Why Spirit Airlines’ Vouchers Are Pretty Much Useless Garbage

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Spirit Airlines' Voucher Rules

Some people knock low cost carriers for their reliability. Spirit and others have worked hard to improve that.

Spirit Airlines’ Voucher Rules Are Punitive & Not Customer Friendly

If you remember a few weeks back Spirit Airlines cancelled my mom’s flight and tried to say it was weather related.  Well it had nothing to do with weather but they were still refusing to give any passengers vouchers even though they needed to spend another day or two in Detroit before being rebooked.  I ended up paying $250 to get her on a Delta flight that evening.  I was unwilling to give up though and reached out to their Twitter team.  They gave me a $100 voucher as an apology.  It didn’t make me whole but at least it was something.  After seeing Spirit Airlines’ voucher rules I can’t understand why they are hesitant to give them out.  They are pretty much worthless garbage juice honestly.

Spirit Airlines’ Voucher Rules are NOT Customer Friendly

If you thought American Express liked their breakage just wait until you see these asinine rules.  I understand airlines want people to not really use these vouchers to save money but Spirit takes it to a whole new level! Let’s take a look at some of the Spirit Airlines’ voucher rules:

  • Their expiration date is comically short – mine was good for 8 weeks. I didn’t have to have her fly within 8 weeks but she had to have her flight booked by then.  Most airlines will give you 6-12 months to use their vouchers.
  • You can not use them on seat or baggage charges
  • They actually only work on the flight portion of the flight (more on that later, it is much worse than it sounds)
  • They can only be used for the person they are issued to

My Experience Using Trying to Use the Voucher

After seeing the expiration date I thought no big deal she has some upcoming travel to visit us so it should be easy enough.  The first flight I went to book was around $90 and I figured, perfect this will cover the whole thing.  But I got an error message saying it wouldn’t work for that particular flight.

I reached out to their Twitter team and they said it only works on the flight portion of the flight.  I mistakenly thought they meant the part where it says flight price:

Spirit Airlines' Voucher Rules

So I went to book the flight above that was for a later date.  I figured this would use the entire credit but when I went to check out I saw this:

Spirit Airlines' Voucher Rules

So I fired up Twitter again and said this voucher is supposed to be for $100 what is going on here?  That is when they said I needed to open up the flight breakdown to see what was really eligible.

Spirit Airlines' Voucher Rules

I am not sure why it wouldn’t give me the full $26.08 but that is the amount they told me to focus on.  Do you know how hard it is to find a flight on Spirit where that flight line item is over $100?  It isn’t all that easy, this is a budget airline after all.

That doesn’t even take into account that this $100 voucher is really only worth $60 since I could save $40 by buying the same ticket at the airport.  So I would actually be spending more money to purchase this ticket and “save” $23.40.

Final Thoughts

Once again I am left asking myself why were they so stingy on the vouchers at the gate when the flight was cancelled?  Most people would have never used this trash.  And the ones that did probably wouldn’t use the full $100 since anything leftover is lost.

This is the shady 💩 that Spirit has been known for.  Let’s give a voucher but make it only applicable to one line item.  A line item that is usually pretty small.  They may have improved their on time stats a ton, which is very impressive, but they still fall wildly short when it comes to customer service.

I have been a fan of theirs recently.  I have flown their big front seat, tried out the shortcut security feature and even driven to the airport to beat them at their own game.  My last 5-6 flights on Spirit have all been pleasant.  This one incident has really soured me on them and to think they pissed me off over a measly $100. This is where companies end up being so short sighted. I may need to try Freebird going forward for peace of mind like Shawn recently did.

At least I feel a little better after writing this 😉🤣.


Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann is a father, husband and miles/points fanatic. He left the corporate world after starting a family in order to be a stay at home dad. Mark is constantly looking at ways to save money and stay within budget while also taking awesome vacations with his family. When he isn't caring for his family or taking a weekend trip, Mark is working towards his goal of visiting every Major League Baseball ballpark.

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  1. My wife and I were given four vouchers, each for a “free” round-trip flight after volunteering on a domestic flight. I spent many hours on the phone and at an airport counter attempting to use them. In the end we used two of them for a one-way flight. It was the only way to get any value out of them. For every other trip I attempted to book, it was cheaper for me to buy a new ticket online than it was to use one of the “free” vouchers.

