After more than a year of sticking close to home, travelers are ready to budget for a vacation once again. Unfortunately, the desire to travel outpaces finances too often. While it is extremely difficult to obtain small loans from a traditional bank for holiday shopping or an international vacation, digital lenders have made this possible with relative simplicity. Travel Now Pay Later
The digital lenders have also given some of these loans new names in an effort to allay customers’ fears about going through a lengthy application procedure and to make them feel good. For instance, a person may use Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) to receive a small loan for holiday shopping or to buy a pricey technology. Similar to this, Travel Now Pay Later (TNPL) was recently created to help people take the trip of their dreams by getting a short loan.
Financing companies and airlines have services that will allow you to book your once-in-a-lifetime vacation now and pay for it over time.
Affirm, PayPal, Uplift, and Klarna 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, Uplift and Klarna Work Travel Now Pay Later
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 phone number (this will be your account number), and this option is only available in Australia, Canada, and the U.S.(Iowa and West Virginia are excluded). 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. 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.
Klarna breaks up the price of your ticket into four equal payments to be made two weeks apart. Add the Klarna extension to your Chrome browser and then book your flight as usual. Select Klarna at checkout and the app will split the total cost into four installments. The first payment will be due at checkout and you’ll see an overview of what you owe in two weeks, four weeks, and six weeks (your final interest-free payment).
“Many finance companies have introduced the TNPL scheme to reduce the burden on tourists. TNPL is a travel version of BNPL. Customers have grown accustomed to using BNPL in retail and now are excited to be able to use it in travel. It is essentially a loan or credit that you take out when booking or taking a trip and pay for it in installments. You can either pay partially or not at all while booking and do so later within a specified duration. You can avail of no-cost EMIs or pay an interest rate on the borrowed amount depending on the quantum of funds and the duration for which you are taking the loan,” said Yashoraj Tyagi, CTO & CBO, CASHe.
Talking on the growth of TNPL, Tyagi said, “Since we launched the TNPL payment method on the IRCTC Rail Connect App in October 2022, we have been receiving a positive response from consumers as it makes for an affordable and accessible option for the travelers of Indian Railways. We have witnessed a spike in registrations by 25-27 per cent month-on-month basis already. So this is a healthy sign and we are expecting this to further go up in the coming months. The flexibility of the TNPL option on the IRCTC Rail Connect app is helping consumers to act on their pent-up travel desire as people can pay back the money in three to six equal interest-free installments. We are optimistic that this emerging trend of travel loans will encourage people to step out and fulfill their travel bucket lists while providing a significant boost to the industry.” Travel Now Pay Later
Some of the Airlines Which are 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 price $598.10 USD or from $54/month”. 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. You can also Klarna at checkout to break the payment up into four payments.
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. You can also use Klarna or Affirm to pay for American Airlines flights.
American Airlines Vacations — which allows you to bundle your flight, hotel, transportation, sightseeing, and more, with the added benefit of exclusive rates on flights and hotels — gives you the option to use Uplift to pay monthly. Choose “pay monthly” on the payment page to activate it, then follow the instructions.
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 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 Klarna, Uplift, and PayPal as payment options.
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 Airlines uses Uplift to break the cost of the flight up into fixed monthly payments. Klarna is another option to use at checkout to create four payments instead of one. 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.
United Airlines uses Klarna, 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.
Delta Air Lines
Delta offers PayPal Credit as a payment option, and you can pay using Affirm if you book your trip through Delta Vacations, a service for SkyMiles members that maps out your entire vacation from flights and hotels to transportation and activities, and more.
Budget carrier Frontier Airlines uses Uplift, too, but itineraries must be over $100 to be eligible for this payment option. If eligible, you will be offered the option when checking out. Klarna is also available to use with Frontier.
Volaris, a Mexico-based airline, uses Uplift and Klarna 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.
Talking on the future of TNPL, Tyagi said, “Travel remains a big-ticket item for consumers, especially so when they plan for a family or long-haul trip in the current climate of financial uncertainty. BNPL options, which are already hugely popular in the retail sector, have emerged over recent years as a way to spread the cost of purchase across several monthly payments, delivering additional flexibility for the everyday traveller. Travellers will actively consider and opt for the TNPL payment method for flights, train, and hotel bookings, and for all travel purposes including leisure and pilgrimage. We expect that TNPL as a category will grow in the future as it offers convenience and flexibility for travelers.”
With the travel restrictions – imposed to curb the spread of Covid-19 pandemic – have been withdrawn now, there is a spike in travelling and so is the demand for travel loans.
Online Travel Agencies Offering Monthly Payment Options Travel Now Pay Later
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. Break it up into four payments over six weeks using Klarna, as well.
Funjet Vacations uses Uplift for monthly payments for its flights and vacation packages. You can find more details on the website.