I’m one of the travelers whose travel plans were affected or cancelled as a result of COVID-19. The government is implementing strict stay-at-home orders and travel bans throughout the Philippines. Traveling for both business and pleasure is now unpredictable for the foreseeable future.
So, how do you get a travel refund during the COVID-19 pandemic? Here are a few tips.
1. Push Your Trip Back (even if you don’t know when).
Consider delaying your travel but not canceling it entirely if you know you’ll be flying or going to a place at some point in the future, even if you don’t know when.
In fact, that’s what most airlines are offering instead of reimbursements right now. You can postpone your flight indefinitely. The money paid is set aside for use at a later time.
This is what I did with my supposed March trip to Cappadocia and September trip to Iceland. Instead of canceling, I chose to have it rescheduled. Refunding a flight with some airlines may be a pain in the butt. However, it is not impossible if they, rather than you, cancelled the flight due to COVID-19.
2. Research Companies Impacting Your Travel
You might be able to get a refund from some companies (but not all). If you bought your trip through a third-party website such as Expedia or Hotwire.
However, it is possible that it may not provide a full refund for canceled travel for your accommodations. Expedia, Travelocity, and Orbitz are all providing full refunds to customers who booked hotels in specific countries. China, Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea, Israel, Marshall Islands, El Salvador, Denmark, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Oman, India, Poland, Cyprus, Ukraine, and Italy are among the countries included. More countries are added to the list on a regular basis.
3. Don’t Shy Away From discounts
What if the travel provider (hotel, airline, or tour operator) does not allow refunds? If that’s the case, you may be able to negotiate a discount. Some tour operators give this option, providing customers future credit to utilize on a future trip. Some are even crediting them for more than their original cost.
4. Wait for a Bit Before Trying to Get A Refund
As the situation worsens, several travel companies are easing their restrictions on refunds. If your departure date is not imminent, you may find that waiting until closer to your departure date gives you a higher chance of getting a refund. Furthermore, due to COVID-19, the airline may cancel that flight or the hotel may close for a small period of time (fingers crossed). You’ll most certainly get a refund, even if you don’t ask for one.
5. Look Into Your Credit Card Benefits
It wouldn’t hurt to look into the insurance offered by the credit card you used to book your trip. Your travel credit card insurance may provide cancellation coverage.
- The level of service that you receive may vary depending on the customer support representative with whom you are talking. If your airline, hotel, or other travel provider is unhelpful, you can try again another time. Don’t be angry with the agent you’re speaking with because they’re also stressed out right now. You might try contacting the company using an online chat or speaking with someone else.
- Loyalty Status (if applicable): If you are a regular traveler on a particular airline, you may be able to get help by mentioning your loyalty status. You never know what it might get you. If not a full refund, a significant credit for future travel is better than nothing.