Got tons of miles? Need to use them last-minute? Let's charge a bucket on the close-in fee.
Luckily, it looks like this fee may finally be on its way out, except for one airline left. Though some folks never implemented it like Alaska, the big legacy carriers have always held out. In November, this all changed when Delta became the first big airline to eliminate the fee; shortly after, United followed suit.
The award close-in fee (usually around $75) is usually charged when an award flight is booked close to departure, usually about 21 days or less out. Great for family emergencies.
The news hasn't all been great. Both Delta and United have dropped their fixed award pricing right around the same time, and have reportedly moved to a more dynamic, less transparent model (aka, more miles).
Recently, it's been reported that American has silently eliminated the fee, so if we can keep this merry round going without the mileage increases, we're all for that.
Still, the message is pretty clear: Stay away from Frontier if you need to cash out some miles, and fly last-minute. It does look like, though, that the days of the award close-in fee may, well, be at a close.
|Airline||Close-In Fee||Close-In Period|
|American||n/a [recently eliminated]||n/a|
|Delta||n/a [recently eliminated]||n/a|
|Frontier||$15-$75 (there's a magic trick)||$15 for 21-179 days
$50 for 7-20 days
$75 under 6 days
|United||n/a [recently eliminated]||n/a|