If you're looking for a good gift to buy for a family member or friend, consider surprising them with plane tickets for their next vacation. Your options include buying an airline gift card, vouchers, or miles. Gift cards don't always have to be only in large amounts to cover tickets; some can be used for smaller purchases. Besides airfare, some cards cover baggage fees and other flying-related purchases. Others, however, are severely restricted in what they pay for. Here is a large sampling of what different airlines have to offer for those who are considering giving the gift of travel.
Air France doesn't sell gift cards, but it does sell Flying Blue miles that can be used to buy tickets. Flying Blue Ivory members can buy up to 75,000 miles per calendar year, while Flying Blue Silver, Gold, and Platinum members can buy an unlimited number of miles.
American Airlines sells travel gift cards on its website. Purchasers can buy a plastic gift card delivered by mail or a virtual gift card with a personal message delivered via email. The card can be used to buy tickets to destinations around the world on American and its Oneworld alliance partners. There is no expiration date, and no fees are charged. But there are a lot of exclusions: Cards can't be used for upgrades, Admirals Club memberships enrollments, Admirals Club one-day passes, AAdvantage Award Travel, or other non-flight products and/or services sold on AA.com.
A gift card can be used to buy tickets or travel options on Air Canada, Air Canada Express (Air Georgian, Sky Regional, Exploits Valley Air Services, and Jazz Aviation LP), and Air Canada Rouge. Air Canada gift cards are available in both plastic and as an eGift card.
While the United Kingdom's flag carrier doesn't offer gift cards, it does allow travelers to buy Avios, which can be used for reward flights and cabin upgrades. You can buy up to 35,000 Avios in a calendar year online.
Delta offers travel gift cards on its website, and they can be used toward airfare at delta.com, at the airport, through reservations, or by phone with Delta Vacations. They can only be used for the total purchase price of air transportation, including taxes, fees, and surcharges. They may not be used for any additional fees (including baggage fees) or for any other products or services (including class upgrades, in-flight purchases, premium seating, mileage booster, SkyMiles Cruises, cargo, hotel stays, or car rentals).
Hawaiian Airlines offers customized gift cards in five different styles and allows buyers to include a personal message.
The Irish low-cost carrier, Ryanair, sells gift vouchers that can be used for 1,600 daily flights, connecting more than 185 destinations in 30 countries across Europe.
Southwest gift cards can be purchased online or through the reservations department. Cards can be delivered via email or shipped to recipients. Gift cards can't be used to buy Southwest Airlines vacation packages, cargo, hotel, rental car, Southwest Airlines merchandise, Southwest Airlines group tickets, EarlyBird Check-In, international baggage fees, additional Southwest gift cards, or inflight purchases. They can be used to pay for domestic oversize and excess baggage, sales tax, security fees, passenger facilities charges, pet fare, and unaccompanied minor service charge.
United Airlines sells gift certificates that can be used toward the purchase of air travel on United and United Express. The gift certificates are valid for five years from the time of purchase.