By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – As we approach the anniversary of the COVID-19 shutdown, those who cancelled travel early on in the pandemic may see their vouchers expire soon.

Scott Keyes with Scott’s Cheap Flights says many airline travel vouchers will expire after a year.

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He says the biggest mistake hesitant travelers can make is waiting until after their voucher expires to ask to extend it.

Keyes says you have to reach out beforehand.

“The original expiration date is really more written in pencil than in pen,” he said. “The airlines and hotels won’t proactively extend them for you, but there is a squeaky wheel gets the grease kind of situation.”

Experts say it’s good to be persistent when asking for a refund or extension – but be polite.

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If your voucher already expired, Keyes says it’s still worth calling the hotel or airline because you may be able to still get all or some of your credit back.

Keyes also provided us with a list of the current airline voucher policies:

On United, travel certificates are valid for up to 24 months after the date they were issued while future flight credits for tickets issued between May 1, 2019 and March 31, 2020, are valid for 24 months after the original issue date. This means you need to book by the expiration date but you can travel after it.

On American, a flight credit is good for travel within one year from the issue date with the caveat that if your credit expires before March 31, 2021, it can be used for a travel date through December 31, 2021. A voucher must be used within one year of issue (the travel date doesn’t have to be within the year).

And on Delta, vouchers usually must be used within the year. But, for tickets purchased before April 17, 2020, for original travel by March 31, 2021, you can use your voucher for travel until December 31, 2022.

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Southwest puts credits into travel funds which normally can be used for a flight that takes place within one year of issue. But for pandemic-era flights, it extended the travel date to September 7, 2022.