I was booking a flight between Hobart HBA and Melbourne MEL on Jetstar, a popular Australian and Asian discount carrier. As I was going through the booking process on jetstar.com, they were trying to charge me $8.50AUD per passenger for the pleasure of using my credit card. Credit card fees are uncommon in North America, however in Australia, they’re the norm, with most retailers charging a percentage fee for using your credit card. Although there’s no fee for using a debit card to pay, my Canadian debit card wasn’t eligible for their payment service. If I booked on an online travel agent, the cost was substantially more.
At the payment page, I noticed a box to pay using a gift voucher, with no added fees. I then went to the Jetstar Gift Voucher page, which offers vouchers in $25, $50, $100, $200, $300, and $500 denominations. You can pay via Paypal, and there are no fees for using a credit card. Note that: (a) you can only use the voucher once, and any unused value is forfeit; (b) you will likely not be eligible for credit card insurance on the flight as you’re technically paying for the flight using a voucher rather than the credit card (check your policy), and; (c) the voucher expires 6 months after the issue date.
My voucher was emailed within 5 minutes. At the payment page for the Jetstar flight, I inputted the voucher code, and the value of the voucher was discounted from the itinerary, making the flight cost $0.00.
Note that if the voucher value is less than the cost of the booking, ex. $100 voucher and the booking is $102, you will be liable to pay the remaining $2. In all likelihood, the only reasonable way to pay the remaining $2 is by using Paypal/credit card, both of which incur the booking fee. In that case, you won’t have saved any money using the voucher. Therefore, it’s best to make your voucher MORE OR EQUAL to the cost of the ticket. You can use the remaining value for things like baggage fees, entertainment, etc. For example, my flight was $98, and I had a $100 voucher. I forfeited $2, however, if I paid by credit card, I would be liable for $17 (we were two passengers at $8.50 each), so the overvalued voucher was a cheaper way of acquiring the ticket. In the end, I saved $15 by using this method.
I suppose another option would be to do a “Price Match” with an online travel agent that doesn’t charge a fee, however, that’s way too much work for me when the above method works just fine.