HOUSTON – Many people and families with vacations planned and paid for are now nervous about traveling because of coronavirus concerns. Consumer expert Amy Davis is explaining your chances of getting your money back if you decide not to keep your plans.
Q: What are my rights as a traveler concerned about the coronavirus?
A: The short answer is you have no right to a refund if you purchased a nonrefundable ticket. Most airlines now are waiving change fees. You won't necessarily get a full refund, but you can reschedule when you feel more comfortable traveling.
Below are the cancellation policies from major airlines and hotels in light of coronavirus concerns.
Your change fee is waived if you:
Booked an American Airlines flight
Bought your ticket before March 1, 2020
Are scheduled to travel March 10 - April 30, 2020
Can travel March 10 - Dec. 31, 2020, or within one year of the date the ticket was issued, whichever is earlier
Keep in mind, you may owe any difference in ticket price when you rebook your trip.
You're allowed to make changes to your trip once. You can change it now, or cancel and rebook later.
Travel must start by Dec. 31, 2020, or within one year of the date the ticket was issued, whichever is earlier.
The change fee will be waived but you may still owe any difference in ticket price when you rebook your trip.
No change fees for all tickets purchased between March 1-31, 2020.
Impacted travel date(s): March 1, 2020 - February 25, 2021.
Ticket can be changed one time to an alternate itinerary. Must be re-issued on or before Feb. 28, 2021.
Rebooked travel must begin no later than Feb. 28, 2021.
For tickets issued prior to March 10, 2020 with original travel dates between March 10 and April 30, 2020 customers may make a one-time change to their itinerary without a change/cancel fee by contacting us at 801-401-9000
For tickets issued March 10 through March 31, 2020, customers may make a one-time change to their itinerary without a change/cancel fee by contacting us at 801-401-9000
As always - no change fees apply 60 days or more before departure.
No change/cancel fees for previous bookings.
Customers may rebook their flights for travel through October 24, 2020 online in the Manage Flights section of jetblue.com or contact us prior to the departure time of their originally scheduled flight. Original travel must have been booked on or before March 10, 2020. Fare difference may apply. For cancellations, funds will be issued as a JetBlue Travel Bank Credit and will be valid for one year from the date of issuance.
Spirit Guests who must alter their travel plans due to COVID-19 are eligible to make a one-time free modification (fare difference applies) by contacting Spirit Guest Care through the following options:
Calling: (801) 401-2222
Texting via WhatsApp to (801) 401-2222 with "Hello"
Alternatively, Guests who must alter their travel plans due to COVID-19 have the option to receive a reservation credit for the full value of their reservation. This reservation credit can be used for up to six months to book any flight currently available (including beyond the 6-month timeframe), and it can be used toward flights as well as other options (excluding third party products). Guests who cancel their reservation can request a refund of their travel insurance premiums from Travel Guard, if eligible, here.
Guests needing to cancel or make changes to a reservation due to other circumstances are advised to make modifications to their reservation online.
We never charge Customers a fee to change or cancel (though fare differences might apply) their flights. If your plans change or if you decide to postpone your travel, the funds used to pay for your flight can be applied to future travel as long as you cancel your reservation at least 10 minutes prior to the scheduled departure. The funds are valid for future travel up to one year from the original purchase date and must be used by the individual named on the ticket. Hopefully, these policies provide comfort to all of our customers that they can book travel on Southwest as normal, and, if the circumstances change in the future, they can alter their plans without the penalty of a fee.
When you book any flight with United now through March 31, you can change it for free over the next 12 months - any ticket, any fare type, any destination.
If you’re scheduled to travel March 10 - April 30, 2020, and would like to change your plans, there is no fee to do so, regardless of when you purchased your ticket or where you’re traveling. This is in addition to our previous waiver, which waives all change fees - domestic and international - for tickets purchased March 3 - March 31, 2020.
For more information, click here.
If you booked your flight, hotel or car rental through a third-party seller, you will need to contact the seller to inquire about a refund.
Princess Cruises is suspending the operations of its 18 cruise ships for the next 60 days.
