The COVID-19 global pandemic has caused unprecedented chaos around the world, with the travel industry affected particularly severely. Airlines have had to ground many of their flights, especially international ones, as countries everywhere impose entry restrictions to try and slow down the spread.
If your flight has been cancelled, or you are unable to fly due to travel bans, you may have been offered something called ‘travel credit’. In a nutshell, this means that while you can’t get the cash value of your ticket back, you can use its value to go towards buying a ticket (with the same airline) at a later date, once things are back to normal.
Below are some FAQs around travel credit.
When and how will I receive my credit?
First things first: travel credit isn’t a guarantee, but we will do our absolute best to secure it for you. If you do receive travel credit, it will be stored on your StudentUniverse account for future use. You won’t be able to see it because it’s stored on the backend, but we can see it. It will be added to your account as soon as one of our customer care team has had a chance to process it, though this is taking longer than usual, due to the heavy demand on them. When you’re ready to use it, you can give us a call and we’ll have you apply that credit.
IMPORTANT: due to the extremely high number of calls (and subsequent wait time) we are currently receiving, we strongly recommend you wait a week or two (April 2020 onwards) before trying to get in touch.
Why can’t I just get a cash refund instead?
At present, very few airlines are offering full refunds. We will do everything we can to petition the airline to get you a refund if your flight has been cancelled, but it is far from guaranteed we’ll be able to secure this. In most instances, travel credit is the best option available.
How much travel credit will I have?
The credit will be for the remaining amount of your ticket. If your ticket was totally unused, it’ll be for the full amount of the original ticket. If you already flew the outbound portion of the flight, the credit will be for about half, or the amount of the return portion of the flight.
Where can I see my travel credit?
You can’t see your travel credit, as it’s stored on the backend of your account. We can access it for you anytime, so just call in when you’re ready to use it. But keep in mind right now (March 20th 2020) our support teams are under extraordinarily high demand trying to help passengers in urgent need of assistance, so we strongly recommend you wait for a few days before calling.
Does this credit expire?
Yes, and this depends on the airline’s policy. For many airlines, the credit is good through December 31, 2020. Please refer to your airline’s policy for more details on when your credit has to be used by.
Check out our alphabetical list of links to different airline policies.
Can I use my travel credit on any airline?
Your travel credit applies to the specific airline you were originally booked on. If your ticket was on two separate airlines, you’ll get partial credit for both the airlines.
Can I use my travel credit for any destination, as long as it’s the same airline?
This will depend on the individual airline policy – some are more flexible than others. The norm, however, is that you have to use the credit for the same destination. Check airline policy for official rules and know that you can always ask the airlines for a request to change the route.
Do I use my credit on StudentUniverse or on the airline’s website?
You’ll be able to use it on StudentUniverse, for flights operated by that airline. Call us when you’re ready to rebook and we can help you use credit.
Can someone else use my travel credit in my place?
The short answer is no. All flights are non-transferable and cannot be used by anyone other than the ticket holder. This applies to future travel credit as well.
Can I use my travel credit multiple times, until it’s run out?
Afraid not. If the new flight is cheaper, then you can use the credit to cover its cost, but you won’t receive the difference in cash, or be able to put it towards another flight. It’s a one-time thing. If the new flight is more expensive than the original, you can use the full amount of your allocated credit, but you will have to pay whatever remains of the fare. These rules are universal across all airlines – we don’t make them, but we do have to follow them.
For more FAQs on the coronavirus and travel, visit our FAQ page.