No corporate travel program wants to lose their unused airline tickets. In this FAQ, our Account Management and Operations Teams answer 9 questions from customers about how to best manage and reuse those unused ticket credits. We also created this Best Practice Guide for managing unused tickets.
1. How do I use an unused credit when booking online?
Travelers can see their unused credits in the online booking tool (OBT). That said, OBTs don’t indicate that a traveler should use a particular credit. They also don’t have a simple button to “use this credit.”
The process of applying unused ticket credits to an online booking is actually automated through Christopherson’s quality check system. So if a traveler books a flight on the same carrier for which they have an unused ticket credit, the automated ticketing process sends the reservation to our team to review.
This happens because there are times when the airline’s rules for the old ticket render the unused credits invalid toward the new ticket. For example, some airlines have rules that result in the loss of any remaining balance if the cost of the new ticket is less than the unused ticket credit. In such instances, the unused ticket may not be applied so that you don’t lose any value of the original ticket.
It is because of the variety of variables that our team reviews those online bookings against the rules the carrier attached to your unused credits. When unused credits can be validated, they will be applied accordingly to the new reservation.
When unused ticket credits are applied, they will show on the receipt/invoice for the new ticket.
2. What if I don’t want to use an unused ticket credit when I’m booking online?
Christopherson’s systems are set up to apply your unused credits sooner rather than later so you don’t lose the value of the old tickets. Therefore, online bookings prompt us to use your credits.
If you do not want a credit used for a specific trip, you would need to contact our advisor team to book your reservation and document why you do not want to use the available credit on file.
3. Can I get a refund instead of getting unused ticket credits?
More often than not, airline tickets are non-refundable. This is because refundable tickets cost more and buying them is a decision that must be made at the time of purchase.
Getting a refund depends on the airline’s rules and most situations do not permit a refund. Refunding non-refundable tickets is typically only allowed when there is a major schedule change and the traveler isn’t willing to accept the new option. That said, some exceptions may exist in rare cases. Christopherson can help you look up the rules for your ticket and request a refund for tickets that match the refund policies. Additional service fees may apply.
4. Can unused tickets be transferred? What do we do with unused tickets for former employees?
Most major domestic airlines allow name changes for a name change fee. Most international carriers do not allow for transferrable tickets. Your Account Manager can help you find out if your airline contracts waive name change fees. Keep in mind that name changes are only allowed for wholly unused tickets and any difference in fare is always owed.
Christopherson’s software platform, AirPortal, shows whether a ticket is transferrable in a toggle located next to the unused ticket (in the unused ticket report). Here are a few best practices for managing and transferring unused tickets:
– Only mark unused tickets as “transferrable” from travelers who are either no longer with the company or are no longer traveling for their job.
– Convert unused tickets to transferrable in small batches by earliest date of expiration. Converting 25 or more tickets at a time creates challenges in applying the right funds to new bookings.
Use this guide for more best practices on managing and transferring unused tickets.
5. We tried to use unused airline credits from former employees, but the airline charged us $300 to transfer the credit. Is there any way around this?
Unfortunately, the airlines set their own rules and fees and they do enforce them. For cases like this, where a name has to be changed, many airlines do charge name change fees, and there may be a cost for the difference in fare.
While there typically isn’t a way around the airlines’ fees, the best way to get the most out of your unused credits, is to work with our advisors. They know the all the rules attached to your tickets and are experts at applying unused credits to new tickets. They will work to get as much value as possible out of the money you’ve already spent.
6. Who should I call if I need help reusing an unused ticket? Is there a fee for this?
Any of Christopherson’s advisors can assist in answering questions about what can or cannot be done with unused ticket credits. You can reach them via email (email@example.com) or phone (800-600-3737). There is no fee to inquire, but if your advisor processes an exchange, refund, name change, etc., standard fees do apply. There may also be airline fees to reuse certain credits.
7. Are there any reports I should create to ensure we don’t lose any unused tickets?
While you can download ad hoc reports from our software platform, AirPortal, Christopherson sends automated unused ticket reports to travel managers on a monthly basis. Please let your Account Manager know if you’re not receiving those reports or have questions about your company’s unused tickets.
Travelers also receive notifications from Christopherson 30, 90, and 120 days before their own unused ticket credits expire. Their unused tickets are also listed on their AirPortal traveler dashboard and are viewable in your online booking tool. This helps travelers stay aware of their unused tickets and encourages reuse. Unused tickets are integrated with both travel agent and online bookings.
8. How do I get information about unused tickets for specific employees and departments within my organization?
Corporate travel managers are able to see their company’s unused tickets in our software platform, AirPortal, under “Unused Tickets” in the Main Menu.
9. I have unused tickets that are set to expire. Is there any way around the travel completion date?
The airlines have not extended ticket validity farther than they already have. We don’t suggest holding out for another extension. Instead, we suggest trying to use your unused tickets within their ticket validity, perhaps even as one-way tickets prior to their expiration so you don’t lose that value.
If you have additional questions about unused tickets, please let us know. And if you’re a client with unused tickets you’d like us to review, you can always reach out to our Account Management and Client Services Teams.