Airlines offering credit if your airfare drops - The Points Guy (2023)

Buying airline tickets is often a guessing game. You never know for sure if you're getting the best deal or if the airline will start offering discounts or lower fares and offering a better price in the future.

If that happens and the rate drops, you can assume you're out of luck. Sometimes it happens. However, there are times when you can redeem the savings even after you've booked your ticket.

Some might even be surprised to learn the ways to earn credit when the ticket price drops with many of the major US airlines, so let's see how.

Related:These are the best credit cards for booking airline tickets

Get a lower price within 24 hours of booking

The US Department of Transportation requires a free 24-hour change, delay or cancellation without penalty for flights to or from the US on any airline, provided the reservation is made at least seven days prior to departure. This rule applies to both paid ticketsyaward tickets booked with miles. So if you buy a ticket and find out it's on sale a few hours later, you must:

  • Cancel the old ticket and get a full refund.
  • Then make a completely new reservation at a lower price.

This is probably the easiest way to secure a lower price on an already booked ticket, unless your airline reverses it. Please note that this only applies to price changes within 24 hours of booking. Also note that if the airline offers free 24-hour booking, then they don't need to offer the 24-hour cancellation period.

Related:Understanding 24/7 airline cancellation and retention policies

Ticket refund policies for major US airlines

Once you exit that 24-hour free cancellation window, you are at the mercy of individual airline policies. Fortunately, many airlines have improved their policies in recent years, for the better. Let's take a look at how major US airlines handle price reductions on existing tickets.

Airlines offering credit if your airfare drops - The Points Guy (1)

Alaska Airlines

Alaska offers very limitedprice guarantee, where if you buy a ticket online and within 24 hours find a price posted on a third-party website for at least $10 less than what you paid (for the same flight), you can fill out a form to request a refund of the difference value. As it stands, it's hard to see why you would bother filling out a form when you can cancel your ticket within 24 hours (as per DOT requirements) and rebook it yourself to save money.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

After the 24-hour limit, you may still be able to get a credit if the fare drops, depending on the fare type you purchased. This is because Alaska Airlines no longer charges main cabin fares and first class fares if you need to.change or cancel your flight— Only economy fares will continue to be charged.

For example, if you book one of the more flexible fare classes and the price drops, you can cancel, receivetravel creditand reschedule with credit.

This happened to me recently. The price has also dropped since I closed with aescort feeI couldn't just cancel and reschedule. Instead, I called Alaska Airlines and asked for a credit for the price difference. The process was easy and my original flight reservation was able to remain intact.

Just keep in mind that Alaska Airlines'travel creditsThey expire one year after the date of issue. However, if you book before the end date, you can travel up to 11 months later. You can also give travel credit to a friend or family member if you are not flying Alaska Airlines in the near future.

Flights that are made only withAlaska Airlines MilesYou also won't be charged if you cancel. So if your flight price drops, you can always cancel and rebook. However, if you use your miles to book on a partner airline, the partner's award fares are non-refundable.

american airlines

American Airlines no longer charges anythingexchange or cancellation feeson premium cabin, premium economy and main cabin fares. This excludes most basic economy fares and some tickets originating outside of North and South America.

This means that if you've booked a flight that falls under the "no change or cancellation fee" category, you can call American Airlines and ask them to refund your ticket at the lowest fare.

For paid expenses, the difference in price will be given to you astravel creditthat you can use for a future flight. Travel credits expire one year from the date the flight credit is issued. However, if you purchased a fully refundable fare, you can cancel your flight, receive a full refund to your original payment method, and book again at the lower price.

If youyou booked your flight with AAdvantage miles, you can always get the lowest fare (since basic economy fares are not available when using miles). However, the type of prize reserved will determine the process to be followed. If you purchased a regular award, you can call American and ask them to change the fare price on the same reservation.

If you booked a Web Special award, which does not allow for voluntary changes, you must cancel the booking and rebook with the refunded miles. In my experience, miles are returned to the account they came from almost immediately.

Delta Airlines

Airlines offering credit if your airfare drops - The Points Guy (2)

For flights that decrease in price the day after you purchase your booking, depending on the fare class you booked, you can change the ticket price on the same booking to get the lowest fare.

Generally, for all tickets originating from the United States, Canada, Europe, Africa and the Caribbean to anywhere in the world (excluding basic economy tickets), there areno change fee. Basic economy flights cost between $99 and $199 to cancel, while flights originating outside these areas for free incur a cancellation fee of up to $400.

