Spirit Airlines Flight Change and Cancellation Guide [2020]

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Spirit Airlines is known as the Ryanair of all the US carriers. It is very à la carte, and that comes in handy when you just want or need something basic. But it also means you’ll be dealing with fees, and the fees might be a little different than other airlines like Southwest or AlaskaIn this article, I will go over the 24 hour free refund and change policy, Flex Flight, and fees for changing or canceling a Spirit flight. I also cover the new coronavirus policy. 


Spirit Airlines flight change policy

It’s common to have change fees as not every airline is like Southwest Airlines that has no change fees. Most airlines are like Delta Airlines that typically have expensive change fees. Spirit, on the other hand, has change fees that aren’t too expensive compared to other airlines.

Time periodRegular ticketFlight FlexAward ticket
Within 24 hours after initial purchase (made 7 or more days before departure)FreeFreeFree
After 24 hours of initial purchase (made 7 or more days before departure)$90 online ($100 phone or airport modifications)Free once online$110
Within 24 hours after initial purchase (made less than 7 or more days before departure)$90 online ($100 phone or airport modifications)Free once online$110
After 24 hours of initial purchase (made less than 7 or more days before departure)$90 online ($100 phone or airport modifications)Free once online$110
Within 24 hours of departure$99 for standby earlier flight$99 for standby earlier flightN/A

Do note, Flex Flight tickets are regular tickets but with the extra perk called Flex Flight which you can add on for $35 to $45 at the time of booking as an extra for a free one time change made online. However, the Flex Flight extra doesn’t mean it’s a refundable ticket making Flex Flight tickets subject to cancellation fees.

24-Hour risk-free Cancellation/Change

Tickets purchased 7 days (168 hours) or more before the scheduled departure date are eligible for free changes and cancellations within 24 hours of the flight purchase date. Spirit holds the ticket for 24 hours and then charges you once the 24 hours are up. Therefore, your purchase will post to your credit card statement with a 24-hour delay. However, Spirit will hold the funds on your credit card.

Tickets purchased less than 7 days (168 hours) before the scheduled departure date aren’t eligible for free changes or cancellations.

This could give you a little more than 24 hours to change or cancel your ticket made directly through Spirit, only if you booked your flight 7 days or more before the departure date. Tickets made through travel agencies like Expedia, Priceline, Orbits, etc. will have to go through the travel agency’s 24 hour change and cancellation policy.

Prices

Fees will be per passenger for the whole itinerary unless noted.

Regular tickets change fees are $90 for modifications made online or $100 for modifications made at the airport or over the phone. Same-day flight changes, aka standby for an earlier flight, will be $99.

Flex Flight tickets have no change fees for the first modification made online, but after the first modification, you will have the standard change fee of $90 for modifications made online or $100 made at the airport or over the phone.

Award ticket change fee is $110 for modifications. Modifications can only be done over the phone.

Deadline

Regular ticket changes must be made within 24 hours of the initial purchase date to be free, but that only applies to tickets purchased greater than 7 days (168 hours) or more before the scheduled departure date. If the ticket is purchased less than 7 days (168 hours) of the scheduled departure or 24 hours or more passed from the time of purchase, you will be subject to change fees. Changes made within 24 hours of departure will be subject to standby fees.

For Flex Flight tickets, the one-time free change made online can be made until 24 hours before the time of departure. Changes made within 24 hours will be subject to standby fees.

Award ticket changes must be made within 24 hours from the initial purchase date to be free, but that only applies to tickets purchased greater than 7 days (168 hours) or more before the scheduled departure date. If the ticket is purchased less than 7 days (168 hours) from the scheduled departure or 24 hours or more passed from the time of purchase, you will be subject to change fees.

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. For ticket values that are less in price than the original ticket value, you will receive a credit for a future flight called Future Travel Credit.

For example, if you hold a Flex Flight ticket that originally cost $500 and change the flight to one 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 regular tickets, but you have to take into account the change fees.)


Spirit Airlines cancellation and refund policy

Spirit Airlines cancellation fees are the same price as their change fees. However, Spirit doesn’t sell any refundable tickets making all tickets non-refundable outside of their 24-hour cancellation policy.

Time periodRegular ticketFlight FlexAward ticket
Within 24 hours after initial purchase (made 7 or more days before departure)FreeFreeFree
After 24 hours of initial purchase (made 7 or more days before departure)$90 online ($100 phone or airport cancellations)$90 online ($100 phone or airport cancellations)$110
Within 24 hours after initial purchase (made less than 7 or more days before departure)$90 online ($100 phone or airport cancellations)$90 online ($100 phone or airport cancellations)$110
After 24 hours of initial purchase (made less than 7 or more days before departure)$90 online ($100 phone or airport cancellations)$90 online ($100 phone or airport cancellations)$110

24-Hour risk-free Cancellation/Change

Tickets purchased 7 days (168 hours) or more before the scheduled departure date are eligible for free changes and cancellations within 24 hours of the flight purchase date. Spirit holds the ticket for 24 hours and then charges you once the 24 hours are up. Therefore, your purchase will post to your credit card statement with a 24-hour delay. However, Spirit will hold the funds on your credit card.

