Alaska Airlines Extends Travel Credit Expirations

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Alaska Airlines has announced two pieces of news that should please customers whose plans have been disrupted. The airline is extending the expiration dates for all valid travel credits (vouchers) that are currently sitting in customer accounts and it will be offering customers who have yet to receive/accept travel credits a considerably longer period of time in which to use those credits.

Here’s what Alaska Airlines has announced:

Travel Credits Issued Before 1 March 2020

Travel credits that were deposited into customer accounts before 1 March 2020 will have their expiration date extended by 6 months.

Travel does not have to be taken before the 6-month extension date, but tickets have to be booked by then.

Travel Credits Issued Between 1 March and 31 May 2020

For customers who canceled or will cancel their flights due to COVID-19 impacts in March, April or May 2020, the travel credits issued will be extended through 5 July 2021 for travel through 31 May 2022.

Quick Thoughts

This is very good news if you currently hold a travel credit from Alaska Airlines as you have just been given a considerably longer period of time in which to use that credit for future travel.

Having said that, there’s a piece of advice that I’ve been repeating quite a bit that I think needs to be repeated here too.

Travel credits are fine if it is the passenger who is canceling a trip but, considering how many flights are being canceled by airlines right now, there shouldn’t be all that many people who need to accept a travel credit – US airlines that cancel flights owe passengers a full cash refund and passengers should not be accepting travel credits in place of cash.

If you have a flight booked with Alaska Airlines and it has yet to be cancelled I would urge you not to cancel your booking until it looks certain that the airline will not be canceling your trip (you can wait until 24 hours before you’re due to travel).

If you cancel now you have no choice but to accept a travel credit valid for future travel but if you hold out long enough and Alaska Airlines ends up cancelling your flights, you’ll be due a full cash refund…and cash is a lot more useful than a travel credit!

Bottom Line

It’s great to see Alaska Airlines taking steps to make people’s travel credits easier to use and it’s great to see how long customers will now have before they have to use their travel credits….but that doesn’t make travel credits better than cash.

Do not accept a travel credit if Alaska Airlines has cancelled your trip – get a cash refund.