Airline fees are everywhere! Bag fees, booking fees, seat selection fees, and yes, flight change fees. For our upcoming trip to Australia, we booked a late evening flight from Sydney to Melbourne. After filling in our itinerary, we decided to move the time of the flight earlier in the day. I assumed this would be a painless process – silly me! When I was about to confirm the itinerary change, British Airways tried to hit us with a $55 change fee per person! Gross… $110 to move the flights up a few hours?? Fortunately, we found a way to minimize this fee significantly. As you can see in the picture above, the fee for changing each ticket is $55. However, British Airways will also allow you to cancel an award flight for a refund of your Avios. The fee for cancelling a flight is the lesser of $55 or the taxes & fees on the ticket. This method is only beneficial if your taxes & fees are less than $55 per person. I’ll walk through the process.
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Step 1 – Confirm Availability on New Flight
Make sure the flight you want to change to actually has availability. If you have extra Avios in you account, you should go ahead and book the new flight before cancelling the old one. If you do not have extra Avios, you should still be fine.
Step 2 – Cancel Existing Flight
British airways allows you to cancel flights online. However, the website can be pretty glitchy. I was unable to cancel our tickets on their website, so I had to call in. The agent informed me that my taxes/fees of $5.60/person would not refunded… no problemo! They also waived the $25 phone fee, since the website wasn’t working. My 9,000 Avios returned to my account (4,500 per person), and we forfeited $11.20 total. Be sure to keep the agent on the phone until you confirm that your Avios have returned to your account.
Step 3 – Book New Flight
If you didn’t book the new flight in Step 1, go ahead and use your newly refunded Avios to book it.
In this scenario, we were able to save almost $100 in change fees! This trick will be useful for most US-based flights booked with Avios, since the fee is usually $5.60. Some international flights, like ours, will also benefit from this process. Good luck with your flight changes! Cheers!
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