$150 Redeposit Fee? Delta’s Computers Don’t Know The Cancellation Policy

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So there I was, excited that my Delta reservation to Kilimanjaro in business was finally confirmed. After months of trying, I thought I finally had it. Then I received the confirmation email and to my surprise it showed the following:

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What’s this, why is the AMS-JRO showing main cabin? I called up Delta and the agent initially tried to tell me that Main Cabin meant first or business because the letter ‘X’ was code for those class tickets. I asked if she was 100% sure. She put me on hold and asked her help desk. Sure enough, it was economy. Annoyed, I told her I would cancel the ticket online and bid her goodnight.

Then this happened:

Delta International Award Ticket Cancellation Policy

What is this? I assumed there was a 24 hour cancellation policy. I know from my experience with AA, once you take the reservation off hold and ticket the reservation, then cancelling the ticket any time thereafter will result in a cancellation fee. I’m well aware of that rule but this is not the same set of circumstances. I assumed that Delta’s computers were too stupid to know that I had just booked this ticket and was eligible for a full refund so I called Delta back. I was on hold for over an hour and finally spoke to an agent who cancelled the ticket and redeposited the miles.

I asked the agent to clarify what the policy is for award tickets cancelled within 24 hours. Here is what the agent told me: It is risk free so long as it is cancelled by midnight the next day. She confirmed that there was a computer issue with my reservation.

Lessons Learned 

  1. Never trust Delta’s computers.
  2. Cancel over the phone when you get the chance. I wasted half an evening dealing with this and experienced the entire spectrum of emotions.
  3. Follow your booking protocol: I had searched this route so many times, confirmed that it was all in business, only to get ‘ticket unavailable’ when I pulled the trigger. This time, I didn’t expect that it would work and did not double-check the cabins on each leg. Now I know why it went through.

Here is the value of the ticket I thought I would be getting.

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Don’t miss the header!

In the words of Diddy, “Time to move on, time to be strong.”

4 COMMENTS

  1. Yes, they have free cancellation/redeposit until midnight the next day, but I’ve never had Delta award tickets cancel cleanly. Here’s how it goes: The website shows a cancellation fee. You panic, figuring you have missed a deadline. You call Delta. You hear the story about the computer issue. A rep cancels the ticket and redeposits the miles.

  2. This is where Platinum or Diamond status really pays off. No redeposit or reissue fees if 72 hours out from flight. Be warned that one must book farther out than 72 hours so no close in book and cancel even as upper Medallion.

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