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How airline credits work

If you had to cancel a trip in 2020, you may have received an airline credit.

Rebooking a flight with an airline credit works a little differently than booking a new flight. A lot of what you can do with your credit depends on the airline you originally booked with and that airline's credit policy. Before you rebook your flight, we recommend that you check your airline's web site for more information about their policies.

Here are some of the most frequent questions we've heard about rebooking a flight with an airline credit.


Where can I find information about my credit?

If the airline allows us to help you rebook your flight using your credit, you can find information about your credit on the coupons and credits page. Just sign in, and you'll find the information that you need.

Some airlines require that you rebook through them, even if you originally bought your ticket through us. If you know you have a credit, but you can't find it on the coupons and credits page, it may be because you have to contact the airline directly. If you can't find details on the coupons and credits page, go to your canceled itinerary on the trips page to find out more.

I can't sign in to my account to use my credit. What do I do?

If you can't sign into your account, you may have checked out as a guest. If you checked out as a guest, you can access your credit information by creating an account using the same email address you used when you purchased your original ticket.

Do I need a voucher or a coupon to rebook my flight?

You don't need a voucher or any other document to redeem an airline credit. However, if you don't have an account, you may need to create one using the same email address you used when you purchased your original ticket.

What are book-by, start-travel-by, and complete-travel-by dates?

Book-by, start-travel-by, and complete-travel-by dates are similar to expiration dates. Which dates apply to your credit depends on the airline. You can find the date restrictions for your credit on the coupons and credits page.

I'm finding cheaper flights online. Why do I have to use my credit for a more expensive flight?

The airline determines the restrictions that apply to your credit. The cheapest flights that you find online may not be eligible for purchase with a credit because of these restrictions.

Restrictions vary by airline and may even vary by route or fare class (Basic Economy, for example) for the same airline. If you received credits from more than one airline, the policies for each credit may be different. We recommend that you check each airline's web site for more information.

Here are some examples of how your flights options may be restricted:

  • Which airlines you can fly
  • The origin or place of departure
  • The destination you want to go to
  • Which fare class you can select
  • Which cabin your seat is in

If I can get a cheaper flight, why can't I keep the difference to use toward another flight?

How your credit works is determined by the airline. For example, one airline might treat your credit the same as cash, while another airline may only allow the exchange of one ticket for another, regardless of the original purchase price. The following are the most typical airline credit types.

  • Same-as-cash value: Some airlines treat airline credits as having the same value as cash for eligible flights. If your new flight is less expensive, you may be able to keep the difference (also called a residual) to use toward another flight. If the new flight is more expensive, you may owe the difference in price.
  • Ticket-for-ticket exchange: Some airlines only allow you to exchange one ticket for another ticket, regardless of the actual price. In these cases, if your new flight is cheaper, you may lose any residual value. However, you may still owe any difference if the price of the new flight is more expensive.
  • Exact trip exchange: In some cases, your ticket is only eligible for the same trip, including the same origin, the same destination, and sometimes even the same connecting airports.

Can I use the difference to upgrade my seat, add a checked bag, or buy something else for my flight?

Typically, you can't apply any residual value to pay for baggage fees, seat upgrades, flight amenities such as food or beverages, or services such as travel insurance. 

Do I have to pay a change fee?

Most airlines are waiving any change fees for flights that were changed or cancelled as a result of COVID-19. For more information, see Change or cancel your reservation.

How do I redeem my credit?

To redeem your credit, start by clicking the Use credit link on the coupons and credits page. This link will help you find flights that meet the all of the airline's policy requirements for redeeming your credit.

Where can I find out more?

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