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Re-Booking VS Refunding?

NoSpin

100+ Posts
Our South Africa trip was cancelled and I definitely opted for refund rather than re-booking for two very different reasons.

The airfare was paid for in US dollars. I booked through American because of the FF miles I would get even though 3 of the 4 legs were on British Airways. BA cancelled the flight from London to Cape Town so there was no problem with the refund. American refunded my money promptly. One little glitch so far is I am waiting for a refund from BA for the money we paid to select our seats at the time of booking. Parenthetically can you believe we paid $1132 for the two of us to select our seats on 3 flights?! This is after paying $4016 per ticket for business class, highway robbery.

I wanted the cash refund because if I accepted a voucher there was an expiration date of one year from date of purchase or Dec. 31, 2020, whichever was sooner. Since the reservation was made in Oct. 2019, the Oct. date was the furthest deadline. I don't want to be forced to make a trip just not to lose $9100.

The safari part of our trip was booked through a travel agent. She wanted us (we were going with two other couples) to reschedule. The only date when one couple could make it was in September but that didn't work for the safari company. I insisted on a refund and here's why. When we paid for the trip last year it was R146,444 which was $10,011. Well since then the dollar has risen considerably against the Rand, that same R146,444 today is $8336.

I told the agent we would cancel and re-book. She tried to say we would incur cancellation fees. I told her since as US citizens we could not legally enter the country, we definitely were not cancelling. She said she would talk with the safari company. They came back and met our dates but had to upgrade us from the camp we booked at R32,000 per couple per night to a camp that is R43,800 ($2700 upgrade for the 4 nights). So the group decided we would take the upgrade.

The currency exchange was a huge factor in this case. Admittedly these extraordinary times caused a much larger than normal currency move over such a short time, but it's always something to consider.
 

Andrew

100+ Posts
Contest 2019 Winner!
I'm pretty sure our TPA-EWR flight on Apr 8 won't be cancelled - unless things take a turn for the worse in NYC.
Are you saying that because you're seeing that your specific flight is operating these days? For today, only 3 of 7 United flights on that nonstop route operated. Then you get to a semantic question on whether cancellation rules really apply if they cancel your flight but offer you another one the same day. After what I posted earlier about United requiring a schedule change of 25 hours for a ticket to be refundable, they've made it six hours.
 

Andrew

100+ Posts
Contest 2019 Winner!
Word came out, without an official announcement, that United is waiving mileage redeposit fees for award trips cancelled in a time frame that includes our mid-May return from Croatia. The top of the page still said something like "Enter your payment method for mileage redeposit," but didn't ask for it. I've cancelled, and they say to expect the miles redeposited and taxes and fees refunded in a few weeks.

For our outbound on Iberia, I'm not sure that I clearly understood it on the phone that it was what I was told to expect when I cancelled. No fee refund or points redeposit yet, nor was there an email confirmation. If I call up the trip on my account, first they said Boston-Madrid was cancelled by the airline, then Madrid-Rome.

I had also done the booking on a paid trip to Rome on Norwegian for my stepson and his wife. I cancelled it when the screen asked if I wanted to decline the change of departure airport from Oakland to San Francisco, and an hour later Norwegian announced cancellation of service to Rome for that time. There's word to wait 4-8 weeks for a refund; if the airline had completely shut down, there would be one process to go through the credit card to ask for a chargeback, but the airline still exists just flying within Scandinavia.
 

artnbarb

1000+ Posts
Unfortunately 3 of our 4 flights were with United. Two of the United flights were tied to our TA cruise that was scheduled to depart NYC on Apr 9, so one was a domestic flight, TPA-EWR, and the other was an international flight LHR-EWR-TPA.

I spoke with United the other day - I was shocked they'd speak to me directly since it was booked thru a travel agency! - and in the end I agreed to accept vouchers. If I'm understanding correctly, by taking the vouchers I'll have one year FROM THE DATE OF ISSUE to use the vouchers, so one year from the beginning of April. If I had simply kept my reservations and changed the dates I would have to fly before the date the tickets were originally issued on, which was Jan 23. I hope I chose correctly.

For the 3rd United flight, it's not until August, and it's IAD-DUB. As I understand it, I have until the end of April (used to be the end of March, but now it's changed) to make any changes without additional fees. I'm hoping the flight will be canceled, which might give me a shot at a refund, but who knows.

The 4th flight was on American, and they redeposited our miles with no fee.

Based on information I've seen, once the first wave of the epidemic has passed (June? July? August?) 97% of us will still be susceptible to the virus, so I don't see us traveling any time soon. I think 3 things will have to happen for me to feel safe enough to travel: 1) Effective, fast, early detection and treatment of the virus, 2) An effective vaccine has to be developed and given to a large segment of the population. 3) Herd immunity beyond the 3% level. All of these things will take time, and probably more time than any of us would like, but that's the reality.
 

Andrew

100+ Posts
Contest 2019 Winner!
Some people who cancel on United get Future Flight Credit; others get Electronic Travel Certificates. The ETCs have been extended to get 24 months of validity, and in some cases United lets people change FFC to that. There's advice to see if that becomes a general option. The ETCs can only be used on United, not on partners such as Lufthansa.

For our cancelled trip from San Francisco to Boston, we have FFC. If I play around to search alternate trips using that, trips priced lower than our FFC show at $0, but I think there would be no residual value if we use that. If our trips were $500 and the new booking could be done for $300, we wouldn't have leftover funds for travel after that (as I understand but not fully confirmed).
 

