What is the best option for an air travel gift card?
August 24, 2014 11:41 AM   Subscribe

What is the best way to give a gift card to help pay for plane tickets for domestic US travel? It can't tie the recipient down to a particular airline and it must be a gift card, so please don't tell me to give cash. That would obviously be best.
posted by Xalf to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total)
Best answer: Credit card companies now offer prepaid cash cards which are safer to handle and you can even add more value to them. Here's the US Visa version but all the companies are doing it.
posted by Jesse the K at 11:45 AM on August 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thank, that may be it. One question: will things work out if the cash card doesn't cover the whole cost? I.e., can you buy a $300 plane ticket with a $200 cash card and $100 on your personal credit card?
posted by Xalf at 12:40 PM on August 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Shortly after posting this, we talked the gift recipients into just picking out a flight and letting us put it on our credit card. That's not really an answer to the question I posted, but I'm going to go ahead and mark it best answer anyway.
posted by Xalf at 5:46 PM on August 24, 2014

Umm, some airlines require you to present the credit card when checking in, or some kind of authorization for its use, if the passenger is not the card holder. Please check, it has happened to me twice.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 6:21 PM on August 24, 2014

Response by poster: I checked. Here is what American Airlines says:

Q: Can I make a reservation for anyone?

A: Yes, to book a reservation for someone other than yourself, enter their name in the "Enter Passenger Details" box. If your name already appears, type over it with the name of the actual passenger(s). Also, if your AAdvantage number appears, don't forget to either remove it or replace it with the passengers' AAdvantage number(s).

posted by Xalf at 7:24 AM on August 25, 2014

The only time I've had to present a credit card when I checked in for a flight is when I use the self-service check-in terminals. If my ticket was purchased by someone else (e.g. for a job interview, or if I've been with a volunteer group where the group booked 30 tickets on the same flight), I've had to go to an actual human being at the airport check-in counter. In those cases, I've only been asked for photo ID, to be sure I was the person whose name was on the ticket.
posted by tckma at 10:11 AM on August 25, 2014

I'll also confirm that the "use your card" check in is not looking at the credit card number to find your reservation. I have successfully used a different card to check in on several different airlines.
posted by CathyG at 12:00 PM on August 25, 2014

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