Don’t let your pandemic travel credits go to waste

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Travel by any means is crazy now, so you might not be thinking of booking a trip anytime soon. Or maybe you are revenge travel and booking Everyone of trips – either way, if you have e-credits or vouchers from trips that have been canceled during the pandemic, you should probably use them soon or figure out how to save, extend or credit them before they expire.

As The Washington Post points this out, travel companies were quick to issue vouchers — rather than issue refunds, even when necessary — for cancellations, assuming customers wouldn’t actually use them before they expired. And that’s exactly what happens.

If you won’t be able to use your vouchers or credits in the near future, here are some ways to avoid losing them.

Check the status and policies for your vouchers

First gather all the information. Log into your travel accounts and note what coupons or credits you have, how much they are worth, when they expire, and any policies or restrictions on redemption.

Instead, request a refund

Customers and company representatives who spoke to the Post reported that vouchers can often be redeemed for a full refund, which airlines, cruise lines and other tour operators may be required to offer under their terms and conditions if they cancel your trip with no alternative. Of course, this does not apply if she cancelled. But it doesn’t hurt to ask – of course.

Only use a portion of your expiring balance

If you have an e-balance for a certain dollar amount that’s about to expire, you might be able to keep it active by spending some of the money on a super cheap itinerary (like a one-way flight) and saving the rest for the future.

Another trick: book trips with points or e-credits and cancel them within the 24-hour window without penalty, which will re-deposit the funds into your account and reset the expiry date. Note that fees or restrictions may apply.

Prevent general travel points from expiring

You should also check if your frequent flyer miles or travel points (and other benefits) you’ve earned over time are about to expire. Many rewards programs have suspended mileage expiration and extended the benefits of existing premium memberships, but these limitations are beginning to take effect again.

For example, American Airlines AAdvantage miles expire after 24 months of inactivity, meaning you cannot earn or spend your account. American has paused mileage decay during the pandemic, but reinstated the rule on April 1 Keep your account aliveyou only need to complete one transaction, which may include a credit card charge, redemption for a cheap flight or other trip, or donation of money/miles to charity.

Plan this trip anyway

Depending on the type of voucher you have, you can get quite a bit of bang for your buck when booking now. For example, a cruise line may charge less than the total amount of your original credit, allowing you to cover a higher portion of your expenses. If you want to get away, feel safe and have some flexibility, this might be better than wasting your money.