Alaska Airlines Change and Cancellation Policy [2019]

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Alaska Airlines has some of the best mileage programs for no fuel surcharges and inexpensive redemptions for premium cabins. However, if you need to change a ticket or cancel, it might cost you.

In this article, I will discuss Alaska Airlines change and cancellation policies for saver fares, refundable, and non-refundable tickets for economy, premium class, and first class. I will then show you step-by-step how to make a change to your Alaska flights and how to cancel your flights.


Alaska Airlines flight change policy

Alaska Airlines is one of the airlines that are cheaper to change a flight, but still not free. I still think the change fees are expensive, but at least it’s cheaper than airlines like Delta. Sadly it’s still not as cheap as Southwest Airlines which has no fees.

Service/fee typeStandard feeFirst class (purchased) passengerFirst class (award) passengerFirst class (upgrade) passengerMileage Plan MVPMileage Plan MVP Gold or 75K
Same day confirmed changes$50$50$50$50$50Free
Same day confirmed changes for flights entirely within the state of California or in our shuttle markets$25$25$25$25$25Free
Change/cancellation fee$125Free for refundable first

$125 for non-refundable first
Free for refundable first

$125 for non-refundable first
$125$125Free
Change fee for changes made to travel wholly within the state of AlaskaFree for purchased tickets

$125 for award tickets
FreeFree for refundable first

$125 for non-refundable first
FreeFree for purchased tickets

$125 for award tickets
Free

You may have noticed that main (economy) and first class are shown, but saver is not on the chart. Saver fares aren’t eligible for changes inside or outside of the complimentary 24-hour change/cancellation policy. However, saver fares can cancel within the 24-hour cancellation policy.

24-hour change/cancellation

Any ticket is eligible for free changes and cancellations within 24 hours of the flight purchase date. Basically, Alaska holds the ticket for 24 hours and then charges you once the 24 hours is up. Therefore, your purchase will post to your credit card statement with a 24 hour delay. However, Alaska will hold the funds on your credit card.

Changing a main or first class ticket can only be changed once during the 24 hour period. You are also responsible for paying the fare difference and taxes. 

Do note, tickets made through travel agencies like Expedia, Priceline, Orbits, etc. will have to go through the travel agency’s 24 hours change and cancellation policy.

Prices

Alaska Airlines prices differ based on market, region, flight, and cabin. Please refer to the table above.

Deadline

Saver fares changes are not permitted, but you can cancel the ticket within the 24-hour cancellation policy. Otherwise, you aren’t allowed to make any more modifications to your saver ticket after 24 hours.

Non-refundable tickets changes without fees must be made within the 24-hour change/cancellation policy. Changes made past 24 hours of the ticket purchase are subject to change fees. Changes within 24 hours of the departure are eligible to change the time of the flight leaving the same day with the same departure and arrival airports.

Refundable tickets changes can be made anytime until 24 hours before the departure of your flight. Changes within 24 hours of the departure are eligible to change the time of the flight leaving the same day with the same departure and arrival airports.

Award tickets changes without fees must be made within the 24-hour change/cancellation policy. Changes made past 24 hours of the ticket purchase are subject to change fees. Changes within 24 hours of the departure are eligible to change the time of the flight leaving the same day with the same departure and arrival airports.

Price changes

Flight changes will be subjected to price differences if the value of the new ticket is higher than the original, no matter if you have a refundable or non-refundable ticket, you will have to pay the difference in ticket value. Ticket values that are less in price than the original ticket value, you will receive as an eCredit if your ticket is non-refundable. Refundable tickets will receive a refund of the fare difference.

For example, if you hold a refundable ticket that originally cost $500 and change the flight that now costs $400, you will be refunded $100. However, if you change the flight that costs $600, you will be charged $100 since the value of the new ticket is higher. (The same concept applies to non-refundable tickets, but you have to take into account the change fees.)


Alaska Airlines cancellation and refund policy

Alaska Airlines cancellation fees are a thing compared to Southwest, but still cheaper compared to other airlines. It’s going to be a little similar to fees you see for changing tickets.

Service/fee typeStandard feeFirst class (purchased) passengerFirst class (award) passengerFirst class (upgrade) passengerMileage Plan MVPMileage Plan MVP Gold or 75K
Change/cancellation fee$125Free for refundable first

$125 for non-refundable first
Free for refundable first

$125 for non-refundable first
$125$125Free
Cancellation fee for changes made to travel wholly within the state of Alaska$125Free for refundable first

$125 for non-refundable first
Free for refundable first

$125 for non-refundable first
$125$125Free

You may have noticed that main and first class are shown, but saver is not on the chart. Saver fares can cancel within the 24-hour cancellation policy, but once it’s out of the 24-hour cancellation policy, you cannot cancel a saver fare ticket.

24-hour change/cancellation

Any ticket is eligible for free changes and cancellations within 24 hours of the flight purchase date. Basically, Alaska holds the ticket for 24 hours and then charges you once the 24 hours is up. Therefore, your purchase will post to your credit card statement with a 24 hours delay. However, Alaska will hold the funds on your credit card.

Changing a main or first class ticket can only be changed once during the 24 hours period. You are also responsible for paying the fare difference and taxes. 

Do note, tickets made through travel agencies like Expedia, Priceline, Orbits, etc. will have to go through the travel agency’s 24 hours change and cancellation policy.

Prices

Alaska Airlines prices different from market, region, flight, and cabin. Please refer to the table above.

Deadline

Saver fares allow you to cancel the ticket within the 24-hour cancellation policy. Otherwise, you aren’t allowed to make any more modifications to your saver ticket after 24 hours.

Non-refundable tickets cancellations without fees must be made within the 24-hour cancellation policy. Cancellations made past 24 hours of the ticket purchase are subject to cancellation fees.

