Got a travel voucher that's expiring soon? Here's what to do

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Video Transcript

- It really is. You know, tickets are very expensive. So you don't want to lose out. Oftentimes, vouchers are good for one year after you cancel the flight, not one year after your original trip. So think about it. If you canceled Thanksgiving travel in April of last year, well, time may be running out to actually use the vouchers.

Plane tickets are too expensive to let expire. Airlines are pretty generous in 2020, allowing travelers a full year to use travel vouchers that were issued after trips were canceled. But in many cases, that year is almost up. And if you don't use the voucher, you could lose the money.

The first thing travelers need to do is figure out when their vouchers expire. Many airlines have different criteria. So read the fine print on the vouchers from the airline that you were supposed to fly on.

In some cases, new flights cost more than the voucher. And you're going to have to pay the balance. So consider using travel points or airline miles to pay the difference. If the new flight is less than the value of the voucher, consider upgrading your seat selection.

But what if you don't want to get back on a plane just yet and the vouchers are still about to expire?

- One thing you could do is ask for more time. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? You could just politely call up customer service and ask them for more time to use that voucher. I know that Southwest Airlines is selling six-month extensions for $100. So that's something that might be worth it.

- So another tip, if you can't use the miles right now, they are set to expire, look into transferability of the tickets. You might be able to give them to a family member, maybe sell them to a family member. If you do nothing, you could lose the voucher. And of course, that's a lot of money. And you don't want to lose all that time.

Sometimes these rules that the airlines come up with from airline to airline are different. And you've really got to pay attention.

- Yep. They go up and down and back and forth sometimes. But people forget about the vouchers. You go, oh, wait a second, it expired.

- Yeah, that actually almost caught us. We had cancelled a trip back in March of last year. And then we got into March of this year. And my wife said, oh, man, I'm glad we booked this trip because this voucher was about to expire.