Coronavirus (COVID-19) policies vary by travel provider and booking channel. The situation is fluid, so it’s important to know the updated policies for any current or future reservations you make. I’ve created a list of travel policies and links that I will frequently update.
This is a great time to get yourself organized.
With all that lies ahead of us, I encourage you to keep taking advantage of Travel Freely right now since you can be filling up a treasure chest of points from your home for long-term luxury travel.
Some Travel Freely Advice and Tips
Use Southwest points right now and keep rebooking!
It’s always been a no-brainer. Southwest has no change or cancellation fees. If you use points, you will get them back instantly if you cancel a flight. I have rebooked several flights as prices keep dropping. Remember, many Chase cards earn points that can be transferred to Southwest, but they allow you to remain flexible if you do not end up needing more Southwest miles. For that reason, Chase Ultimate Rewards points are the most valuable and flexibility for the short and long-term. Read Chase Ultimate Rewards Guide; Southwest Companion Pass Guide.
Interactive Map of Travel Regulations
Check out this map from IATA to see the current regulations regarding countries you may be interested in visiting.
Pretty much the only reason I use Twitter (besides trying to get breaking sports news) is to contact airlines. Sometimes they can make changes for you and circumvent long wait times on the phone. I don’t remember the last time I called an airline. Twitter is very helpful. Here are the handles…
Pile Up the Points with Savvy Strategy
If you are not going to travel much in the next year, why not rack up points so that you can fly international business class and stay in 5-star hotels when you do start to travel? The best part of the Travel Freely strategy is that you are accumulating massive amounts of points without traveling. Your regular bills and monthly expenses are still happening, so keep racking up sign-up bonuses! Check out Our Best Monthly Offers or your Customized CardGenie Recommendations.
Get the right kind of rewards. Those who ONLY have an airline or hotel card are not following the best advice, get cards that can flex to any travel you need. I call these cards the “Wildcards” because, like the game of Uno, you can always make a play. Even now, if you aren’t going to travel, you could trade your points in for cash or gift cards.
Deals will be amazing once this all ends.
DO NOT WAIT until you want to travel again to start looking at points. Every country, airline, and hotel will want your business. So if you have piled up your points, the value of your free travel will skyrocket and you should be able to go business class and 5-star on any future trips. That’s why these flexible points cards will be best.
Coronavirus Cancellation Policies Contents:
- Airline Coronavirus Cancellation Policies
- Cruise line Coronavirus Cancellation Policies
- Hotel Coronavirus Cancellation Policies
- Credit Card Booking Portal Coronavirus Cancellation Policies
- Event and Tour Coronavirus Cancellation Policies
Airline Coronavirus Cancellation Policies
Revenue tickets and award tickets
For tickets purchased on or before February 26, 2020 for travel 3/9-12/31/20:
- If you purchased a Saver fare for travel through December 31, 2020, you may:
- Cancel your trip and deposit the funds into your My Account wallet or receive a credit certificate
- If you purchased a nonrefundable First Class, main, or award ticket for travel through December 31, 2020, you may:
- Change without fee. New travel must be completed within one year of the original travel date. A fare difference may apply to your new itinerary.
- Cancel your trip and deposit the funds into My Account wallet or credit card certificate via email.
For tickets purchased 2/27 to May 31, 2020:
- If you purchase a Saver fare between February 27, 2020 and May 31, 2020 for travel through April 30, 2021, you may:
- Cancel your trip and deposit the funds into your My Account wallet or receive a credit certificate for future travel
- If you purchase a nonrefundable First Class, main, or award ticket between February 27, 2020 and May 31, 2020 for travel through April 30, 2021, you may:
- Change without fee. New travel must be completed within one year of original travel dates. A fare difference may apply to your new itinerary.
- Cancel your trip and deposit the funds into My Account wallet or receive a credit certificate for future travel.
Additionally note that some states and countries served by Alaska have additional restrictions. See their page linked above for full details.
- Current Mileage Plan status will be extended through December 31, 2021
- There will be additional opportunities in the coming months to earn more elite-qualifying miles
- Any elite-qualifying miles earned between January 1, 2020 and April 30, 2020 will be rolled over to 2021 to give you a head start on earning your status for 2022
For tickets purchased before May 31, 2020:
- If you bought your ticket before March 1, 2020, for travel through September 30, 2020, you can rebook without change fees. Travel must be completed on or before December 31, 2021.
For newly tickets purchased March 1, 2020 to May 31, 2020:
- If you purchased a ticket on American Airlines between March 1, 2020 at 4:30 p.m. CT and May 31, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. CT, will not incur change fees prior to travel (includes all future travel).
New travel must be completed on or before December 31, 2021.
If you have a ticket that is expiring between March 1 and September 30, 2020, the value of your unused ticket can be used for travel through
December 31, 2021.
American will waive award reinstatement and change fees for awards booked by May 31, 2020, for travel through September 30, 2020 for eligible bookings.
