for fear of getting stranded abroad due to poor testing infrastructure or limited capacity.

To that end, the 'Big 3' U.S. airlines will waive both the change fee and fare difference for international travelers looking to get back to the country immediately.

All three carriers have issued a temporary fare difference waiver for travel from all international destinations to the U.S. For tickets purchased on or before Jan. 12 with travel through Feb. 9, American and Delta will allow flyers to change to any other flight before the new testing requirement kicks in.

United's policy is a bit more generous. The carrier's waiver includes international tickets originally purchased on or before Jan. 12, 2021 for scheduled travel to the U.S. through Feb. 15.

It remains to be seen if other U.S. carriers will follow suit, but if history is any indication, it won't be long before we hear from the others.

Even if others don't match, making a last-minute change likely won't cost nearly as much as it would've before the pandemic.

More: How American, Delta and United no-change-fee policies stack up against Southwest

Every major U.S. airline has permanently dropped change fees, including most international tickets, so flyers won't have to worry about the pesky $200 or more charge when making modifications.

You're still on the hook for a possible fare difference, but with airfares at historic lows, making changes these days shouldn't break the bank.

Featured photo by photo by: Daniel Slim for Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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    670-850
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The Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is a stacked card with a rewards rate that will help you earn bonus points on everyday and business-related purchases. You'll earn 15 elite night credits each calendar year, and receive automatic Gold elite status. Finally, the free night award certificate with a redemption level of 35,000 points or less can get you hundreds of dollars in potential value each year.

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