Most of the airlines tickets today are non-refundable or carry hefty cancellation and change fees unless you are willing to shell out 2x or 3x the fare for refundable ticket. The same is not true for hotels but sometimes non-refundable hotels reservations might save you 10% or more than the refundable reservations.
So what to do when you booked that awesome flights for a great price but cannot take the flight? Or you had found a great deal on a hotel and booked it despite it being non-refundable? Getting refunded for that non-refundable hotel booking or flight reservation depends on the reason why you are looking to cancel. Below are few times you may be eligible to get refunded for a non-refundable flight ticket or hotel reservation.
Refunding non-refundable Airline fares:
Airline Schedule change:
Since all airlines like to have near full utilization on their flights they might change the schedule of the flights to align with their flight utilization capacity. This may lead to changing the schedule of the flights (very often) or cancelling them altogether (rare). What it does is opens up an opportunity for you to use it as a reason to ask for the involuntary refund without any penalty given the schedule would not meet your travel needs.
Lot of airlines has various rules on what changes would qualify for involuntary refund but still there is a good chance you can get the entire paid fare refunded or credited for future travel without any penalty.
Most of the airlines would refund your fare or provide credit for future use without any penalty when a medical emergency occurs to you or your close family member. While some airlines limit the refund only to the case where passenger travelling gets in to medical emergency in all cases it requires documentation from your Doctor to prove the kind of emergency to determine the eligibility for full refund.
Another situation is if you happen to book the flight ticket with a credit card that provides complimentary travel insurance in case of medical emergency. Even if you do not meet the airline criteria for refund under their rules you would still be eligible to get refund for your tickets from your credit card company in case of medical emergency. So, do check which credit cards provides this complimentary insurance and use them for your non-refundable flight reservation whenever possible.
Refunding non-refundable hotel reservation:
Hotels are operated by either the big chains such as IHG or Marriott or they could be independently operated and that opens up gates for negotiation. You can talk to the customer specialist for big chain hotels and be ready to go higher up to supervisor and see if they can make this happen. Alternatively for independent hotels it is best to reach out to the hotel directly and explain your situation and see if they can refund your reservation.
While there is no guarantee this would always work there is a good chance it might. Also most hotels are more willing to accommodate if you are looking to change the dates rather than outright cancellation. So, if that works for you do ask for it as well.
Similar to Airlines; hotels do consider medical emergency situation and provide full refund provided you can present proof of medical emergency. Again each big chain hotels and independent hotels are different and might have different rules on what constitutes a proof for allowing you to get full refund on your reservation.
Alternatively as stated earlier if your credit card covers you for refunding your travel expenses in medical emergency you can always approach them and get the refund for your hotel.
So, next time you are unable to travel do keep in mind you might still be able to get refunds for either all or some of your travels.
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