If your trip is eligible, your miles will be automatically reinstated within 48 hours of canceling your trip online.
Update: The rules for what constitutes an “eligible” booking are very restrictive:
Automatic mileage reinstatement
If your trip is eligible, your miles will be automatically reinstated within 48 hours of canceling your trip online. For all other trips, contact Reservations to have your miles reinstated.
Eligible customers / trips must meet these requirements:
The reservation is for a single passenger.
The traveler and the AAdvantage® member whose miles were redeemed are the same.
Travel is on American Airlines flights only.
The ticket was purchased directly with American in the U.S. or via our U.S. website.
Travel for any portion of the trip has not begun.
No changes have been made to the trip since the ticket was issued.
Refunds for the purchase of ancillary products such as seats, pre-paid bags or priority boarding will need to be requested separately.
The fact that the waived changes only apply to travel on American and only if there is a single passenger and that passenger used his or her own miles narrows down the field of who could make use of the policy considerably. (Source)
For award travel ticketed on or after June 1, 2020, American will waive change and reinstatement fees when the change is made at least 60 days before travel and is implementing a new fee structure for changes closer in. See this post for more detail.
If you currently have American Airlines elite status that is scheduled to expire January 31, 2021, it is now extended to January 31, 2022. That includes those who earned status based on last year’s flight activity, those who completed status matches already that granted status through January 2021, those who were gifted status or got it from a promotion (like the free matches from Hyatt Globalist last year), etc.
When it becomes safe to travel again, 2020 American Airlines elite status will be much easier to obtain. This will only apply to you if you don’t currently have American Airlines status (if you have status, it will be extended). In order to earn 2020 status for the 2021 year (which would be valid until 1/31/22), you would need to earn as per the following:
- Gold: 15K EQMs / 15 EQS / $1500 EQDs
- Platinum: 30K EQMs / 30 EQS / $4000 EQDs
- Platinum Pro: 45K EQMs / 45 EQS / $6000 EQDs
- Executive Platinum: 60K EQMs / 60 EQS / $9000 EQDs
Revenue tickets, award tickets, or Companion Certificate travel
- Tickets purchased between March 1 and May 31, 2020, can be changed without a change fee for a year from the date you purchased it.
- If you have upcoming travel already booked for March through September 30, 2020 as of April 17, 2020 or have existing eCredits or canceled travel from flights in March through September 30, 2020, Delta is waiving change fees and extending eCredits through September 30, 2022
- For award flights that qualify for a change fee waiver, the mile redeposit fee is also waived.
- All Companion Certificates that were active as of March 1, 2020, have been extended by 6 months or more from the original expiration
Delta has announced that they are extending elite status through 2021:
- Delta has automatically extend the status you have for 2020 through 2021. You’ll therefore retain your Medallion status through January 31, 2022.
- All your Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) will be rolled over into 2021
- Choice Benefits (e.g. upgrade certificates, travel vouchers, etc.), are being extended. If you selected Global or Regional upgrade certificates, you’ll receive an extra six months to redeem them. The same goes for if you selected a $200 travel voucher. Platinum and Diamond Medallion members will also be able to select Choice benefits in 2021.
Revenue tickets (this policy may also include award tickets – it isn’t clearly specified):
- Suspended change and cancel fees for all new bookings made between March 27 and May 31, 2020 for travel through January 4, 2021
- The change/cancel fees suspension also applies for bookings made between February 27 and March 5, 2020 for travel through June 1, 2020, and for bookings made between March 6 and March 26, 2020 for travel through September 8, 2020.
- Eligible changes made will receive a JetBlue Travel Bank Credit in the amount of the flight fare plus any applicable taxes and fees, valid for 24 months from date of issuance toward future JetBlue air travel only.
If you have a Travel Bank credit from a previous flight purchase that is expiring between February 27 and May 31, it will now expire December 31, 2020.
Travel Bank credits issued between February 27 and May 31 for flight purchases will now have an 18-month expiration period as opposed to the typical 12 months.
- All currently-valid status (whether earned through flight activity or via credit card spend) is being extended through Dec. 31, 2021
- Current Mosaics to gift Mosaic status to one person of their choosing. The nominated TrueBlue member will become a full-fledged Mosaic from June 15, 2020 through June 15, 2021. Current Mosaics must nominate the member of their choosing by June 1, 2020.
- Those looking to earn Mosaic status during 2020 will have qualification requirements reduced by 50% as follows:
- Earn 7,500 Mosaic qualifying points (vs. the usual 15,000 points)
- Earn 6,000 Mosaic qualifying points and 15 segments (vs. the usual 12,000 points and 30 segments)
- Earn 7,500 Mosaic qualifying points (vs. the usual 15,000 points)
- Those who must change plans due to COVID-19 have the option to receive a reservation credit for the full value of their reservation that can be used for up to 12 months to book any flight through the end of the schedule. The credit can be used toward fare, checked baggage, seat selection, etc, and can be used over multiple bookings until the full value is used. However, it can only be used by one of the guests linked to the original reservation.