Tickets purchased less than 7 days (168 hours) before scheduled departure date aren’t eligible for free changes or cancellations.

This could give you a little more than 24 hours to change or cancel your ticket made directly through Spirit, only if you booked your flight 7 days or more before the departure date. 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

Fees will be per passenger for the whole itinerary unless noted.

Regular ticket cancellation fees are $90 for cancellations made online or $100 for cancellations made at the airport or over the phone. 

Flex Flight ticket cancellation fees are $90 for cancellations made online or $100 made at the airport or over the phone.

Award ticket cancellation fees are $110 for cancellations. Cancellations can only be done over the phone.

Deadline

Regular tickets and Flex Flight tickets cancellations must be made within 24 hours of the initial purchase date to be free, but that only applies to tickets purchased greater than 7 days (168 hours) or more before the scheduled departure date. If the ticket is purchased less than 7 days (168 hours) of the scheduled departure or 24 hours or more passed of the time of purchase, you will be subject to cancellation fees.

Award ticket cancellations must be made within 24 hours of the initial purchase date to be free, but that only applies to tickets purchased greater than 7 days (168 hours) or more before the scheduled departure date. If the ticket is purchased less than 7 days (168 hours) of the scheduled departure or 24 hours or more passed of the time of purchase, you will be subject to cancellation fees.

Refunds

Regular tickets and Flex Flight tickets refunds are issued as a credit, or also known as Future Travel Credit. Therefore, you can only use it with Spirit Airlines, and for the passenger the credit was issued for.

Award ticket miles would be re-deposited back into your account and any fees charged at booking will be refunded if you’re eligible.

No show and missed flights

Spirit doesn’t have an official no show policy, which means if you don’t show up for your flight, your ticket is gone and cannot be used ever again. You will not get any credit back from the ticket, or you will not get another ticket for a later flight.


Coronavirus 2020 update

Spirit will allow customers to make a one-time free modification (fare difference applies) by contacting Spirit Guest Care at 1 855 SAVE-555 (1 855 728-3555).

Alternatively, Guests who must alter their travel plans due to COVID-19 have the option to receive a reservation credit for the full value of their reservation. 

This reservation credit can be used for up to 6 months to book any flight currently available (including beyond the 6-month time-frame), and it can be used toward flights as well as other options (excluding 3rd party products).

To cancel your reservation and claim your 6 month Reservation Credit, please fill out the form here.


Spirit Airlines standby for earlier flight

If you arrive early at the airport and want to catch an earlier Spirit flight, you can pay $99 to go on standby for the earlier flight. You won’t have to pay the fee unless you clear standby and get a seat on the earlier flight.

This applies to all tickets, besides award tickets using miles.

Same-day changes are subject to availability for seats in the same cabin. Doing same-day changes won’t always work.

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 a Spirit flight online

Select “my trips” from the top or on the homepage.

Once it shows “manage travel”, you will fill in the boxes labeled “traveler’s last name” and “confirmation code”. After that, select “continue” to be brought to your flight’s itinerary.

On the reservation summary page, you will find “make changes” allowing you to make modifications to your reservation. Select “make changes” to continue. 

 

A popup will appear on your webpage. Select “edit”, and it will allow you to customize the departure airport, arrival airport, and date. Select “continue” to see flight results for your new itinerary.

It will then sort the flights from least to most expensive in fare difference. If there is a fare that is less than your current one, it will show as a negative price difference.

Once you select your fare and extras, you will be directed to the purchase page. It will show all information regarding fees, total due, or total refunded/credited.

Since I am changing my flight within 24 hours of my purchase and greater than 7 days before departure, I am eligible for no change fees.

You will instantly receive an email confirming the changes, and the changes will also show up in your reservation summary.


How to cancel a Spirit flight online

Select “my trips” from the top or on the homepage.

Once it shows “manage travel”, you will fill in the boxes labeled “traveler’s last name” and “confirmation code”. After that, select “continue” to be brought to your flight’s itinerary.

On the reservation summary page, you will find “cancel reservation” allowing you to cancel your itinerary and get a Future Travel Credit or refund. Select “cancel reservation” to continue. 

On the “cancel reservation” page, you will find out how much money you are refunded along with any fees associated with canceling. 

