The Cheap Way to Cancel British Airways Award Tickets!

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Million Mile Secrets reader Weltall emails:

I used British Airways miles to book an American Airlines flight from Miami to South America.  If I need to cancel my trip, how much does it cost to get my miles back?

Cancel British Airways Award

How Much Will Weltall Pay to Get His British Airways Avois Points Refunded?

Weltall used British Airways Avios points to book an award flight on American Airlines to South America.  That’s a great idea because there are no fuel surcharges.  And because British Airways has a distance-based award chart, flights from Miami to South America cost relatively fewer miles!

Using British Airways Avois points to book American Airlines flights is easy.  But what happens if Weltall needs to cancel his flight?

How Much Will It Cost to Cancel?

If Weltall calls British Airways to cancel his award flight, it will cost him $55 plus a $25 service fee.  But if he cancels his flight online, he will pay $55 or forfeit the taxes & fees he paid when he booked, whichever is the lesser.

Cancel British Airways Award

Weltall Will Save Money By Canceling Online

How to Cancel Your British Airways Award Flight Online

Here’s how Weltall can cancel his flight online:

Note:  Some folks report not being able to cancel online.  If this happens to Weltall, he will have to call British Airways at 800-452-1201 to cancel.  When he cancels over the phone he will pay a $55 cancellation fee and may have a $25 service charge

Step 1 – Login & Click “Manage My Account”

To cancel online he can log into his account, select “Executive Club” from the menu at the top of the page, then click “Manage My Account”

Cancel British Airways Award

Step 1 – Login & Click “Manage My Account”

Step 2 – Click “View All Bookings”

Select “View all Bookings” to see all of your award flights.

Cancel British Airways Award

Step 2 – Click “View all Bookings”

Step 3 – Find the Flight You Want to Cancel and Click “Manage My Booking”

Click “Manage My Booking next to the flight you want to cancel.

Cancel British Airways Award

Step 3 – Click “Manage My Booking”

Step 4 – Begin the Cancellation Process & Give Consent

Scroll to the bottom of the page and click “Cancel options for my booking.”

Cancel British Airways Award

Click “Cancellation Options for This Booking”

You will then see a consent page.

Cancel British Airways Award

If You Cancel Your Flight, Any Travel Companions on the Same Reservation Will Also Have Their Flights Canceled

You will have to call British Airways at 800-452-1201, if you don’t want to cancel other flights on the same reservation.

Click continue, if you would still like to proceed.

Step 5 – Enter Your Credit Card Number

Confirm your identity by entering your credit card number.

Cancel British Airways Award

Enter the Credit Card Number You Used When You Booked the Flight

Step 6 – Calculate Refund & Confirm Cancellation

British Airways will now tell you how much your refund will cost before you actually cancel.

Cancel British Airways Award

In This Example, You Will Only Forfeit the Taxes Because They Cost Less Than the $55 Cancellation Fee

Make sure your email address is correct.  When you’re ready, confirm you want to cancel your flight.

Cancel British Airways Award

Click “Confirm Cancellation” to Cancel Your Flight

Finally, you will receive a confirmation page.  It may take a few minutes for the points to show up in your account.

Will Weltall Pay $55 or Forfeit the Taxes?

It depends on how much he paid for his award flight.

Should he Pay the $55?

For example, if Weltall is flying from Miami to Lima, Peru, on American Airlines it would cost him 25,000 British Airways points and ~$69 in taxes.  In this case he will pay the $55 fee to get his 25,000 points back AND the $69 in taxes.

Cancel British Airways Award

If Weltall Plans on Canceling a Round-Trip Flight to Lima, He Will Pay $55 to Get His Points and Taxes Refunded

Or Pay the Taxes?

Booking domestic flights on American Airlines is a fantastic use of British Airways points because you only pay a small security fee.

So if Weltall also booked a separate flight from Washington, DC, to Miami on American Airlines, it would only cost him 15,000 British Airways Avios points and ~$11 in fees.

Cancel British Airways Award

Weltall Can Cancel This Flight Online Without Paying the $55 Cancellation Fee. He Will Get His Miles Refunded But He Will Forfeit ~$11

Because the $55 change fee is greater than the taxes, he’ll only have to forfiet the $11 he paid in taxes.

Paying ~$11 to cancel a flight is very cheap.  That’s why many folks use British Airways Avios points for booking speculatively.

You can book a flight months in advance when there is likely to be more available seats.  And even if you aren’t sure you can take the trip, it won’t cost you much to cancel the flight.

Other British Airways Cancellation Rules

Here are some other things Weltall should keep in mind before he cancels his award flight:

  • You must cancel at least 24 hours before your flight to get a refund
  • You can’t make changes to a round-trip award flight once you start the 1st segment of your trip
  • If you booked two 1-way awards instead of a round-trip flight, you will have to pay the $55 cancellation fee for each segment to get a full refund.