- All miles in your account as of March 1, 2020 will have their expiration date extended through the end of September 2020 (assuming you don’t use them sooner).
Southwest never charges change or cancellation fees. As long as you cancel at least 10 minutes prior to departure, you receive a travel credit valid for up to one year from the original date of purchase. If you cancel an award booking at least 10 minutes prior to departure, points post back to your account immediately.
- Customers’ funds that have expired or will expire between March 1, 2020 and September 7, 2020, will now expire September 7, 2022.
- Any travel funds created because you cancel a flight between March 1 – September 7, 2020, will expire September 7, 2022.
- Note that while these unused travel funds will be available until September 7, 2022, once the funds are used to make a purchase, the expiration date of the travel funds will then follow normal ticketing rules and will expire 12 months from the date of purchase.
- Those Members who have travel funds that are set to expire or funds that are created between March 1, 2020 and September 7, 2020 will have the option to convert those travel funds into Rapid Rewards points at the same rate you would be able to purchase a ticket with points today. Note that Southwest is still working on implementing this capability and it is not yet live. We will post when it goes live and include a link to the update here.
Note that in some cases, customers can change to a date within 60 days of the originally-scheduled travel date without paying any fare difference as long as your origin and destination cities do not change. Look for flights that display as “Available.” Flights that show a price point are not eligible for a change without paying a fare difference. This can be done online.
- For A-List and A-List Preferred Members who earned A-List or A-List Preferred status through December 31, 2020 and not through any type of promotion, status is extended through December 31, 2021.
- For 2020 elite status qualification, all customers have received 15,000 tier qualifying points (TQPs) and 10 qualifying one-way flight segments toward tier status. This means members will need to earn an additional:
- 20K points / 15 segments for A-list status
- 55K points / 40 segments for A-list Preferred status
- Those whose Companion Pass benefits was set to expire on December 31, 2020, will now have a Companion Pass through June 30, 2021
- For 2020 Companion Pass qualification, all customers have received 25,000 Companion Pass qualifying points (CPQPs) and 25 qualifying one-way flight segments toward Companion Pass. This means that a Companion Pass that is valid through December 31, 2020 will require members to earn 100,000 Rapid Rewards points or 75 segments (as opposed to the ordinary requirements of 125K points / 100 segments).
For tickets purchased on or before March 2, 2020 for travel from March 3 to May 31, 2020:
- All change fees are waived
- New tickets must be reissued on/before December 31, 2020 or 12 months from original ticket date, whichever is earlier
- Rebooked travel must commence within 12 months from the original ticket issue date
For tickets issued March 3 through March 31, 2020:
- Customers will be permitted to change free of charge to a flight of equal or lesser value for travel up to 24 months from the original ticket issue date.
For tickets issued between April 1, 2020, and May 31, 2020:
- Customers will be permitted to change free of charge to a flight of equal or lesser value for travel up to 12 months from the original ticket issue date.
For changes, keep in mind that:
- If the new flight is priced higher, the customer may change for no fee but must pay the fare difference.
- If the new flight is priced lower, the customer may change for free but no residual value will be given.
- This applies to all tickets, all fare types, all destinations, all points-of-sale, all travel dates available for sale, provided ticket number starts with 016.
- All redeposit fees are waived for award ticket cancellations made more than 30 days before departure for the remainder of 2020.
- If you have current 2020 Premier status, it will be extended to January 31, 2022.
- To earn new status during 2020 for the 2021 membership year, you will need:
- Silver: 6 PQFs and 2,000 PDPs or 2,500 PQPs
- Gold: 12 PQFs and 4,000 PQPs or 5,000 PQPs
- Platinum: 18 PQFs and 6,000 PQPs or 7,500 PQPs
- 1K: 26 PQFs and 9,000 PQPs or 12,000 PQPs
United is extending elite status by 1 year. Read more here.
United is extending elite status by 1 year.
For tickets issued prior to March 10, 2020 and with travel through April 30, 2020:
- Customers may make a one-time change to their itinerary without a change/cancel fee.
Flexibility for new bookings
For tickets issued March 10 through April 15, 2020:
- Customers may make a one-time change to their itinerary without a change/cancel fee.
- For changed flights, travel must be completed by September 12, 2021
Keep in mind these restrictions on your change:
- If you change to new flight of equal or lesser value, the change fee is waived, no residual value retained by customer
- If you change to new flight at a higher price, the change fee waived, customer pays fare difference
- If you cancel your flight: the cancel fee is waived, customer retains the value of the ticket to be applied toward the purchase of a future ticket within 90 days of cancellation. Note that you need to book your new ticket within 90 days of the day you cancel.
- Changes must be made at least 24 hours in advance or standard change fees apply
Again, the key restrictions to keep in mind are that you can only make one change and if you cancel you have 90 days to rebook (though your new travel can be later).
