COVID-19 has left many of us picking up the pieces of our travel plans. Airlines have helped by offering some unprecedented flexibility, with free change and cancellation on almost any new or existing tickets.
Delta has gone farther than most, allowing free change and cancellation to any ticket booked by March 30, 2021 – even for travel far in the future. Even award tickets booked using SkyMiles and Delta basic economy fares qualify for free change or cancellation.
And with prices on Delta (and many other airlines) dropping to new lows, we had a theory: What would happen if the price of a ticket we already had booked with Delta dropped? Would Delta give you a refund or a voucher for the difference?
The answer: Yes. Read on for our experience, how you might be able to get ahead when the price of your flight drops, and everything you need to know.
How to Get a Delta Voucher When the Price of Your Booked Flight Drops
First things first: You need to know when the price of your flight drops.
Just enter the flight you booked and turn on the “Track prices” toggle – you’ll need a Gmail account to do it. From here, Google Flights will monitor the price of the flight and alert you via email any time the price changes. Of course, you’ll need to know what you originally paid for your flight.
If your flight drops in price, you should be able to reach out to Delta and get a voucher for the price difference.
Thrifty Traveler founder Jared has tested this out several times over the last few months. There are two easy options: Use the “Modify Flights” button in your Delta online account or message Delta (via the Delta app).
Modify Flight via Delta.com (Easiest Method)
Go to “My Trips” in your Delta account and pull up your “Trip Details”. Then click “Modify Flight”.
Then under “Change Flight” click “Start Flight Change”. Check the boxes for the flights you would like to change (all of them) and select the same dates and flights you originally booked. You can of course change the dates for free as well.
Once you have selected the flights, you should see a screen which will show you the original price you paid and the new price, the difference will be issued to you as a voucher. Once this is complete you can find the voucher in your Delta account. It’s that easy!
The Delta App Method
This will require more time than using the method above but you can use the Delta app and message Delta via the directions below.
Curious if how Delta was handling these changes was the norm or a byproduct of holding Delta’s Platinum medallion status, we enlisted the help of our Thrifty Traveler Premium Facebook community. And it turns out it wasn’t an isolated incident.
We received many more responses which all but confirmed getting a voucher from Delta for the fare difference was possible.
But as always, if you don’t get the answer you are hoping for, we recommend hanging up and calling again – or starting a new online chat with a different agent. Keep in mind that even the fine print of Delta’s policies suggests this won’t work. Still, it’s possible to make it happen.
Once you’ve confirmed a price drop, just send Delta a message via their text message support. Once you start, text “representative” which will get you an agent on the line.
From there, just ask the agent for a voucher for the price difference of your flight, including all the details of your flight. That includes your confirmation number, the routing, the dates of travel, and of course your name.
Things to Keep In Mind
We have to stress again: Your mileage may vary.
Some agents seem more willing to dole out the voucher credits than others. And if that is your experience, we always suggest chatting with a different agent to see if the answer changes. But at the end of the day, the worst that can happen is they say no. There is really no reason not to ask if the price of your booked travel goes down in price. Again we highly suggest you just use method #1 mentioned above to modify your flights online, no call or text required.
One thing to note is that if you have already made a request for a voucher for the fare difference to the itinerary in question, you won’t be eligible to do it again. It seems Delta will only allow you to do this one time – even if you have canceled the itinerary yourself for a voucher and rebooked.
That means you may want to wait to request the voucher until there is a substantial price difference – not just a few bucks.
Delta’s Official Policy
It’s unclear whether this should even be possible.
Delta’s website on their waiver and cancelation policy officially suggests otherwise. If you change a ticket to the same flight, on the same dates, same origin, and destination, you won’t get the fare difference back as a credit. That’s a common policy to stop travelers from pocketing the difference when their flight price drops.
But in practice, Delta is doing something different. So while their official policy says this won’t work, it absolutely appears to be working. And remember, the worst that can happen is they turn you down (which seems unlikely at this point).
Compare that with United, who since the beginning of the pandemic has been pocketing the fare difference if you use your voucher to book a less expensive itinerary – regardless of your travel plans.
More often than not, Delta has lead the way with flexibility and customer-friendly policies this year. They’ve really been a beacon of customer service excellence during the COVID-19 crisis.
If you have travel booked with Delta, keep an eye on the price of your flights. Delta will likely dole out vouchers for fare differences if prices drop. You can get these via your online account or simply messaging Delta.
Lead photo courtesy of Chris Lundberg via Flickr.