I booked my canceled flight using a travel voucher; will the airline issue another one?

Mar 18, 2020

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If your travel plans have been interrupted in recent days due to the novel coronavirus disease known as COVID-19, you’ve probably double and triple-checked whether your itinerary is eligible for a change or cancellation. Airlines have been forced to cancel hundreds of flights as President Trump announced new restrictions on travel to the U.S. Borders around the world have closed and airline routes have been canceled.

Get Coronavirus travel updates. Stay on top of industry impacts, flight cancellations, and more. 

Many airlines have announced travel waivers to lessen the burden. In recent days, some airlines have also put policies in place that address award bookings.

But how does the policy work for travel vouchers? Airlines often use vouchers as an incentive for travelers to voluntary bump or to compensate for delays. If you booked your flight using a travel voucher you previously received from the airline, what does that mean for you? We’ll update this post as we hear back from the airlines.

Here’s what the airlines said.

Southwest

Southwest hasn’t issued a formal fee waiver because the carrier already allows award tickets to be changed or canceled without penalty. Additionally, Southwest will also allow customers to change their flight dates and times at no additional cost.

“Southwest LUV Vouchers are valid as a form of payment toward future airfare,” a Southwest spokesperson told TPG. “Southwest Airlines never charges customers a fee to change or cancel their flight. If a customer’s plans change, or they decide they no longer want to travel, the funds used to pay for their flight can be applied to future travel – as long as they cancel their flight at least 10 minutes prior to the scheduled departure. The funds are valid for future travel up to one year from the original purchase date and must be used by the individual named on the ticket.”

United

United, which has made news in recent days for updating its schedule-change policy four times, says its travel vouchers will be treated like a regular ticket.

“If the customer has paid for their ticket with a travel voucher and the flight they are on cancels due to the virus, [it] will be handled just like any other ticket,” a United spokesperson told TPG. The customer can use the value of the ticket for up to 12 months from the ticket issuance date without a fee.”

American

American has previously said it would waive change fees on all bookings for travel through April 30, so long as the new ticket is issued on or before Dec. 31. The updated itinerary must take place within 12 months of the originally booked travel dates.

Its policy doesn’t specifically address travel vouchers (or award tickets, for that matter) but an American spokesperson told TPG that if a ticket booked using a travel voucher was canceled, the airline would issue a new electronic voucher.

JetBlue

JetBlue was one of the first airlines to announce a waiver of change and cancellation fees for new reservations. Customers who canceled their flights between Feb. 27 and March 11 were issued a credit to be used later. While JetBlue hasn’t specifically addressed travel vouchers online, the airline told TPG that flights booked with a travel bank credit that was canceled due to coronavirus fears would be credited back to the customer’s account.

Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy.

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