Question Of The Week: Can I Use A Gift Card To Pay Award Flight Taxes?

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Question Of The Week: Can I Use A Gift Card To Pay Award Flight Taxes?

Question Of The Week: Can I Use A Gift Card To Pay Award Flight Taxes?

Our question of the week is a good one: can I use a gift card to pay award flight taxes? You know those mandatory taxes (and sometimes fees) that you have to pay when booking a flight with your points and miles? Well…can you pay that cash portion with an airline gift card or a voucher? Here’s a look.

The Question

Our question of the week comes from Jared in our Facebook group:

Hello everyone trying to see if there is a workaround. I want to book flight on AA using miles and pay the taxes with gc. Agent said you can’t, any way around that?

Can I Use A Gift Card Or Voucher To Pay Taxes?

Sadly, no.

Because taxes are government fees, you can’t use an airline gift card or an airline voucher to pay these. If you have something like a Visa gift card, which can be used to pay anything, then you could pay with that. However, since the voucher or the gift card belongs to the airline and is essentially their currency, you can’t pay government taxes with it.

A Personal Example

I ran into this same issue when I had a Delta credit earlier this year. They broke the wheel off of a suitcase when flying to Turkey back in December. This was part of our major 11-week trip.

When it was time to fly home from Ecuador at the end of the trip, we booked using Delta SkyMiles. Unfortunately, I couldn’t pay the taxes & fees using my $100 Delta voucher. I received error messages, saying paying the cash portion (only the taxes/fees) with a voucher during an award booking isn’t allowed.

You’ll have to pay with a card that’s not a voucher or airline gift card.

Final Thoughts

It sounds like a great idea. Literally nothing comes out of your pocket if you pay with a gift card or a voucher plus miles–a totally free flight! Unfortunately, it’s not possible.

Ryan S
Travel hacker in 2-player mode, intent on visiting every country in the world, and can say "hello" or "how much does this cost?" in a bunch of different languages.

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  1. It is not correct, I can use SW gift card to pay for $5.60 taxes
    I believe some Airlines want you pay with credit card under your name or the name of the person who redeem the miles. Last time I used my credit card to pay the taxes and fees with America Airlines, I got an error since we redeemed miles from my sister’s account. Then we used her credit card, it is no problem.
    If you use Visa Gift Card and you have register under the name of the person which miles redeem from his/her account.

    • Hoang – I mentioned the Visa gift card thing in the article, since this isn’t an airline-specific gift card. As far as Southwest, I think this tends to work with airlines that use a “bank account” type of system, like SW or United. For airlines using a normal type of voucher or gift card, not a ‘bank’, then it won’t work.

      • I can confirm, that when the Amex loophole for travel credit allowed the purchase of low denomination Delta gift cards, I purchased many. I was never successful over two or three tries at using them to pay taxes/fees on award tickets. They were only good towards revenue tickets.


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