When the pandemic halted travel in 2020, almost everyone’s travel itineraries were delayed or canceled. And many airlines, cruise lines, tour companies and hotels issuing refunds or travel credits for travelers to redeem for future trips.
But with 2021 coming to a close, many of those credits are set to expire.
“We’re seeing a lot of people with future travel credits,” said Anne Lischwe, travel sales manager at AAA Northeast. “Use that credit – don’t lose it!”
Even if you’re not planning on traveling soon, you should research the particulars of your credits, she said. The two most important deadlines are the “book by” and “travel by” dates. Rules and restrictions vary by supplier, so make sure to read the fine print: You don’t want to dream about a sunny sojourn to Santorini only to discover your airline credit can only be used for domestic travel.
“Know as much detail about your travel credits as you can,” Lischwe said. “Make sure you know where and how you can use them.”
Seize the Day
In the past few weeks, Lischwe has seen an uptick in the number of people redeeming their travel credits. Members are booking now for 2022 trips to Europe, Alaska and the Caribbean. More people are open to European travel, especially since the U.S. opened to most vaccinated European travelers earlier this month.
She’s also seeing a rise in booking to places like Asia, the South Pacific and Australia, which are just starting to reopen to tourists.
Her No. 1 piece of advice to those who want to travel in 2022? Book now.
“Don’t wait,” Lische said. “There’s going to be a huge uptick in travel in 2022 – things are already selling out. Even if you’re not ready to travel, start to make a plan. You don’t want to try to redeem your credit the week before it expires.”
River cruises, especially, are seeing voyages sell out, since the smaller ships hold fewer passengers than larger ocean liners.
You may even get a surprise when looking into your travel credits. Many travelers, especially those who booked cruises, received bonus future travel credits when their plans were delayed.
“Some people have gotten to upgrade their cabin, extend their trip, or even book another trip,” Lischwe said. “People are really seeing the added value inherent in these bonus credits.”
A travel advisor can help make sense of any questions you may have about unused travel credits. They’re up to date on the latest restrictions and can help you plan your (long-delayed!) dream vacation.
Have a future travel credit you need to use? Make an appointment with a trusted AAA Northeast travel advisor, who can give you helpful advice on how to use your airline/hotel/cruise/tour credit. (Even if you didn’t book through AAA Northeast!)
Where will you go with your future travel credits? Let us know in the comments below!