More than a year later, 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 most new tickets throughout the last year.
And Delta has gone farther than most, allowing free change and cancellation, including for travel far in the future. Even award tickets booked using SkyMiles and Delta basic economy fares booked before April 30, 2021, can be changed or canceled free – though as of May 1, 2021, you must book at least main cabin to qualify for free changes.
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 and how you might be able to get ahead when the price of your flight drops after you booked it.
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 details of your upcoming flight, find yours, 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 remember what you originally paid.
If your flight drops in price, you should be able to reach out to Delta – or make the changes yourself in your online account – and get a voucher for the price difference.
I have a flight this fall from Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) to Dallas (DFW). My dates were not flexible so I had been tracking the flight via Google Flights price alerts. I ended up booking last week.
But on Wednesday, I got a Google Flights price alert email that the price of the fare had dropped substantially.
Once you get a notification that the price has gone down, there are two easy options: Simply use the “Modify Flights” button in your Delta account online or message Delta (via the Delta app).
Modify Flight via Delta.com (Easiest Method)
First things first: Make sure your flight is eligible for a free change. It should be so long as:
- You booked any kind of ticket by April 30, 2021.
- You booked at least a Delta Main Cabin ticket from May 1 and onward.
If your flight fits the bill, head 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 without paying a fee. However, Delta may charge you more if the replacement flights are more expensive.
Once you select flights, you should see a screen showing you the original price you paid and the new price – the difference will be issued to you as an eCredit. Once complete, you can find the voucher in your Delta account. Within a few minutes, I had an eCredit in my account for the $38 fare difference.
It’s that easy!
Read up on how to use Delta eCredits and vouchers for your next trip!
Bonus: You may even get up to 2,500 bonus SkyMiles for completing a flight change online!
The Delta App Method
It could take more time than using the method above – especially as airline customer support centers get hammered with calls and requests – but you can also use the Delta app and message Delta.
In our experience, this could be the better option if you need to change dates and the prices are more expensive as the agent may be able to waive the fare difference. If that isn’t the case, stick to the method above – it will be easier and faster.
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, 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.
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. If that is your experience, try again later – we always suggest chatting with a different agent to see if the answer changes.
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 at least trying to modify your flights online (with no call or text required) as it will only take a few minutes.
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 may not 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, which for more than a year was pocketing the fare difference if you use your voucher to book a less expensive itinerary – regardless of your travel plans. Fortunately, the airline has since stopped that practice.
More often than not, Delta has lead the way with flexibility and customer-friendly policies this year. While there have been hiccups and speed bumps along the way, 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.