Princess is offering guests the opportunity to transfer 100% of the money paid for their cancelled cruise to a future cruise of their choice. To add a bonus incentive for guests to accept this offer, the company will add an additional future cruise credit benefit which can be applied to the cruise fare or onboard expenses. In addition, Princess will honor this offer for those guests who had made final payment and cancelled their booking on or after February 4, 2020. The future cruise credit can be used on any voyage departing through May 1, 2022.
Expedia, that owns Travelocity, has posted this information:
If you already booked travel with one of these sites, they will try to resolve individual issues based on the policies of their business partners. If you have general questions about your options, visit this online Customer Service Portal to help manage your upcoming trip.
This hotel group that includes Holiday Inn, Intercontinental Hotel, Hotel Indigo, Candlewood Suites and Staybridge Suites among other, are waiving cancellation fees for existing and new bookings at all IHG hotels globally for stays between March 9, 2020 and April 30, 2020. Changing the date on any reservations may result in different pricing, but there is no fee for making changes. To ask about any booking, contact the hotel or their reservation team.
Choice Hotels, whose properties include Sleep Inn and Rodeway Inn, has implemented an enhanced cancellation policy during this time. Currently, penalty-free cancellations are provided to:
- Guests residing in China, South Korea, Japan and Italy with reservations at Choice Hotels in the United States and Canada.
- Guests with reservations at Choice Hotels in China, Japan and Italy.
This policy will be in place until March 31, 2020. For travel within the United States or Canada, Choice Hotels is now extending special exceptions for all Advance Purchase Rate non-refundable reservations made directly with Choice Hotels on or before March 10, 2020 for travel through April 30, 2020. If interested, guests holding these prepaid reservations who choose not to travel may opt to receive Choice Privileges points for future travel. Reservations less than $75 total (local currency) receive 5,000 points, $75-$150 total (local currency) receive 7,500 points, and reservations greater than $150 total (local currency) receive 10,000 points. To receive points, you must contact the call center at 1-888-770-6800 more than 48 hours in advance of your stay. Guests who are non-members will need to join the Choice Privileges® Rewards Program in order to receive points. Guests who booked via online travel agents or other third parties are advised to contact their booking provider for information on their policies and for assistance.
Hyatt is waiving cancellation fees for stays through March 31, 2020 for the following:
Guests residing in Greater China, South Korea, Japan, and Italy with reservations at Hyatt hotels globally
Guests with reservations at Hyatt hotels in Greater China, South Korea, Japan, and Italy
Guests who booked via online travel agents or other third parties are advised to contact their booking provider for information on their policies and for assistance.
World of Hyatt is now extending special exceptions for all Advance Purchase Rate non-refundable reservations made directly with Hyatt on or before March 8, 2020, for travel through June 2020. If interested, guests holding these fully prepaid reservations who have decided not to travel may opt to receive 10,000 World of Hyatt Bonus Points compensation in lieu of their stay to use toward future travel at any of Hyatt’s 900+ hotels across 17 brands globally. For full details and to make arrangements, guests can call a Hyatt Global Contact Center or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Guests must contact us at least 48 hours before their stay to elect this (World of Hyatt Explorists and Globalists must contact them at least 24 hours before their stay dates to elect this). For interested non-members, colleagues will be able to quickly assist with enrolling the guest into World of Hyatt and creating a World of Hyatt account to deposit the points.
Marriott is waiving cancellation fees for hotel stays through March 31, 2020, for guests traveling to or from the following locations:
Asia Pacific: Mainland China, Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, French Polynesia, Maldives, India, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, New Caledonia, Samoa
Due to continued concerns about the coronavirus, Airbnb will waive change/cancel fees for customers traveling March 10, 2020, through April 30, 2020.
Don’t see a company listed here?
If you do not see a business that you booked with listed here, contact them directly. Whether you are allowed to change your flight or get a refund may depend on your unique case. Where were you going? Are you over 65 years old? Are you immuno-compromised? Also, know that the phones are swamped right now with people changing and canceling flights and stays. Your best bet is to communicate with the airlines through the portals they have set up for these cancellations on their websites or through their apps.