The Cheap Way to Cancel British Airways Award Tickets!

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The Cheap Way to Cancel British Airways Award Tickets!

Million Mile SecretsThe Cheap Way to Cancel British Airways Award Tickets!Million Mile Secrets Team

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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 $3,000 in spending within 3 months.  However, the $95 annual fee is NOT waived the first 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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I just went to cancel a BA Avios flight that is for next Tuesday (6 days out) and the strange thing is I had to check the boxes that I agree with their procedure and they never said WHAT I’d be charged!!!

I had to click to confirm and the rules said they’ll tell me afterwards what the penalty is, what I get refunded, etc.

Kept me completely in the dark and I just have to wait to see what I get in the email lottery!?!

Is that new?

Just as a reference point, today (11/02/2017), the day after I cancelled online as described above, I received all of my Avios back.

I never did get an email yet, but I’m assuming that BA took it upon themselves to assume I’d rather lose the $5.60 than 37,500 Avios.

With (semi)recent BA changes, just seeing if people can verify if this policy is still in effect?


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?

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?

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.

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