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3 million Australians scored airline travel credits this year

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What should you do with yours?

The coronavirus pandemic saw thousands of flights cancelled. Airlines offered travel credits for the dumped flights, and made those the easiest option to pick.

Scoring a travel credit could be done online. If you wanted a refund or to change your flight, you faced hours waiting on the phone as airline call centres were flooded.

So it's no surprise that there's a lot of travel credit out there. A recent Finder survey suggests that more than three million people – one in five Australians – has received an airline credit voucher because of the pandemic. (The survey was on a representative group of 1,002 respondents.)

Many of us have already used those credits for new bookings. But 47% of Australians haven't yet made use of their vouchers. I can sympathise: I've got the fare for a Qantas flight to the UK sitting amongst my (many) travel credits. I can't imagine spending that until overseas flights are an option again.

Happily in that case, I have up until the end of December 2022 before I have to use the credits. That's a long way away, enough to make me comfortable that those credits won't go to waste. And if Australia still has closed borders in January 2022 (unlikely, but not impossible), I'll guess I'll start looking at an orgy of domestic business flights.

The key to managing your flight vouchers is to keep close track of them. I have mine in a spreadsheet, listing the redemption code, the value, and the date by which I have to make a booking and the date I have to travel. I also note any fiddly requirements, such as having to book by phone or when any credited points or refunds should be quoted. It's a worthwhile approach even if you're not sitting on top of a mildly obscene number of cancelled bookings, as I am.

I do have a couple of bookings that need to be made by early October this year. I'm keeping an eye out for options, but I'm not ready to bite just yet. So I've made a note in my calendar to review my options mid-September, assuming I'm not tempted in by a flight sale in the meantime.

Yes, it's fiddly keeping across those details. But it's the closest I'm getting to travel right now.

Want to keep your frequent flyer points balance growing? Check out the latest credit card sign-up deals.

Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more.

Picture: Getty Images

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