How to Cancel a Delta Air Lines Flight [Points or Cash Ticket Purchases]

Delta Air Lines Plane Taking Off
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Sometimes plans change and you are forced to cancel a flight that you had been looking forward to for months. If you’ve ever been in a position where you needed to cancel a flight, you know the process can be both expensive and complicated.

If you happened to book your flight with Delta Air Lines and need to cancel, you’re in the right place! Here’s all the information you need to navigate its 2021 cancellation policy and determine what policies apply to your situation.

Cancellation Policies Due to COVID-19 (Read First)

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Delta Air Lines is waiving all change fees for tickets purchased before April 17, 2020, for travel between March 1, 2020, and April 30, 2021, and you will have until December 31, 2022, to rebook.

For tickets purchased in 2021, all change fees and award redeposit fees have been permanently eliminated for travel originating from North America and the Caribbean (excluding Basic Economy fares after April 30, 2021). Award tickets for travel in the U.S. can also be canceled or changed at any time prior to departure. If you choose to cancel your ticket that expired or was purchased in 2021, the unused value may be used toward the purchase of a new ticket by December 31, 2022, and any fare difference may apply.

View the full policy here. If you booked via a third party, refer to your booking provider for its policies.

With cancellation policies due to COVID-19 being ever-changing, for the most up-to-date policies across all airlines, please refer to our COVID-19 Airline Cancellations article.

Delta’s Cancellation Policy: Flights Paid With Cash or Points

Time PeriodBasic EconomyNon-Refundable Tickets With Travel Originating from North America (Excluding Basic Economy)Non-Refundable Tickets With Travel Originating Outside of North AmericaRefundable /Flex Tickets
During 24-hour risk-free cancellation periodNo ChargeNo ChargeNo ChargeNo Charge
After 24-hour risk-free cancellation periodNot permittedNo ChargeRemaining value minus $0 to $500 cancellation feeRefundable
Within 24 hours of flight departureNot permittedNo ChargeRemaining value minus $0 to $500 cancellation feeRefundable

All customers will have 24 hours from the time of the original booking to cancel a reservation without being charged a cancellation fee, regardless of fare selected.

Basic Economy Tickets

If you’ve purchased a basic economy ticket, you have 24 hours from the time the ticket purchased was placed to cancel. Afterward, you will no longer be permitted to cancel your ticket and will be on the hook for the full amount.

Non-Refundable Ticket With Travel Originating From North America

For Delta tickets purchased after December 9, 2020, cancellation fees are not applicable for travel originating from North America to anywhere in the world. Flights operated by joint venture and codeshare partners are included.

After canceling your ticket, the value of your fare will be refunded to you as an eCredit that you can redeem on a future flight with Delta within 1 year from the original issue date; any fare difference may apply.

Non-Refundable Ticket With Travel Originating Outside of North America

After your 24-hour grace period, the cancellation fee for a non-refundable ticket can range from $0 to $500 depending on the location you’re traveling to.

Ticket cancellation fees for flights originating from outside of North America range from $200 to $500; the fee depends on the length of the flight, location, and type of fare).

After canceling your ticket, the remaining value of your fare (minus the cancellation fee) will be refunded to you as an eCredit that you can redeem on a future flight with Delta within 1 year from the original issue date; any fare difference may apply.

Refundable Ticket

If you shelled out the extra cash to purchase a refundable ticket, cancellations can be made anytime before the departure of your flight and the refund will be issued to your original payment method.

Award Ticket

Delta SkyMiles award tickets for travel within the U.S. can be canceled without fee any time prior to departure.

For award tickets that originate outside of the U.S., cancellations must be made at least 72 hours in advance of the departure or return of the flight. Award ticket cancellation fees are a flat fee of $150 regardless of fare class or destination, but the fee is waived if you’re a SkyMiles Platinum or Diamond Medallion member.

After canceling your ticket and paying the $150 cancellation fee, all of the miles that you used to book the flight will be deposited back into your account.

Hot Tip: Looking for even more information about canceling award tickets? Explore our guide on canceling award tickets, including information on over 30 carriers, to learn more.

Delta’s Flight Change Policy

As with cancellations, all customers will have 24 hours from the time of their original booking to change their reservation without being charged a fee, regardless of fare selected.

