When you book a flight or book a hotel, you expect the airline or hotel to provide the services you booked. But sometimes, this doesn’t happen.
Maybe the airline will change its schedule To delay your departure time or arrive at a time that does not suit you. Or worse, the airline may cancel the route you booked or stop operating entirely. In these cases, the airline will usually transfer you to other flights or refund your money.
But what if you really need the route and schedule you originally booked? If your carrier doesn’t have a good alternative, you may need to get a refund and rebook with a competitor. However, on some routes, there may not be other options or other options may cost significantly more when rebooked.
This is not limited to flights only. Sometimes, you will be offered accommodation at the same cost or at a reduced price. But in many cases, your deposit will be refunded and left to rebook. Unfortunately, prices and availability may be worse when you make a new reservation.
Responsibilities of travel service providers
We wrote stories about it Rights of airline passengers During travel downturns, but here’s a look at what to expect if your travel provider changes or cancels your booking weeks or months before your trip.
Hotel bookings are often affected when a hotel exits a loyalty program, closes, or does not reopen (or reopen) as expected. When a hotel does not open as expected or ceases operations, all customers with existing reservations will usually be contacted and offered a refund or offered alternative accommodation. When a hotel exits the loyalty program, paid reservations are usually honored. Sometimes, award bookings will also be honored, but you usually won’t get any of the elite benefits or earnings you might expect when booking.
If the hotel can’t accommodate you at the last minute, they will Walk from the hotel You will usually be offered another place to stay. Let’s look at what some of the big ones are Hotel loyalty programs You will if the change or cancellation occurs long before your stay.
At Marriott, Bonvoy guarantees final reservation, but this only covers arrivals to a participating facility that is open and operating but cannot accommodate you. If an estate leaves the program, the… Marriott Bonvoy Terms and Conditions state:
3.2.k. Move out of the participating property. If for any reason a Participating Hotel exits the Loyalty Program after a Member has booked a Reward Redemption Stay but prior to the Member’s Stay, the Company will make reasonable efforts to have such former Participating Hotel honor the reservation or assist in arranging similar accommodations nearby; However, the Company cannot guarantee that any awards, promotions or other benefits a Member may earn under the Loyalty Program will be honored.
The Hilton Honors Terms and Conditions Don’t discuss the reservation guarantee and just mention the following about what happens when a property leaves the program:
If the hotel is no longer a Hilton portfolio hotel, all stays after that date will no longer be eligible to earn Hilton Honors Points regardless of when the reservation was made.
At the same time, World Hayat Terms and Conditions State the following (where a point property is defined as a property participating in one of the qualifying Hyatt brands):
In the event that a Hotel ceases operation as a Point Property, Points will not be awarded for nights stayed at that property after such cessation and Points may not be redeemed for awards at that property after the date of termination, even if the applicable reservation was made before the date of termination.
Finally, the IHG One Rewards program terms do not explicitly address this scenario, but the terms reserve the right for IHG to change its program at any time, a similar provision found with other brands.
So, in most hotel loyalty programs, you’re not guaranteed much when a hotel exits the loyalty program, goes out of business, or doesn’t open as expected. However, you may be offered a better solution, especially if you call the loyalty program and inquire.
As with hotels, you agree to set terms when booking your flight. You’ll likely face better treatment if the change or cancellation happens shortly before your flight, but if it doesn’t, here’s what you can expect from several popular airlines.
Delta Air Lines cancels or refunds your flight page States:
If a flight is canceled or has a significant delay (> 120 minutes), you will be rebooked on an alternative flight, or your ticket will be converted into an electronic credit for future travel… If we rebook you on a new flight or the original flight is significantly delayed (> 120 minutes) Minutes) and would like to cancel and request a refund, please do so within My Trips.
If you booked through American Airlines The airline’s FAQ page says you can request a refund back to your original payment form if there’s a schedule change of more if your schedule changes by more than 90 minutes within 72 hours before your planned departure).
The page is silent on the airline’s policies regarding rebooking passengers, but in practice, American Airlines typically rebooks passengers automatically as schedule changes occur in the weeks and months leading up to a flight. However, if the system is unable to automatically rebook you, you will often need to contact American Airlines or wait for a call from a representative. If American Airlines suspends a route, you’ll often find that the only options you’ll have are to take the first flight once the route resumes or accept a refund.
According to the United Airlines website, schedule changes are subject to the following:
If your flight schedule changes by more than 30 minutes, you can book another United or United Express® flight for free. Your new flight must depart from the same airport within 24 hours of your original flight time…If the scheduled departure or arrival times on your flight change significantly or we are unable to seat you in the same cabin, you can request a refund.
However, be aware that you can only work directly with most airlines to change the schedule or receive a refund if you book directly with them. If you are booking through an online travel agency must work with the OTA to change your flight or get a refund.
