A LoyaltyLobby reader sent us a message regarding Turkish Airlines flight vouchers getting close to their expiry.
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Question From The Reader:
As I live in Hong Kong, I’m looking forward to being able to travel again in the hopefully not too distant future!
I have a question around flight refund vouchers for Turkish Airlines that I was wondering if you could help advise me on please. 2 years ago in Feb 2020, when the COVID outbreak had just started, my wife and kids flew from Hong Kong to Brazil via Istanbul on Turkish Airlines and then my wife had to return to HK for work and came back with a different airline, with the intention of returning to Brazil at Easter to bring the kids back home. However, we all know what happened next and as Turkish Airlines then continued to cancel flights, I flew to Brazil via Qatar Airways in June to pick up my kids and bring them back home as they were one of the only airlines flying the route at the time.
I asked Turkish Airlines to cancel the return segment of the flight for my wife and kids and they offered me the choice of either a refund of the ticket value or a flight voucher, valid for 2 years, that included a 15% bonus amount on the voucher. As I didn’t expect the situation in HK to still be as severe as it is 2 years later, I went for the voucher but it now looks extremely unlikely that I’ll be able to use it before the voucher expires in July.
I don’t want to lose the voucher as it’s not an insignificant amount of money but I don’t see how I can use it by July, given the quarantine and flight restrictions in HK. Do you know what options I have here? Do you know if I can book a flight for say December this year, before July using the voucher, or any other means to get my money back please?
As I am not familiar with the Turkish Airlines flight voucher rules, I decided to pull them on from their website:
- The flight voucher is issued in the name of the customer holding the original ticket.
- The vouchers’ validation date is 2 years as of the date of issue of the voucher.
- Vouchers can only be used to purchase tickets.
- Vouchers can only be used on Turkish Airlines and AnadoluJet flights.
- Changes are not permitted in the type of return following the refund process with a voucher, and the refund cannot be requested in cash.
- Vouchers are created in the currency of the original ticket. (In certain circumstances, a voucher can be created with the EUR currency rather than the currency of the original ticket. Creating a voucher with EUR is valid for certain cases as determined by Turkish Airlines. If the currency of the original ticket currency is not EUR, a flight voucher cannot be issued in EUR).
- Name changes are not permitted on the flight voucher. Flight vouchers may not be sold to another person and may not be transferred to any third parties.
- Vouchers may be used at Turkish Airlines sales offices, online channels via our web site and the Call Center. Please apply to sales offices with the voucher number and valid national ID card/passport.
- Tickets purchased with a voucher cannot be refunded. If a refund is requested according to the ticket rules, a new voucher is issued for the relevant amount.
- If the voucher amount is greater than the amount of the ticket purchased, a one-time voucher will be issued for the remaining amount.
- If the voucher amount is insufficient for the ticket purchase, the difference is collected from the passenger.
- Flight vouchers may not be used to pay taxes for tickets purchased using Miles points.
- Flight vouchers issued for an original ticket for a domestic flight may only be used for domestic flights. Similarly, flight vouchers issued for an original ticket for an international flight may only be used for international flights.
- Flight vouchers are usable only on behalf of the passenger. The voucher cannot be used on behalf of another passenger with the same reservation code when issuing the ticket.
- Flight vouchers cannot be used/combined with other coupons or discount codes.
- More than one voucher can be used when issuing a ticket.
- If the currency of the flight voucher is different from the currency of the to-be-issued ticket, the exchange rates available on the Turkish Airlines website and reservation tools will be applied.
- Turkish Airlines reserves the right to change the terms and conditions of flight vouchers.
- Payment with flight voucher from the website is valid only for adult and baby passenger types. This payment option is not available for child passengers.
There are a few problems here. The reader should have one voucher for each passenger, and those vouchers can only be used for the same person (you cannot gift or combine them).
It is unlikely that Hong Kong would reopen for quarantine free international travel before late 2022 or 2023, making it very challenging for the reader to travel if they wish to return to the city.
I don’t see any other limitation on the T&Cs than that the voucher must be used by the expiry date.
Here’s what I would do:
Book a trip, preferably refundable fare, as far out as possible before the voucher expires. We would then be looking at the spring of 2023. There can be schedule and other changes that will likely give additional options to extend the voucher in case of both refundable and non-refundable fares.
The reader’s case is really a nightmare. You don’t want to lose the value of these vouchers, but traveling back to Hong Kong for the foreseeable future is not possible without a quarantine.
I believe that the only solution to extend the validity of these vouchers is to book something as far out as possible before they expire.
We recommended our readers from the beginning of the pandemic not to accept vouchers in case they are eligible for a refund due to possible difficulty using them.