So you’re looking forward to a trip months away, already beginning to check ticket prices, when you find a fare you’d really like to nab. But the friend who said he’d be in town during that time period hasn’t confirmed. Also, your boss hasn’t approved your vacation request and probably won’t for a week because she’s on vacation herself.
If you don’t buy the ticket now, your low fare could disappear. If you do and your gamble doesn’t end up panning out, you could pay an average of $200 in fees to change your itinerary. Those risks can suck the fun right out fare hunting.
Frontier Airlines is trying to change that calculus. The airline, which already had a relatively low change fee of $99 per traveler, has eliminated the fee entirely for itineraries modified at least 90 days before departure, and it’s dropped the charge to $49 for flights changed anywhere from 14 to 89 days before departure. Those fees are on top of any fare differences you incur with your new travel dates.
The most remarkable thing about Frontier’s new policy is that it includes cancellations. You can buy a ticket many months in advance, cancel 91 days or more before departure, and get a full refund.
» Learn more: Landing the best airfare is a matter of timing
Frontier is the 10th largest airline in the country in terms of passengers served, with a market niche aimed squarely at cost-conscious travelers. Their standard seats are tight, many just 28 or 29 inches from the back of your seat to the back of the seat in front of you. And their baggage policy could offset some of your savings, with only small carry-ons allowed and fees up to $60 for larger bags. So be sure to factor in those considerations when comparing fares.
The new change fees could be as beneficial for Frontier as they are for passengers: They make it easier for you to pull the trigger and pull out your travel credit card, even before your out-of-town friend and jet-setting boss get back to you.
How to maximize your rewardsYou want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2018, including those best for:
- Airline miles and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®).
- Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card (Earn unlimited 2 miles per dollar on every purchase).
- Premium travel rewards: Chase Sapphire Reserve® (Get 3 points per dollar on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases).
- No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card (Earn unlimited 1.5 points per dollar spent on all purchases, with no annual fee).
- Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express (Get 5 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or through American Express Travel, plus get access to the Global Lounge Collection). Terms Apply.
Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice:
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9 easy ways to earn travel rewards you’ll actually use