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American Airlines voucher bonus of 20%?

I want to relate the experience I had with American Airlines yesterday, I did not see this documented, but it may be a nice bonus if you can get it.

While checking on our trip, I discovered that AA had just made a major change on our late August trip (why their computer did not notify me by email I have no clue), in that they have now cancelled the direct return home from Dublin to Philadelphia, and gave us a terrible rerouting. Needless to say this would not work, aside from the fact that this trip will almost surely not be allowed to fly anyway). Since they could not give an improved routing without raising the cost, we decided to cancel the trip and accept the refund. And this is where I found it interesting.

After stating on the refund screen that we wanted the refund and not a voucher, we were then presented with a pop-up that offered us 20% more for taking the vouchers. As the voucher itself would be good for use for one full year -that is for cashing in the voucher, not the actual trip date - and we are trying to reschedule this entire trip anyway, this looks like a winner. Current AA policy is new trips booked my May 31 can changed without a change fee, and a ticket expiring before Sept 30 can have its value kept for travel through the end of 2021. I made an additional call to clarify, and indeed if we used the voucher and then that trip scrubbed then we would be refunded with a new voucher, still good for a year (although this will not get another 20%). So as soon as the voucher hits later this week, will just re-book this trip for an acceptable return flight.

Bottom line -although not directly promoting this, it looks like American is giving a 20% increase via voucher in order to keep you as a passenger and not have to lay out their limited cash. YMMV.

Posted by
2847 posts

Lufthansa has something similar, but rather than a percentage bonus for accepting a voucher, they offered an additional 50 euros. I still took the refund.

Posted by
1542 posts

I wish Delta would do this. I am getting ready to cancel a flight and if they gave me a 'bump' I'd take it. I know I will use the money

Posted by
858 posts

I wonder how much more expensive flights will be in the next year or 2, not sure the extra 20% will cover the possible increase. I plan to try for refunds.

Posted by
5010 posts

Aer Lingus has reportedly been offering something similar, at least to some customers. IIRC it was a choice between a 100% refund, or if you were willing to accept it, a voucher for 110% that would be good for 5 years. Not everyone is getting this offer, not sure what the criteria are (or if it's just random).

Here's the thread: Aer Lingus.

I think this is a great (and smart) way for airlines to give folks some incentive to have some faith and stick with them. Of course, most folks prefer cash for obvious reasons. OTOH the airlines are bleeding money and need to find ways to hold onto as much cash as they can. If you can float the money, if you have confidence that you will be able to travel later (and the airline will still be around) and you get a good incentive to let the airlines hang on to it...it seems like a good option to offer customers.

Posted by
7184 posts

Airlines are gonna get their 20% or even more from you when you attempt to use that voucher...there will be fare increases, new taxes, new fees, etc. they’re still the same old greedy airlines they’ve always been.

Posted by
74 posts

Tim has it right: this is a false bargain.

First, federal bailout money might not last long enough for travel demand to rebound. If an airline has to file for bankruptcy, even if it's a reorganization rather than a liquidation, vouchers will become claims. Unsecured, non-priority claims are paid last, often for pennies on the dollar.

Second, if the voucher is for a fixed amount of money rather than a flight from A to B, it's unlikely to cover the price of a future ticket. What kept prices in check was having multiple flights by multiple airlines, on the same route. That kind of competition isn't likely to return for a long time.

Posted by
3144 posts

The WSJ & The Points Guy are reporting that airlines are doing all they can to avoid giving refunds including offering bonuses with expiration dates. If you cancel your tickets before the airline cancels your flight, you may not get the same incentives or even ANY incentive because YOU were the one to make the change.