What about error rates?
Error rates fall into a category of their own. usually, Wrong knight Or error rates occur when an airline mistakenly prices some fares much lower than normal, but error rates can also occur when hotel rooms are sold at a much lower price than intended.
In 2011, the Department of Transportation began requiring airlines to honor mispriced fares as part of its ban on post-purchase airfares. But in 2015, the Department of Transportation established a new office Temporary policy that allows airlines to cancel “erroneous fares” as long as they:
- Prove that the fare was wrong
- Reimbursing all customers who purchased the wrong fare ticket for out-of-pocket expenses incurred in reliance on the ticket purchase.
- Refund of the ticket purchase price
Interestingly, this temporary policy is still in place. Unfortunately, there are no guidelines on what constitutes a misprice nor a time frame after purchase within which airlines must decide to cancel these fares. As such, if you get a very good deal on a flight, be aware that the airline may inform you weeks or months later that it has canceled your flight because it decided you booked the wrong price.
Unfortunately for travelers, there is less protection if a hotel cancels a stay sold for less than the intended amount. the IHG One Rewards Terms and Conditions Even states, “If the price of Reward Night points is posted incorrectly, IHG One Rewards reserves the right to cancel the reservation and refund points.”
How I would like to see travel providers respond
In an ideal world, we would see friendly and reasonable treatment of travelers from airlines and hotels when they cannot provide the service a customer has booked.
For example, when Selina Miami River did not open as scheduled, I received the following message from the hotel:
Unfortunately, Selena Miami will not be able to host your stay…On behalf of Selena, we extend our sincerest apologies. But it’s not all bad news, as we have a reserved option to make your stay enjoyable…the cost of your reservation will not be affected and will remain the same. We would also like to offer you a free upgrade and breakfast included next time you visit Selina Miami (when it is in operation).
When IHG Atwell Suites Miami Brickell Did not open as scheduled was not informed in advance, but I was staying at a sister hotel that shared the same lobby.
Ideally, each hotel and loyalty program would handle a hotel closing or failing to open as scheduled through a guest hosting offering. However, this does not always happen.
In the case of hotels leaving a loyalty program, travelers would ideally be given the option to cancel their stay, switch to a nearby hotel at the same cost (ideally in the same program) or keep their existing reservation at the hotel after leaving the program (even if this means no Privileges or earnings for elite status). Some travelers may have luck contacting the loyalty program and asking to switch their stay to a nearby hotel at the same price. However, this is often not an option unless you specifically request it.
Most airlines will try to accommodate you on other flights they operate if they cancel your flight or change the schedule so significantly that it does not suit you. Sometimes, they will pick you up on other airlines. They will always offer a refund if they cancel your trip and none of their other trips suit you.
However, your options may be limited, especially if you have a tight schedule or travel to and from a destination with limited flights. In this case, I would like to see more airlines using common sense techniques to help travelers arrive at their intended destination at approximately the same time they originally booked. Examples include opening award availability, allowing flights to be added or deleted from an itinerary, and allowing a passenger to change their origin or destination.
Elite status It can also help here, as a customer service agent may have more flexibility to support someone who has flown 100,000 miles on the airline or spent 60 nights in a particular hotel program within the past year.
This is also where a little persistence can pay off.
For example, TPG Nick Owen There has recently been a major change in the schedule for the award flight operated by Iberia Booked using Avios. When he tried to switch his itinerary to a nearby airport, it took three separate phone calls over the course of a week — each lasting more than an hour — before he finally found an agent willing to make the change. However, he had to accept a downgrade from business to economy on the short connecting flight to get the privilege, but that was a small price to pay for much better guidance.
If you travel frequently and book flights at least a few months in advance, you’ve likely encountered airline schedule changes and perhaps a hotel that has left your loyalty program of choice. You can deal with cancellations and changes by following these tips:
- Do not accept a Change in the schedule From an airline unless new flights are what you want. You may not be able to make further changes or cancel and receive a refund if you have already accepted the change.
- Call or email your travel provider’s customer service as needed, especially if you hold elite status. You may be able to travel on different flights or otherwise accommodate if you request it.
- Keep an eye on your reservations So you don’t miss the change or cancel by mistake.
- Book directly to avoid having to deal with an OTA in the event of a schedule change or cancellation.
It’s also a good idea to book flights and hotels that you can cancel for little or no fees even shortly before your trip. Doing this allows you to be flexible and adjust your travel if a flight or hotel needs to be canceled. For example, if you Redeem American Airlines miles To travel somewhere primarily to stay at a new Marriott hotel but then learn that the hotel doesn’t open on time, you can cancel your award flights and re-deposit the miles without a fee and then rebook for a later time once the hotel opens.