Ready to redeem?

Everything you need to know about using airline credits

2021 is finally here. The new year brings new beginnings and a renewed sense of optimism for what’s next. That includes where we’ll all jet off to for our first post-pandemic vacations, too.

When the pandemic first took hold of the world, vacation cancellations hit an all-time high, which left millions of travelers with flight credits to use at a future date. Finally, all these months later, we’re prepping for takeoff once again.

Whether you’re ready to travel now or are holding out for when things feel right, here are the important things you need to know about returning to travel and using your flight credits. (Don’t have time to read through the below? No worries. We break this all down in a special episode of our podcast, Out Travel the System. Listen Here.)

  • First, let’s review the basics of airline credits. Across all airline carriers, credits are non-transferrable, meaning the credit can only be used by the original ticket holder(s). For example, if you booked a flight for you and your travel partner, you will receive two credits — one in your name and one in your partner’s name that only he or she can use. Changes fees and penalties have also been waived for most COVID-19 impacted bookings, but check with the individual airline to see its rules and restrictions. Additionally, airline credits may only be used for flights, meaning you may not use your airline credit’s value toward extras like baggage fees or upgrades.
  • Read the fine print. Information regarding your flight credit is available on the Coupons and Credits page within your account. Just be sure you are signed in to view. Here, you’ll find the expiration date (if available) and the total amount of your credit. From there, you can start your redemption process. You’ll automatically connect to a dedicated shopping path that will identify your credit type and automatically filter out any flights that won’t be eligible to book with your credit. It’s that easy. We’ve done all the heavy lifting for you.
  • Not all credits are created equal. As if the travel business wasn’t complicated enough, unfortunately not all credits are set up the same way. The majority of airline carriers have issued credits in the following ways:
    • Same as Cash (multiple use). This means, the exact value of your airline credit is yours to use with the airline with little to no other restrictions. If you don’t use it all, you’ll be able to save the remaining amount for a future booking. Similarly, if you choose a flight that is more expensive than the credit value that you have, you’ll simply be asked to pay the difference.
    • Same as Cash (one-time use). With Same as Cash, the exact value of your airline credit is yours to use with the airline, however, you may only use it once. If you don’t use the full amount, the remaining balance will be forfeited.
    • Exact ticket swap. Just as the name implies, with Exact Ticket Swap, the origin, destination, and cabin type/fare class must be the exact same as the original booking. For example if you booked a trip from Las Vegas to Seattle in basic economy, you may only be able to use your credit for another flight from Las Vegas to Seattle in basic economy.
  • Understand your search results. Redeeming your credits must be done through the dedicated path starting in your coupons and credits page. From there, Expedia will automatically filter out any potential flights that aren’t eligible to use with your credit. For example, if your credit is an exact ticket-for-ticket swap and you put in a different origin or destination in the search field, it will return zero results. It’s important to note that because of the nuances of the credits (i.e. fare class etc.), you may notice a price difference between what you see in these search results vs. our regular search options or on other sites.
  • One last check before you book. Once you have gone through and selected the flights you wish to book using your flight credit, our system will show you the airline’s policy for the flight credit. This will help answer any additional questions you may have regarding your credit, as well as alert you to any remaining balances you may have or might be forfeiting based on the terms of your credit.

As a reminder, Expedia follows the policies of our partners and we always recommend checking your airlines website if you have specific questions regarding your credit. As always, before traveling, we recommend visiting our COVID-19 Travel Guide for the latest information and resources on how to travel safely.