(CNN) — Changing your travel plans without paying a penalty has never been easier than it’s been in 2020.
The holiday period can be more rigid in terms of cancellation policies, but if you’ve booked a holiday getaway and are having second thoughts about the trip, you may still be able to either get your money back or apply your investment to future travel.
“Thanks to the pandemic, the travel industry being flexible to the consumer is a theme that’s here to stay,” says Josh Alexander, a travel adviser with Protravel International in New York City.
Given the growing number of coronavirus cases around the country, Alexander says that he has a handful of clients who are getting cold feet about going on their holiday getaways. In the past, he says, hotels were rigid about their cancellation terms, especially during peak periods such as the week between Christmas and New Year’s; they also had minimum night stay requirements.
“That money was essentially gone, but now, hotels and airlines are much more accommodating,” he says. “I’ve been able to get refunds or credits for all of my clients.”
Chelsea Martin, the owner of the luxury travel advisory Passport to Friday, agrees that the travel industry is far more flexible overall today than it was pre-Covid. However, she has had a more mixed experience when trying to get money back for her clients who no longer want to travel over the holidays.
“I have a couple who booked Aspen for Christmas, but then they found out that indoor dining is limited [the city’s limit is 25%] and that reservations were hard to come by. Plus, they were nervous about the rising cases,” says Martin. “The hotel said that the only way they would refund their money is if there was a travel ban or one of them had Covid.”
Reluctant to lose the several thousand dollars they paid for the trip, her clients are going to Aspen after all.
Policies vary and there are still holiday exceptions, so inquire now about any bookings you’re rethinking.
Here is a roundup of the latest US airline and hotel cancellation policies for the holidays and beyond.
Delta Air Lines has waived ticket change fees for any reason.
Daniel Slim/AFP/Getty Images
Major US airlines
You probably can’t get a refund on airline tickets, but most carriers are allowing people to cancel and apply those funds to future travel.
Yes, hotels are giving travelers unprecedented flexibility when it comes to cancellations and changes, but there are caveats — namely during peak periods such as the holidays.
In general, luxury hotels tend to be more rigid on peak dates while more budget-friendly hotels stick with their short-notice policies year-round.
Check with the property you’ve booked as soon as possible about any desired changes.
Auberge Resorts Collection is “trying to be as flexible as possible” with cancellations.
Guests who booked reservations before June 6, 2020, can move the dates on non-cancelable rate reservations, but the request must be received 48 hours prior to arrival.