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How much would you pay to avoid a change fee?

Posted: Wed Jan 23, 2019 7:50 pm
by zrs70
Many US carriers allow people up to upfare their ticket to a higher fare basis without charging a change fee if it’s on the same flight.

So rather than paying, say, a $200 fee that you will never see again, you might pay $600 to upfare to a fare that no longer has a penalty.

Keep in mind… You can’t then go and refund the entire ticket to your credit card. It doesn’t work that way. But you can take the new ticket and use it for whatever Travel you want - and no longer pay penalty.

I can’t stand the thought of paying a change fee. But I have no problem paying a hefty upgare knowing that I will eventually use those funds with the airline.

What do you all do?

Re: How much would you pay to avoid a change fee?

Posted: Wed Jan 23, 2019 9:04 pm
by masgniw
Zero. I've needed to change flights maybe once in the last 5 years. I'd rather eat the $200 once than repeatedly pay for flexible fares that I don't need.

Re: How much would you pay to avoid a change fee?

Posted: Wed Jan 23, 2019 9:25 pm
by IPFreely
It sounds like the question is would I rather:
1. Pay a $200 fee to change to a different flight.
Or
2. Pay a $600 fee to change my ticket fare class so I can change to a different flight without paying a $200 fee.

Should be interesting to see the responses.

Re: How much would you pay to avoid a change fee?

Posted: Wed Jan 23, 2019 9:54 pm
by zrs70
Mind you ... with the new more expensive ticket. While still nonrefundable, you can change it to a low fare on another flight and get the full residual as a travel credit.

Re: How much would you pay to avoid a change fee?

Posted: Thu Jan 24, 2019 6:42 am
by Chemist
I fly WN whenever possible and don't worry about change fees.

Re: How much would you pay to avoid a change fee?

Posted: Thu Jan 24, 2019 5:12 pm
by masgniw
zrs70 wrote:
Mind you ... with the new more expensive ticket. While still nonrefundable, you can change it to a low fare on another flight and get the full residual as a travel credit.


Would you mind expanding on this? I realize you can change to a cheaper fare, but not necessarily a cheaper fare class, right? For example, if you paid $600 for your original refundable ticket, can you rebook into a $200 non-refundable ticket and get the $400 back?

Re: How much would you pay to avoid a change fee?

Posted: Thu Jan 24, 2019 6:35 pm
by PatrickZ80
masgniw wrote:
Zero. I've needed to change flights maybe once in the last 5 years. I'd rather eat the $200 once than repeatedly pay for flexible fares that I don't need.


Agreed. Just like you I would just accept that change fee when it needs to be, which is basically never. At least, so far in my life I've always flown exactly the flights I've booked. Never once changed a flight.

Therefor it doesn't matter what the change fee is, I don't even look at it. I won't change anyway.

Re: How much would you pay to avoid a change fee?

Posted: Thu Jan 24, 2019 6:43 pm
by UALFAson
IPFreely wrote:
It sounds like the question is would I rather:
1. Pay a $200 fee to change to a different flight.
Or
2. Pay a $600 fee to change my ticket fare class so I can change to a different flight without paying a $200 fee.

Should be interesting to see the responses.


Yeah, I don't understand the point of this question. If you live the type of lifestyle where you frequently make last-minute flight changes, why wouldn't you just buy the $600 ticket to begin with?

I would imagine most travel departments look at how many changes they make monthly or annually and have done a cost/benefit analysis to see whether paying multiple $200 change fees is cheaper or continually buying more expensive but more flexible tickets is.

Re: How much would you pay to avoid a change fee?

Posted: Thu Jan 24, 2019 8:43 pm
by zrs70
UALFAson wrote:
IPFreely wrote:
It sounds like the question is would I rather:
1. Pay a $200 fee to change to a different flight.
Or
2. Pay a $600 fee to change my ticket fare class so I can change to a different flight without paying a $200 fee.

Should be interesting to see the responses.


Yeah, I don't understand the point of this question. If you live the type of lifestyle where you frequently make last-minute flight changes, why wouldn't you just buy the $600 ticket to begin with?

I would imagine most travel departments look at how many changes they make monthly or annually and have done a cost/benefit analysis to see whether paying multiple $200 change fees is cheaper or continually buying more expensive but more flexible tickets is.


Let me be more clear with an example:

1) I purchase a restricted ticket from LAX to LAS for $100.
2) I need to cancel. But there is a $200 change fee, thus making the ticket worthless.
3) I then pay $300 dollars to upfare the ticket to a higher class/ flexible ticket. It’s now worth $400
4) I can’t simply refund the ticket, because it still has the original restriction. But it is now flexible.
5) I take the $400 ticket and use the value to buy a $100 ticket LAX-SFO.
6) I get a $300 voucher to use in the future

Downside: I am putting $300 into a fund I won’t immediately use. But as I fly often enough, I will use it within a few months.

