When do JetBlue’s vouchers expire? Whenever it says they do

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By Christopher Elliott

JetBlue is one of only a few airlines that issues flight vouchers when a fare drops after you book it, and if you use a service like Yapta, you can get notified when the price of your ticket falls.

But is the voucher worth anything? That’s what Jerry Gershner wants to know — and if I agree with his interpretation, he’d like me to help him fix it. I’m not sure if I do (or if I can) but maybe you can help me sort it out.

Here’s what happened to him: A few weeks ago, he booked JetBlue tickets for him and his wife.

“One day after I purchased these tickets, the fare dropped by $50,” he says.

He called JetBlue, which issued two $50 vouchers. So far, so good.

Two weeks later, Yapta notified him of another fare decline — this time by another $111.

“Once again, I called JetBlue and once again they cheerfully issued both of us an additional credit,” he says.

So where’s the problem? The tickets had originally been booked with a combination of cash and vouchers received the previous summer, and those vouchers would soon expire.

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He explains:

The written confirmation of each credit states as follows: “This credit, which expires 365 days from the date that it is issued, is available for use on future travel with JetBlue.”

However, the customer service rep that I spoke to on February 25th told me that inasmuch as each of the new $50 credits was tied to the original credits that were issued in July, 2012, and then used to pay part of the fare, they would be expiring this coming July.

Thus, these new $50 credits now have a shelf life of only four months, not one year.

This didn’t sit right with Gershner. He believes the new vouchers should be tied to the new reservation, so he appealed his case to JetBlue.

Its answer?

JetBlue credits are valid for one year from the ORIGINAL date of issue. If a reservation is booked with a credit, ANY credits received on that reservation will revert back to the original credit expiration date.

OK, OK … no need to yell.

Gershner doesn’t buy it.

I wonder how JetBlue would explain the following scenario: What if one month before my travel bank credit was due to expire I used it to purchase a ticket. Then, 29 days later I noticed that the fare dropped and called JetBlue for a credit.

They gave me the credit but it was good for only one day, inasmuch as it was supposedly issued 11 months and 29 days after the original credit, which had been applied to a ticket, had been issued.

Is this a fraud or bait and switch?

JetBlue will hear none of it. In response, it just reiterated its position.

Now what?

JetBlue’s policy is fairly generous to begin with. Not every airline issues vouchers for a fare difference. But I can also understand Gershner’s point. If the clock on the vouchers starts from the moment you book your tickets, then those credits could be all but worthless by the time you get around to using them.

There’s also this: JetBlue really doesn’t seem to like working with reader advocates. I just passed another reader question along to them and received a response that told me to more or less mind my own business.

“While I appreciate your interest in this particular customer’s case, we do prefer a direct relationship with our customers, and will not share any personal or customer information with outside parties,” a spokesman told me. (Here’s our ultimate guide to resolving your consumer problem.)

I imagine my advocacy team and I will get the same response if we try to mediate Gershner’s case.

But since when has that stopped me from trying?

Should I mediate Jerry Gershner's case?

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Update: After a thoughtful debate, I’ve decided to go with the majority on this case. I’m going to let things stand.

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can't. He's the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes three nationally syndicated columns. He also publishes the Elliott Report, a news site for consumers, and Elliott Confidential, a critically acclaimed newsletter about customer service. If you have a consumer problem you can't solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on X, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter.

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