Revenue tickets and award tickets
- Tickets purchased between March 1 and June 30, 2020 will incur no change fees for any changes made within two (2) years of the original ticket purchase date. A fare difference may apply.
- Tickets purchased before March 1, 2020 with travel dates between March 1 and September 30 2020: No change fees for rebooked travel that begins on or before May 31, 2022. A fare difference may apply. Tickets must be changed no later than Dec. 31, 2020 or one year from the original ticket purchase date (whichever is later). If the ticket expiration date occurs prior to Dec. 31, 2020, a one-time exchange (without charge) can be applied to extend the ticket validity another 12 months.
- HawaiianMiles award redeposit fees will be waived for flights covered by the above change policies
- All current Elite members will have their status extended through February 2022
- Updated requirements for earning elite status in 2020:
- Pualani Gold: 15 segments or 10,000 miles
- Pualani Platinum: 30 segments or 20,000 miles
Cruise line Coronavirus Cancellation Policies
As of 5/25/20, Carnival has canceled the following:
- All San Francisco sailings through 2020
- All Carnival Sunrise sailings through and including October 19, 2020
- All Carnival Legend sailings through and including October 30, 2020
- All Carnival Radiance sailings through and including November 1, 2020
- All Carnival Spirit Alaska, Hawaii, & Trans-Pacific sailings through and including October 6, 2020
- Carnival Breeze, Carnival Dream, Carnival Elation, Carnival Freedom, Carnival Horizon, Carnival Magic, Carnival Sensation, & Carnival Vista sailings through and including July 31, 2020
- Carnival Splendor sailings through and including September 17, 2020
- All Other Ships sailings through and including August 31, 2020
Those with cruises scheduled during the above period can either receive a 100% refund of the price paid or:
- Cruise lengths of 6+ days: get a 100% future cruise credit + $600 onboard credit per statement if rebooked by 12/31/20 for sailing by 12/31/22.
- Cruise lengths of 5 days or less: get a 100% future cruise credit + $300 onboard credit per statement if rebooked by 12/31/20 for sailing by 12/31/22.
To make your selection for a cruise canceled as per the above-listed cancellations, choose your preferred option online by using this form.
Customers who book by August 1, 2020 can change or cancel up to 48 hours prior to sailing for cruises departing up to May 4, 2022 and receive a future cruise credit in the full amount paid for the cruise that can be used for any sailings up to May 4, 2022. Note that if you booked through a travel agent, you’ll need to contact your agent.
If you apply your future cruise credit to a cruise of lesser value, the remaining value will be issued as a new future cruise credit.
If you change by August 1, 2020 you can take the same cruise for the same price / with the same promotions the following year.
If you wish to cancel instead of taking a future cruise credit, Celebrity’s standard cancelation policy applies. You’ll receive a full refund of the amount paid to date prior to final payment, and the nonrefundable deposits will be returned in the form of a Future Cruise Credit. After final payment, the standard cancellation penalties apply.
Crystal Cruises is maintaining a list of cancelled cruises here.
Guests on these cancelled sailings can either get:
• A 100% refund of cruise fare, port charges, taxes, and fees paid, and any air and hotel packages booked through Crystal.
• A Future Cruise Credit* equal to 125% of their cruise fare paid – valid on any Crystal experience (Ocean, River, Yacht or Expedition) embarking through December 31, 2022 – along with a refund of port charges, taxes, and fees, and air and hotel packages booked through Crystal.
If guests are unable to redeem the future cruise credit by December 31, 2022, they may request a refund of the original cruise fare paid.
Note that the future cruise credit will be automatically applied to your profile, but you can alternatively contact Crystal for a refund prior to your original sailing date by eamiling them here: [email protected]
Crystal Cruises has additionally enacted a new cancellation policy until further notice whereby guests can cancel up to 7 days prior to first service and receive a 100% Future Cruise Credit for cruise monies paid. This applies to both new and existing bookings on Ocean, River, Yacht and Expedition. The future cruise credit can be used on cruises through the end of 2022.
Those who do not want a future cruise credit are subject to the following refund policy:
- Cancel more than 90 days in advance, get a refund of money paid minus an admin fee.
- Cancel 31-90 days in advance, get a 75% refund
- Cancel 30 days or fewer in advance, get no refund
Disney Cruise Lines
All new departures through July 27, 2020 have been suspended. Those booked on effected sailings can either receive a cruise credit valid for 15 months from original sailing date or a full refund. A full refund gives you cash that is valid forever. Not sure why anyone would take a credit tied to a cruise within 15 months rather than cash if the cruise line isn’t offering any incentive to take the credit (in the form of onboard credit or higher monetary value as other cruise lines in this section are offering).
Sailings scheduled through November 30, 2020 can be cancelled up to 48 hours prior to start of the sailing date and receive a 100% future cruise credit that is valid for new sailings through December 31, 2022, but the new booking must be made within one year of the cancellation date.
All cruises scheduled for December 1st and beyond can be cancelled for a full refund up to 120 days before departure.
- Cancel for any reason up to 48 hours prior to departure and receive a Future Cruise Credit equal to 100% of the cruise fare paid
- Valid for all existing reservations for voyages departing in 2020, 2021, or 2022.
- Valid for all new reservations through July 31, 2020 for scheduled voyages departing through in 2020, 2021, or 2022
- Future Cruise Credit is valid for redemption for one year from date of issue for travel departing no later than December 31, 2022
Princess Cruise Lines has announced that they will voluntarily pause operations through the end of the summer 2020 season. This includes:
- All remaining Alaska cruises on Emerald Princess and Ruby Princess
- All remaining Europe and Transatlantic cruises on Enchanted Princess, Regal Princess, Sky Princess, Crown Princess and Island Princess
- Summer Caribbean cruises and all Canada & New England cruises on Caribbean Princess and Sky Princess
- Summer to Fall cruises departing from Japan on Diamond Princess
- Australia-based cruises on Sapphire Princess and Sea Princess through August
- July cruises sailing from Taiwan on Majestic Princess
- Fall cruises sailing to Hawaii and French Polynesia on Pacific Princess through November
If you were scheduled to sail during this time, you can request a refund here. Note that you must request a refund by June 15, 2020 or you will automatically receive a future cruise credit.
Those opting for a future cruise credit will receive a future cruise credit equal to 100% of the cruise fare paid plus an additional bonus FCC equal to 25% of the cruise fare (note that the matching bonus FCC will not exceed the base cruise fare amount of the currently booked cruise and will have a minimum value of $100 per person).
Note: Be sure to click the box that says “Option 2” if you want the refund as shown here:
Cancel up to 48 hours prior to departure for all existing reservations and all new reservations made by April 30, 2020, for all voyages embarking on or before September 30, 2020, and receive a 100% Future Cruise Credit, which can be applied to any new reservation made within one year on any Regent voyage sailing before December 31, 2022.
- For cruises booked on or before August 1st, 2020, you can cancel any cruise that sets sail from now through April 30, 2022 provided you cancel at least 48 hours in advance.
- You will receive a future cruise credit that is valid through December 31, 2021 or 12 months from your original canceled sail date (whichever is longer) and can be used for any open sailings at the time of booking
- Royal Caribbean has also added a best price guarantee allowing you to price match up to 48 hours in advance of sailing and receive the difference in nonrefundable onboard credit (or rate adjustment if you haven’t completed final payment).
- You can get the same price and promotion terms if you change to a new sailing within 4 weeks of your original date but for the following year
Viking River Cruises
As of March 11, 2020, Viking is temporarily suspending operations of all river and ocean cruises, for embarkations taking place through June 30, 2020.
For those guests whose cruise falls within this window of suspended operations, Viking had been offering the choice of a Future Cruise Voucher valued at 125% of all monies paid to Viking or a refund equal to the amount paid. It is unclear whether this offer still applies to those who had not yet accepted it, though the terms suggest that you must have requested a refund (if desired) by April 6, 2020, so I imagine those impacted have already received a future cruise voucher.
Guests will have 24 months to use their Future Cruise Voucher to make a new reservation on any river, ocean or expedition cruise. For additional flexibility, if you are unable to use your voucher, Viking will automatically send you a refund equal to the original amount paid to Viking after the voucher expires. These Future Cruise Vouchers will also be fully transferable.
For new bookings made May 1-31, 2020
- Risk-Free Guarantee allows guests to change their cruise date up until 24 hours before their planned departure—and Viking will waive any fees. This offer covers all Viking reservations that are made between May 1-31, 2020. Guests will receive a Future Cruise Voucher valid for 24 months.
Hotel Coronavirus Cancellation Policies
Reservations made on or before 3/14/20
While not a hotel, it made sense to include AirBnB with lodging providers here.
AirBnB has updated its policy to allow guests and hosts to change or cancel reservations worldwide without charge for those reservations made on or before 3/14/20 with check-in dates between 3/14/20 and 6/30/20.
Reservations made after 3/14/20
Reservations for stays and Airbnb Experiences made after March 14, 2020 will not be covered under AirBnB’s extenuating circumstances policy, except where the guest or host is currently sick with COVID-19.
Different policies apply for domestic reservations in mainland China and for Luxe or Luxury Retreats reservations.
COVID-19 related circumstances not covered include: transportation disruptions and cancellations; travel advisories and restrictions; health advisories and quarantines; changes to applicable law; and other government mandates—like evacuation orders, border closures, prohibitions on short-term rentals, and shelter-in-place requirements. The host’s cancellation policy will apply as usual.
Airbnb explains this by saying that the extenuating circumstances policy would not apply after March 14th since COVID-19 is no longer an unforeseen issue but rather a known issue. Essentially, if you take the risk of a new booking, that risk is on you.
Existing and new bookings through June 30, 2020
- Guests who booked a non-flexible rate with Accor for travel prior to and inclusive of June 30,2020 may modify their reservation for future travel without any modification fees by contacting the hotel directly or request a credit voucher for the full amount of the booking value for use at a future date at the same hotel by filling out this form. For a list of hotels, please refer to https://all.accor.com/gb/world/hotels-accor-monde.shtml
Note: changes to existing reservations will be subject to availability and any rate differences
Existing reservations for stays through June 30, 2020
- For guests with existing individual reservations, including reservations with non-cancellable, pre-paid rates made directly with Choice Hotels, we will allow changes or cancellation without a charge up to 24 hours prior to arrival as long as the change or cancellation is made by June 30, 2020 and is compliant with hotel country regulations. You can cancel or modify your reservation here. If you are experiencing difficulties cancelling your reservation, you may use this online form.
- For a limited time, guests making new individual reservations directly with Choice Hotels can change or cancel at no charge up to 24 hours before scheduled arrival date. Modifications can be made here.
- Guests who booked via online travel agents or other third parties are advised to contact their booking provider for information on their policies and for assistance.
- Choice has extended current elite status through Dec. 31, 2021. Additionally, current Gold members will be upgraded to Platinum status and Platinum members will be upgraded to Diamond for the remainder of 2020. If you stay at least five nights by Dec. 31, 2020, you’ll keep your upgraded tier through Dec. 31, 2021. If you do not stay 5 nights, your status will revert to the current level through December 31, 2021.
- For those looking to earn status in 2020, the following are the reduced requirements:
- Gold status: 7 nights (normally requires 10)
- Platinum status: 15 nights (normally requires 20)
- Diamond status: 25 nights (normally requires 40)
- All reservations—even those described as “non-cancellable” (“Advanced Purchase”)—that are scheduled for arrival on or before June 30, 2020 can be changed or cancelled at no charge, up to 24 hours before your scheduled arrival day.
- Any reservations you make—even those described as “non-cancellable” (“Advanced Purchase”)—that are booked between March 25th and June 30, 2020 for any future arrival date can be changed or cancelled at no charge, up to 24 hours before your scheduled arrival day.
- If your 2019 status was expiring in March 2020: For those who had status in 2019 (which was based on stays in 2018), status would ordinarily expire on March 31, 2020. However, Hilton is extending the expiration of that status (again, if you earned it in 2018 and it was set to expire this week) until March 31, 2021.
- If you have 2020 status: For those who earned status in 2019 (which ordinarily gives you status in 2020 up until March 31, 2021), Hilton is extending status until March 31, 2022.
- Points extension: Hilton is pausing the expiration of all points set to expire between now and December 31, 2020. In other words, points scheduled to expire any time in the rest of 2020 will expire on January 1, 2021.
Free night certificates
- Hilton previously announced that certificates that were unexpired as of March 11, 2020 and all new certificates issued until August 20, 2020 will be extended until August 31, 2021 (the end of next summer). However, those issued May 1 to December 31st are valid for 24 months.
- Free weekend night certificates existing prior to May 1st and those new certificates issued between May 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020 can be used any day of the week.
Existing reservations for travel through 6/30/20
- All existing reservations (booked April 1 or before) for arrivals through June 30, 2020 can be changed or cancelled at no charge up to 24 hours before your scheduled arrival. This includes Advance Purchase Rate reservations.
- Guests holding fully prepaid Advance Purchase Rate non-refundable reservations made directly with Hyatt on or before March 8, 2020 for arrivals before June 30, 2020 may opt, at least 24 hours before their stay, to receive 10,000 World of Hyatt Bonus Points compensation in lieu of both their stay and the offer above (if eligible).
- With some very limited exceptions noted below, reservations you make between April 2, 2020 and June 30, 2020 – for any future arrival date – can be changed or cancelled at no charge up to 24 hours before your scheduled arrival. This includes Advance Purchase Rate reservations. The only exceptions are reservations booked after April 1, 2020 at select Destination properties and Special Events Rate reservations booked after April 1, 2020. The cancellation policies for a Special Event Rate will be noted in the rate’s Rate Rules section when booking.
- Existing Advance Purchase Rate non-refundable reservations for travel through June 2020: As announced earlier, special exceptions are in place for all Advance Purchase Rate non-refundable reservations made directly with Hyatt on or before March 8, 2020 for arrivals before June 30, 2020. Guests holding these fully prepaid reservations who have decided not to travel may still opt, at least 24 hours before their stay, to receive 10,000 World of Hyatt Bonus Points compensation in lieu of both their stay and the offer above (if eligible). World of Hyatt points may be used toward future travel at any of our 900+ hotels across 17 brands globally.
Peak and off-peak pricing
- Hyatt has delayed the introduction of peak and off-peak pricing until 2021 and only 5 properties will be changing category on March 22, 2020. See this post for more.
- Status and benefits will be extended for all existing elite members without having to re-qualify. This means that whatever your status was as of March 31, 2020 – whether Discoverist, Explorist or Globalist – it will be automatically updated to reflect a February 28, 2022 expiration date. All elite tier extensions should be reflected in members’ accounts no later than April 15, 2020. See this post for more.
