Everything to know when canceling or changing flights purchased with Chase Ultimate Rewards

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While change fees are (thankfully) becoming a thing of the past, most airlines will still make you pay to cancel your ticket. But what happens when you cancel a flight that was paid for with bank points? If you booked your flight using Chase Ultimate Rewards points, earned with one of the top cards for travel like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, will you get your points back if you cancel your ticket?

When you modify a flight that has been paid for with Ultimate Rewards points, the cancellation and change policies and fees will vary depending on which airline you booked. That’s because your ticket is subject to the policies of the individual airline.

Where do all those points go when you cancel a flight that was paid for with bank points? (Photo by TierneyMJ/Shutterstock)

What happens when you change or cancel a ticket you paid for with Chase Ultimate Rewards points?

What happens to your flexible rewards if you cancel your ticket depends first on whether you transferred your Ultimate Rewards points to a travel partner or paid for the flight with points through Chase’s travel portal. 

Once you transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to a travel partner, for example, you cannot reverse the transfer. But if you pay with bank points using the Chase travel portal, you’ve got options when it comes to changes and cancellations.

Most U.S. carriers (American, Delta, United and Alaska) have permanently eliminated change fees. So if you need to change a flight booked with Ultimate Rewards points on any of these carriers, you won’t face any extra fees. 

For ticket changes, first, check on the carrier’s website. If you’re unable to process a change there, you can request a cancellation using Chase’s online cancellation form or by chatting with a Chase representative via the Chase Travel Portal. 

Then, call Chase Travel to rebook your travel. Just note that you will have to pay any fare differences that result from the change.

If you wish to cancel your flight booked with Ultimate Rewards, you have 24 hours to cancel and receive a full refund of your points. If you wait longer than that to cancel, you will not get your points back. And any refund or cancellation fees will depend on which airline you booked with and the type of fare you booked (refundable or non-refundable).

Every airline has different rules and fees. For example, American Airlines charges $200 for cancellations. And because flights bought with points are treated as a cash purchase, you will pay the fees associated with purchased tickets, not the fees charged for award flights. 

Here's What You Need To Know About Canceling Flights Paid With Bank Points
If you cancel a non-refundable fare (after 24 hours) booked with Chase Ultimate Rewards points, you could lose out on points & cash — a total bummer.

For example, if you paid the 22,688 Chase Ultimate Rewards points for the ~$283 ticket shown above, you would only get ~$83 back if you canceled. That’s because American Airlines charges a $200 cancellation fee.

Here’s our in-depth guide to the cancellation policies of major U.S. airlines.

Bottom line

Many people love using Chase Ultimate Rewards, earned with cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, to pay for flights because you still earn frequent flyer miles and elite status on your free flight.

But when you cancel a flight paid with transferable points, you must cancel within 24 hours of booking, or you will not get your points back. After that, your refund will be subject to the rules of the airline with which you booked.

Meghan Hunter is an editor for Million Mile Secrets. She covers points, miles, credit cards, airlines, hotels and general travel. Her work has also appeared in The Points Guy.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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