Many of us have had to cancel existing trips since the beginning of the Covid19 travel shut down. What you could expect from the airlines has been an evolution as time progressed. At first they encouraged people to just reschedule, then they moved to travel vouchers and finally the government said they had to pay us refunds if we requested them.
I can understand in these uncertain times why people would prefer a refund on their airfare instead of a voucher. A voucher keeps their money tied up in those tickets until they can book new flights, and who knows when we will be able to travel again. For some of those people that chose refunds for their cancelled trips, it has been a difficult task to actually get those refunds from the airlines. People have even started to sue airlines over these difficulties.
As this crisis unfolded, I only had one ticketed flight booked. Our annual Girls Getaway to Arizona. I dodged a bullet as I was just about to book our international flights for this fall. After patiently assessing how things were unfolding for a few weeks, I finally determined that I was going to need to cancel this trip. Since I was already stressed about everything else that was happening, I didn’t want this cancellation to add to that.
Because I am a self proclaimed Budget Traveler, my reservations were not straight forward. We were going to fly to Arizona on Southwest and return on Delta, so I had 2 airlines involved. In order to get great rates, I had used a mixture of previous flight credit vouchers, gift cards and credit cards to pay for those flights. On top of that the reservations were for 2 non married people who don’t live in the same household. These were somewhat complicated arrangements.
For the Southwest Flight, I had a flight voucher, 2 gift cards and paid the balance on my Southwest Credit Card. Additionally, I had purchased Early Bird Check in for my daughter using my American Express Gold card for which I received a $25 Airline Fee Credit from Amex. For this portion of the flight, it seemed like the best idea was to just to take the vouchers in order to avoid losing my previous credits and to have all the payment methods just lumped into one. Southwest refunded my $25 Early Bird Fee to my Amex card, so there is still a chance that American Express may claw that Airline fee credit back at some point later.
When I purchased our Delta tickets, I was working on my spend requirement for my new Delta card from American Express. I used some gift cards and paid the remainder with the Delta card. Not only did this count toward my bonus spend requirement , it also triggered a $100 Airfare credit for booking a Delta flight within 90 days of opening my card. Taking a voucher meant even though the reservation was cancelled, no payments for this flight were refunded back to my Delta card to cause any issues. I felt it was in my best interest not to upset the American Express Rewards Abuse Team (RAT) and chance losing that $100 Airfare credit or my Delta sign up bonus points. So I happily took the vouchers from Delta.
Overall, I felt our unique booking scenario was just too complex to unravel any other way than with vouchers. It was also a rather quick and painless way to deal with our arrangements. Even though I paid for the cost of all the tickets, the vouchers were issued by passenger. Hopefully, my daughter and I will be able to plan another trip together sometime soon in order to use our vouchers.
Dream, Plan, Save…..Stay at Home Until it is Safe to Travel Again!