Airlines Offering Incentives to Avoid Giving Refunds
Airlines are hurting and that’s no secret. They have asked for a $50 billion bailout from the government as they are short on cash. So airlines are trying to steer customers towards vouchers instead of cash refunds and they are even offering incentives to avoid paying anything right now. Yes it is more expensive for airlines in the long run, but it makes sense for them to push those expenses down the line.
One Mile at a Time reports that American Airlines seems to be offering a 20% bonus voucher to those who select to take credit, rather than a cash refund. This is not a published policy, but it seems that it was offered to a few people so it should be available if you call and want to go that route.
Frontier Airlines was offering customers an extra $50 voucher if they choose to cancel flights. But if you cancel, instead of a full refund, you will get Frontier credit for the amount you paid. That credit needs to be used withing 90 days of cancellation. You just need to book within 90 days, but travel dates can be later on. And the extra $50 credit needs to be used by 12/31/20 but again, can be for travel after that.
Lufthansa Group is offering a $50 discount to passengers who take a voucher instead of cash refund. For tickets booked by March, 31 2020 with travel date up to December, 31 2020 the value of your ticket will remain valid even in case you don’t take your flight. In addition you can rebook once to another route within the Lufthansa Group airline’s network without a change fee. If new fare is above your existing ticket price you will receive a $50 discount.
Aer Lingus is offering a 10% bonus if customers choose a voucher instead of a cash refund. They will send you a voucher for the full value of your flight (including taxes and charges), plus an extra 10%. So if your flight cost at total of €200, we’ll send you a €220 voucher.
Virgin Atlantic is offering a few extras as per God Save the Points. To keep a customer from withdrawing cash for their booking in economy, the airline offered an upgrade to economy delight 4,000 bonus miles per person and £25 voucher to spend at the airport.
Should You Take a Voucher?
This looks like a great deal, but it is not for everyone. First you should consider if you need the cash right now. Times are tough, so if you are having financial difficulties, then cash is clearly a better option. Then you need to figure out if you will use the credit. If you always fly American Airlines for example, then you should be able to use the credit. And even then, you should check the expiration date for these vouchers to make sure you will be able to use it. And last but not least, you need to think about whether a specific airline will even survive this coronavirus pandemic. I think most airlines will, but the possibility that some airline go bankrupt is always there.
Let me know if you have come across any similar offers from other airlines and if you would consider it.