Like many families this spring, we recently had to cancel our spring travel to Puerto Rico due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While it was disappointing, I was glad to use some of my tips from years of family travel to make the cancellation process only take 5 minutes! Below are my 4 quick tips on how to easily cancel travel reservations.
These tips can also be helpful if you are like me and dreaming of future travel once the restrictions are lifted. It’s really helpful to know the new cancellation policies that many of the airlines and hotels are using now to encourage future travel!
1. Use GetHuman.com.
My favorite tip is to use GetHuman.com (free website, no affiliation) to get a company representative on the phone faster. You put in the travel company name and get their direct customer service number right away. In addition, they show you the current hold time (for United Airlines it was 19 minutes that day!) as well as 15 other ways to communicate directly like Live Chat, etc.
2. Get a cash refund instead of vouchers.
If you bought a ticket from an airline and the airline canceled your original flight, it is a Department of Transportation rule that the airline must refund you the ticket price and any associated fees. This applies to flights that originate and in the U.S., EU, and UK. (Unfortunately, Canada is not in this ruling and they can give you a voucher.) Most customer service reps know this rule by now but if they are trying to refund you with a voucher, feel free to mention the DOT rule. You can refer the customer service agent to the DOT website here. (Note: If you booked with mileage points, you will only be able to be refunded back those points.)
3. Find out about your hotel refund policies.
Each hotel has different policies for refunds so check with the hotels’ app or customer service line for their up to date information.
If you are looking to book future travel when/if the restrictions ease up, I would highly recommend checking out one of the larger hotel chains. Many of them have pretty generous cancellation policies during the pandemic. For example, Marriott is allowing any new reservations until June 30 to “be canceled or changed at no charge up to 24 hours before your scheduled arrival date.”
4. Check your credit card terms as they might include some trip insurance.
Some credit cards offer coverage for travel cancellations which can be a great last chance for a refund if you haven’t had success directly with the airline or hotel. Most cards have refunds due to the death of an immediate family member, serious illness, or extreme weather.
Sadly, this isn’t a “happy-happy” travel topic, but hopefully, it was helpful in these uncertain times! With so much uncertainty right now, it can be stressful to find out how to easily cancel travel reservations. I can’t wait to travel again but in the meantime, I am thankful to be safe at home dreaming of our next family adventure!