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jun 04 2010

Delta drops fees for booking reward seats at the last minute

The airline's frequent fliers will no longer have to pay fees of $75 to $150 to trade in miles for a flight that's departing in less than three weeks. But the news isn't entirely positive.

The dropping of a fee is obviously a welcomed change for travelers. And in this case, the idea of having to pay for the right to book a free flight sure seems odd to begin with. But let's not get too crazy. Delta and many other airlines still seem addicted to fees, and that isn't likely to change anytime soon. At the same time that Delta dropped its last-minute rewards seat fee, the airline in fact increased another fee regarding reward flights. As explained in the carrier's Award Ticket FAQs:

The Award reissue fee is determined based on the original date the ticket was issued. The $150USD reissue fee will only apply to Awards ticketed on or after June 2, 2010. The reissue fee for Award tickets issued prior to June 2 is $100USD.

In other words, from now on, if you book a flight with miles and later want to change it, you'll probably have to pay a fee of $150, up from $100.

Another problem with Delta's frequent flier program was demonstrated in a recent study, in which researchers attempted to book flights with miles on 22 different airlines. Southwest Airlines scored the top position, with reward flights available on 99.3 percent of the attempts. By far the two worst airlines were US Airways and Delta, which offered availability only 10.7 and 12.9 percent of the time, respectively.

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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