If you received a voucher for canceled plans, now is the time to use it

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, many flights at Orlando International Airport in Florida will be canceled on March 24, 2020.

Stephen M. Dowell | Orlando Sentinel | Getty Images

A year ago I booked round-trip tickets for a vacation to Florida with Frontier Airlines. When the coronavirus outbreak established our plans, I was issued a voucher – good for three months.

Like me, an overwhelming majority of Americans cut, postponed, or canceled their 2020 plans.

Most also received vouchers or credits that were valid for a later date. Twelve months later, those credits are likely to have expired – or are about to expire.

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According to a study by Bankrate.com, more than half of all adults, or around 54%, who have spent money on activities canceled due to the pandemic have already lost those funds.

Fewer received partial refunds, although these varied depending on the type of purchase. About 35% who canceled short-term home rentals got some, but not all, of their money back.

Less than a quarter of adults were partially reimbursed for canceled flights, sporting events, concerts, theater tickets or hotel stays, Bankrate found.

While many consumers were more likely to accept credits or vouchers than refunds, often valid for up to a year, few expected it would take that long for the country to open up again.

Now that the expiration date is fast approaching, it’s a good time to check in these coupons, advised Ted Rossman, an industry analyst at CreditCards.com.

“If you’re not ready to use it, ask for an extension or make a plan for a few months,” he said. Many airlines and hotels have relaxed their policies and waived fees.

At Frontier, for example, future trip credits originally required travelers to rebook within 90 days. The airline then changed this policy and now credits are valid for up to one year.

Additionally, flights can currently be booked through April 2022, and the low-cost carrier is offering free changes to new bookings made by the end of this month.

With more than half of US consumers planning on vacationing later this year, this is a good time to book, added Rossman.

In fact, thanks to recent improvements in Covid-19 vaccine supplies, reservations for summer travel are on the rise, while airfare and hotel costs remain low.

“There are a lot of good deals out there right now. The longer you wait, the more likely it is that prices will go up or things will fill up,” Rossman said.

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