Airlines seem to love handing out vouchers. The commonest vouchers are for being bumped form an oversold flight. I am aware of people who actually try to book on oversold flights so that they can volunteer to be bumped and get a voucher. Another reason you may get a voucher (if you ask) is for a delayed flight, where the flight was delayed due to a fault of the airline. Weather and Air Traffic caused delays do not count. The value of the vouchers you get depends upon the actual delay caused on your trip and your Elite Status level. Apparently it hurts you more if you are delayed when you are a Gold, as opposed to when you are a Silver.
Tip: If you are getting a voucher for Volunteering to not take a flight, ask for a voucher with a fixed dollar value, rather than one that gives you a free round trip. The free-round trip vouchers have severe restrictions on their usage and also, you earn no miles on trips you book using them. Fixed dollar value vouchers can be used on (almost) any booking you make and you earn regular miles on that trip!
I recently made a reservation using vouchers I had collected over some delayed flights last year. If I remember correctly, one of those flights was delayed due to a leaking faucet in a lavatory of the aircraft and another due to the crew not being able to find an APU to start the aircraft’s engines (that was a weird one…). I saved $400 on this trip by applying two $200 vouchers.
You can only apply one voucher to a ticket, so I actually bought two one-way tickets to apply both my vouchers.
Another challenge I faced while booking this was on the ticket price. You cannot apply a $200 voucher on a ticket that costs less than $200. Makes sense. So, I actually had to take an earlier flight that was more expensive and cost over $200 to be able to apply my voucher. I was still a happy camper. I was looking for cheap flights, they just got cheaper by a few C’s.
Your Mileage May Wary
Of course, the T&C’s may vary depending on the type of voucher. Typically, they can be used only on one-way or round-trips, not on open jaws. They cannot be used to pay for upgrades, taxes, fees, club day-passes, etc. I do love to use them, they save me money and I still get get full miles on the ticket as the airline sees them as revenue. Nothing like getting 1,500 miles on a $55 round trip.
Share your experience getting and using vouchers. Leave a comment below.