March 24, 2020

Edited 05/19/20

Canceled Your Trip? Here’s How You Can Get Money Back

As President Trump announced a European travel ban on March 12, 2020 and the US and Canada closed their borders on March 18, 2020, due to the spread of the COVID-19, it is likely that you may have canceled or postponed any upcoming trips you had planned.

This may feel disappointing because traveling and seeing as much of the world as you can is one of the most exciting activities you can check off your retirement bucket list. In addition, you have already spent time and money planning and getting ready for the trip, which might feel like a waste. However, there are ways to get money back on trips you’ve had to cancel due to the global health pandemic. We’ve reviewed all the latest cancellation policies to help you get the most back.

Credit Card:

How you booked your trip may help you get money back for any cancellations or reschedulings. Your credit card company, such as Chase or American Express, may offer trip cancellation or interruption coverage, but not for all cases.

For example, American Express will only cover your trip cancellation if you are medically advised to cancel in the case of quarantine or if you tested positive for the virus. However, if you booked your travel with American Express Travel, American Express Travel will be honoring their airline, hotel, cruise, and car partners’ travel policies and waive the American Express Travel fee on flight modifications made now through April 30, 2020. Therefore, obtain and read your credit card’s policies and see if you are able to make a claim for a refund from your canceled trip.

These are responses from some of the major banks and credit card companies:

Flights:

Airlines and the aviation industry are suffering significant losses due to the COVID-19 outbreak. As a result, airlines including American Airlines, Delta, JetBlue, and United are accommodating and loosening their rescheduling and cancellation policies. For a list of all airlines and their updated policies due to COVID-19, read this article in Forbes.  Find out if the airline you booked your flight on has updated policies and if you can get a refund for your flights. 

Due to the increase in the number of people canceling and rescheduling flights, reaching a customer service agent from your airline may be more challenging than usual with wait times up to two hours. Rather than calling them, try to cancel and change your flight plans through the airline’s website or app. If you’re still struggling to get the help you need, try contacting the airline on social media with their Twitter or Facebook accounts.

Hotels:

If you canceled your stay at a major hotel chain, you may be in luck. Similar to airlines, many hotels are updating their cancellation and rescheduling policies to be more lenient for those canceling trips. For example, Hyatt, Marriott, and the Four Seasons have generously updated their policies, so if you booked to stay in a major hotel chain, make sure you take advantage of their new policies. However, smaller and boutique hotels may be more challenging to get a refund from so reach out to your hotel directly to inquire. 

Responses from a few major hotel chains:

Airbnb:

Similar to hotels, if you booked with Airbnb, stay up to date on their response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Airbnb is providing full refunds to guests and hosts for reservations booked on or before March 14th with a check-in date of April 14th or earlier. Check to see if your Airbnb reservation meets these criteria and get properly refunded. 

Cruises:

Cruise lines are suspending a growing number of upcoming cruises due to COVID-19. Therefore, if you had a cruise booked in the upcoming weeks, it may have been canceled, even if you didn’t cancel it yourself. To accommodate, major cruise companies such as Princess Cruises, Carnival Cruises, and Viking Cruises have also extended their cancellation and rescheduling policies for you to receive either a full refund or credit on a future cruise.

Responses from a few major cruise lines:

If you’ve had to cancel an upcoming trip due to the global health pandemic, make sure you’re familiar with the policies for your credit card, airline, hotel, and cruise so you get the most money back. Even though your upcoming trip may be canceled, you’ll hopefully be able to use the money you received  back to make your next bucket list trip even more special and memorable.