Two hat tips this morning to Gary.  Delta has eliminated close in award booking fees.  All I can say is woo hoo!  I’ve posted numerous times how these fees for booking award travel less than 21 days before departure (with a higher fee sometimes imposed under the 7 day mark) are among the most egregious money grabs I’m aware of by airlines.  Frankly, in my humble opinion they’re far worse than Spirit’s proposed carry on bag fee and certainly checked luggage fees too.  It’s a fee that’s charged for well…nothing.

Back in the day when the airlines had to mail you an award certificate which you then took to the airport to redeem for a ticket, airlines frequently charged an expedite fee to express ship the certificates to you if you were traveling on short notice.  Made some sense then even if the fee was likely a good bit higher than the airline was paying to ship the certificates.  When award certificates went electronic, there was no longer a need for the fee, but that didn’t stop some airlines from continuing to charge it even though they face no greater cost in issuing an electronic award ticket 2 days before departure than 2 months.

American, I’m speaking to you here.  United has done away with this practice, and now Delta has joined them.  You’re better than this.  It’s time for you to let this money grab go.

Edited 4/14/10 @ 23:54 eastern time.

It appears that the news of Delta’s elimination of reward redemption fees was premature.  While those that carry the Delta Platinum and Reserve cards from American Express have experienced some relief from close in award fees, all members have not.  Delta’s fee description chart has evolved since this morning.  Click here for details.  I carry the Platinum Delta card, so yay for me.  But not cool for others.  Still, there’s room for American to catch up here.  And Delta too, for that matter.  It’s time to offload these egregious money grabs!