If your flight qualifies for free change or cancellation, you can call Delta and they will change the ticket price. For flights with fees, you'll need to do the math to see if paying a change fee is worth the price difference. For paid fares, the difference in price paid will be issued to you as an electronic credit, which generally expires one year from the original flight purchase date. If you booked a flight in 2022, all eCredits expire on December 31, 2023, which is the booking expiration date that allows you to travel in 2024.

Related:Delta extends all tickets and coupons through 2023 in an industry first

For flights booked with Delta SkyMiles, as long as your flight is eligible for cancellation (same rules as above apply), you can change the price of your flight and the difference in miles will be deposited back into your account at no charge.

For reservations made in Basic Economy, you can still cancel your flight, but with an associated rate in miles. For these flights, Delta will deduct between 9,900 and 19,900 miles from the amount you'll put back into your account when you cancel. For those specific flights, you'll need to check whether it's worth canceling and rebooking if the fare drops.

Related:How to Change or Cancel a Delta Air Lines Flight

border airlines

Unlike many of the other airlines listed, Frontier Airlines does not offer a rolling rate type that allows free cancellation. Their policies have also become less favorable in the last year, as you can no longer cancel 60 days before your flight for free.

However, thecancellation feea flight is $99 each way, so if you find the price has dropped by more than the cancellation fee, you can always cancel and you'll get aflight creditfor the amount paid less cancellation fees. You can then use your flight credit to rebook at a lower price. However, you must use any remaining flight credits within 90 days of receipt (though you can still book a future date if your schedule allows) and they are non-transferable.

Airlines offering credit if your airfare drops - The Points Guy (3)

Or, if you buy theProject PackageAs a complement to booking your flight, one of the advantages is that your flight is 100% refundable. This means that if your flight price is reduced, you can cancel and receive a full refund, including the package price, as a flight credit.

You can then use that credit to book the same flight for the lesser amount with the remaining amount due one year from the issue date. If you haveStatus Frontier Elite 100K, you automatically receive the Works package at no additional cost on every flight you book.

Now, if it's a prize ticket that has dropped in price, the process is a little different. You can cancel any Frontier Airlines flight booked with miles, but there is a $75 redeposit fee to return your miles to your account. However, if you purchased a last seat award flight, the charge does not apply.

Airlines offering credit if your airfare drops - The Points Guy (4)


JetBlue had an extremely generous policy if you canceled a fare, giving you a five-day window to change the fare price. Unfortunately, this policy no longer exists, but with theNo change and cancellation feesat most prices, excludingTarifas Blue Basic— It is possible to change the price of your flight for less.

As long as you purchase an eligible fare, you can cancel your flight for free and rebook with the travel credit you receive. Credits are valid for one year from the purchase of the flight and, unlike other airlines, can be used to book another passenger's flight. (If you booked before March 8, 2023, travel credits expire one year after the credit is issued, not from the original date of purchase.)

Related:JetBlue devalues ​​travel credits without notice

The same policy applies when usingPontos JetBlue TrueBlueto book a flight and because it does not offer Blue Basic fares for booking points, all fares are fully refundable. Taxes and fees paid are refunded as travel credit (almost instantly), but unfortunately they can no longer be used in conjunction with bookings made with points, leaving you with credits to use towards a future booking.

JetBlue also offers aBest price guaranteedagainst finding a lower price on a third-party site, although you should find the lower price the same day you book. However, instead of offering a refund for the fare difference, it will only provide a $50 credit towards future JetBlue travel. Please note that the fare price must be at least $5 less to qualify.

Related:How to change or cancel a JetBlue flight

Airlines offering credit if your airfare drops - The Points Guy (5)

southwest airlines

Southwest has by far the most generous fare refund policy and makes it incredibly easy for you.see if your flight price has dropped. from the southwest hasno exchange or cancellation fees, you can alwayschange your flight to the exact same flight you originally booked— it is not necessary to cancel or change the reservation. Best of all, you can easily do this online, without having to call the airline.

yes yescomprado Early Bird Check-in, this benefit will remain intact if the price of your flight also changes.

If you paid for your ticket in dollars, you will receive a credit for the difference in fare price, which you can use on a future flight. and since recentlyflight credits no longer expire.

If you paid with Rapid Rewards points and the fare price changes, you will receive the difference in points in your account. It really is as simple as it sounds.

