About Deferred Payments for Flights and Eligibility

“All passengers can make deferred payments for flights.”  Confused?

Let me explain how it works…it is quite interesting.

Many airlines offer the “book now, pay later” option and it is not restricted to a particular category of passengers. You don’t even need to be a top-tier member of their frequent flyer programs. Simply go to the airline website and proceed with your flight search and booking. At the time of checkout, select the “Pay later” option. You will get a timeline within which to make the payment to lock your fare for this duration. You DO NOT need to provide your credit card details.

I have successfully used the “Pay later” option with the below listed airlines without paying extra charges…many times.

  • Ethiopian
  • Qatar
  • Air France (with a small fee)
  • Thai
  • Kenya Airways
  • Malaysia Airlines

The airline will block your bookings for a stipulated period as per their policy. They will also issue you an official PNR/Booking Reference Number. You have the freedom to pay anytime during this period without worrying about increase in fare because your fare is locked.

The best part, there is no compulsion to buy the ticket with the “Pay later” option. Your booking is automatically canceled/forfeited without any penalty once the lock-in period lapses/expires. You can also cancel the “booking on hold” if the fare drops and re-book with the lower fare.

There are some airlines that offer 100% refund (including taxes) if cancelled within 24 hours of booking. They do not charge your credit card for 24 hours. The amount is blocked on your card. The airline will charge you only after 24 hours if you do not cancel the booking in the meantime.

  • Jet Airway (unfortunately, it is a history now)
  • Delta Airlines

Delta Airlines goes one step further. If there is a fare drop of at least 10% in 48 hours of your booking, you can call them and ask for free cancellation against the new booking on the same route with the same flight number(s). I have personally availed this facility twice when I was living in the US. Unfortunately, not many travelers are aware of these hacks. They do not charge your credit card for 48 hours…a kind of deferred payment.

There are several travel booking portals that offer “Buy now, Pay later” but with a service fee is applicable most of the time. In this case, you have to provide your credit card details. There is no escape if your travel plan changes or the fare drops. It is similar to availing a loan or converting your credit card charges into EMI. Some of them are…

  • Cheapoair
  • Alternativeairlines
  • Onetravel

One more thing… You can book airline tickets with deferred payment on Makemytrip, Priceline, etc. as well as with travel agents without being a premium member …you should be savvy with travel hacks to do that 😀

Read More about – Useful tips on Foreign Exchange while traveling

The airlines/travel companies mentioned in my answer may have changed or discontinued the “Pay later” option in recent times due to the present situation. Kindly do your own due diligence.

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