Credit Cards

United, Delta, AA, and Alaska have all “permanently” eliminated change fees for most tickets

We may receive a commission when you use our links. Monkey Miles is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as and CardRatings. This relationship may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. Monkey Miles is also a Senior Advisor to Bilt Rewards. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

Call me cynical, but when I read headlines about airlines permanently removing change fees I laughed out loud. We all know these changes aren’t permanent, but rather a strategy to get people to buy tickets once again, and as soon as airlines are booming, they’ll sneakily be reintroduced. I’m not complaining, but for those of us who are AV geeks we just know better. Personally, I’m glad United buzzed the proverbial tower and put the competition on defense – it’s a win for the consumer, but let’s not get too excited. Let’s take a look at the broad strokes of the new policies from United, Delta, American, and Alaska

United was first up

United set the newsfeeds ablaze when they announced they would be eliminating change fees on all travel within the US 50, Puerto Rico, and US Virgin islands without limit, excluding Basic Economy. They

The new change fee policy applies to all standard Economy and Premium cabin tickets for travel within the U.S. 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and customers will not be limited in the number of times they adjust their flights.

Improvements for Mileage Plus as well. If you want to redeposit your miles you can can do so free of charge as long as you do it 30 days in advance.

The carrier is also improving the travel experience for its MileagePlus members including waiving all redeposit fees on award travel for flights changed or cancelled more than 30 days before departure and allowing all MileagePlus Premier members to confirm a different flight on the day of their travel.

Premier members can also change their flights on the day of travel, and appears to be matching AA’s award change policy for Premier members regarding date changes. It looks like, starting in 2021, you will be able to change the day you fly, free of charge, as long as the origin and destination stay the same.

As a way to thank MileagePlus Premier members for their loyalty, beginning January 1, 2021, all Premier members will be able to confirm a seat for free on a different flight with the same departure and arrival cities as their original ticket.

a white airplane at an airport


Usually Delta sets the standard, but this time Delta was second to react. They immediately responded with their own elimination on domestic change fees for all but Basic Economy Tickets

  • No change fees for Domestic + Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands in all but Basic Economy
  • Waiver extended for change fees Basic Econ and International tickets until 12/31/2020

The elimination of change fees is effective immediately and includes tickets purchased for travel within the domestic U.S., Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands in Delta’s First Class, Delta Premium Select, Delta Comfort+ and Main Cabin, with the exception of Basic Economy tickets.

Additionally, Delta will extend its waiver on change fees for newly purchased flights, including international flights and Basic Economy fares, through the end of the year and will extend its expiration on travel credits through December 2022 for tickets booked before April 17, 2020.

a seat on an airplane

American Airlines

Not to be outdone by United and Delta, AA was the third airline to permanently strike change fees. Pretty much, if you’re not flying in Basic Economy, you’ll be able to change your flight. Starting in October, you’ll also be able to fly standby on earlier flights free of charge ( a perk of formerly only for elite status )

  • No more change fees. Change fees for all domestic and short-haul international flying on Premium Cabin fares and most Main Cabin fares will be eliminated.

  • Fly standby for free. All customers will have the ability to fly standby on earlier flights for the same destination on the same day at no charge starting Oct. 1, 2020.

  • More to Basic Economy. Basic Economy fares now come with the ability to tailor your travel experience including upgrades, Preferred and Main Cabin Extra seats, priority boarding and same-day flight changes.

  • Same AAdvantage® benefits during your journey, no matter the fare. AAdvantage® elite members will be able to apply their current travel benefits on all tickets, including when purchasing a Basic Economy fare.

They laid it out pretty clearly here:

a blue and white rectangular object with text

a stuffed animal on the seats of an airplane

Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines brought up the tail and announced that they would also be striking change fees.  Alaska becomes a member of One World this year so they needed to at least match what fellow One World member, American Airlines, introduced one day earlier. Personally, I think Alaska has the best loyalty program in the country and features an enviable award chart. They lack the route network of the big boys, but they’ve continued to show how much they value the customer. Personally, I found the change fee waiver to be a big perk of MVP Gold and MVPG75.

  • All non-saver change fees ( formerly $125 ) will be permanently removed

Alaska will join One World and pretty had to match the policy of fellow One World member, American Airlines, and remove change fees for all but saver fares. These are the Alaska equivalent to Basic Economy; however, even those fees are struck through December 31, 2020 – it’s possible it may be extended as well.

inside an airplane with rows of seats

Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

a blue credit card with blue lines and white text

Learn More

Refer a Friend Link 

 Information about this card has been collected independently by Monkey Miles. Card issuer is not responsible for the information or accuracy.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® is a great starter card that earns Premium Ultimate Rewards that can be transferred into over a dozen partners many of which are US based including Hyatt, Southwest, United, IHG, and Marriott.

Welcome Offer

Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. 

*you may find an elevated offer walking into a branch – see below

Annual Fee


Points Earned

Transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards

  • Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
    • That’s $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠
    • Some people have seen Chase branches offering the following:
      • 75k Ultimate Rewards After $4k spend in 3 months + 10k Ultimate Rewards after $6k in 6 months 
  • 5x on all travel purchased through Chase Travel℠
  • 3x on dining, including eligible delivery services for takeout & dining out
  • 3x on select streaming services
  • 3x on online grocery purchases
    • (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
  • $50 Annual Chase Travel Hotel Credit via Chase Travel℠
    • The begins immediately for new cardmembers and after your account anniversary for existing cardmembers
  • 2x on all other travel
  • 10% Anniversary Bonus
    • Every year you keep the card, your total spend will yield a 10% points bonus. If you spend $10k in a year, you’ll get 1k bonus points
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred continues to redeem at 1.25c in the Chase Travel℠ and the slew of other benefits remain in tact including Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver ( primary ), purchase protections, etc.
  • Points are transferrable to 14 Ultimate Rewards partners
  • Redeem in Chase Travel℠ for 1.25 cents per point
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Suite of Travel and Purchase Coverage
    • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver is my favorite
  • Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024
  • $95 Annual Fee

We keep an up to date spreadsheet that lists the best ever offers: You can find that spreadsheet here.

Historically 80k is a very, very good offer and hit in both 2022 and 2023. In 2021, we saw the offer hit an all time high of 100k. Who knows if that will ever come back.

Main Cast: 

Cards that earn flexible points and should be used on the bulk of your purchases.

Supporting Cast:

Cards that earn fixed points in the currency of the airline/hotel and can not be transferred at attractive rates. These cards yield benefits that make it worth keeping, but not necessarily worth putting a lot of your everyday spend on. 

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® is exceptional starter card and offers transferrable Ultimate Rewards, and pairs well with other Chase cards.

If you carry this card alongside Chase’s cashback cards like the Chase Freedom Flex℠and Chase Freedom Unlimited® or the business versions: Ink Business Cash® , Ink Business Unlimited® you can combine the points into Preferred account and transfer into hotel and airline partners

Annual fee is quite low at $95 a year + you get a 10% anniversary bonus on points + $50 hotel credit in Chase travel.

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.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.