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Your Guide to Travel Refunds During the Covid-19 Pandemic

In this article read how to get your travel refund from hotels or airlines during Covid-19 Pandemic.

December 22, 2020

We live in a complicated world right now, and to say that the travel industry is in turmoil would be an understatement. After the initial setback of global lockdowns in the earlier part of the year, things were finally starting to pick up momentum. Unfortunately, a second wave of COVID-19 across several regions has again stopped both leisure and business travel.   

As a result, the matter of travel refunds has cropped up, with airlines and hotels facing new challenges, forcing them to alter cancelation policies. 

At first thought, these modifications seem to benefit the travel industry. However, it is pertinent to note that they are being implemented to not only keep airlines and hotels from sinking but also to provide consumers with more options while keeping their rights in check. 

Changes in the Airline Industry

Before COVID-19, business travelers requiring a ticket alteration, often had to pay a fee and the new ticket price difference. When the pandemic struck, everyone was left in confusion, with airlines notably refusing refunds and at most offering vouchers. 

Eventually, governments and courts had to jump in with countries like India passing rulings that made it mandatory for airlines to give full refunds. At the same time, Canada stated that refunds might harm the industry beyond repair.

Facing much criticism from customers, airlines were quick to make changes in their policies. Unlike earlier, most airlines are no longer charging a fee for postponing travel dates. Moreover, they are giving extended periods over which passengers can re-book their flights. 

As a business traveler, you should keep in mind that if an airline were to cancel a flight, you have the right to a full refund and should not feel compelled to take a voucher instead.

Changes in the Hotel Industry

Like airlines, popular corporate travel hotel chains such as Radisson, Marriott, and Hilton have modified their policies, allowing guests to alter their dates free of charge and cancel a stay for a refund up to 24 hours before arrival. In Asia, several hotels presently offer discounted room rates wherein you can book now and travel later up to 2021 or, in some cases, even 2022.

While most of these rules apply to all bookings, be it internet-only rates, non-refundable stays, or discounted rates, policies are constantly changing and differ based on hotel brands and countries. 

Thus, whether it is hotel stays or flights, business travelers should make it a point to check and clarify the cancellation guidelines before making any reservations. 

How to Get Your Travel Refund 

With companies already under financial pressure, it is becoming difficult for employers to manage travel cancellation and changes during COVID-19. Luckily, there are ways to stay on top of your organization’s business travels without having to lose your mind completely. 

  • Several institutions are now trusting their employees by allowing them to make their own travel reservations. With the assistance of all-in-one business travel solution software, there is no requirement to micromanage travels anymore. Employees can book and cancel trips within approved budgets based on immediate needs, removing the necessity of travel agents, otherwise an expensive and time-consuming affair.
  • Even though business travel is fast-paced and packed with last-minute fluctuations, patience goes a long way in these unprecedented times. Instead of canceling a booking on your own, wait to see if the airline does it themselves, which would give you the right to a full refund.
  • Most business travelers make bookings using a credit card. If an airline has canceled a flight but offers a voucher in place of a refund, file a dispute with the credit card company. It does take a little time, but in most cases, if no service is provided, you will get your money back. 
  • Travel insurance has been a topic for holiday and business travelers from much before the pandemic. Only it is more important now than ever. If planning on purchasing a new policy for your traveling employees, besides the typical compensation for delays and luggage loss, make sure you check that the insurance covers flight and hotel cancellations due to COVID-19. 
  • Most importantly, it is worth looking into a business travel solution option like SoldoutNight. From following up with hotel refunds to keeping track of changing itineraries, SoldoutNight is a free, easy to use web based platform which can save you precious time and money.