How to Earn British Airways Points

British Airways Avios points are useful because you can book short distance flights for cheap, it doesn’t cost much to cancel, and it’s easy to earn a ton of points.

You can earn 50,000 British Airways points by signing-up for the Chase British Airways card and completing $2,000 in spending within 3 months.  However, the $95 annual fee is NOT waived the 1st year.

Not only that, but you can also transfer points from Chase Ultimate Rewards cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred card AND American Express Membership Rewards cards like the AMEX Premier Rewards Gold card.

Bottom Line

Canceling your British Airways award flight over the phone will cost $75 ($55 change fee + $25 service fee).

But the cheap way to cancel your flight is online because you won’t have to pay the $25 service fee.  And you can pay the lesser value of either forfeiting any taxes and fees you paid for your ticket (if you cancel online) or pay the $55 cancellation fee.

For a short-haul award flight, you will likely forfeit the small amount of fees you paid for your ticket.  However, on longer fights where the taxes and fees for the tickets are high, it is worth paying the $55 cancellation fee to get a full refund.

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30 responses to “The Cheap Way to Cancel British Airways Award Tickets!

  1. OMG. Even your “bottom line” is way too verbose.
    * You usually can’t CXL an AA award flight that you have bought with Avios
    * You usually MUST call BA
    * Don’t even bother calling the US BA number. They never answer; no joke. Call Singapore or the UK
    * I have never been charged anything to CXL a flight, other than losing the $5 or$10 I spent as taxes fopr the flight that got CXL. I have always gotten my Avios back immediately. I donno where MMM is coming from with the $55 + $25, but it’s never happened to me.

  2. @Ken: Do you have BA call centers in SIN or UK? Thanks

  3. What if you have already canceled the cr. card you used to make the rez.? Forced to call I guess.

  4. I’m looking at a one way DTW-DCA using avois on AA flight. Are you saying no matter what I would be subject to $55 cancel fee considering its a one way? Had it been a r/t it would be possible to avoid $55 fee?

  5. When I call BA in USA, I may be on hold a while, but the agents are usually very good.
    Cancelling for just the taxes on award is great news! Thanks MMS!

  6. There’s an art in writing. Unfortunately, you don’t have it. Didn’t understand a thing in this post.

  7. Hi Daraius,

    I have a slightly off-topic question. If I travel on American Airlines flight using Avios points, do I earn any miles? I would assume I won’t but I’m just curious. I followed your other post about changing the BA freq flyer number to AA, so if I do earn miles, do I get miles on BA or AA?

    Thanks so much for your help! Please don’t listen to haters … I completely understand your posts.

  8. Need help with BA award ticket from Seattle to Rome….

    Flying from west coast to LHR, and LHR to Rome. Want to keep west coast to LHR, but want to reschedule the LHR to Rome flight; was told it was only award flight –requires 11 hour layover in LHR. Return trip starts at 8:30 pm from Rome–too late!

    1) if I cancel the LHR to Rome portion, will it impact the west coast to LHR portion of award ticket?

    2) if I cancel will some of the avios be returned?

    3) should I call BA and have them cancel/reschedule? or should I do on line?

    Thanks!

  9. So just to clarify I think the “deal” is
    ONLINE
    – if your taxes are less than $55 then you can just choose to forfeit the paid taxes (which can be as low as $2.50) and get back your miles without further penalty. This means you dont have to pay the $55 cancel fee and all you do is let BA take your taxes making it effectively as low as a $2.50 cancellation fee.
    – if your taxes and fees were > $55 then you would choose to pay the $55 cancellation fee to get back not only your miles but all the taxes you paid.

    ***there are reports that for AA redemption and AS redemption flights, BA.com will not give you an option to cancel online, in these cases you have to call in.
    – I think this will automatically generate at least the $25 call center fee.
    – but according some of of the respondents, this is debatable too?

    But this is the point where there is some confusion and wondering if you can clarify. If you have to CALL in to cancel flights.
    – do they absolutely charge you the $25 Call Center fee?
    – also do they also apply the same rules as in an online situation, meaning do they charge you the lesser of two evils: either forfeit your minuscule taxes OR get charged $55?
    – or is it, according to your article, an absolute $55 + 25 ($80) penalty for ALL bookings with no option to forfeit minuscule taxes as an option if you have to CALL to cancel.

    A clarification on these points would make this article more useful especially since we are mainly focusing on the “cheap” tax redemptions with AA/AS with the focus of this article.

    And also is there any speculation on what makes a booking “invalid” for online cancellation on BA.com?

  10. Pingback: Cancel British Airways Award Tickets - FlyerTalk Forums

  11. Pingback: avios cancellation/redeposit fee - FlyerTalk Forums

  12. Can’t see my AA booking on BA site. Tried to add using AA and BA record locators. No luck. How do you get your AA flights to show on BA site?

