Planning a trip but don’t want to pay for it all at once? These sites offer book now, pay later flights.
By Kerwin McKenzie
If you think that vacation is out of your reach, think again. Financing companies and airlines have launched services that will allow you to book your bucket list vacation now and pay for it over time.
Affirm, PayPal, and Uplift are among the payment services offered by travel companies and airlines that let you book now and pay your trip off over time (with or without interest, depending on which service you use). We’ve broken down the basics of these financing services so you can book your next vacation and begin to budget for your trip. Some airlines offer their own options for book now, pay later flights and vacation packages, and others offer ways to lock in a rate for a fee.
How Affirm, PayPal Credit, and Uplift Work
Affirm allows customers to pay a set amount over a period of time (up to 36 months) based on a set interest rate which is displayed at the time of sign up. To use Affirm, you will need a U.S. phone number (this will be your account number), so this option is only available for U.S. residents, except for those living in Iowa and West Virginia. Once you’ve created your account, you can set up auto pay or pay each month via the app or website. You can find a full list of Affirm’s travel partners, including airlines and accommodations, on its website.
PayPal Credit is another payment option permitted by some travel companies. Simply choose PayPal Credit as one of the payment options once you sign into your PayPal account. Plus, PayPal Credit offers no interest if you pay in full within six months for purchases of $99 or more. See the website for details and terms.
Uplift also offers financing so you can book your trip now and pay over time. Once you have selected a product, like your flight, you are shown a per month rate based on the price of the items in your shopping cart. Once you get to the payment page and choose monthly payment as your option, you will be asked for some personal details, and once you click “check rate,” you will be told if you’re approved or not. Note: Not every fare is eligible for this payment option.
Airlines Offering Book Now Pay Later Flights
Alaska Airlines uses Uplift to offer financing for flights. Book your flights as normal — as soon as you add them to your cart, you will see a note saying something similar to: “Total due now $598.10 USD or starting at $54/mo”. If you click on the link, you’ll see the details from Uplift. Once you get to the payment page, click on “pay monthly,” and you will then be asked for the personal information Uplift needs to process the loan.
Allegiant Air also uses Uplift to provide a monthly payment option. Just book your flight and choose “pay monthly” when given the option on the payment page. You can find more details on the Allegiant website.
American Airlines accepts PayPal to pay for your ticket if your billing address is in the U.S., including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as Canada and the U.K. Choose PayPal on the payment page, then sign into your PayPal account and choose PayPal Credit.
American Airlines Vacations allows you to use Uplift to pay monthly. Choose “pay monthly” on the payment page to activate it, then follow the instructions.
Azul Airlines is a low-cost Brazilian airline that accepts payments through Uplift or PayPal.
Delta Air Lines
Delta offers PayPal Credit as a payment option, and if you book your trip through Delta Vacations, you can pay using Affirm.
The Fly Now, Earn Later program offers something unique to this airline. Delta and American Express will give you a miles advance, and then you have six months to earn the miles back and pay off the balance. (You earn miles by using this credit card for purchases.) If you haven’t fulfilled your end of the bargain at the end of the six months, then the remaining miles you owe are charged to your account at 2.5 cents/mile.
Budget carrier Frontier Airlines uses Uplift, too, but itineraries must be over $300 to be eligible for this payment option. If eligible, you will be offered the option when checking out.
KLM offers customers the option of holding a fare for 72 hours for a non-refundable fee. This is great if you find a fare that you want to book but need a day or two to think about it.
In addition, they offer Bill Me Later, via PayPal. This service is shown on the payment page along with credit and debit card choices. Once you choose this option, you are asked to sign into your PayPal account. Note: their website says “Bill Me Later,” but it’s called PayPal Credit on the PayPal website.
Lufthansa has a long list of payment options listed on the website. Some options are based on the country in which you are buying your ticket (called the “point of sale”). They also offer Uplift and PayPal as payment options.
Porter, a Canadian airline, offers flights within Canada and to the U.S., and it also allows customers to use Uplift and PayPal to purchase tickets.
Depending on where you are located, you can hold your Qatar Airways booking for up to 72 hours for a fee. You will see this option on the payment page. The fee is non-refundable and is in addition to the ticket price. You can also use PayPal to purchase your ticket.
Southwest Vacations allows you to book any combination of flight, car, and hotel. Book what you need, and you will see options to pay in full or with monthly payments using Uplift.
Spirit Airlines offers monthly payments using Uplift. This option shows when the total price of your flights are shown; it will update as you add more items to your cart. You can also pay using PayPal.
Sunwing is a Canadian-based charter and scheduled service airline that has flights to Caribbean destinations, among other places. They use Uplift to offer monthly payments — just choose “pay monthly” on the payment page.
United Airlines uses Uplift and PayPal Credit as payment options, but some fares are not eligible for Uplift payments.
United also has a program called FareLock. This allows you to pay a fee to hold a particular fare for three, seven, or 14 days without paying for it in full. If you decide not to buy the ticket, you forfeit the FareLock amount you’ve already paid.
FareLock is only offered on itineraries wholly operated by United Airlines and/or United Express. It is available for both award tickets and tickets bought using money.
Volaris, a Mexico-based airline, uses Uplift to offer monthly payment plans. You can see what your monthly payment would be once you select the flights, then when you get to the “Passengers & Payment” page, choose the “pay monthly” option and follow the instructions.
You may also use PayPal — log into your account and choose PayPal Credit for payment options. Flights must be more than 36 hours away in order to use this option.
Online Travel Agencies Offering Monthly Payment Options
Cheapoair.com uses Affirm to offer customers a monthly payment option.
Funjet Vacations uses Uplift for monthly payments for its flights and vacation packages. You can find more details on the website.
Priceline uses Affirm to handle monthly payments. Choose the “monthly payments” option on the secure billing step of the booking process and follow the directions. Choose from three, six, or 12 month options.