This all started with my post about trying to use the American E-Voucher I received for a proactive bump from a flight in April 2019. Sharon and I both received $400 vouchers for accepting a change from a connecting flight from Orlando to New York to a non-stop flight leaving the same evening. We took the bump and received the vouchers by email within minutes.
Now, not everything went along without a hitch when I tried to redeem the vouchers. I quickly found out that the vouchers could only be used for the ticket price and not for extras (like seat assignments).
When I finally was able to use my vouchers to pay for my flights, I noticed something interesting when I received my emailed confirmation. The amount taken from the vouchers was more than the price quoted on the original receipt.
The Initial Problem
In summary, they charged me $610 for two tickets but the receipt said the flight only cost $542.66, a difference of $67.34.
I wrote a post noticing that the difference in the price was exactly the amount of the taxes due on the ticket and how it wasn’t right that American was removing that amount from my vouchers when the receipt didn’t include the tax amount.
My original article implied that the taxes were being collected but not being paid and that was enough to catch the attention of American Airlines.
I received an email from American telling me that my article was inaccurate and they wanted me to correct it. According to their records, I was never charged the $67.34 for taxes on the ticket that I claimed, and the amount was still sitting on one of my E-Vouchers. The remaining $190 was still on the second voucher.
Why would American’s systems leave a balance on both vouchers????
Their claim was that this was a system error and the website should have removed the taxes when booking a ticket using an E-Voucher as the payment method. They had no idea why it said I was paying the full prices, nor why the difference was left on the first voucher.
Now to make things worse, I had already booked another flight in the meantime, using the remaining $190 from voucher #2 and paid the remaining amount due by credit card. Had I known I had $67 left on voucher #1, I would have used it for these tickets.
My first priority was to fix the article to remove any inaccurate information. I never want to provide info to you that’s not correct and if I’m wrong, I’m the first one to say so. American said that this was a glitch and I take them at their word. When you’re using an E-Voucher to pay for the full price of a ticket, their website is supposed to remove the taxes from the cost of the reservation. It’s up to you to make sure that works, but at least we know that’s the rule.
Lack of Resolution
After correcting the account, I tried to get some resolution for the remaining $67 left on my voucher. I already had booked a second flight to use my remaining funds and had no idea that money was there. After using a gift card, do you save the email with the numbers? Like most people, I deleted the post with my voucher number once I thought it was used up.
American was nice enough to resend me an email with the voucher numbers, but they sent the one that I’d already used up. I was able to use that one to search my browser history and find the website with my other voucher and confirmed that it does in fact still have $67 left on it.
However, I have no other flights to book before it’s due to expire. Here was the response to my request to see if anything could be done since this balance was due to a system error.
And to clarify, while your voucher expires on 4/25/20, you can apply the voucher to a ticket for a trip at a later date (i.e. if you are booking a trip in December) as long as you cash the voucher in by 4/25/20 and purchase the ticket by 4/25/20.
Great, so their solution is to book yet another ticket and I have three months to find an American flight to use up the remaining amount on my voucher that I thought was already used up. Ugh.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about having $800 to use for airfare. Well, actually I am. Using these vouchers is way more complicated than I thought it would be. It turns out they’re worth more than face value because when booking a ticket with an E-Voucher, you don’t have to pay taxes on the ticket, which can save a decent penny. However, you also can’t use the vouchers to pay for seat assignments or luggage fees so you still may have to pay for your “free” ticket.
I’m going to think long and hard before accepting another offer for a bump voucher with American the next time we get a phone call about one of our flights being oversold.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary
Title Photo courtesy of Grant Wickes from Flickr