British Airways

Cancelling BA Avios Awards and Avoiding the Redeposit Fee (Virgin too!)

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A reader just asked me a question that I thought would be useful to all MilesTalkers right now. It’s not “new info” but it’s a good time to remind everyone.

British Airways currently has a COVID-19 policy that only allows you to change an Avios award, not cancel it, if the flight is still operating. You can also cancel and get a “voucher” (I don’t know how that works in practice but I assume it means they will “hold” your Avios towards your next Avios booking. I also assume that will mean a long wait / phone call when it comes time to use them).

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Cancel a BA Avios Award and Lose Only Taxes and Fees

Generally, BA charges $55 per itinerary to cancel (which sure beats the $150 or so average US airline fee for the same), but if the amount is less than that you can opt to just cancel the award and lose the taxes and fees.

If you’ve booked a US domestic award, you can cancel and lose only the taxes and fees. If you used Avios to book a US domestic flight on AA, that amount is just $5.60.

Just login, go to “Manage My Booking” and select Cancellation options for this booking. Then click Request a Refund.

The Avios won’t return to your account instantly, but they will return. Your taxes won’t.

Important Notes:

  1. You must cancel more than 24 hours in advance of your flight.
  2. You shouldn’t do this much before that deadline right now because if your flight is entirely cancelled you can redeposit for free.
  3. If you have an award you paid more in fees for and need to pay the $55 to redeposit, you currently have to call. Likewise if the flight was cancelled, you need to call else you will only be offered a voucher. More info on that at Head for Points.

Clearly this is an attempt by BA to hold your cash during their cash crunch (similar to UA insisting on award redeposit fees) but don’t let them.

Virgin Atlantic Allows This Too

I haven’t had to deal with Virgin during COVID-19, but their webpage intentionally omits the information. If the situation is the same, know that Virgin also allows for you to simply lose your taxes and fees (for example, if you booked a Delta award using your Virgin Atlantic miles).

Have you dealt with BA or Virgin award redeposits due to COVID-19?

Let me know here, on Twitter, or in the private MilesTalk Facebook group.

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