Many globally affiliated hotels from Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, Choice, Radisson, IHG, among others, are offering a “no questions asked” cancellations and refunds (where is Accor’s?) due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Airlines are not offering as liberal refund policies, yet some, like Air France, do refund while most allow passengers to cancel and get a voucher or move the travel date through the end of 2020. What to do if a hotel or airline won’t refund, and you have no use for the flight(s) or hotel stay(s)?
1. Most air travel is coming to a halt in the short-term.
2. Trimmer flight schedules will be in place throughout the 2020 (if not longer).
3. Airlines may go bankrupt or cease operating.
Likely, many of the flights in your schedule won’t run as ticketed, and you are rebooked. You are then eligible for a full refund. Don’t fall into the trap of accepting vouchers that are often difficult to use and expire. Cash is king, especially at a time where there is economic uncertainty.
1. Many hotels will temporarily close.
I would hold off canceling hotel reservations if no full refunds are provided. Many hotels will close temporarily, by government mandate or go bankrupt.
Travel will eventually bounce back, but getting where we were just three months ago at the end of 2019 may take five years based on how previous shocks have played out (and this one will be a deep one).
Do not accept vouchers or credits for flight cancellations and re-scheduling. Push for a refund. If no refund is offered, dispute the transactions with your credit card company for services not provided as charged. Being refunded not only offers you full flexibility for future travel, but it may put some much-needed cash back in your pocket during this pandemic.
Many hotel chains have policies in place for refunds until the end of April (and will likely be extended) and some much longer.
Again, don’t automatically accept credits or pushing your stay to some other time. There is a fifty-fifty chance that the hotel may be temporarily closed due to lessened demand or government mandate, and you are then eligible for a refund or can initiate a credit card chargeback.