The new expiration date, which went into effect on January 12, applies to all existing Delta eCredits. Fliers will be able to rebook their tickets through December 31, 2023, for travel throughout all of 2024. The same policy will apply to all tickets booked in 2022.
Since the onset of the pandemic, would-be airline passengers have been canceling their flights and converting them to travel credits for future use. The result is a multitude of travelers scrambling to cash in the airline vouchers—some dating back to March 2020—before they expire. (Previously, Delta’s vouchers were valid for travel through September 2022.)
That can be a fraught endeavor, especially now as the Omicron variant is snarling flights once again and many travelers are looking to postpone trips. According to Delta, the new policy was instituted so passengers “can book with complete confidence that Delta has their back even when moments arise out of their control," Allison Ausband, Delta Airlines' chief customer experience officer, said in a statement.
The airline also notes that customers shouldn’t worry if they’re seeing the old expiration date on their vouchers, as it will take a significant amount of time to update each credit in their online system. “But rest assured you can continue to book tickets for travel anytime in 2022 or 2023 with your existing eCredits,” states Delta’s site.
Pre-pandemic, airline vouchers typically expired one year after the purchase date. Currently, other U.S. airlines’ voucher policies, including those at United and American, hew more closely to that original standard: United flight credits issued before December 31, 2021, are valid for travel throughout 2022; American Airlines’ credits and vouchers are set to expire on March 31, 2022.
While many travelers opt for vouchers when they want to proactively change their travel plans, airlines are obligated to give customers a cash refund if a flight is canceled. (Unfortunately, nabbing that cash refund isn't as straightforward as it seems.) Many U.S. airlines still owe fliers as much as $20 billion in cash refunds from canceled flights in 2020, according to some experts’ estimates.