Volunteering for travel vouchers, is it worth it?

We were recently in Montreal visiting our families and heading back to Miami when the ticket counter started calling out for volunteers since the flight was overbooked.

Over the intercom we heard: “We need five volunteers because the flight is oversold! $500 is being offered.” A few minutes later it was $700 and as the departure time approached it turned into $1,000. This was starting to sound interesting. That’s a trip to Hawaii we thought…

Approaching the counter, skeptical at first, I asked when the next flight out would be. “We can get you guaranteed seats on the 1 pm” they said. That would mean arriving at 5 pm instead of 10:30 am. We looked at each other thinking that’s not bad, hmm!

Thinking through the idea that our cat could hold on, weather was good, we didn’t have any big plans, why not take a free trip to Hawaii we thought. Let’s do it we said!

The nice ladies at the AA counter worked their magic and we went back to our seats with $1,000 each in travel vouchers in our hands. Not bad! A few minutes later, they came and said that we had been such nice customers and how about if they put us in business class on a connecting flight that arrived at 2 pm instead of 5 pm. Wow! Ok, we said and Thank You indeed!

So there we were headed back to Miami a few hours later with $2,000 in future travel vouchers in hand. That’s another trip if not two that we will be telling you about. If there is anything better than travel, it’s FREE travel! Even our cat would understand the extra couple of hours delay. At least we hoped she would!

Things to consider before taking such a deal

  • Vouchers are typically good for one year and valid for travel on the same airline. Do you have the luxury of being able to travel before they expire? These are usually non-transferable.
  • Are there other flights the same day and can they guarantee you a seat? If not, would accommodations and meals be provided?
  • Do you risk loosing your rental car or hotel reservations? You may not get the same rate.
  • Is the weather good at both your departure and arrival destinations or do you risk having additional weather related delays or flights cancellations?

We did this for the first time and we’re happy with the experience. Our original flight was delayed for half an hour, so we ended up getting home only 4 hours later than expected, $500 per hour, not bad!

Have you ever taken such a deal? I would love to hear about your experience in the comments.


Related Post:

Don’t use the hotel app to checkout unless you really mean it!

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