  13. I just cancelled a BA Avios reservation with 5 one-way tickets on AA. I was able to cancel online. I received all the points back within 3 minutes. My cancellation email also said BA is deposition the $28 I paid in taxes back onto my credit card. This is tremendous! It is almost as easy as cancelling a Southwest flight.

  14. Thank you, Daraius.

  15. Here is my yesterday’s cancellation experience,
    I booked BA rewards flight from IAD to LAX for 4 passengers using my Avios. My plans changed and I want to cancel the booking. For some reason I was not able to cancel it online, so there was no option and to call BA. I was expecting to pay $55 (cancellation) + $25(call center fee). I called them and mentioned that I want to cancel my booking and for some reason I am not able to do that online. CR told that since you are not able to do online we will waive phone service fee. She checked my booking and she told that since the taxes you paid ($22.40) is less than cancellation $55 charges, you will only forfeit $22.40 which you paid in taxes and you will not have to pay $55 cancellation charges. I asked her so if my taxes are lower than cancellation charges I will only forfeit taxes? She mentioned yes. After she cancelled the tickets I was able to see all the Avois refunded to my account instantly. So I did not paid $55 (cancellation) and $25 (call center fee)

  16. Rohit – do you know if it’s one way then also this works? Or is only on round trip – taxes are forfeited with no cancellation fees?

  17. Thank you. This post saved me about $100. I had an awards booking on AA with Avios for two of us. Wanted to change the date on my return. But the change fee was going to be $55 / person. I canceled instead (thanks to this post) and only had to forfeit the $20 we’d had paid in taxes. Now rebooking with my reinstated Avios for the new desired date. Thanks again.

  18. This article was very helpful. The BA website and way of organizing things is very different than how other airlines do it. They could learn a thing or two from Southwest Airlines’ site.

    My to be cancelled flight includes Japan Airlines and Alaska Airlines (with excessive taxes). Unfortunately, when I click the “Cancellation Options for this Booking” link, I get the pop-up message telling me “We are unable to process a refund for you online. Please contact us for all refund enquiries.” I hope I don’t get charged a service fee since I have no choice.

  19. Is the $55 fee per reservation or per person on a reservation?

  20. Just did an Avios cancellation. Terrified of being charged $55!! But it worked, and we only forfeited $11 in taxes for 2 people. Thanks again Daraius, you guys are the best!

  21. I just got screwed over with a cancellation and thought I’d warn people about my experience.

    It’s important to understand that BA takes the cancellation fee out of what you paid in cash, and if the balance drops below $0 they don’t charge you the excess.

    In my case, the award I wanted was 9,000 points + $19 in taxes, but I chose the cash + points option for 6,500 points + $59. When I went to cancel, they refunded 6,500 points and kept the entire $59 (this was in AUD so the cancellation fee would have been $63). In essence, they kept the cash portion of the cash + points in addition to the taxes since the total was less than the cancellation fee.

    The lesson is, if you’re making a speculative booking or one you may want to change, don’t use the cash + points option unless you’re prepared to pay up to the entire cancellation fee.

  22. Is this per person or per reservation? i.e. if I paid $165 taxes for 3 tickets (3x$55), do I pay $50 or $150 to cancel the entire reservation?

  23. You either pay cancellation and redeposit fee per ticket $55 x 3 persons = $165 or you say BA you can keep all my taxes, just give me back my miles, in your case $165.

    So in your case, it doesnt matter, same price either way.

  24. I just cancelled, apparently at 23 hours in, I lost my miles. No warning as such, just “it will be calculated according to …” and then gone.

  25. Did u mean u cancelled your ticket with 24hrs of scheduled flight ? If thats the case the terms and conditions have always stated complete forfeiture of miles for cancellations within 24hrs of flight. But I can appreciate if u meant it would have been nice to get a reminder of these terms before you hit the button. Maybe it would have changed ur mind and you would have elected to take the flight?

  26. Yes, yes, I know: I screwed up. I’d have like it to state that my miles would be forfeited if I continued. Other airlines (like United and American) allow cancellation, and then allow redeposit (for a fee), or to change the flight time (for a fee). It doesn’t seem automatically evident that I’d be out the miles.

  27. Called it to cancel a reservation as it wasnt showing up in my BA account online. They are claiming that I didn’t cancel 24 hours out, when I actually cancelled more than 30 hours out. I think they are getting their time zones confused, but now they are refusing to re-issue my Avios. Of course I never received a cancellation email from them so I don’t have any proof, other than what the original agent told me.

    Any thoughts on how to handle this?

  28. No, I cancelled well over 30 hours in advance of the flight, but I was in Hawaii and it seems like they are getting time zones messed up (as maybe it was within 24 hours London time?). Again, I called in to make the cancellation as the reservation wasn’t showing up in my BA account (presumably bc I used the Finair site to add my AA FF number to get premium seats).

    The rules clearly state that its 24hrs from departure time, which I assume would be in the time zone of the departure city, right? What am I missing? Any thoughts on recournce?