Refundable tickets cancellations can be issued anytime up to the flight departure time.

Award tickets cancellations without fees must be made within the 24-hour cancellation policy. Cancellations made past 24 hours of the ticket purchase are subject to cancellation fees.

Refunds

Non-refundable tickets refunds issue as a credit certificate or credit deposit into My wallet. Therefore, you can only use it with Alaska, similar to how one would use a gift card. 

Refundable tickets issue as a refund to your original payment method. If you used a credit card, the return would go back to your credit card.

If you have any trip extras or seats that you have purchased as add-ons, some of those will not be refunded, and it depends on each itinerary. Some pre-paid optional services can be refunded like: checked baggage, upgrades (paid or mileage), unaccompanied minor service, pet travel, or therapeutic oxygen.

No-show and missed flights

Alaska’s no-show policy is not lenient at all. If you don’t cancel your ticket before your flight departs, Alaska will apply their no-show policy to your reservation. Meaning, all other flights will be canceled, and you will not get any money credit back if you have a non-refundable ticket.

For refundable tickets, you will get your money back if you do not show.


Alaska Airlines same-day flight changes policy

Within 24 hours of the original departure of your flight, you are able to change your flight to an earlier flight on the same day. Same-day flight changes are only available with non-refundable or refundable tickets in any cabin. Savor fare tickets cannot have same-day flight changes.

The fee is $25 or $50 (check the change section above for fees) for same-day confirmed and same-day standby changes to tickets. Same-day changes are subject to availability for seats in the same cabin. Doing same-day changes won’t always work as it’s based on the availability of open seats.

For example, changing to earlier flights aren’t possible all the time as there might not be an earlier flight or no seats available. However, if there are multiple flights from the airport and you want to change to an earlier flight, the chances are better especially on less business traveled days.

I recommend checking how many seats are available on earlier flights.

The good thing about same-day changes is the fact that you will only be charged the fee if you get a seat. If there is no availability, you won’t be charged for being on same-day standby.


How to change an Alaska flight online

From the homepage, you can type in the confirmation code that you got from booking under the “manage” tab at the top of the website.

If you’re logged into your account, you can select your name at the top of the webpage and access your reservations under “my trips”.

Once on the trip details page, you will select “change” to make any changes to the flight.

On the change a reservation page, you will be shown the options of changing the flight or use the value of this trip to a purchase a new trip. If you wanted to use the value of your ticket on a new purchase, select “Use the value of this trip to purchase a new trip” bubble. That option is great if you want to get rid of your old itinerary and have a totally new one.

Once you click the bubble “make changes to this flight”, you will see the options “keep flight”, “change flight”, and “cancel flight”. Keep flight is self-explanatory, while change flight and cancel flight can change or cancel specific legs on the itinerary.

Since we want to change the flight, you will select “make changes to this trip” and then “change flight”.

Whatever changes you put into your search the next webpage will show the price difference corresponding to your original flight and the new flight.

Once you select the new flights, your new itinerary will be generated with the prices per passenger and the total. Fees and the price differences will be shown on this webpage, but in my example, I have no fare difference as it’s within the 24-hour change/cancellation policy window.

Once you confirm your itinerary, click “proceed to checkout” and that’s when you will provide a method of payment.

You will instantly receive an email confirming the changes and the changes will show up in your trip details.


How to cancel a Delta flight online

From the homepage, you can type in the confirmation code that you got from booking under the “manage” tab at the top of the website.

If you’re logged into your account, you can select your name at the top of the webpage and access your reservations under “my trips”.

Once on the trip details page, you will select “cancel” to make any changes to the flight.

On the next webpage, you will see the flight that you’re about the cancel along with two options. Each option bubble will let you know if you’re eligible for a refund or not. 

In this example, select “refund to original form of payment”.

Once you have select confirm, you will be directed to the next screen with your cancellation confirmation along.

As I canceled the flight within the 24-hour cancellation policy window, I was able to avoid the fees. If you had fees, it would show up again on the confirmation page.

You will instantly receive an email with the cancellation confirmation.


Canceling or changing an Alaska Airlines flight on the phone

You can make changes or cancel a flight over the phone with Alaska.


How to get Alaska Airlines change and cancellation fees waived

When things go wrong, it’s always best to call. If you have to cancel and want to try to avoid the fees, I really suggest calling.

If you have a specific reason to cancel the flight like you or an immediate family members death or sickness, Alaska might waive the fees. You might have to provide proof. If you don’t fall into either of those categories above, you can call Alaska and ask politely to get the fees waived. That will usually be up to the representative’s digression, but sometimes they waive the fees for being nice and having a good reason.

If you’re an MVP Gold or 75K elite member, all fees will be waived. So, you won’t need to pay any change or cancellation fee, no matter what. If you aren’t an Alaska elite but have status with another airline, you can status match to Alaska airlines for that calendar year.


Third-party ticket change or cancel

If you bought your flight through a travel agency like Expedia and want to change/cancel the ticket. Then, additional fees may apply. The third-party ticketer might charge an extra fee. I recommend always booking with the airline directly unless a third-party agency has a better price with no added fees.


Additional Alaska Airlines tips

I find Alaska Airlines miles some of the best miles for redemptions between North America and Asia for premium cabins on Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines. Here are another 7 reasons why Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan is a powerhouse program.

If your flight is delayed and need compensation, check out Daniel’s article on flight delay compensation for US carriers like Delta.


Final word

Alaska Airlines is no Southwest Airlines when it comes to free changes and cancellations. However, compared to the big three US airlines, Alaska has cheaper fees with elite benefits that allow one to change and cancel without paying those pesky fees. 

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