Travel Certificates: How The Pandemic Is Affecting Yours

Written by Ashley Ferraro

We are now well into October and the domestic travel situation is only looking slightly better. Most travel is still essential, and people are turning to road trips over air travel. Benefits like travel certificates are continuing to remain unused. The COVID-19 pandemic has almost established a new normal, where people are enjoying family time and local vacations.

One question many travelers have is, “What is the fate of my companion fares and free hotel night certificates?” These perks are generally earned through cobranded credit cards or elite status benefits. If you’re wondering the fate of your unused travel certificates, every airline and hotel will have a different answer. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular certificates and how they the pandemic is affecting them.

Airfare Companion Certificates

  • Alaska Airlines
    • An outstanding companion fare benefit from their Alaska Airlines Visa Signature credit card due to expire in 2020 will be valid until December 31, 2020. Travel may be purchased for any time through November 26, 2021.
  • American Airlines
    • Four American Airlines cobranded credit cards offer companion certificates. These include CitiBusiness/AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard, AAdvantage Aviator Silver World Elite Mastercard, AAdvantage Aviator Red Mastercard, and AAdvantage Aviator Business Mastercard.
    • Eligible Barclay AAdvantage cardholders in possession of certificates expiring between Match 31. 2020 and May 31, 2021 will be eligible to use them through June 30, 2021.
    • Citi cardholders are being offered a six month extension for both companion certificates and flight discounts.
  • Delta
    • Four Delta cobranded credit cards offer companion certificates. These include Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card, Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business American Express Card, Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card, and Delta SkyMiles Platinum Business American Express Card.
    • Companion certificates issued as benefits of Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card and Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card will be valid through December 31, 2021. However, travel has to be both booked and completed by then.
    • If you’ve already booked a trip using a SkyMiles Companion Certificate, you will need to contact the airline to make any changes.
    • If you’ve earned the $100 Delta flight credit from the Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card, it now has an extended expiration date of December 31, 2021.
    • Have an unused Sky Club guest pass from your Delta SkyMiles Reserve Card? It will now be valid through December 31, 2021.
    • Global Upgrade Certificates, Regional Upgrade Certificates, and $200 travel vouchers that Diamonds and Platinum Medallions have selection through Choice Benefits are have expired between March 1 and June 30, 2020 have previously been extended to December 31. 2020. Those with ones expiring after June 30, 2020 will receive a six month extension on the expiration date.

Hotel Nights Certificates

  • Marriott Bonvoy
    • Marriott Free Night Awards (FNA) can be earned as part of your credit card benefits package. These reward nights can also be earned as your Annual Choice Benefit. Any Marriott FNAs expiring in 2020 may now me used through January 31, 2021.
    • Marriott Suite Night Awards (SNA) with an expiration date of December 31, 2020 will be extended to December 31, 2021.
  • World of Hyatt
    • World of Hyatt members may have any of these three awards to be used: Category 1-4 Free Night Award, Club Lounge Access Award, Suite Upgrade Award.
    • Hyatt sent the following update via email to members, detailing the fate of these rewards,“All unused Free Night, Suite Upgrade or Club Lounge Access awards with expiration dates between March 1, 2020 and Dec. 31, 2020 will be extended to Dec. 31, 2021. This includes existing awards and awards that may be earned throughout this year with a 2020 expiration date. The award extension will be generated by World of Hyatt — members do not need to take action. Awards that expired between March 1 and March 31, 2020 will be replaced with new awards on April 20, 2020. All other qualifying, unused awards will be updated by the 20th day of the month in which the award would have originally expired.”
    • As far as elite status, Hyatt issued the following statement, “Status and benefits will be extended for all existing elite members without having to requalify. This means that whatever your status was as of March 31, 2020 — whether Discoverist, Explorist or Globalist — it will be automatically updated to reflect a Feb. 28, 2022 expiration date. All elite tier extensions should be reflected in members’ accounts no later than April 15, 2020.”
    • In addition, point forfeiture has been suspended through December 31, 2020.
  • Hilton Honors
    • Hilton Weekend Night Reward certificates held between March 11 and August 30, 2020 will now expire on August 31, 2021.
  • IHG Rewards Club
    • IHG Anniversary Night certificates earned through cobranded credit card expiring after March 1, 2020 will now be valid through December 31, 2020. Any certificates issued in 2020 will have an 18-month redemption period. According to their website, cardmembers should be getting a direct message regarding this information.
  • Raddison Rewards
    • Any E-certs earned with the Radisson Reward Visa card set to expire between March 1 and July 31, 2020 may now be redeemed through June 30, 2021.

Although there is still a ton of uncertainty floating around in the travel industry, many hospitality companies are doing their best to accommodate customers. Hopefully this information gives you some insight into the fate of your own travel certificates.

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Written by Ashley Ferraro

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