Time PeriodBasic EconomyNon-Refundable Tickets Refundable /Flex Tickets
During 24-hour risk-free cancellation periodNo Charge + fare differenceNo Charge + fare differenceNo Charge + fare difference
After 24-hour risk-free cancellation periodNot permittedNo Charge + fare differenceNo Charge + fare difference
Within 24 hours of flight departureNot permittedFrom $75 when availableFrom $75 when available

Basic Economy

If you’ve purchased a basic economy ticket you are not permitted to make any changes to your flight itinerary after the 24-hour grace period has passed.

Non-Refundable Tickets

Delta no longer charges change fees for domestic and international tickets purchased or for travel (excluding Basic Economy after April 30, 2021).

Same-day flight change fees are $75. The same-day change fee is waived for all Delta SkyMiles Gold, Platinum, and Diamond Medallions members. Same-day changes are only eligible on flights in the U.S., Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands.

If you’re changing your flight because you’ve found a cheaper option, the remaining value of your fare (minus the change fee) will be refunded to you as an eCredit that you can redeem on a future flight with Delta.

Refundable Ticket

With a refundable ticket, changes can be made anytime until 24 hours before the departure of your flight and there is no fee to do so — all you will need to pay is the difference in price. If you’re changing to a cheaper flight, the difference in fare will be refunded to your original method of payment.

Award Ticket

Delta does not charge change fees for award tickets.

How to Cancel a Flight on Delta

Step 1: Log into your account on Delta’s homepage and select “My Trips.”

Delta My Trips
Select “My Trips” to change or cancel your Delta flights. Image Credit: Delta

Step 2: Once you’ve selected the trip you want to change or cancel, select “Modify Flight.”

Delta Modify Flight Button
Image Credit: Delta

Step 3: Chose to either change or cancel your flight.

Delta Change Options
Image Credit: Delta

Step 4: If you’re changing your ticket you can now go through the process of selecting a new flight. If you’re canceling your ticket, the next page will list the flight itinerary you want to cancel. To finalize, you just need to press “cancel” or “request refund” depending on your type of ticket.

How to Use Delta Travel eCredit

If you have eCredits in your account they can be viewed by logging in at delta.com with your SkyMiles number. Go to “My Delta” and open the Certificates and eCredits module within “My Wallet.”

When you’re ready to redeem your eCredits, simply book a flight as you normally would as the option to redeem your eCredits will be presented when you’re ready to finalize the transaction. The maximum number of eCredits allowed with the purchase is 3 per ticket. Keep in mind that each eCredit must be used within 1 year of the date you received it.

Hot Tip: Have more than 3 eCredits that you want to use for your round-trip ticket? Split that round-trip ticket into 2 one-way trips and you can use 3 eCredits on the first ticket and another 3 on your return trip!

Final Thoughts

In summary, if you’re worried that you may need to cancel your flight and want to make sure you can get a refund, flex or refundable fares are going to be your best, albeit more expensive, option.

Having to deal with canceling a flight can be difficult enough as it is, but knowledge is power. Be certain to review fare rules closely so that you know what your options are both at the time of booking, and if you end up needing to cancel.


Frequently asked questions

What happens if I cancel my Delta flight?

That depends on what fare type you’ve purchased and whether or not you’ve purchased a refundable ticket.

If you’ve purchased a basic economy ticket, you are not permitted to cancel the ticket for a refund after the 24-hour grace period from when your ticket was purchased.

If you have a non-refundable ticket, flights originating from North America can be canceled for free. Flights originating from outside of North America will range from $200 to $500 (depending on the length of the flight, location, and type of fare). Afterward, you will receive the remainder of your fare, minus the fee, in the form of an eCredit for use on a future Delta flight.

If you have a refundable or flex ticket you can cancel anytime before the departure of your flight and you will be reimbursed on your original method of payment.

Can I cancel a Delta flight within 24 hours?

Yes, all customers will have 24 hours from the time of their original booking to cancel their reservation without being charged a cancellation fee, regardless of fare selected.

What happens if you cancel a non-refundable flight?

Non-refundable tickets with flights originating from North America can be canceled for free.

