What are United, AA, Delta and JetBlue Airline Flight Credit Expiration Policies for flight credits received during the pandemic? Keep in mind that if an airline cancelled your flight, you can insist on a full refund back to your credit card. If, however, you cancelled a flight before the airline did, you may have received a flight credit, and these typically can't be exchanged for a refund; they can only be used by the original passenger on a new flight from that airline (and not with that airline's partner airlines).
United has extended its flight credit expiration for flights that passengers cancelled. Many passengers who received an email from United Airlines during the early 2020 days of the COVID-19 pandemic, inviting them to cancel their flight without penalty, took the bait and did so. If they had simply waited until United Airlines cancelled the flight, they would have been eligible for a full refund back to their payment card, something the Department of Transportation emphasized in early April 2020 (see DoT to Airlines: Refund Passengers for Cancelled Flights). But passengers who took United's offer were then stuck with a United flight credit and ineligible for a refund.
Normally United flight credits expire within 1 year, which may have seemed like sufficient leeway early on, but became unrealistic for most as the pandemic wore on. Fortunately United has extended the validity: flight credits issued between May 1, 2019 – March 31, 2021 may be used for travel starting on or before March 31, 2022.
But what about other airlines? Here are the expiration dates for flight credits for the other major U.S. carriers:
AA issued flight credits to passengers who cancelled flights due to the pandemic. Only the passenger of the originally ticketed flight can use a flight credit, and normally these expire 1 year from the date of issue, although AA originally extended them to expire by the end of 2021. Fortunately, AA has extended flight credits for flights that passengers cancelled during the pandemic to be able to be used for travel until 3/31/22.
Typically Delta eCredits, for a flight that the passenger cancelled, are usually valid for 1 year from the date of purchase of the original ticket. Due to the pandemic, qualifying eCredits (those from tickets purchased before April 17, 2020, for travel March 1, 2020, through March 31, 2021) will be automatically extended to December 2022 so there’s no action needed on your part.
Usually JetBlue Travel Bank credits expire one year from the date of issuance; the flight itself can occur after the expiration date, as long as the credit was applied to the booking before the credit expired.
Due to COVID-19, new JetBlue travel credits issued between February 27, 2020 and June 30, 2020 for flight purchases have a 24-month expiration period as opposed to the typical 12 months, so they will expire February 27-June 30, 2022.
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