Have a travel voucher that may be expiring soon? Here's what to do

Jeff Ehling Image
Friday, April 2, 2021
Got a travel voucher that's expiring soon? Here's what to do
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If you received a flight voucher during the pandemic, experts say to double-check the expiration date before you run out of time.

If you had to cancel a trip last year due to travel restrictions, you may want to look into rebooking your plans because those airline vouchers may expire soon.

The vouchers provided by airlines are often good for one year after you cancel, not one year after your original trip. For example, if you canceled Thanksgiving travel in April of last year, time may be running out to use the vouchers.

Airlines were generous in 2020 when they allowed passengers a year to use travel vouchers that were issued after trips were canceled, but in many cases the year is almost up and if you do not use the voucher you could lose the money.

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The first thing travelers need to do is figure out when their vouchers expire. Many airlines have different criteria so read the fine print on vouchers from the airline you were supposed to fly on.

In some cases the new flight costs more than your voucher and you will have to pay the balance, so consider using travel points or airline miles to pay for the difference.

If the new flight is less than the value of the voucher, consider upgrading your seat selection.

But what if you don't want to get back on a plane yet and the vouchers are about to expire?

"One thing you can do is ask for more time, nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?," said Creditcards.com senior analyst Tom Rossman. "You could politely call up customer service and ask them for more time to use the voucher. I know that Southwest is selling 6-month extensions for 100 dollars, so that may be something that is worth it."

Another tip, if you cannot use the miles and they are set to expire, is to look into the transferability of the tickets. You may be able to give them to a family member or sell them, but if you do nothing, you could lose the voucher and the money you spent as well.

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