Change Fees Are History

I’m so excited to see airlines dump the dreaded itinerary change fee!

The main reason my family started flying mostly Southwest in recent years was the Companion Pass program. But the second reason is that it feels so terrible to get hit with a change fee! I would try my best to stick to our flight plan, but every once in awhile something would happen to prevent it, and because I shop hard for a bargain, the $200 change fee would be as much or nearly as much as the flight I needed to change. So basically having to change the flight meant having to buy a new ticket.

But now all the major US airlines — United, Delta, American, Alaska, Hawaiian — say they are dropping change fees permanently.

More exciting changes brought about by the COVID air travel slump: Southwest is extending Companion Passes a year and allowing people to convert unused travel funds to miles. Our family had some unusued travel funds that I worked really, really hard to use up before they expired at the beginning of 2020 by booking some flights in March. Of course, I had to cancel those flights, and Southwest kindly extended the expiration date of the funds. Now I am definitely going to convert the funds to miles, which never expire.

I don’t know about you, but I am sitting on a lot of miles, what with the flights I’ve cancelled and the credit card miles I keep accumulating. When COVID is finally over, my family is going to have to take some kind of amazing celebratory trip. It may be quite awhile before my kids feel comfortable getting on a plane, though.

Since we already have thousands of dollars worth of airline miles banked, I’m going to focus on racking up some hotel points for now. I’m looking at Marriott Bonvoy cards, which have some temporary bonus offer increases right now.

Where to go with all these travel rewards when the world is finally safe again? My parents want to go to Iceland. Costa Rico has long been on my short list. My son wants to go to England again, but that’s just because he only likes to go places he’s already been.

Where will you go, when you finally can go safely?

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