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United Refusing Refunds on Cancelled Award Flights

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I find this a bit crazy. 

Even though I get that US airlines need to conserve cash as much as possible, treating your customers as a piggy bank isn’t the way to do it.

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In this case, the customer is Dustin of Waller’s Wallet. That’s to say that he fully understands the rules – of which getting a free award redeposit of a flight that has been cancelled is generally the customer’s right.

United Airlines Won’t Refund Miles for a Cancelled Flight Without a Fee

He’s escalated the issue of his cancelled flight and after three attempts has come to realize that United Airlines isn’t budging. He’s also allowed me to post the DM sent by United confirming the same.

So what they are saying is that an award flight that NO LONGER EXISTS does not qualify for a free mileage redeposit. Instead they’ll hold his miles (and taxes/fees) for a year and then – and only then, if they don’t change the rules again – can he get the miles back. That’s awful.

What are the other Big Three US Airlines doing?

Both Delta and American Airlines are refunding cancelled award flights AND flights covered by waivers on revenue tickets, redepositing the miles without fee. I’ve personally been through both circumstances.

Alaska Airlines has been the easiest to accomplish this with – it took me under 5 minutes by text message. But Delta did it via DM within 24 hours and American did it by phone, surprisingly without too much of a wait.

The other airline I’ve seen playing games with customer refunds is British Airways, which seems to have removed the option to refund online without a fee in this scenario. I have two BA flights to deal with and I’m not looking forward to that.

Even Cathay Pacific, which has an odd policy where only CX operated award flights have a waiver and partner flights don’t no matter the circumstance, does allow for a free cancel and redeposit – if the flight itself is cancelled. While Cathay told me it could take 6 weeks for my taxes and fees to come back, the miles were back in my AsiaMiles account within a few days.

Bottom Line:

I get that airlines need to conserve cash right now as much as possible. I really do. But having a WORSE policy than normal for a customer affected by a COVID-19 flight cancellation (again, the airline cancelled the actual flight – not the customer) is not one that will engender loyalty when we do see a return to normal – whenever that may be.

Are you in the same boat?

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

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