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Quick Points: Get a flight voucher when you rebook flights after the fare drops

Aug. 26, 2022
5 min read
searching flights on phone
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One of the most euphoric events for a frequent traveler is finding jaw-droppingly low fare sales to exciting destinations.

Similarly, one of the most aggravating events is finding the same sale a few days after you booked your flights. Had you procrastinated just a little while longer, you could have saved hundreds (thousands?) of dollars.

If this has happened to you, all is not lost. Many airlines will let you book the lower-priced ticket and issue you a voucher for the difference. The process is a piece of cake. Here’s a quick rundown of how it works.

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Rebook your airfare when it’s on sale (and earn a voucher while you’re at it)

Delta is one of the many airlines that will let you rebook your flight at a lower price. ANDREW KUNESH/THE POINTS GUY

The travel industry has undergone some pretty radical changes in the past couple of years, and perhaps none have been more positive than the emergence of customer-friendly airline change and cancellation policies.

Airlines have always offered “flexible” tickets that allow for full refunds. The only problem is that they cost exponentially more than the cheap nonrefundable fares, making them unappealing to most of us.

Nowadays, many airlines offer a compromise for those who purchase low-fare tickets instead of flexible tickets. If you purchase a nonrefundable flight, you can change your flight without charge. Here’s how it works:

  • If your new flight costs more than your original flight, you’ll have to pay the difference in fare.
  • If your new flight costs less than your original flight, the airline will issue you a voucher for the difference in fare.

Because of this, you can rebook your flights when the airline releases a lower price. Note that basic economy (or equivalent) fares are usually not eligible for changes or cancellations, so when you buy one, check your airline's change policy or be 100% certain that your plans won't change.

Related: Airlines that offer you a credit if the price of airfare drops

Also, you may have to pay a fee when changing your ticket. This can vary depending on the airline you’re flying, the imminence of your departure date and your flight route. If you’ve found a lower price for your seat, be sure that you’re saving more than the fee you might have to pay.

How to get a voucher when you cancel your flight

KYLE OLSEN/THE POINTS GUY

When you purchase a flight, you can find your upcoming trip within your online account. You can view all the details, including the ticket price, the record locator, the seats you’ve chosen, etc.

When you find a cheaper price than what you paid, you can begin your voucher acquisition process in one of two ways:

  • You can click a “change trip” button next to your flight in your account on most airlines.
  • You can also call the airline and give your trip information to a customer service representative (in fact, some airlines may only offer this method).

You can then select the same flight as the one you’ve already booked. If the flight costs less, you’ll receive a voucher for future travel.

Related: How to use outstanding airline vouchers

You can effectively achieve the same thing by simply canceling your flight and rebooking it, as well. Upon canceling your ticket, you’ll get a travel credit equal to what you paid (minus any potential fees). You can then use that credit to rebook seats at the sale price. The portion of your credit that goes unused will remain in your account until it expires (usually one year after its issue date, but sometimes sooner).

A Delta travel credit. DELTA.COM

Currently, you can receive a voucher by either changing your flight (or canceling and rebooking) with the following U.S. airlines:

Related: Ultimate guide to canceling a flight and getting a refund with major U.S. airlines

Bottom line

By setting a price alert on Google Flights, you'll receive a notification if the price of your airline ticket drops. If you find a cheaper fare for a flight you’ve already booked, there are a few steps you can take to reclaim that money. You likely won’t be able to get a refund on your credit card for the difference in fare, but you can at least earn a voucher for future travels.

Featured image by D3SIGN/GETTY IMAGES
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
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3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
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  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

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  • Annual Fee

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  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

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Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases