Refunding your Travel During COVID-19 Outbreak

How have the top airlines and hotels adjusted their policies?

LAST UPDATED: MARCH 13, 2020

If you’re rethinking your travel plans, want to rebook your trip, or cancel it altogether because of the Coronavirus, we have a list of what airlines and hotels are doing to help.

If you have information about other hotels, airlines, cruises, or tour companies, email grace@pirg.org to have them added to the list.

 

How to change your travel plans?
  1. Reach out to the airline. If the airline or hotel that you booked with doesn’t have a new cancellation policy to address the outbreak, you should ask how they can help you make other arrangements. This includes asking the travel agent if they can give you a cash refund instead of a voucher. If cash refunds aren't included in the airline's policy they can deny your request, but if you have special circumstances they might make an exception.
  2. Move to social media. If they don't allow you to change, cancel or receive a voucher for your travel, you can ask the airline to expand their coverage via social media. If enough people take this action by posting and tagging the airline or hotel chain, it may cause them to reconsider their policy during this time.
  3. Check with your credit card company. Certain credit card companies are changing their policies to reimburse non-refundable travel during this outbreak. Contacting the credit card company you used to purchase your flight or accomodations is the quickest way to find out if you qualify. 
  4. Contact the airline closer to your travel date. Airlines are currently overwhelmed with calls from customers looking to cancel or adjust their flights. Many airlines, travel agencies, and hotels have asked that you delay calling their customer service numbers until closer to your travel dates. Taking this advice will help you avoid longer wait times.
  5. Be as kind and patient as possible. Remember that the customer service representatives taking your calls are also dealing with the complications that come from this pandemic and treat them with respect and kindness, regardless of the outcome of your request. 
Airlines

American Airlines

  • American won’t charge change fees for flights purchased before March 1st through April 30th.

  • Customers have until December 31st to rebook their travel and must pay any difference in ticket price at that time. 

  • For updates visit aa.com/travelalerts.

Delta Airlines

  • For travel purchased in March 2020 or during March or April 2020, you can change your ticket one time with no change fee. If the new flight is more expensive, you must pay the fare difference. If it’s cheaper, you will get a Delta voucher for the difference.

  • To adjust your travel before the date visit My Trips.

JetBlue Airlines:

  • For travel from March 10 through April 30 you won’t have to pay a change or cancellation fee. Only applies if you booked on or before March 10th. 

  • You can rebook your travel through October 24, 2020 in the Manage Trips section. 

  • You still have to pay the difference in fare prices.

  • Refunds will be given only as JetBlue Travel Bank Credit, which is valid for one year.

Southwest Airlines: 

  • Southwest never charges a change fee or cancellation fee, and this rule continues to apply during the outbreak.

  • If plans change and you choose to cancel, the money used to pay for your flight can be used for future travel, as long as you cancel at least 10 minutes before your flight’s departure. Valid for future travel up to one year from original purchase. 

Spirit Airlines:

  • Customers who have to change their travel because of COVID-19 can make a one-time free change by calling Spirit Guest Care at 1 855 SAVE-555 (1 855 728-3555). Differences in fare prices must still be paid.

  • Alternatively, you can receive a reservation credit for the full value of their reservation, which can be used for up to 6 months to book any flight currently available.

  • The reservation credit can be used towards flights and other options. 

  • To cancel your reservation and claim your 6-month reservation credit, fill out form here.

United Airlines:

  • When you book a flight from March 3rd-31st, you can change it for free over the next 12 months.

  • For tickets purchased on or before March 2nd, with travel dates from March 9th-April 30th, you won’t be charged a change fee. 

Hotels

 Accor Hotels:

  • Guests who booked a non-flexible rate with Accor for travel after March 1, 2020, can modify their reservation for future travel through April 30, 2021 without penalty by contacting the hotel directly. Changes to reservation are subject to availability and rate differences.
  • For hotels in Europe and the United Kingdom, guests who booked a non-flexible rate for travel between March 17, 2020 and April 1, 2020, can cancel or modify their reservation and be refunded without penalty.
  • For hotels in Asia Pacific the Middle East, and Africa, guests scheduled to arrive prior to April 30, 2020 can cancel or modify their reservation and be refunded without penalty.
  • If you made your bookings through a travel agent or online booking platform, you should contact them directly.
  • Reservations for stays and Airbnb Experiences made on or before March 14, 2020, with a check-in date between March 14, 2020 and April 14, 2020, may be canceled before check-in. This means that guests who cancel will receive a full refund. Hosts can cancel without charge or impact to their Superhost status, and Airbnb will refund all service fees.
  • Reservations for stays and Airbnb Experiences made on or before March 14, 2020, with a check-in date after April 14, 2020, are not currently covered for COVID-19 related extenuating circumstances. The host’s cancellation policy will apply as usual.
  • Reservations for stays and Airbnb Experiences made after March 14, 2020 will not be covered under our extenuating circumstances policy, except where the guest or host is currently sick with COVID-19. 
  • Guests can cancel at any time, as long as they cancel at least 24 hours before arrival, and the reservation is cancelled on or before April 30, 2020.
  • Hotels will waive all fees associated with the cancellation of the booking.
  • A more restrictive cancellation policy may apply to a limited number of high-demand dates at individual hotels.