- Note that World of Hyatt and Hyatt credit card holders can currently earn bonus elite qualifying nights with credit card spend. See this post for more detail.
Extension of earned awards
- All unused Free Night, Suite Upgrade or Club Lounge Access awards with expiration dates between March 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020 will be extended to December 31, 2021. This includes existing awards and awards that may be earned throughout this year with a 2020 expiration date. The award extension will be generated by World of Hyatt – members do not need to take action. Awards that expired between March 1 and March 31, 2020 will be replaced with new awards on April 20, 2020. All other qualifying, unused awards will be updated by the 20th day of the month in which the award would have originally expired. See this post for more.
- For bookings made through April 6, 2020, IHG is waiving cancellation fees for existing and new bookings at all IHG hotels globally for stays between March 9, 2020 and June 30, 2020.
- IHG is not selling advance purchase/non-refundable rates until later this year except in mainland China. Standard cancellation policies apply. See your booking for details.
Additionally, IHG has reduced elite status qualification requirements:
- Normal requirement: 10K points / 10 nights
- 2020 requirement: 7K points / 7 nights
- Normal requirement: 40K points / 40 nights
- 2020 requirement: 30K points / 30 nights
- Normal requirement: 75K points / 75 nights
- 2020 requirement: 55K points / 55 nights
Anniversary Night Certificates
If you had any anniversary night certificates expiring (earned through your credit card(s)), those will be extended. Any certificates expiring from March 1, 2020 will now be valid until December 31, 2020. All certificates that are issued in 2020 will have an expiry date of 18 months.
IHG Rewards Club points usually expire after 12 months of inactivity for members without status (it never expires for Gold, Platinum and Spire members which is a great program feature). If you’re an IHG Rewards Club member without any status and your points were due to expire between April 1 and June 30, 2020, your points now won’t expire until December 31, 2020 which gives you more time to ensure there’s some kind of activity on your account.
- For guests with existing reservations for any future arrival date, including reservations with pre-paid rates that are typically more restrictive, Marriott will allow full changes or cancellation without a charge up to 24 hours prior to arrival, as long as the change or cancellation is made by June 30, 2020. Changes to existing reservations will be subject to availability and any rate differences.
- For guests making new reservations for any future arrival date, including reservations with pre-paid rates, between today and June 30, 2020, Marriott will allow the reservation to be changed or cancelled at no charge up to 24 hours before your scheduled arrival date. Changes to the reservation will be subject to availability and any rate differences.
Note the following key details:
- May exclude periods with special event restrictions or peak demand weeks. Please refer to the property’s Rate Details for applicable terms or exceptions, if any, when booking or changing reservations.
- Individual (transient) guestroom reservation refunds of any kind (e.g., cash or credit voucher) may take up to 90 days from the date of cancellation to be processed. The form and timing of refund may be subject to applicable laws where each hotel is located.
- Design Hotels and Homes & Villas by Marriott International (HVMI) are excluded from this policy.
- Points will not expire until February 2021
Free night certificates
- Free night certificates, including annual credit card free night certificates, annual choice benefit certificates, and travel package certificates that were scheduled to expire in 2020 will be extended to January 31, 2021. See this post for full details. Note that it has historically been easy to get credit card annual free night certificates extended for a year by calling and asking for an extension, so you may be better off trying for an extra year over the phone at some point.
Suite Night Awards
- Suite Night Awards set to expire on December 31, 2020 (i.e. those earned last year as 50-night or 75-night choice benefits) will not expire until December 31, 2021. See this post for full details
Apparently all bookings worldwide can be canceled without a fee for stays scheduled for arrival by April 30th. Note that I can only find this information in this news release but no direct information on the Peninsula website.
Existing reservations made prior to 4/1/20 for stays until 6/30/20
- For existing reservations made prior to April 1, 2020, for stays until June 30, 2020, at any RHG hotel worldwide and subject to local regulations and variations applicable to the hotel legal entity, Raddisson will allow free modifications subject to availability and/or any rate differences or free cancellations
- Note that if a deposit has been paid for an existing reservation, Radisson will credit you the full amount to redeem with your next stay at the same hotel within one year after your cancellation date. If you are unable to redeem, we will refund you after your credit has expired.
New reservations made between 4/1/20 and 6/30/20
- For new reservations made between April 1 and June 30, 2020, for any future arrival date at any RHG hotel worldwide, Radisson will allow free modifications up to 24 hours before the arrival date (any modifications are subject to availability and/or any rate differences) or free cancellations up to 24 hours before arrival date. This includes reservations on advanced purchase rates described as noncancelable. If a deposit has been paid, the amount will be refunded to the credit card used (or maybe in the form of vouchers or credit, where required by local regulations)
- Elite status has been extended until February 2022 for those whose status would otherwise expire in February 2021. In other words, if you earned status last year (in 2019), your status would ordinarily be valid until February of next year (February 2021). Now you’ll be extended to February 2022 — in other words, you don’t need to make any more stays this year to maintain status.
