Things to Keep in Mind About Airline Travel Bank Credits

Editor’s Note: The following Post is Guest written by Matt from Miles Earn and Burn. Special thanks to Matt for putting this resource together.

In Episode 48 of the Milenomics No-Annual Fee Edition Podcast, Robert and Sam talked about the perils involved in holding funds in airline travel banks or certificates. To summarize this excellent discussion, each airline has different expiry rules, travel banks are held and redeemed in different ways, and sometimes you can extend the validity of the funds, but sometimes not. Of course these funds are still useful in travel hacking, especially for cashing out certain types of travel credits from premium credit cards.

Perhaps it goes without saying, but if you have the choice between a full cash-out and a travel bank, always take the full cash out. Travel banks aren’t the same as cash and shouldn’t be treated as such. Cash, for example doesn’t expire, cash can be used to buy seat-upgrades and pay change fees, cash doesn’t tie you to a particular airline, cash can be invested to earn a return. Cash is fungible, travel bank funds are not. For those times when cash isn’t an option, here are the basic rules for the major US airlines in order of my perceived ease of use:

United Travel Bank

United’s Travel Bank is arguably the most straight forward to use and keep active. It unfortunately can’t be used on non-United or United Express flights, and as of January 14, 2021 it doesn’t seem to work as a way to cash out American Express Platinum airline credit.

EarningLoad your travel bank at this link
Usable onUnited and United Express flights only
Usable forAirfare and airfare taxes for any passenger
RedeemingApply funds during checkout at united.com
Expiration18 months of inactivity (total travel bank)
5 years (individual loads)
Reset expirationAdd more cash or redeem Travel Bank funds for a flight
RefundsAvailable back to Travel Bank, subject to normal ticket refund rules
Full T&CLink

Note: United’s Travel Bank Terms and Conditions only mention an expiration at 18 months, but they show a different expiration date next to each load at this link. It’s unclear whether either or both apply. To be safe, I’d assume both.

JetBlue Travel Bank

JetBlue’s Travel Bank is managed by Sabre, not JetBlue itself, a fact which is painfully obvious when you try and interact with it and see how disconnected from JetBlue’s website it truly is.

EarningCancel a Blue or a Blue Extra flight more than 24 hours after purchasing
Usable onJetBlue flights and the airfare portion of JetBlue Vacations
Usable forAirfare and airfare taxes, change fees, and cancellation fees for any passenger
RedeemingApply funds during checkout at jetblue.com
Expiration12 months after issue, or 24 months after issue for certain tickets purchased in 2020
Reset expirationNo published method, but you may have luck if you’re an elite, call reservations, and ask nicely
RefundsCancelling a ticket booked with JetBlue’s Travel Bank will result in a voucher with the original expiration date intact
Full T&CLink

Alaska Airlines Credit Certificates

Alaska doesn’t have a travel bank, but they have a wallet which lets you combine certificates into something that looks like a bank. You can see your wallet funds at this link. During the height of the travel downturn caused by the COVID pandemic Alaska let you convert certificates into miles, however that offer has expired and I don’t expect it to come back.

EarningCancel a non-refundable Main or First Class ticket more than 24 hours after booking
Usable onAlaska operated flights
Usable forAirfare and airfare taxes for any passenger
RedeemingApply funds during checkout or call reservations
Expiration12 months after original ticket booking
Reset expirationTwitter agents have been known to issue new certificates in certain circumstances, but there’s no formal method
RefundsCancelling a ticket booked with certificates will result in new certificates with the original expiration dates intact
Full T&CLink

Southwest Airlines Travel Funds

Southwest travel funds are easy to see and manage, but there’s a huge caveat with them: if you book airfare using multiple funds, the earliest expiration date applies to the new booking — you must complete travel before expiration and if you cancel the newly booked ticket, you’ll get a new travel fund certificate that expires on the date of the earliest expiration original funds.

EarningCancel a ticket and choose “Hold for future use” during cancellation
Usable onSouthwest operated flights
Usable forAirfare and airfare taxes for the fund holder only
RedeemingApply funds during checkout or call reservations
Expiration12 months after original ticket booking (travel must be completed by the expiry of the earliest travel fund certificate used during booking)
Reset expirationNone, but you can convert combined expired funds to a LUV voucher usable by anyone, minus a $100 processing fee
RefundsCancelling a ticket booked with certificates will result a new certificate with an expiration date matching earliest travel fund expiration used during booking
Full T&CLink

Delta Air Lines eCredits

Delta has no formal travel bank program, but they do have eCredits for non-refundable fares cancelled more than 24 hours after booking. You can use up to three of them per ticket, but the eCredit must be booked in the name of the certificate holder. If everything is working with Delta’s IT, you should be able to see them at this link. (Note: This never works for me, but I’ve seen it work for others. I have to call reservations to find out what I’ve got.)

EarningCancel a non-refundable Main Cabin, Comfort+, or First Class ticket more than 24 hours after booking
Usable onDelta marketed flights
Usable forAirfare and airfare taxes for the eCredit holder only
RedeemingVisit delta.com/redeem or call reservations.
Expiration12 months after original ticket booking, or 24 months after booking for certain tickets purchased in 2020
Reset expirationNone
RefundsCancelling a ticket booked with eCredits will result in new eCredits with the original expiration dates intact
Full T&CLink

Note that unlike most other airlines, Delta’s eCredits just require that you book by expiration, even if your flight is months after the expiry of the eCredit, it can still be used to pay for airfare.

American Airlines Vouchers

American doesn’t have a full travel bank like some other airlines, but they do have eVouchers, Travel Vouchers, and Trip Credits, all of which are largely similar.

EarningCancelled flights, fare difference refunds, compensation
Usable onAA marketed flights and oneworld flights originating in the US, Puerto Rico, or the Virgin Islands
Usable forAirfare and airfare taxes for the voucher holder only
RedeemingFor eVouchers and Travel Vouchers, aa.com or via phone; For trip credits, only via phone
ExpirationOne year from issue date (travel must start by expiry)
Reset expirationNone
RefundsCancelled flights can generate new vouchers, but the rules aren’t well documented
Full T&CLink for eVouchers and Travel Vouchers; For Trip Credits, they’ll be included with the issuing document (usually email)


Matt is the creator of Miles Earn And Burn, a travel hacking short-post blog that posts once per day, Monday through Friday.

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