USA   |   UK   |   Australia   |   Canada
ADVERTISEMENT

2011 airline gift card comparison chart

By

More from our 2011 gift card package

Airline gift cards can be an easy way to give the gift of travel in a neat little package. Anyone considering giving one of these cards as a gift, though, should check the terms and conditions ahead of time, be careful when choosing the airline and make sure the recipient will use it (see "Giving the gift of flight with airline gift cards").

In most cases, buyers of airline gift cards don't have to worry about the major snags associated with some retail gift cards: Most airline cards do not expire or diminish in value if the card goes unused, even for years. But there are airline gift card catches and restrictions that vary between the airlines, so knowing what you are buying before your buy it can save you headaches later on.

To help you, CreditCards.com created a comparison chart for gift cards offered by six popular airlines.

 

 

Graphic by Juan Rodriguez

In the past few years, airline gift cards – both plastic and virtual – have all but replaced paper gift certificates for those wanting to give the gift of flight. In most cases, buyers of airline gift cards don’t have to worry about the major snags associated with some retail gift cards. Most airline cards do not expire or diminish in value if the card goes unused, even for years. (See Giving the gift of flight with airline gift cards.)

There are still catches and restrictions to watch out for, though, and even questions about whether a gift card will still be good if an airline goes bankrupt or merges. To help you make the best choice, use the following chart as your guide for airline gift cards:

 

Airline: American Airlines

Amount: $50 to $1,500

Expires? No

Fees? No dormancy, service or maintenance fees

Transferable? Yes

Airlines on which it can be used: American Airlines, American Eagle and American Connections flights originating in the United States, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico; electronic tickets for travel on any oneworld partner; codeshare flights with the designation AA*

Where to buy: Online at aa.com; by phone at 800-677-9555; in Admirals Club lounges; at American Airlines travel centers

E-mail option? Yes – can deliver “virtual card” via e-mail

Shipping cost: $4.95 for FedEx standard for delivery in 4 to 5 business days; $15 for FedEx priority for delivery in 2 to 3 business days

Maximum number of cards that can be used at one time: 8

Can card be reloaded? No

Replacement of lost of stolen cards? No

Also offers gift certificates? No

Where can be redeemed: Only American Airlines’ website at aa.com or by phone via American Airlines Reservations

 

Airline: US Airways

Amount: $50 to $500

Expires? No

Fees? No dormancy, usage or maintenance fees

Transferable? Yes

Airlines on which it can be used: US Airways

Where to buy: Online at usairways.com, by phone at 800-428-4322 or at Walgreens when available

E-mail option? No

Shipping cost: $15 for FedEx shipping

Maximum number of cards that can be used at one time: One, but multiple gift cards can be combined into one

Also offers gift certificates? No

Can card be reloaded? Yes, by calling the reservations center

Replacement of lost of stolen cards? Only with proof of purchase

Where can be redeemed: Only through US Airways’ reservations center at 800-428-4322; cannot be redeemed online

 

 

Airline: Southwest Airlines

Amount: $10 to $1,000; cards worth more than $1,000 can be purchased by following special instructions

Expires? No

Fees? None

Transferable? Yes

Airlines on which it can be used: Southwest Airlines

Where to buy: Online at southwest.com, by calling the reservations center, or at an approved retailer such as Albertson’s, CVS, KMart, Kroger, Price Chopper or Safeway

E-mail option? Yes

Shipping cost: $2.95 for United States Postal Service or $9.95 for Federal Express Standard Overnight; overnight shipping is free for a gift card of $500 or more

Maximum number of cards that can be used at one time: 4

Can card be reloaded? No

Replacement of lost or stolen cards? No

Also offers gift certificates? No

Where can be redeemed: Online at southwest.com, through the reservations center or at Southwest ticket counters

 

Airline: JetBlue Airways

Amount: $10 to $10,000

Expires? No

Fees? None

Transferable? Yes

Airlines on which it can be used: JetBlue Airways

Where to buy: Online at jetblue.com

E-mail option? No

Shipping cost: $4.95 for FedEx Ground; $8.50 for FedEx 2-Day; $9.95 for FedEx Overnight

Maximum number of cards that can be used at one time: One per purchase at jetblue.com and four for a purchase through the reservations center at 1-800-JETBLUE

Card can be reloaded? No

Replacement for lost or stolen cards? Card may be replaced for the value of the remaining balance, only with original receipt and gift card number

Also offers gift certificates? No

Where can be redeemed: Online at jetblue.com or by calling 1-800-JETBLUE

 

Airline: Frontier Airlines

Amount: $25 to $1,500

Expires? No

Fees? No

Transferable? Yes

Airlines on which it can be used: Frontier Airlines

Where to buy: Only online at frontierairlines.com/giftcard

Email option? Yes, but it takes seven days to activate the card. The recipient receives two emails – one telling them about the gift and a second with a card and PIN number.

Shipping cost: $3.25 via USPS; $10.95 for UPS 3-Day Select; $12.95 for UPS 2-Day Select; $20.95 for UPS Next-Day Air

Maximum number of cards that can be used at one time: Only one, but balances of separate cards can be merged

Can card be reloaded? No

Replacement of lost or stolen cards? No

Also offers gift certificates? No

Where can be redeemed: Only online at frontierairlines.com

 

Airline: Hawaiian Airlines* (offers virtual gift certificates only)

Amount: $50 to $5,000

Expires? No

Fees? No

Transferable? Yes

Airlines on which it can be used: Hawaiian Airlines

Where to buy: Only online at hawaiianair.com

E-mail option? Yes – it’s the only option available

Shipping cost: n/a

Maximum number of cards that can be used at one time: 4

Can card be reloaded? n/a

Replacement of lost or stolen cards? n/a

Also offers gift certificates? Does not offer paper gift certificates or plastic gift cards

Where can be redeemed: Only online at hawaiianair.com

See related: Buying airline miles: Is it worth the cost?, Sharing or selling airline miles can be risky, pricey, 11 golden rules of practical gift card giving

Updated: November 7, 2011



Join the discussion

We encourage an active and insightful conversation among our users. Please help us keep our community civil and respectful. For your safety, do not disclose confidential or personal information such as bank account numbers or social security numbers. Anything you post may be disclosed, published, transmitted or reused.

If you are commenting using a Facebook account, your profile information may be displayed with your comment depending on your privacy settings. By leaving the 'Post to Facebook' box selected, your comment will be published to your Facebook profile in addition to the space below.

The editorial content on CreditCards.com is not sponsored by any bank or credit card issuer. The journalists in the editorial department are separate from the company's business operations. The comments posted below are not provided, reviewed or approved by any company mentioned in our editorial content. Additionally, any companies mentioned in the content do not assume responsibility to ensure that all posts and/or questions are answered.

Three most recent Emerging payment systems: Prepaid, debit, gift cards stories:

Share This Story




Follow Us!


Credit Card Rate Report

Updated: 10-20-2014

National Average 15.07%
Low Interest 10.37%
Business 12.80%
Balance Transfer 12.82%
Student 13.14%
Cash Back 14.98%
Reward 15.05%
Airline 15.46%
Bad Credit 22.73%
Instant Approval 28.00%

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT