Good morning everyone, happy Friday! A few months ago, I used Citi ThankYou Points to book an Alaska Airlines flight from San Francisco (SFO) to Orange County (SNA) for Mother’s Day Weekend. Fast forward to Tuesday April 28 when I received this email regarding my airline reservation. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, there was a schedule change to my Alaska Airlines flight. I knew for the last several weeks that I was not going to fly down to Orange County, but I was hoping Alaska Airlines would cancel the flights and provide a full refund. In this post, I will show what would happen if I cancelled the airline reservation through the Alaska Airlines website vs. cancelling through the Citi ThankYou Portal (which is what I did) and explain why you SHOULD NOT cancel through the Citi ThankYou Portal.
When I signed into my Alaska Airlines account and went to my airline reservation, there is a Cancel button to cancel the flight. Further down this post, you will see how big the schedule change was, but for now, that is not important. The cost of the roundtrip flight was $181.80, but I used Citi ThankYou Points to cover the entire cost.
I went through the cancellation process and was given 2 options:
- Cancel the airline reservation and have the travel credit saved to my Alaska Airlines wallet. The funds would expire on July 5, 2021.
- Cancel the airline reservation and have the travel credit sent to my email. The funds would expire on July 5, 2021.
Here are the Alaska Airlines refund eligibility terms for my Saver (aka basic economy) reservation:
Instead of cancelling the flight reservation on the Alaska Airlines website, I decided to go to the Citi ThankYou Portal. I signed into my account and went to the My Trips section. I then clicked on the View Itinerary button next to the Schedule Change airline reservation.
Here are details of my roundtrip Alaska Airlines reservation. I was originally booked on the 6:55pm flight on Friday evening, but that was changed to the 2:45pm flight on Friday afternoon (a 4 hour and 10 minute change). My return flight was originally booked for the 6:45am flight on Tuesday morning, but that was changed to the 5:30pm flight on Tuesday evening (a 10 hour and 45 minute change). I had the option to Accept New Flight or Check Current Change Options.
The popup option said I could get either a full refund or full credit to rebook, depending on the airline policy. I figured 2 major schedule changes was enough to justify a full refund (in the form of Citi ThankYou Points), so I decided to go through with the process of cancelling the airline reservation through the Citi ThankYou Portal.
My flight cancellation request was sent, now I just needed to wait to see what happened.
A few minutes later, I received this automated email with my cancellation request.
Within 10 hours, I received a response to my cancellation request. According to the email, my airline reservation was cancelled and I was issued a travel credit. To make matters worse, my credit is only valid through February 4, 2021, not the July 5, 2021 date that was shown on the Alaska Airlines website and I need to call the Citi ThankYou Portal to use the credit.
I pulled up the airline reservation on the Citi ThankYou Portal and it showed my reservation was unavailable.
I then tried to pull up the airline reservation on the Alaska Airlines website and it said that my reservation was manually cancelled and could not be displayed online.
My last ditch hope was that somehow the Citi ThankYou Points that I used to book the Alaska Airlines flight was deposited to my Citi ThankYou Points balance, but that didn’t happen either.
Long story short, I need to keep the above email from Citi with details of the cancelled Alaska Airlines reservation. At the end of the day, having $181.40 in Citi ThankYou Points tied up in an Alaska Airlines travel credit is not terrible. As soon as it is safe to travel by plane, I can use up the Alaska Airlines travel credit for a future flight. Learn from my mistake and don’t cancel airlines reservations through the Citi ThankYou Portal – cancel directly on the airline’s website. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below. Have a great weekend everyone!