What are the best US airline vouchers to gift this holiday?

Lonely Planet’s team of writers and experts answer your travel problems and provides tips and hacks to help you plan a hassle-free trip.

Deciding what to gift someone who is passionate about travel can be a challenge. They tend to travel light, and spare cash is usually put towards exploring the world. So gifting vouchers that will help them travel is a great option but which vouchers are the best? We reached out to some of the experts at The Points Guy for their advice.

TPG’s managing editor of news Clint Henderson explains airline gift cards are a great gift with added benefits: “I love giving Delta Air Lines gift cards, especially when there is an offer via my American Express Platinum card to get cash back when buying gift cards. ” Henderson said he got an offer from Amex for $60 when he bought a Delta gift card for $300 or more. Not only did he get a $300 voucher to use on Delta, but he also got a $60 statement credit on top of it.

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Keep a watch for cash back when buying gift cards with airlines online © Getty Images

Henderson advises gauging friends’ preferences to see which airline they like to fly with and then sending them an e-card from that airline. Be sure to follow up to ensure they received it, as sometimes these emails can go into promotional or even spam folders.

Senior aviation reporter David Slotnick advises being mindful that airline gift cards are often sold in drug stores and supermarkets. “You can find gift cards in various denominations at CVS, Walgreens, Walmart and Target, among others,” he explains. “Costco sometimes has offers for a $500 Southwest gift card for $449 (including right now), so that’s a solid way,” Slotnick says. Or just bank for yourself!

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Expert advice from the TPG team (top left) David Slotnick, Clint Henderson and (bottom right) Ryan Smith

Credit cards writer Ryan Smith also likes getting a discount on Alaska gift cards: “Costco has Alaska Airlines gift cards at 10% off pretty often, but I won’t call that the best since that doesn’t help people everywhere.” Still, that’s another trick that Clint Henderson used when buying an Alaska voucher online from Costco for 10% off. He got proactive and used the $500 in flight credits to take his nieces and nephews to Hawaii.

Use credit cards that give points when buying gifts

The TPG team also advises that you can also purchase airline gift cards electronically at stores like Staples. “Be sure to use a credit card that gives you points for your purchases so you can earn points while you are giving gifts. Some credit cards could give you as much as 5 points per dollar spent. In that case, you’d be getting a gift too!” they say.

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There is another option if you want to give the gift of travel but don’t feel like giving cash or buying an online certificate from an airline. Clint Henderson explains that gifting a ‘pretend airplane ticket’ printed out and wrapped up in a gift box can be a huge hit, and the person can decide where they would like you to either book or contribute towards the cost of a flight. “There are even downloadable gift plane tickets you can get from places like Etsy.”