Canceled flight: Should I take a $500 airline credit or 100,000 miles?

Canceled flight: Should I take a $500 airline credit or 100,000 miles?

A subscriber was going to cancel his flight and was offered a credit of $500 with that airline – or 100,000 miles, so he emailed to ask me what I would do.

Since this is a common dilemma due to the current circumstances of many canceled flights, I thought I’d share my response as a blog post.

Hi Greg,
Thanks for reaching out.  Every airline varies, but in the case of Frontier – my short answer is “If it were me, and if it were an airline I fly often – I’d take 100,000 points over a $500 voucher every time”

But that’s me. You have to decide what’s right for you, so here’s the long answer:

  • A $500 credit is worth $500 next time you fly with that airline. No more, & no less.
  • If you get points… That’s a different story.
    • 100,000 Frontier points are worth about $500 as a worst-case scenario.
    • 100,000 Frontier points can be worth as much as $1500.
    • Side note – it’s rare, and it takes some digging, but 100,000 points with some airlines can be worth exponentially more than $500 or $1000. (I once redeemed 106,000 points for two $12,000 flights in a suite on Singapore Air.)

So if you like the idea of gaming the system to get more than a dollar for dollar refund out of a canceled flight, you can stretch points much farther than a cash credit.

If you’re not comfortable with learning how to maximize the value of frequent flyer points, I’d recommend seeing if you can get a cash refund first. Only after you’ve verified you can’t get a refund would I recommend taking a travel credit.

I hope that helps.
Happy Travels

–Joel