So you booked your flights using a friend’s or family member’s credit card, and now you’re wondering what to do upon check in. Do you need the actual card? Will a photocopy suffice? Do you need a copy of the ID of the owner of that card?
It’s one of the most confusing airline policies. It’s unclear because every airline has its own rules regarding this and these rules keep changing over time.
So let’s set the record straight. We reached out to different local airlines and a few others and asked them this:
If I book a flight using a credit card owned by someone who isn’t joining me on the flight, what is your policy when checking in? Do I need to bring a copy of that credit card?
And here are their answers.
WHAT'S COVERED IN THIS GUIDE?
Cebu Pacific Air
Short Answer: Not usually.
Long Answer: This is what Cebu Pacific has to say on the matter. “Usually, it matters not who and how the booking/flight was paid for. What is important is that the name on the e-ticket matches that of the passengers’ and that the latter has ID to prove it.”
So a copy of the credit card isn’t usually required. The keyword there is usually.
Cebu Pacific Air adds this: “As part of security measures, random checks may be done so we advise that aside from the ID of the passenger, have a copy of the credit card used for the transaction handy.”
And one final reminder from the country’s biggest airline: “We strongly advise that in cases where another person pays for the booking—especially if it’s a travel agency or an online trip aggregator and agency—to please make sure that contact details for the passenger are provided, to make sure the actual passengers can be reached in case of disruption or changes. If booking was done through a third party and paid via another credit card, make sure to have all contact details on hand in case of cancellations or refunds or voided transactions.”
Short answer: NO. Not usually.
In an email from PAL, they wrote: “The requirement on Credit card presentation requirement is NO longer applicable for all customers.”
The country’s flag-carrier also added that if the cardholder raised concern regarding a particular transaction or if the transaction is highly suspicious, they may still require credit card presentation for further validation. “We send out an email to the specific customer using the email address indicated on the PNR should there be a need to to do so.”
This is also properly disclosed on PAL’s website:
“Philippine Airlines may contact the card holder or the passenger through the contact details provided to further validate the reservation or to require presentation of the credit card used for payment.
“Without prejudice to criminal prosecution under Republic Act No. 8484, PAL may cancel a confirmed reservation or may remove from any flight any passenger if PAL has reason to believe that a ticket(s) has been purchased using a fraudulent credit card.”
Short Answer: NO.
According to AirAsia, “Passengers do not need to present a copy of credit card upon check-in, as long as they have the valid ID same with the name booked.”
But it’s important to remember that in some cases, the check-in counter staff would need two (2) valid IDs to verify the identity of the passenger.
According to their email, their policy on “third party” credit card that is NOT with the traveling party is this: “The card holder must come to any SQ office (or airport office) for credit card verification.”
Singapore Airlines tackles this on their FAQs page. It reads:
I’ve booked a flight for another passenger using my credit card. What happens if I’m asked to verify my credit card but can’t be present for that passenger’s check-in?
You will then need to verify your credit or debit card at your local Singapore Airlines office or at the airport check-in counter before the departure. Otherwise, that passenger may be refused travel.
But what if, for whatever reason, the card holder cannot come to the SQ Office? According to the same email, “they must fill up a Letter of Indemnity form and submit to SQ office before departure together with a copy of a valid ID and credit card. All blanks should be filled up in the form given.” The form can be given retrieved from any Singapore Airlines office.
EVA Air discussed in detail this scenario on their website. According to them, “If you used a credit card to purchase a ticket online for another passenger and you will not be traveling with that passenger, then you must complete our credit card verification procedure. If you cannot meet the requirements of our verification procedure, then you may have to buy another ticket.”
Below is the credit card procedure as of 2017. You have two options:
- Option A. The cardholder must present the credit card used at an EVA Air city office at least 48 hours before scheduled flight departure, and then sign an Indemnity of Payment form at the office.
- Option B. The cardholder must present the credit card at the EVA Air check-in counter at the airport at least one hour before scheduled departure and sign an Indemnity of Payment form. (Note: In view of the time limit and because check-in may be handled by a contracted company unfamiliar with our procedures, we suggest that you contact an EVA Air city office in advance to make sure someone is available to help you.)
Below are the requirements that the cardholder needs to present to complete the Indemnity of Payment form:
- 2 valid government IDs. Passport is accepted. So are other legally acceptable photo IDs (such as a driver’s license) that bear the same name as the credit card.
- A printout of the confirmation e-mail sent to you when you purchased your ticket online
Once the cardholder completes this procedure, the passenger no longer have to bring the credit card to the airport when checking in.
“For selected routes,” JetStar’s policy is that the card needs to be verified upon check-in, so yeah, you may need to present the actual card used.
According to their website’s Help page, “On selected routes, it is a condition of sale, check-in and boarding that the original and physical credit, debit or charge card used to purchase the ticket(s) must be presented by the card owner for verification at the airport. Where you book travel on these selected routes, you’ll be informed of the need for verification during the booking flow. Prior to check-in, the card owner must take the card used to purchase the tickets together with their government issued identification (such as a passport, identity card or driver’s license) to the Jetstar check-in counter. This requirement applies irrespective of whether the card owner is or is not a part of the traveling party. If the card is not verified as required, the passengers whose tickets were purchased with that card may be denied check-in and boarding at Jetstar’s sole discretion. One verification is required for each return journey.”
We’re still trying to get the list of these selected routes. But for Manila-Singapore, our contact confirmed that “the card will have to be verified at the check-in counter or at the MIASCOR office at the airport.”
UPDATE: According to one of our readers, Shammi, who recently had a chat with a JetStar representative, credit cards are no longer required to be verified upon check in:
“There is no need to verify your credit card. The credit card verification for flights from and to Manila or Singapore was lifted last October 2017.”
A few more airlines we have messaged have yet to reply, so we will be updating this in the next few days.
Please note that this is as of August 2017. It would still be best to contact the airline directly to be absolutely sure.