To cancel a non-refundable ticket for flights originating from outside of North America, you will be required to pay between $200 and $500 depending on the length of the flight, location, and type of fare. The remaining fare will be given to you as an eCredit for future use on a Delta flight.

When do Delta eCredits expire?

Your eCredit will expire exactly 1 year after its issue date.

Will Delta waive my cancellation fees?

It really all depends on your reason for canceling the flight. If it’s due to an immediate family member’s death or sickness, Delta may waive your cancel fees, but they may ask for proof.

If you believe you have a legitimate reason to have your cancellation fees waived then it never hurts to call and ask!

Jarrod West

About Jarrod West

Jarrod first became fascinated with the world of points and miles as the perfect way to visit dream destinations without breaking the bank. On his first major award trip, he spent 3 months traveling through Europe, financed nearly entirely with points; while flying in premium cabins and staying in 5-star hotels along the way. Now, he is on a mission to help others realize their travel goals and upgrade their travel experiences. Jarrod has been writing about credit cards and travel loyalty programs for 4 years, and his work has been featured by Travel and Leisure, Matador Network, Yahoo Finance, and U.S. News.

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33 comments

  1. What is the best way to request a refund for a Delta airline ticket that had to be cancelled because of illness. Do you want me to call you (what is the 800#?) or send you an email and what information do you need to complete this transaction? . Thank you, Linda

    Reply

    • Hi Linda,
      We aren’t Delta. We are Upgraded Points, a miles and points travel blog. You can reach Delta customer service at 800-221-1212. Good luck!

      Reply

      • I have a question about an ecredit I got for canceling my flight recently. I got a $150 ecredit and I am booking a flight for sometime later in the year, the new flight is $70, will I keep the $80 as ecredit or will I forfeit it?

        Reply

        • Hi Al,

          Yes, Delta will allow you to apply the $80 of residual value to another ticket as long as you use it before the eCredit expires.

          Reply

  2. Victoria Dippold December 16, 2019

    Flights booked with points were cancelled due to a death of a family member. Where do I send the death certificate and what else do I need to reinstate my points. Thank you

    Reply

    • Hi Victoria,

      Did you book your flight with Delta? If so, just contact their customer service team and they can give you instructions on where exactly it would need to be sent. I’m very sorry for your loss.

      Reply

  3. Great article! Any idea what happens if I purchase a refundable ticket with an ecredit but later need to cancel?

    The Delta site says you’ll be refunded by method of payment of cash, check or charge. However, nothing is said regarding ecredit. Would a new ecredit be issued or is the amount lost?

    Reply

  4. I booked LAX>WLG with miles back in February for a flight on 4/4/20. When I try to cancel the booking the system wants $300. to cancel. Several reports are that this should be a no charge transaction due to the coronavirus changes.
    Delta by phone is unavailable….it offers a 6+ hour wait time.
    Suggestions?

    Reply

    • Hi John. Yes, phone lines are severely backed up right now. The online self-serve system employs the normal cancellation process and may not waive fees due to the virus waiver. You can wait until closer to your departure date (within a week or so) and hopefully call volume will diminish or you can try @Delta on twitter. Even on Twitter there will be a wait for a reply, however.

      Reply

  5. Randall Wolken March 21, 2020

    We have been trying To cancel this flight (0708 confirmation # XXXX). Cancun to Indy. April 4th) for weeks. Due to the Coronavirus we are not ALLOWED to fly. We are worried we will not get a refund. Can you please help me with this? This is March 21,2020. Thank You
    Randall Wolken

    Reply

  6. Never having bought a fully refundable airline ticket before, how “refundable” are they? Do they give every penny back, or are there still fees? I don’t really care what airline or destination, I just need to make a large “purchase”, on my credit card, then return it later. Which airlines typically return 100% of fully refundable tickets? Does Delta, for example, do this? In other words, if the ticket is $5,000, do they give you back $5,000, or $4,900? Happy Easter!

    Reply

    • Hi Jen,

      Fully refundable airline tickets are just that, fully refundable. As in, whatever price you pay for the ticket, whether it be $500 or $5,000, will be fully refunded back to your method of payment. You will not have to pay any cancellation fees whatsoever. Many airlines offer these fares, including Delta. Happy Easter!

