What You Need To Know About Using Your Flight Credits — On American Airlines Or Any Other Airline
The airlines are making it easier than ever for you to use your flight credit during the corona virus crisis. But you’re going to want to make sure you understand all the terms and conditions that come with yours. Here are the things you need to know about spending your future flight credit.
- Mind the expiration date
Remember, all flight credit comes with an expiration date. Make sure you’re familiar with the one attached to yours or you could end up with nothing (What happened to my Hawaiian Dream?)
- Read the terms of your flight credit
Visit American Airlines’ web site to check on the current policies that apply to your flight credit. You can also find links to the current corona virus cancellation and voucher policies on all the major airlines here— we keep that article updated for your convenience.
- U.S. airlines eliminated change fees in 2020
At the end of August, most major airlines in the U.S. made the shocking move to permanently eliminate change fees for domestic flights and on limited international flights. (*It’s important to note that throughout 2020, basic economy fares are included but likely will not be in 2021.) This is good news for travelers with flight credit on American Airlines or any other carrier. You’ll be able to apply your entire voucher to your future trip — no change fees involved. But…
- Flight differential costs will apply
Remember, change fees and flight differentials are two separate things. A change fee is what the airline charges you for the privilege of being able to apply a non refundable ticket to a new ticket. A fare differential is the difference between what you paid for the original ticket and the new ticket’s current cost. The airlines are not waiving fare differentials.
- You can only use the credit for the cost of a new ticket
In most cases, the value of your flight credit can only be applied to the cost of a new ticket. You’ll need to pay for incidentals like seat assignments and baggage fees.
- Third-party booking sites’ rules apply
Keep in mind that if you purchased your ticket through a third-party booking agent, the rules of that site apply. There may be penalties involved — even if the airline canceled your flight. You should make sure you understand the terms and conditions of your ticket purchase before you make the purchase. (See: If the corona virus ruined your travel plans, this is what you need to know).
- Flight credit policies are constantly updating because of the pandemic
It’s critical to check your airline’s flight credit policies frequently. As in Dunlap’s case, American Airlines cited one policy in March, but a new, more consumer-friendly policy applied to her American Airlines flight credit later. As the pandemic drags on, you can expect more changes from the airlines to address the ongoing crisis. I expect that they will push these flight credit expiration dates out further until a corona virus vaccine is readily available.