Choice Hotels (Quality Inn, Comfort Inn, Clarion, EconoLodge, Rodeway Inn, etc.):

  • For guests with exisiting reservations, you can change or cancel without a charge up to 24 hours before arrival as long as the change or cancellation is made by April 30, 2020.
  • If you’ve booked a cancellable rate, modify your reservation here.
  • If you’ve booked a non-cancellable, pre-paid rate directly with Choice Hotels, you can cancel your reservation using this online form.
  • Guests making new reservations between today and April 30, 2020, can change or cancel your reservation for no charge up to 24 hours before your scheduled arrival date. Modifications can be made here.
  • Points expiration is paused until May 31, 2020.
  • If you made your bookings through a travel agent or online booking platform, you should contact them directly.

Hilton Worldwide:

  • In regions affected by government-issued travel restrictions, you can change your resrvation with no fees or receive full refunds.
  • All reservations – even those described as non-cancellable -- that are scheduled for arrival before April 30, 2020 can be changed or cancelled at no charge up to 24 hours before your scheduled arrival.
  • Any reservation you make – even those described as non-cancellable – that are booked between today and April 30, 2020 for any future arrival date, can be changed or cancelled at no charge up to 24 hours before your scheduled arrival.
  • They request that you complete the transaction online if you need to cancel or modify a reservation for an arrival in the next 75 days. 

InterContinental Hotels Group (Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Crowne Plaza, Candlewood Suites, etc.):

  • No cancellation fees for existing and new bookings for stays between March 9, 2020 and April 30, 2020.
  • Modify or cancel your reservation online at Manage Your Stay.
  • If you made your bookings through a travel agent or online booking platform, you should contact them directly.

Marriott:

  • Guests with existing reservations for a future arrival date, including reservations with pre-paid rates that are typically more restrictive, can change or cancel without a charge up to 24 hours before arrival, as long as the change or cancellation is made by April 30, 2020. Any changes to existing reservations will be subject to availability and any rate differences.
  • Guests making new reservations, including reservations with pre-paid rates, between today and April 30, 2020, can change or cancel at no charge up to 24 hours before your scheduled arrival date. Any changes to the reservation will be subject to availability and any rate differences.
  • Vrbo operates differently because the property owner has full discrepancy of cancellation policies.
  • If a traveler reaches out to cancel or delay travel, Vrbo is asking that hosts offer a full or expanded credit for stay dates within the next year at no additional cost for travelers who can’t take trips now due to COVID-19. If the travelers are unwilling to accept a credit, Vrbo strongly encourages them to offer a full refund of the stay.
  • Vrbo expects that the host provide at least a 50% refund on cancellations for all stays on a night between March 13 and April 30, 2020, including trips that are outside the set cancellation policy. Vrbo will refund their Traveler Service Fee in full for all cancellations.
  • Vrbo is warning that if a host cancels based on a guest's country of origin, they will remove the listing from their marketplace, as is consistent with their inclusion statement.

Wyndham Worldwide:

  • Guests with new or existing bookings through April 30, 2020 will not have to pay cancellation or change fees if they make their request at least 24 hours before arrival. 
  • Guests who are prohibited from traveling under law will not have to pay cancellation or change fees. 
  • For new or existing bookings with arrival dates after April 30, all properties have to accept reservation changes for non-cancellable rates, as long as the request is made 48 hours in advance and the change is for the same number of nights or more.
  • Wyndham rewards points scheduled to expire after May 31, 2020 have been extended, and Wyndham Rewards Member Levels are extended for all members in the Greater China and Southeast Asia Pacific Rim regions through the end of 2021.
  • If you made your bookings through a travel agent or online booking platform, you should contact them directly.