Airlines have pretty much switched to using electronic vouchers, but there are still cases where they do hand out paper vouchers. The last time I got a paper voucher was from United for minor damage to a checked bag. It was $25 and quite frankly, I have no idea where it is. While I was not bummed losing a $25 voucher, I did miss it as this was a ‘cash’ voucher and I could have used it for anything – towards a flight, food, even a lounge day-pass.
Another source of paper voucher or paper ‘instruments’ is credit cards. Several credit cards give out companion fare certificates. These are very often paper certificates. I have a few from United, US Airways and Delta. They are also near to impossible to use, but that rant for another post…
A reader of mine recently sent me an email asking for help. She had lost a fairly sizable (I believe) paper voucher issued by Southwest Airlines. She contacted Southwest Airlines, but they said they were unable to re-issue her a new voucher as what she had was a ‘same as cash’ voucher. As this was a paper voucher handed to her, she also had no record of the transaction. While I felt sorry for her, there was nothing I could do to help.
E-vouchers definitely solve this problem. First, they are in electronic form and hence less likely to be misplaced. Secondly, as they come to you via email, they leave a trail behind. If you do lose the e-certificate, you can ask the airline to have it reissued, using the original email as reference. As the airline would have the certificate number in their system, they can verify if it has been redeemed or not and reissue it to you. My suggestion, always ask for an e-voucher.
Now, when you do get stuck with a paper voucher, here are some tips:
- Keep it in a secure place (and if you like me, make sure you remember where your ‘safe’ place is).
- Make a copy. If possible, scan it to your computer to keep a soft copy.
- Use it. Like all vouchers, they expire. I have missed out on using a paper voucher in the past as I forgot I had it.
For tips on using vouchers, read my recent article on Booking with Vouchers.
Share your experiences with paper vouchers. What are your thoughts? Have you ever lost one? Should airlines totally switch to electronic vouchers? Leave a comment below.