BryanS

100+ Posts
Delta just sent this out by email:
  • Additional flexibility: We heard your feedback that you want the value of your tickets to be secure and redeemable for a longer period, so we have extended the ability to plan, re-book and travel for up to two years. We’ve waived change fees for your trips through May 31, 2022 if you have travel booked in April or May as of April 3, 2020, or canceled travel/eCredits from flights in March, April or May 2020. You can also change new tickets purchased between March 1 and May 31, 2020, without a change fee for up to a year from the date of purchase.
This seems to change each week, will next week be cash refunds??
 

artnbarb

1000+ Posts
For our cancelled trip from San Francisco to Boston, we have FFC. If I play around to search alternate trips using that, trips priced lower than our FFC show at $0, but I think there would be no residual value if we use that. If our trips were $500 and the new booking could be done for $300, we wouldn't have leftover funds for travel after that (as I understand but not fully confirmed).
It was also my understanding that FCC would not give a refund/credit if you booked at $300 fllight to replace a $500. This was one of the advantages of the ETCs. Flying with United only was one of the negatives.

I still have serious doubts we'll use them within the next 12 months. For this reason I need to do more research and see if I just need to book w/i one year, or if I can book on day 364 for a flight a further 300+ days out. This could be different for ETCs and FFC.
 

artnbarb

1000+ Posts
I still have serious doubts we'll use them within the next 12 months. For this reason I need to do more research and see if I just need to book w/i one year, or if I can book on day 364 for a flight a further 300+ days out. This could be different for ETCs and FFC.
I got my answer today in an email from United - YES, ETC's must be booked within one year of issue, but you can book for an additional 11 months out. Additionally ETCs will now be good for TWO years instead of one.

All electronic travel certificates now have 24 months to be used.
•​
If your travel plans have been disrupted, and you have an electronic travel certificate from us for the value of your ticket, you now have two years from the date it was issued to book a new flight, as well as up to an additional 11 months to travel. This includes all currently valid and all new electronic travel certificates issued on or after April 1, 2020.​
 

Andrew

100+ Posts
Contest 2019 Winner!
For people still thinking about cancelling award trips on United; they've now posted:
  • We are currently waiving all award redeposit fees for travel through end of May 2020.
  • We are now also waiving all redeposit fees for award ticket cancellations made more than 30 days before departure for the remainder of 2020.
For paid tickets on United, I'm hoping for more clarity on how a booking cancelled for Future Flight Credit can get it converted to the terms of the ETC. Someone on FlyerTalk says "You can use the flight credit to book a new flight at anytime. You can then cancel that new booking and get an ETC instead of the flight credit," but I'm not sure how much to count on that.
 

artnbarb

1000+ Posts
For people still thinking about cancelling award trips on United; they've now posted:

For paid tickets on United, I'm hoping for more clarity on how a booking cancelled for Future Flight Credit can get it converted to the terms of the ETC. Someone on FlyerTalk says "You can use the flight credit to book a new flight at anytime. You can then cancel that new booking and get an ETC instead of the flight credit," but I'm not sure how much to count on that.
The agent I spoke to at United simply offered me the ETC instead of the FFC - and I have to admit I was shocked!
 

Callie

10+ Posts
Just found out that one set of train tickets has been refunded to my credit card. These were the "expensive" ones, and I'm really happy about it. Will have to wait for a while longer to find out if we really get our airfare refunded.
 

jonathan

100+ Posts
Unlike most posters in this thread, my cancelled transatlantic trip originated in Europe, and was booked with a European airline. We were due to fly, yesterday, London Gatwick - Denver, returning 3 weeks later, with Norwegian. I'd decided to wait until Norwegian themselves cancelled before making any claim; they did this a couple of weeks ago.

Around 10 days later, they gave me two options: receive a cash refund, or get credit in Travel Points, with a 20% extra bonus, and no restrictions on booking dates or minimum spend.

I went for the cash refund. The 20% bonus could have been tempting (and it's very understandable that Norwegian should offer enticements to keep customers' money), but there were rumours, before the global pandemic was declared, that Norwegian weren’t in a very strong financial position. And I'm certainly not convinced enough of their ability to weather the present storm to let them sit on our money...

So meanwhile, we sit in a sunny and rather quiet London, wondering just when we'll next get to see our family ☹
 

Andrew

100+ Posts
Contest 2019 Winner!
Another summary of the situation with airline offers and customer rights from CN Traveler. It's somewhat nebulous what your rights are if you cancel a booking, and then the airline cancels a flight, so you want to claim a refund rather than a credit. It's best to wait as long as possible to see if the airline cancels, but I've had circumstances where I felt I needed to cancel first, and I think others here have been in that situation.
 

NoSpin

100+ Posts
Well now our July event in Mont Tremblant, Canada has been cancelled as of last Friday. We have already received a full refund from the organizers.

We were staying at the Fairmont on the concierge floor for the great rate of CAD 249. I emailed the hotel and told them that if travel was permitted then, my wife and I would still come up. They said they would honor the reservation. There was no deposit required so there was nothing to refund.

So we'll see what happens.
 

Allen

10+ Posts
At my request, the Rome airport Hilton replaced 2 prepaid reservations that I canceled last month with 2 equivalent vouchers good for next year. I’m very satisfied with their customer service.
 

BryanS

100+ Posts
We kept waiting to see if Delta would cancel our flights for next week to the US from Rome and offer a refund...no. They changed our flights to an impossible connection schedule but the best we can do is the 2 year e-credit.

I'm still waiting for Austrian Air about a flight from March. They changed my direct from Naples to Vienna to go through Germany once Austria closed their border to Italy. I made a request via their website but had no response and eventually called their call center, asked about cancelling the flight and they hung-up. :oops: I checked my flight again and it was cancelled, nothing about a refund or credit. I have written to them and only received an email about being "in the process". :mad:
 

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