Here’s What You Need to Know About Canceling Flights Paid With Bank Points

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Here’s What You Need to Know About Canceling Flights Paid With Bank Points

JasonHere’s What You Need to Know About Canceling Flights Paid With Bank PointsMillion Mile Secrets Team

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When your travel plans change, most airlines will make you pay to cancel your ticket.  But what happens when you cancel a flight that was paid for with bank points?

Here's What You Need To Know About Canceling Flights Paid With Bank Points
Where Do All Those Points Go When You Cancel a Flight That Was Paid for With Bank Points?

Million Mile Secrets Agent Paula asked:

Is it possible to cancel a reward ticket and get your Chase Ultimate Rewards points back?

It depends on whether you transferred your Chase points to a travel partner or paid for the flight with points through the Chase travel portal, Paula.

Once you transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to a partner, you can NOT get them back into your Chase Ultimate Rewards account.  And if you paid with points through the Chase travel portal, you’ll only get your Chase Ultimate Rewards points refunded if you cancel within 24 hours of booking.  After that, your refund will be subject to the rules of the airline you booked with!

What Happens When You Cancel a Ticket You Paid for With Points?

If you pay with Chase Ultimate Rewards points through the Chase travel portal, you have 24 hours to cancel your flight and receive a full refund of your Chase Ultimate Rewards 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).

Here's What You Need To Know About Canceling Flights Paid With Bank Points
The Airline’s Cancellation Policy Will Apply to Flights Paid for With Points That Are Canceled More Than 24 Hours After Booking

Every airline has different rules and fees.  Southwest doesn’t charge a change fee!  And other airlines, like American Airlines, charge $200 for changes or cancellations.

Remember, flights bought with points are treated like a cash purchase.  So 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

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.  Because American Airlines charges a $200 change or cancellation fee. 🙁

What About Paying With Other Miles or Points?

Other flexible points have similar cancellation rules for paying with points.  If you cancel any time beyond the 24-hour window, you will have to follow the airline’s cancellation policies.

If you cancel flights booked with these points within 24 hours, you’ll get:

Bottom Line

Folks love using bank points 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.  And after that, your refund will be subject to the rules of the airline you booked with.

I hope this helps, Paula!

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  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards

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PLEASE DO NOT GET THE Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card,
ITS THE WORST, WHEN YOU BOOKED TRAVEL AND THE FLIGHT IS CANCELLED, THEY STILL HAVE THE FLIGHT AS BEING ACTIVE, I HAD A EMAIL FROM THE AIRLINE THAT MY FLIGHT WAS CANCELLED WHEN CALL CHASE I WAS TOLD THAT I AM WRONG. I BEG YOU NOT TO GET THIS CARD

In some cases, if you cancel a purchased ticket you still have up to a year to use it, correct? (and paying the cancellation fee) Is that also true when you use portal points?

Million Mile Secrets

Yes, if you cancel 24 hours or more after booking with points your refund will be subject to the same rules as a cash ticket. But those rules vary depending on which type of fare you purchased. If it is refundable, you should get a travel voucher for the price minus any cancellation fee.

If purchased with the Chase Reserve through the Portal-you can get your points back if you cancel for a qualifying reason through their insurance policy. I had to cancel a trip and everything was refunded under that benefit. I had to provide documentation of the medical reason that it was cancelled and some other documents, but everything was refunded. Wonderful benefit to the card-I had never cancelled a vacation before. Always check your card benefits. The reason you are cancelling may be covered.

Million Mile Secrets

This is good to know. Yet another reason to know your card’s benefits!

What happens if you buy insurance for the flight?

Million Mile Secrets

Then you would have to file a claim with the insurance company and meet their requirements for a claim. You most likely would need to have some sort of an emergency to qualify for a payout, depending on the insurance.

I called to cancel and asked to have the points back instead of a statement credit. It works.

Million Mile Secrets

That’s good to hear. What points program did you book the flight with?