Keep in mind that this process can be difficult if you have afollow-up passand attach a companion's reservation to yours. In this case, you will need to cancel your companion, change the fare and add your companion back, so make sure you have enough space on the flight before doing this.

Airlines offering credit if your airfare drops - The Points Guy (6)

spiritual airlines

Spirit Airlines also allowsfree flight cancellations, but only if the flight is canceled 60 days or more from the date of departure. If you find your flight price has dropped by two months, you can cancel and rebook to recover the exact fare difference.

For flights within the 60-day window, there is an associated fee, depending on when the flight is cancelled. If the price is reduced when a fee is required, you must determine whether the difference in price is worth the fee amount.

Airlines offering credit if your airfare drops - The Points Guy (7)

By canceling and rescheduling, you'll end up with acredit reservefor the fare difference, which applies to trips booked up to 90 days after issuance on any flight available in the system. However, credits can always be applied towards baggage and seat charges, so if you don't plan to use the credit on another flight, you can apply it towards one of theMany additional Spirit charges.

If you booked with points, there's always a chance the flight was discounted too. However, thecost of award ticket cancellationit's $110, so the fee might not be worth the savings.

Airlines offering credit if your airfare drops - The Points Guy (8)

united airlines

Like most other major airlines, United got rid of it rates for most fare types(except basic economy tickets), which helps if the fare price drops. This includes most economy and premium cabin fares for travel within the United States (which includes Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands), between the United States and Mexico or the Caribbean, and for international travel originating in the United States. United; however, for basic economy tickets, there is no option to change or cancel your ticket.

United generally allows you to change your flights online. The amount of credit you will receive is clearly displayed. However, often the system does not allow you to change the trip on the same flight and online tariff, even if the price has dropped. Therefore, to take advantage of fare fluctuations, you may need to change to a different flight that day to receivefuture flight credit. And then, of course, you could theoretically go back to your original flight or fare if the price is right.

Airlines offering credit if your airfare drops - The Points Guy (9)

There are also stories of a little-known policy that can allow for a price adjustment within 30 days of purchase, sometimes for a $50 fee, so it doesn't hurt to ask United if the above method doesn't work. for you and booked your flight within the last month.

redeposit feesThey also do not apply to United award travel on the same eligible fare type and routing as paid fares. If the price of your award booking drops, you can cancel your booking for free and rebook at a lower price.

Other ways to get a refund after a flight price drop

Of course, there are other ways to get a refund if the cost of your flight goes down after booking, and they generally work on all airlines, although they need specific circumstances to work in your favor.

Pay the exchange rate

While most airlines have waived change fees, depending on your route and fare, you may have to pay a hefty fee to cancel your flight. If your flight does not qualify for free cancellation and the price difference is greater than the change fee, it may be worth making the change and paying the fee.

Get your cancellation fee waiver and rebook

There are all kinds of situations where you might be entitled to afree cancellation and refund— if your price does not qualify for free cancellation. The most common is when there is a significant change in the flight schedule. If your flight schedule has changed and you can rebook your ticket for a lower price, cancel your original reservation for free if or when you qualify and receive a refund.

Book through a program that guarantees the price in case of a drop

There are a small but growing number of ways to book your airline tickets that offer a price protection guarantee in some cases.Google Flights is experimentingwith this feature, and theCapital One travel booking websiteit also sometimes offers built-in protections.


Air travel almost always involves dynamic pricing based on supply and demand. One person might pay $200 for their economy class seat, while the person in the next seat paid three times that amount.

Sometimes you get what you pay for. Other times, if you're unlucky or unable to purchase your ticket and notice a significant drop in price, you may be able to get some of your money (or miles) back, depending on the airline and time of day.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise approved by any of these entities.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Francesca Jacobs Ret

Last Updated: 09/06/2023

Views: 5361

Rating: 4.8 / 5 (68 voted)

Reviews: 83% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Francesca Jacobs Ret

Birthday: 1996-12-09

Address: Apt. 141 1406 Mitch Summit, New Teganshire, UT 82655-0699

Phone: +2296092334654

Job: Technology Architect

Hobby: Snowboarding, Scouting, Foreign language learning, Dowsing, Baton twirling, Sculpting, Cabaret

Introduction: My name is Francesca Jacobs Ret, I am a innocent, super, beautiful, charming, lucky, gentle, clever person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.