    One day I stood at the ticket counter and showed the manager, who was skeptical, that I could buy a new ticket on the Spirit website for cheaper than Spirit was charging me to use the free voucher. He was kind enough to give me free bags as a courtesy after I bought the ticket, but he couldn’t change the company policy about the vouchers.

    Also, even though Spirit claims the vouchers are good for a year, you have a limited time to book them and during that time they didn’t have flight schedules available for a year away, to any destination, so the effective time limit was between 6 and 9 months.

  2. My husband received a $50 voucher for his flight being delayed by 4 hrs and then eventually cancelled. I was told he had 3mo to use it, and I live near an airport so I went to purchase the flight for him. 1/3 of the voucher was not usable due to taxes taken out for using the voucher. The customer service rep at the counter kept saying the voucher could only be applied to the flight price, and I continued to tell her, but the voucher isn’t even applying to the full flight price and she was really confused but agreed with me. (The above comments and article explain this part). I could not understand why 1/3 of the cost of the voucher would be taken out AS ADDITIONAL TAXES for merely using the voucher. I asked to speak with her supervisor to understand their voucher system better, because I personally have a $250 myself for volunteering to step off a flight. The supervisor was busy in a meeting, but the agent told me that if your flight was cancelled, MORE taxes (i.e. 33% or so) would be taken out of your voucher vs if you volunteered to step off (i.e about 10-15%). So I proceeded to ask her, how does that make sense? The person who was SHAFTED was getting screwed over again, vs the person who volunteered to be inconvenienced for this cost? She had no idea and ended up getting more confused by the math I presented her with.

    TL;DR They’ll take out taxes from the value of the voucher (additional taxes not listed anywhere on the ticket) for merely using the voucher.

    • Much of what Spirit calls “taxes” or, on their website, “the government’s cut” are not taxes. I suspect they keep some of the money for themselves, but the bulk of it pays for security and airport facilities that Spirit uses. They are just pretending that they, and you, are not getting any benefit from that money.

      We had similar confusion as yourself because the numbers the agents see on their computer are different than the numbers shown when booking a ticket on their site.

    • Haha I can’t argue with that a ton Mirza. With their prices I will continue to get sucked in though 🙂

  3. I booked a ACY-MCO, TPA-ACY ticket last week. The cost was $64 for the whole trip. I bought it at the airport. I think the flight portion of each leg was less than a dollar. The majority of the fare was fees and taxes.

  4. As shady as I agree this is, it is a step up from JetBlue who cancelled my flight at the last minute for a so called weather issue and refused to give any compensation. And buying the last minute ticket on United ended up costing 3 times as much.

    • I don’t get why airlines say it is “weather” even when it isn’t. There are no laws in the US that they have to do compensation outside of being bumped so why hide behind it?

      I am surprised JetBlue wasn’t better though – most applaud their customer service but I have never flown them.

  5. I’m actually in the process of filing a claim with the DOT. I’ve been promised 3 round tickets minus the government taxes, but in actuality I have to pay for most of the ticket. I feel like I’ve been lied to.

  6. Thanks for the warning. I have flown once from Oakland, CA, to Las Vegas. The people from Spirit’s flight to Las Vegas from the day before were there, waiting at a gate! I like adventure, surprise, and trying to save money, and am flying from OAK to LAS in November. I will have my expectations adjusted accordingly in regard to their vouchers.

  7. “passenger usage charge” — in other words, the price you pay for flying. That is the most absurd thing I’ve ever heard.

    • Wow! Just wow! What a shady practice. Why don’t they just charge ten cents for the flight, then they can advertise ten-cent fares and really swindle people with garbage vouchers that they can’t use. I am astounded with this practice. Just a mindboggling shameless despicable practice. What would happen if other industries start using this? Example: $100 dollar price with a full refund of the product cost – the product cost is $1 and the product service fee is $99, so the full refund is only $1!!!!!

  8. Was issued 4x$250 Spirit vouchers in July 2018 after volunteering on an oversold international. I was able to use them on the phone for booking flights (but not for seat upgrades or luggage). I got the full value out of them. They do not combine with Spirit sales. Maybe, Sprint has changed their voucher systems now taking a worse turn.

    • What was the price for those flights when you went to book with them? Maybe they have different kinds of vouchers or things have changed.


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