NOTE: This information is current as of 10/14/2020. Any updates on waivers will be made accordingly.
UPDATE 10/14/20: Aeroplan expanded its waiver to 12/31/20.
Due to this uncertain period during COVID-19 pandemic, many airlines decided to waive change fees for air tickets. This includes not only revenue tickets but also award tickets. In this post, we will cover fee waivers for some of major frequent flyer programs and how we can possibly make a use of it.
For major US airlines, all of them issues extremely generous waives for award tickets. All of them waived change fee or award redeposit fees for tickets that has been issued on or before 12/31/2020. This has been extended several times (from 6/30/2020), so unless demands for air travel increase to the certain level, I expect that this waiver will be extended to later dates.
Aeroplan has waived all award redeposit fees until 12/31/2020 (this is not based on the ticketed date but the date of cancellation). Similar to programs of US airlines, this has been extended several times already, so I would expect this to be extended to later dates.
Asiamiles is waiving award redeposit fee and change fees for tickets booked on or before 3/23/2020 with travel date on or before 12/31/2020. It is unclear whether this will be extended but I would expect that this gets extended as well.
Skypass is waiving award redeposit fee and change fee for tickets booked on or before 4/1/2020 with travel date from 2/2/2020 to 10/31/2020. It is unclear whether this waiver will be extended but I assume that it will be for future flights.
5. Asiana Club
It is quite disappointing that Asiana Club is not offering any global waiver for award tickets. Since it is going through hard times (not just because of COVID-19 but because of its parent company), I am not too optimistic about any new waivers introduced in near future.
For tickets issued with Lifemiles, change fee is waived for unlimited times, if its travel date is changed to on or before 10/31/2020. If it was changed to travel dates after 10/31/2020, only one change is allowed. There was no information about award redeposit fee ($50 – $200 per ticket). Compared to programs in US, this is not as flexible, but waiving change fee for at least once is definitely welcoming. It is unclear whether this will be extended.
Virgin Atlantic is currently waiving change fee for all tickets. Award redeposit fee is not mentioned ($50 per ticket). This can be a great but it can be a little difficult to change it if you can’t find the availability for the desired date.
It is definitely a challenging time to plan any trips or vacations but it is also an opportunity to make great flight redemption using miles. In addition, since some programs provide extremely generous waivers (specifically programs of US airlines), it is a perfect time to make award travel reservations (award availability is widely open, in general) and cancel or amend your booking, as your plan changes. These waivers are expected to be extended but will not last forever, so if you have anything in mind, go ahead and book your ticket!