Since I am canceling my flight within 24 hours of my purchase and greater than 7 days before departure, I am eligible for no cancellation fees.

You will instantly receive an email with the cancellation confirmation.


Canceling or changing a Spirit flight on the phone

You can make changes or cancel a flight over the phone with Spirit Airlines for an extra fee of $10.

  • Reservations phone number: +1 801-401-2222
  • Assistance for the hearing impaired: 711
  • Spirit Vacations Mon-Fri 8:00am – 10:00pm, Sat-Sun 9am – 5:30pm EST: +1 954-698-0125

How to get Spirit fees waived

Spirit waiving fees are as rare as getting a steak cooked correctly in economy class on a plane. Meaning, it’s not so common to get fees waived on Spirit. Even if an immediate family member died, Spirit does not issue a fee waiver. 

Spirit does have Flex Flight as an extra for your ticket.

Flex Flight

Flex Flight converts a regular ticket on Spirit into a one-time free change. Flex Flight costs anywhere between $35 to $45 to add-on to one ticket. It allows you to change the ticket, not cancel, up to 24 hours before departure.

Of course, $45 is harder to swallow than $0, but it’s less than $90 if you didn’t add-on this extra. So, if you know that you need some flexibility in terms of being able to change your itinerary, this might be ideal. (Do note, you are still liable to pay in the difference in fare.)


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 Spirit Airlines tips

For those who travel Spirit frequently, you might be aware of Spirit’s $9 Fare Club. It is a program that allows you to save on baggage regularly and sometimes save tons on fares with Spirit. Daniel wrote an excellent article investigating how worthwhile Spirit Airlines $9 Fare Club could be.

To learn more about baggage, read our article here.


Final word

Spirit fares can be cheap, but the fees can be a little too pricy in retrospect to their fares. I hope this article helped you understand the fee structure behind Spirit Airlines change and cancellation policy. 

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8 comments

  1. I just booked a flight for April 13th BWI which lands in Fort Myers, FL @ 9:50 and then driving 21/2 hours to Miami at the cruise terminal. I have about 6 hours wiggle room but am 2nd guessing my decision to book a flight the same day as my cruise leaving. What would happen if my flight were delayed or canceled? Do you work with other airlines to move the flight to another airline?
    My brain needs to rest . . . have been stressing since I booked yesterday.
    Thank you for your advice 🙂

  2. Spirit must have changed policy since this was written. They now offer a full refund in the form of a credit, which must be used to book another flight within 60 days. Frankly, I’d rather take the $90 per ticket hit and have a cash refund, but it is what it is.

  3. your price today is advertised for less money than I booked it for in January.
    My travel dates are 3/19-3/22.

    Will you price match the flight price for my trip?

  4. We just got notified by Spirit that our return flight time is now three hours later than the originally booked schedule time (regular tickets). Do we have recourse?

    1. Probably not too much you can do but You might be able to change your flight without a fee.

      this is taken from the contract of carriage:

      A change may be made to an itinerary without a charge and/or fare difference when the
      itinerary was affected by a cancelled flight, an eligible schedule change or a delayed
      flight (greater than two hours from the original departure time) provided:
      • The same departure and arrival airports are booked and;
      • The itinerary is rebooked within Spirit’s authorized date ranges (currently within 7
      days of the departure date).

      1. If this happens and they put they change your time along with the flight number, doesn’t this constitutes as a flight cancellation on their side? So if you have the insurance, doesn’t have to pay you out?

  5. I bought a round trip ticket but am now thinking about changing my outbound flight which was originally scheduled to land around 11pm. Instead of paying for a hotel for the night I realized I could fly out early the next morning cheaper than staying in a hotel and cheaper than changing my flight. If I buy the new one way ticket and don’t fly the original outbound flight will my return ticket be cancelled by Spirit since I didn’t fly the first leg?

  6. WARNING TO ALL BOOKING ON SPIRIT: I just booked 1way flights & baggage on spirit.com at 1am to fly about 18hrs later (tonight) out of PHL. I called around 11am today to add our pet reservation and paid the $110 over the phone w/agent. 4 hrs later I get a text & email that Spirit CXLD the flight!!! I just checked on Flight Aware and Spirit has CXLD the same exact flight the last two nights prior to this coming one! So a warning to all during the Corona virus madness; Spirit’s taking reservations (even last minute ones) & taking everyone’s money,in some cases knowing full well they’ll most likely be CXLing the flight.

    Also when I go online to look at their flights, it shows the flight they CXLD tonight along with the two previous flights out of PHL as “sold out” not CXLD! What kind of spin BS is that!

    Yes I know I will get a flight credit to use later with them, but in situations like these where you just booked the damn thing, they should be offering full refunds!

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