      Reply

  7. April 14 Delta’s wait time is over four hours on the phone. The MODIFY FLIGHT red button is a dead end with this message:

    Is Delta not allowing by default changes or cancellations! I am not able to modify or cancel my flight seven or six days out now.

    Help!

    Error Oh no! We’re sorry, but this system is not available at this time. Please try again later.
    If this problem persists, please call our Online Customer Support Desk at 1-888-750-3284 for assistance.
    For non-U.S based customers, please call Delta Reservations, opens in new window for your country. #SHO006
    Coronavirus Travel Updates: If you are still unable to retrieve your reservation, your flight may have been canceled due to a schedule change and you may be eligible for an eCredit. Visit our guide to help locate your eCredits and instructions on how you can redeem.

    Reply

    • Hi Jeanne,

      If their online systems are not operating correcting then it seems the only recourse would be to call their customer support desk. You could also try contacting their customer support team on Twitter.

      Reply

  8. I had eCredit from a canceled trip in 2020. I just used it to buy a round-trip flight on Delta (paying the difference with a credit card). The person I’m traveling with is not fully vaccinated and would have to quarantine after arriving at the destination. It no longer makes sense to go on the trip. I am going to cancel the ticket, does anyone know if they will give me my eCredit back? I know I have 24 hours to cancel for a full refund, but out of pocket the flight cost me $37, and the majority of the flight was paid for with the eCredit. Thanks!

    Reply

  9. Christine Ice April 24, 2021

    I purchased tickets in January of 202 for myself, my husband, and my brother-in-law to attend my nieces wedding on March 21, 2020, in Jacksonville, FL. Of course, the wedding was cancelled so we cancelled our tickets. I read above that the tickets are useable until December of 2022. Thank you.
    My question is: can my daughter-in-law use one of those tickets to go to fly to Orlando, FL?

    Reply

    • Hi Christine,

      Unfortunately, the eCredits for your Delta tickets can only be used by the person they were originally issued to.

      Reply

  10. If I book a main award ticket using miles and then need to cancel will all the miles be returned to my account or will I be issued an ecredit?

    Reply

  11. Is an award ticket the same as using miles to purchase a ticket?

    Reply

  12. We booked flights to Europe and home from Russia using Delta air miles. We paid cash for seat upgrades. The tour we were going on was canceled so we canceled our flights. After a very long phone call, we got all our air miles refunded and the taxes we were charged and the seat upgrades were also refunded, but they are now charging us almost $500 for “non-refundable taxes” on our air miles. I have never heard of these taxes. I asked how they could be nom-refundable since we didn’t pay them in the first place.

    Reply

  13. I read that that Delta doesn’t charge a fee if you cancel your flight. But what if you cancel only your return flight? Are you charged any fee?

    Reply

  14. Is it better to be a no-show or cancel the flight of a Non-Refundable Basic Economy ticket? I won’t get any money back either way. Would I at least get to keep my Skymiles if I kept the ticket and was a no-show?

    Reply

    • Hi Jennifer,

      No, if you do not show up for the flight you will not be able to keep the Skymiles either.

      Reply

    • Delta has a basic economy fee waiver for flights bought after Apr 2021. You Should be able to cancel for a credit.

      Reply

  15. The article says ” For award tickets with travel outside of the U.S., cancellations must be made at least 72 hours in advance of the departure or return of the flight. Award ticket cancellation fees are a flat fee of $150 regardless of fare class or destination, but the fee is waived if you’re a SkyMiles Platinum or Diamond Medallion member. After canceling your ticket and paying the $150 cancellation fee, all of the miles that you used to book the flight will be deposited back into your account.” But I’m not sure this is correct. Delta on their website writes: “Effective December 9, 2020 for travel originating from North America to anywhere in the world (including flights operated by joint venture and codeshare partners), Members may change or cancel Award tickets for travel without a redeposit or change fee, excluding Basic Economy fares.” https://www.delta.com/us/en/skymiles/how-to-use-miles/travel-with-miles So does the $150 fee apply to tickets with travel outside the US or originating outside the US?

    Reply

    • Hi Steven,

      Thank you for pointing that out. The $150 fee applies to tickets that originate outside of the U.S., so I’ve tweaked that sentence to make that more clear. Thanks for reading!

      Reply

Any thoughts or questions? Comment below!

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