SALT LAKE CITY — Your travel plans have fallen victim to the coronavirus crisis. And you are out a huge chunk of money from the airline tickets, hotel and car-rental reservations, sightseeing booking and tour-operator upfront costs.
Unless you have some amazing “cancel for any reason coverage,” you may be in trouble.
How do you get some of that money back in your wallet?
Travel expert Brent Jenson, vice president of Morris Murdock Travel, joins Dave Noriega and Debbie Dujanovic to discuss your options as a grounded traveler.
“We thought 9/11 was tough to live through. Now we’re finding greater challenges with COVID-19. These are definitely tough times,” Jenson said.
He said if you are booking a trip, use a trusted travel adviser, such as a member of ASTA (American Society of Travel Advisors).
“When you’re using trusted sources, we have a much better chance of going back and trying to recoup some of your money than you trying to do it on your own,” Jenson said.
More than A to B
“One of our producers had tickets to Disneyland. What’s he going to do with those tickets if they have an expiration date?” Dave asked. “Sometimes we think that it’s just getting there, but it is so much more than just getting from Point A to B.”
“You’ve paid some money to a supplier, and they obviously paid upfront money on this as well. It’s not like they’re sitting on your money and not wanting to give it back to you,” Jenson said.
To protect yourself, he advised hiring a travel adviser who uses preferred suppliers, purchasing travel insurance and paying with a credit card.
“All of those things are going to give you a little bit of recourse with it comes to trying to recoup some of your money,” Jenson said
Scoring a refund
“What are some of the options if you’re holding an airline ticket right now? Or have a hotel [booking] and they just won’t give you a refund. They want to give you a gift card for sometime down the road. How do you negotiate with these folks?” Debbie asked.
Jenson advised asking to speak to a supervisor — someone higher on the chain who can make a decision about refund policy.
“Get to that decision-maker. In most cases right now, the airlines are refunding your money if they canceled the flight,” he said. “If you are cancelling on your own because you are maybe afraid to fly right now, then you are going to get that future travel credit. Again, reach out to that supervisor,” Jenson said.
“What should I be looking to spend on travelers insurance?” Dave asked.
Jenson said the price of travel insurance is based on a person’s age.
“If you’re older, you’re going to pay a bit more money. If you’re younger, you’re going to pay a little less money. There’s certainly different kinds of travel insurance.
“There’s something called CFAR, which is ‘Cancel For Any Reason’. There’s also just regular travel insurance but you have to cancel for a covered reason,” Jenson said.
There are four different types of travel insurance:
- Trip Cancellation Insurance
- Baggage Insurance
- Emergency Medical Assistance
- Accidental Death Insurance
Jenson advised speaking to your travel adviser to select the travel insurance that is right for you. He said the price of the insurance could range between 10 percent to as high as 25 percent of the price of the trip.
“I personally never travel without travelers insurance. I highly recommend you purchase travelers insurance,” Jenson said.
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