Understanding Travel Credits
Making sense of airline policies on booking changes and what to do when you have a credit can be a challenge, so we've put together a guide to help answer some of your questions. Everything from what is a travel credit to how to get the best value from your travel credit.
What is a travel credit?
When travel has been disrupted or cancelled, and the booking conditions of the reservation don’t permit a refund, sometimes a travel supplier will allow the amount booked to be used as a credit for future travel. Credits from disrupts can be caused by bad weather, engineering, crew issues, or unusual circumstances such as faced recently with COVID-19 restrictions. Usually in corporate travel, a credit applies to air tickets. It can also be for pre-paid accommodation, or even car rentals, but these are less common.
How does it work?
People sometimes incorrectly compare air credits with credits that you might hold with a clothing store. A clothing store usually permits a purchase of any combination or number of items, regardless of type and brand etc, up to the value of the credit. It’s quite different for an air credit. An air credit doesn’t represent just a value that can be spent, but remains attached to the original ticket number, and the conditions of the fare that the ticket represents. It can’t be used with a different airline or supplier. An Air New Zealand ticket credit, can only be used for an Air New Zealand ticket (although that ticket may be valid for travel on a different airline’s aircraft).
A credit from one ticket, may only be used for one new ticket, not more. The new ticket may have more than one flight on the same trip, but may not be used across several different trips. Any amount not used would be forfeited, once the new ticket has been issued. Quite often the airline will require the new ticket to be of the same, or greater value than the original.
Credits have an expiry date, and this is usually 12 months, however suppliers are being more lenient than usual due to COVID-19 and factoring in government restrictions on people movement. We are kept up to date with all supplier policies and changes and will be able to advise you along the way.
The ticket credit is held with the airline, in accordance with their terms and conditions, and IATA rules. Credit is not held in our account, but usually needs to be managed by us. This is for audit purposes, and helps ensure that company bookings aren’t exchanged for personal travel!
Get the best value from your credit:
- Try to make the new booking as much the same as the original booking - plan to book for the same airline, same airfare type, same or similar destination.
- Can your new date be flexible with dates or times to make best use of your credit?
- If you have a flight credit that was one flight, can it be used to buy 2 cheaper flights?
- If the reservation is refundable, your best option is to refund so your new booking can be made from the widest range of options available.
Your Travel Manager can advise you on the best available options and help you to get the most value from your credit.
Can I just get a refund?
Non-refundable tickets can not be refunded for cash. The total ticket amount is held in credit and the original conditions apply. To use an airline credit we must change the original ticket to a new ticket in accordance with the original ticket rules. For domestic flights, it will need to stay as the same fare type as the original ticket. For international flights, you may be permitted to upgrade the fare type, but any amount that was non-refundable on the original ticket, will remain non-refundable on the new ticket.
If I make a new booking online, can my Travel Manager apply the credit to my new booking?
Yes - if you are booking on our online booking tool we can apply your travel credit. However it’s really important to advise in the ‘notes to Travel Manager’ segment that you want to use your credit to pay for the new booking. Otherwise the booking can be automatically ticketed by robots and your credit won’t be used. If in doubt, check with your Travel Manager before you make your booking. They can also advise what type of fare you can use your credit for, and answer any questions you may have.
If I missed a flight can I get a credit?
If a passenger has “no-showed” - for example they are holding an active reservation for a flight, but have decided not to turn up to the airport, then this ticket will not be available for credit. It’s important to let your Travel Manager know in plenty of time prior to scheduled flight departure, if you don’t intend to take a flight.
What if I can’t travel - can a friend or colleague use my credit?
In most cases the credit can only be applied to a booking with the exact same name as the original ticket. Air New Zealand tickets are like this. Your Travel Manager can advise if a name change is possible on your booking. It’s important to remember also, that the ticket may be considered owned by the company or department that paid for the ticket.
What if I’m not sure when I’ll travel next?
That’s ok - your ticket can be on hold for up to 12 months (and in some cases longer where exceptions for COVID-19 affected flights exist).