Chart: Airline voucher policies differ between airlines

November 30, 2010
Fares from Washington DC:

    Has your airline issued you a "travel voucher," either because you were bumped from a flight, or the fare went down and you've been issued a partial fare drop refund or for some other reason? If so, you might want to read the fine print, because not all airlines treat these vouchers the same way, especially when it comes to how long you have to use the voucher. Below, a handy chart outlining some of the differences.

    AIRLINE

    CAN YOU REDEEM ONLINE?

    HOW ABOUT BY  PHONE, OR IN PERSON?

    ARE THERE ANY REDEMPTION FEES?

    DOES THE VOUCHER EXPIRE?

    American

    Electronic vouchers yes, paper no.

    To redeem a paper voucher, call (800) 433-7300 to hold your itinerary. Must present at counter or mail voucher to confirm booking.

    No fees are charged when you redeem by phone and mail the voucher in.

    Book travel within one year.

    Continental

    Yes

    Not necessary, can all be done at continental.com

    No

    Book travel within one year.

    Delta

    Yes; typically passengers now receive e-vouchers that can be referenced during future booking processes.  

    In rare cases, some international travel credit and awards travel may still be done by paper vouchers, in which case you need to call.

    When calling, a fee may apply; some awards-travel e-vouchers still cost money to redeem online. 

    Book and begin travel within one year.

    Frontier

    Credits, yes; paper vouchers no.

    For vouchers, call (800) 432-1359. Allow three weeks to process. For last-minute bookings, visit an airport ticket counter.

    No

    Book and travel within one year.

    JetBlue

    Yes, at jetblue.com

    Call (800) 538-2583 or go to a ticket counter. 

    None, however a $15 fee applies if you book at a ticket counter or over the phone.

    Book travel within one year of issuance.

    Southwest

    Yes, at southwest.com

    Call (800) 435-9792 or inquire at any Southwest ticket counter.

    None

    All travel must be completed (not merely booked) within one year after voucher is issued.

    United

    eCertificates yes, at united.com. Paper vouchers, no.

    To redeem a paper voucher, call (800) 864-8331 to hold an itinerary. Must then present voucher at ticket counter to complete booking.

    None if required to call; you may be charged a $25 fee if you call for redemption of an eCertificate, which should be done online.

    Book travel within one year.

    US Airways

    Not permitted.

    You can reserve over the phone, but must present the voucher in person at an airport counter or city ticket office.

    None.

    Book travel within one year.

    Virgin America

    Yes

    Not necessary, but you can call (877) 359-8474 for assistance if needed.

    No

    Book within one year.

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