Gift-giving is tough, especially if you’re on a mission to give the perfect gift to someone who spends a significant amount of time in the air or exploring city after city.
You want to give a traveler something useful, efficient, and unique. You want to present this person with something that will make journeys easier but won’t take up a lot of room in a backpack.
So give them something that’ll make their eyes light up and their bank accounts smile: an airline gift card.
Genius, right? Travelers are known for scouring the internet for airline deals and cheap flights; a gift card to put toward the next trip will be very much appreciated.
And to make this gifting process even easier, we’ve found the best airline gift cards and where to buy them. You can thank us later.
Alaska Airlines Gift Card
While Alaska Airlines technically provides a gift certificate instead of a gift card, it works the same way. Choose your amount (available in increments from $25, up to $500), customize it with one of the provided photos, and add your very own text. The certificates can be emailed or printed and mailed — up to you!
The next thing you know, the recipient of this amazing gift will be jetting off to Portland, Cancun, or anywhere in between.
To buy: alaskaair.com
Hawaiian Airlines Gift Card
Say “aloha” to a game-changing present. The Hawaiian Airlines gift card is strictly used to purchase flights (no upgrades, baggage fees, in-flight services/products), but it can be purchased in any amount you want — from $50 to $2,000 — and used for air travel to and from Hawaii, throughout North America, and internationally.
To buy: hawaiianairlines.com
Southwest Airlines Gift Card
Give the gift of flying to 85+ locations with the Southwest Airlines gift card. Available on Amazon, this gift card is available in $50, $100, or $200; or you can also purchase on Southwest if you’re looking for larger amounts (up to $1,000).
Southwest also gives you the option of emailing or overnighting your gift card. Last-minute gifting problems have just been solved.
Delta Gift Card
Deemed by Delta the “gift of go,” this gift card comes in $5 increments from $50 to $1,000. And that isn’t just a witty slogan: Delta flies to more than 325 destinations around the world. So whoever uses this gift card might have a tough time choosing, but let’s be honest… That’s a great problem to have.
Just make sure you buy this early: A Delta gift card can’t be redeemed within 72 hours of the time it was purchased.
To buy: delta.com
American Airlines Gift Card
American Airlines describes its gift card program better than we ever could: “The whole wide world, it comes in a card, and it's the perfect gift for anyone who loves to travel.”
Plastic or virtual, the American Airlines gift card can be purchased for anywhere from $50 to $1,500, and you can use up to eight at one time (many of the other airlines max out at three or four cards at once).
To buy: giftcards.aa.com
Norwegian Airlines does the gift card system a bit differently. You buy “cash points,” which align with a certain amount in euros. For example, 2,000 cash points is equivalent to 213.60 EUR.
If you’re looking to purchase a gift card from Norwegian air, definitely take note that the cash points do expire; points must be used in the “current year + one year from the time of purchase.”
To buy: norwegianreward.com
Ryanair provides its gift cards (“vouchers”) in 11 different currencies — from USD to SEK — and in increments of $25, up to $200. Four of the vouchers can be used at once.
So if you know someone studying abroad, or even someone who’s just a stickler for flying budget airlines, a Ryanair gift card might be the way to go. These vouchers do, however, expire a year from the purchase date, so make sure the recipient will book their travels within that time.
To buy: ryanair.com
If you’re ordering the Virgin Atlantic gift card online, you can purchase a card from 5 GBP to 2,000 GBP. Virgin gift cards can be used for a number of things outside flights. Think cruises, balloon flights, wines, etc. Basically, the whole Virgin Group package.
One warning, though: Virgin Gift Cards are only available in GBP, and cannot be used with companies outside of the United Kingdom. They also expire after 24 months.
To buy: thevirgingiftcard.co.uk
Before buying any airline gift card, you should read the fine print. That’s especially true in the case of purchasing one from British Airways.
First of all, there’s the expiration date, which you should double check before you type in your credit card info. There are also a number of countries where it will be more difficult to book a flight with a voucher (full list on britishairways.com). And, unfortunately, only one voucher can be used at a time.
Yes, a British Airways voucher is still a practical gift, but just make sure you know the flight habits of the receiver. Better to be safe than sorry.
To buy: britishairways.com