Posted by William Charles on May 10, 2018
Airline Rewards

Published on May 10th, 2018 | by William Charles


Alaska Airlines To End 60 Day Free Cancellation/Change Policy

Alaska has officially announced that they will be changing their change and cancellation policy for tickets purchased on or after June 5th, 2018. Previously if you made changes/cancelled your ticket more than 60 days before departure there was no fee, now the rules will be:

  • If you change or cancel your ticket more than 60 days before departure, that change/cancellation will now be subject to a fee of $125.
  • For travel that begins within the 24 hours after you purchase a ticket, the $125 fee applies immediately. For all other travel, the $125 change/cancellation fee applies starting 24 hours after ticketing.

They also state three exceptions to this rule:

  • Change/cancellation fees do not apply to refundable fares, whether purchased, award, or Money & Miles.
  • MVP® Gold and Gold 75K Mileage Plan™ members will still enjoy the same service fee waivers that they currently have.
  • Change fees do not apply to travel wholly within the state of Alaska on purchased or Money & Miles tickets. Standard cancellation fees apply. Note: Standard change/cancellation fees do apply to intra-Alaska award travel.

This was previously announced when Alaska announced basic economy and other revenue increasing measures. June 5th had been the rumored date for some time as well, but it’s now confirmed. Obviously this is a negative change, Southwest, ANA & American Airlines will now be the three airlines that allow changes to award tickets without fees.

Hat tip to nomii & reader AJ


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ANA also allow changes with no fee.

Yet yet good only for round trips therefore all Star Alliance and more restrictive schedules/availability.

The worst devaluation in long time. This one is really bad. Only AA miles now allow changes (yes SW as well but I need it for the big flights). Going to book one last flexible India trip before June 5.

With the few of us that have Merrill Plus points left, does this mean we should “cash out” to Alaska before June 5th if that is the end plan?

I second this question. What should be our game plan for Merrill Plus points holders?

Yes if you don’t have MVPG/ 75K you should.

I’m sitting on a bunch of Merrill Plus points. Would you mind clarifying what you mean by “cashing out” to Alaska? Thanks!

Use 25k Merrill points to book ANY Alaska Airlines ticket as close to $500 that’s 61 days or more in advance. I say 61 days cause then you wait 24 hours, and then cancel your Alaska Airlines ticket through Alaska Airlines online account and NOT through MERILL BOA. You’ll probably have to link your Rez number from Merrill to your Alaska account. You redopsit funds of canceled ticket into your Alaska wallet for use on future ticket. Funds expire within 1 year. Use google flights to find your magical $500 ticket. Probably fake book to Hawaii will get you there. But ANY route will do.

Can I use Alaska $500 credit to book a flight for someone else? Transferable?

yes. The funds are deposited into your Alaska airlines “wallet” which will allow you to book any subsequent ticket. the funds from your wallet are applied to your ticket at checkout. I’m not sure whether you can transfer the funds, but don’t think so.

I saw in the terms that it looks like my wallet funds can’t be transferred, but can credit certificates?

I did the Merrill “Alaska deal” for myself a couple years ago, and am now thinking of doing it for my wife’s card. Since I don’t live on the West Coast, my problem is that I don’t buy many Alaska Air tickets. So I’m afraid my Alaska Wallet funds could expire before I buy tickets. Indeed, in my own account, I had to “roll” my Alaska wallet money into a new ticket (which I then cancelled) to extend my expiration date (I did finally buy some Hawaii tickets with most of that money). So let’s say I now use my wife’s Merrill credits to “deposit” money in her Alaska wallet. I want the expiration of these funds to be as long as possible (probably for the next time we head to Hawaii). Say I buy a ticket for next April. If I don’t cancel it immediately, I’ll still be able to cancel it for free any time up to 60 days before departure, right? So I could cancel it, say, next February? If I did that, would she get a year from February to use the funds (remembering, that “rolling” will no longer be possible), or would it be a year from the original ticket date (say, this month)?

Maybe it would still work if we book an intra-alaska ticket?

Good idea! Hope that works! Not good for Merrill points, but great for UR points 🙂

Also, sing up for the BOA Alaska credit card and you get the companion pass, which is like getting two Alaska Airlines tickets for the price of one 25k Merrill redemption.

I imagine this also hurts though who choose Alaska as their airline choice for AMEX travel credits. Under the current system, there were easy ways to convert canceled flights into Alaska credits.

Yup. I’m in that boat. I did this method and was looking forward to using it again. Sad to see it go.

Can’t we still do it by booking intra-alaska tickets?

what if I book JAL award using Alaska miles before June 5th for Dec 2018? Do I get to change or cancel without free 60 days out?

So now if award space opens up we will be charged to make that change?

Will tickets booked prior to Jun 5 be subject to the new rules or the old rules?

old rules

A little browsing on Google Flights found a one way from Anchorage to Dutch Harbor (intra-alaska) for $484, most dates. That’s not $505 but I’d call it good enough. I don’t currently have a use for the Alaska $$, but I’ll keep this in my back-pocket for when I do.

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