Upside: I don’t lose any value in change fees.

Re: How much would you pay to avoid a change fee?

Posted: Thu Jan 24, 2019 9:04 pm
by DirectPupdog
I wouldn't pay anything. I've never had to change a ticket in my 30+ years of flying.

Re: How much would you pay to avoid a change fee?

Posted: Thu Jan 24, 2019 11:27 pm
by UALFAson
zrs70 wrote:
Let me be more clear with an example:

1) I purchase a restricted ticket from LAX to LAS for $100.
2) I need to cancel. But there is a $200 change fee, thus making the ticket worthless.
3) I then pay $300 dollars to upfare the ticket to a higher class/ flexible ticket. It’s now worth $400
4) I can’t simply refund the ticket, because it still has the original restriction. But it is now flexible.
5) I take the $400 ticket and use the value to buy a $100 ticket LAX-SFO.
6) I get a $300 voucher to use in the future

Downside: I am putting $300 into a fund I won’t immediately use. But as I fly often enough, I will use it within a few months.

Upside: I don’t lose any value in change fees.


I understand what you're saying, and I even ran some numbers as a test before I wrote my response.

But let's say you don't need to cancel and you wind up taking your original flight as scheduled. You just paid $400 for a ticket you could have had for $100, effectively wasting $300.

Or, your plans change and you throw away the $100 LAX-LAS ticket and just spend $100 on a new LAX-SFO ticket. You're still $200 ahead of where you would be if you bought the $400 ticket originally.

I mean, I guess you could do this as a one-off, but I can't imagine many people who frequently or regularly change airline tickets at the last minute are going to take the time and effort to go through all these steps. Keeping up with this would be an administrative nightmare and I can't even begin to think how I would submit an expense report to my company with all this nonsense. You yourself even said you wouldn't use the voucher for "a few months" which implies you wouldn't be doing this on a regular/frequent basis. As I said before, people who change plane tickets at the last minute with any regularity are just going to eat the $200 change fees as a cost of doing business or just buy the $400 (in this new scenario) ticket to begin with.

Re: How much would you pay to avoid a change fee?

Posted: Fri Jan 25, 2019 7:11 pm
by Eindhoven
I agree with others, I would not spend any money on it. If I need to change I throw away my old ticket and buy a new one. Never had to, though.

Re: How much would you pay to avoid a change fee?

Posted: Sat Jan 26, 2019 6:18 pm
by IPFreely
zrs70 wrote:
5) I take the $400 ticket and use the value to buy a $100 ticket LAX-SFO.


When exactly are you changing these tickets? If I'm paying a change fee to change my tickets it's because I'm either done with work and can fly home early, or I need to stay somewhere and fly home later. So I'm changing to an earlier or later flight on the day on the day of the flight, or maybe the day before the flight. I don't find many $100 tickets to begin with, but I sure can't think of any I'm going to get a few hours before the flight departs.

Regardless, it seems like you believe you've found a way to scam airlines -- ironically, by giving them extra money -- so good for you.

Re: How much would you pay to avoid a change fee?

Posted: Thu Feb 14, 2019 12:51 am
by StormRider
Eindhoven wrote:
I agree with others, I would not spend any money on it. If I need to change I throw away my old ticket and buy a new one. Never had to, though.

I just recently had to cancel a ticket for the first time and pay the cancellation fee. Even then it probably worked out cheaper than the suggested option.

(also paid a change fee for my mother's long haul flight last year due to unavoidable reasons) but this case is extremely rare so would make no sense to pay higher now and get travel credit for later. For someone who travels constantly and to multiple locations it might make sense.

Re: How much would you pay to avoid a change fee?

Posted: Thu Feb 14, 2019 4:14 am
by jetblueguy22
I’m amazed at how many people claim they’ve never needed to change their flights, with work I’ve had to do it for one reason or another the last 3 of 4 trips.

I got burned on a change fee last August. Something came up last minute and I had to get back to my facility to support the operation. I (or rather my company) got whacked 200 for the change and another 600 to rebook. Buying a new ticket was close to the change. Since then I factor it in slightly when booking.

Because of this I’ve switched almost all my flying to WN. Even though it’s my company’s money, I’m not in the business of squandering it just because I can. All the facilities I visit are in major cities they serve and it saves the company money, and it gives me more time at home if things wrap early and I can escape.

This past weekend I was scheduled to do BDL-RSW on WN. A family emergency meant I had to alter the plans and do BDL-BWI-MSP on another ticket and change my original flight to MSP-MDW-RSW. Got a credit of 50 bucks because the ticket was cheaper and I didn’t have to pay a fee on top of the 300 I already dropped for a new ticket. Yeah there is no first class, yeah I don’t ever see the inside of a lounge. But I fly domestically exclusively and the ability to change things to better fit my schedule without a penalty is a huge incentive to me.