How Long Do You Have to Use Your Airline Ticket Credit?

If you’ve ever had to cancel a flight, you probably know that in most cases, you can save the ticket for later use (minus the change fee; here’s a good guide to the different airline change fees). It used to be that with the major U.S. airlines, you’d have a year to use your credit, but as my buddy Cranky Flier just wrote, that’s not strictly the case anymore. As Cranky writes, “airline tickets most certainly do have an expiration and you could lose a lot of money if you aren’t careful. I’ll admit that I always thought this was straightforward. In general, you had to use a ticket to fly within one year of the original date of issue. There were some exceptions to that depending upon if you had already flown a part of the original itinerary or not, but it was pretty standard. If you bought a ticket on January 18, 2018, then you’d have to use it to fly before January 18, 2019 or it would lose all value.”

In discussing the case of a reader who had to cancel a Delta flight for medical reasons, he continues later: “That’s when I learned that Delta’s rules had, at some point, changed from the standard when it comes to international travel. I found other airlines had also strayed, and I’m surprised at just how much variation there is out there now. You’re probably guessing airlines became more stingy, but nay. Many have loosened up.”

Here’s his post, which includes the policies of the major U.S. carriers (Alaska, American, Delta, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Southwest, and United).




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Johnny Jet
I used to be afraid to fly and at times even leave the house! I conquered my fear (long story) and now I travel to 20+ countries a year sharing my firsthand knowledge, tips and deals with friends, family and readers. Please sign up to our free newsletters and tell your friends!

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