- Point expiration policy is suspended for 6 months effective March 1st (This is not totally clear to me — I think this means that if you had points scheduled to expire within 6 months of March 1st, they will either not expire until September 1st or perhaps you’ll get an additional 6 months added)
Free night certificates
- If you have a free night certificate earned from spending $10K on the Radisson credit card and it was set to expire between 3/1/20 and 6/30/20, it will now be valid until 6/30/2021.
New and existing bookings for stays through 6/30/20
- New or existing direct bookings for stays through June 30, 2020 will have their cancellation or change penalties waived if the request is received at least 24 hours (or less if permitted by the hotel’s policy) prior to arrival.
- Guests who are prohibited from traveling to their booked hotel under applicable law will have their cancellation or change penalties waived on direct bookings.
New and existing bookings for arrival after 6/30/20
- For new or existing direct bookings with arrivals after June 30, 2020, all Wyndham properties are required to accommodate non-cancellable rate reservation changes if the request is received at least 48 hours prior to arrival and the same number of room nights or more are booked for a future stay.
- Wyndham ispausing the expiration of any Wyndham Rewards points scheduled to expire between until September 30, 2020.
- Elite status for all Wyndham Rewards Member Levels for all members globally has been extended until December 31, 2021.
Credit Card Booking Portal Coronavirus Cancellation Policies
The best piece of advice if you’ve booked through any sort of travel agent — whether that may be Expedia, Priceline, or one of the credit card travel sites — is to call the travel agent directly about your booking. It is difficult to impossible to predict each possible travel agent booking situation and outcome.
Based on my reading of their announcement linked above, I think Amex Travel intends to follow the waiver policy of the travel provider with whom you are booked. In other words, if your airline/cruise/hotel is offering a waiver and your dates of booking and travel fit the requirements, I believe you will be able to change or cancel through Amex the same as you would booking direct.
Additionally, they will waive the American Express Travel fee on flight modifications made now through September 30, 2020.
If you cancel a flight directly with your airline that was booked with Membership Rewards® points (Pay with Points), your cancellation will be handled by the airline in accordance with their policies. If your flight is not refunded or you are issued a credit with the airline, you will not receive the points back in your Membership Rewards® account, nor will you receive a credit on your Card statement in dollars.
However, if your flight is refunded by the airline, then you will receive a credit on your Card statement (in dollars) in the amount equivalent to the refund issued by the airline. You may be able to convert it back into points by contacting Membership Rewards® at 1-800-AXP-EARN (297-3276).
Chase Ultimate Rewards
If your airline is waiving cancellation fees, you can now submit a cancellation request through our online chat tool or by using a cancellation form in Ultimate Rewards.
Chase’s FAQs prompt you to check the travel provider’s current cancellation policies (which are frequently changing) before submitting your request.
Chase will work on requests in order of urgency based on travel date. Depending on your travel provider’s policies, Chase may contact you in one of the following situations:
- If the travel provider offers a future travel credit, details will be emailed to you so that you can rebook your trip at a later date.
- If your travel provider does not permit a full refund or if your booking consists of two one way airfares, we’ll contact you to advise on the next best available option.
The ability to do this online should be a major time savings provided that your travel provider’s policies don’t change before your request is processed.
If you used a Chase debit or credit card to book travel directly with a hotel, airline, or other travel provider and your trip is within the next 30 days and has been canceled by the airline/hotel/travel provider and you’re unable to get help after contacting your travel provider, you can submit a billing dispute online.
Citi ThankYou Travel
The Citi booking engine doesn’t say much apart from advising you not to contact them until your travel is within the next 3 days as per the following note:
We are here to help but are experiencing very high call volumes and extended wait times, possibly over 2 hours. If your travel is not within the next 3 days, please wait before contacting us so we can help those with more immediate travel.
Again, I would expect flights to be easier than hotels. You can change or cancel most eligible travel online through the ThankYou portal.
Event and Tour Coronavirus Cancellation Policies
StubHub was originally offering either a refund or a StubHub coupon valued at 120% of your original purchase price, but they have since ceased offering refunds and are now only offering the coupon if you have a ticket for an event that is cancelled. Refunds will only be offered in jurisdictions where they are required. The coupon can be applied for any orders in the same currency through December 31, 2021.
Note that if the event is not cancelled, StubHub will not refund your order.
Most Viator bookings can be cancelled up to 24 hours in advance. However, for those bookings marked “All sales final” or with “non-standard” cancellation policies, Viator is offering full refunds on all COVID-19 impacted bookings for travel occurring through June 30, 2020.
Note that this waiver for nonrefundable bookings does not apply to activities in other countries at this time (though I’d expect we’ll see this expanded given the travel restrictions put in place between the US and Europe).
Note: This article was inspired by Frequent Miler – any content used with permission.