How the Travel Industry is Making it Easier to Book Trips Right Now

by  Lauren Dana Ellman | Mar 12, 2020
Cruise in San Francisco
Cruise in San Francisco / bluejayphoto/iStock

Editor’s note: This post is being continuously updated as new information becomes available. It was originally published on March 10, 2020.

 In response to the coronavirus outbreak, many tour operators, airlines, and cruise lines are doing everything they can to reduce anxiety about travel. From relaxed cancellation options to generous credits, you can now book travel with a sense of security. Here’s what you need to know.  

Cruise Lines

Alaska cruise / virsuziglis/iStock

Norwegian Cruise Line has also modified several policies. First, final payment for all June and July sailings will not be due until 90 days prior to the embarkation date. Additionally, guests will be allowed to transfer their reservation to any other sailing — as long as it departs on or before June 30 — for no fees. Additionally, guests may cancel their reservations up to 48 hours before their sale date to receive a cruise credit. For more information on the cruise line’s policies, click here.

Holland America is allowing guests to cancel their sailings departing through May 31, 2020. Those who cancel will receive a cruise credit that can be used through 2021(must be booked by December 31, 2020). Note that the cancellation must be made at least 72 hours ahead of the embarkation date, or no later than March 31, 2020. If you choose to cruise on your scheduled sailing, you’ll receive up to $100 per person in onboard credit. Learn more here.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises is allowing all guests who have paid in full for sailings through September 30, 2020 to cancel up to 48 hours before embarkation. Passengers who choose to cancel will receive a credit, which they can then use towards a new booking within one year of their original voyage, or on any future saling between now and December 31, 2022.

Windstar Cruises' Travel Assurance Booking Policy allows guests to cancel their sailing 15 days prior to departure without incurring any costs or fees. Guests who do cancel their cruise will receive a credit to use towards another Windstar sailing within one year of the issue date. This policy applies to new and existing cruises through December 31, 2021. 

Carnival Cruise Lines is allowing passengers to reschedule sailings through May 31, 2020. (Note that passengers can reschedule their cruise up to three days before their original departure). Those who choose to cruise on their original sailing can earn up to $200 in onboard credit. For more details, click here.

Oceania Cruises is allowing all guests sailing between March 10 and September 30, 2020 to reschedule their sailing up to 48 hours prior to the cruise departure date. Those who choose to reschedule will receive a Future Cruise Credit (FCC) equal to the fare that they paid. More information can be found here.

Royal Caribbean Group (which includes Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruisers, Azamara, and Silversea), will allow guests to cancel cruises up to two days before their scheduled departure date. Passengers will receive a full credit of their fare, which they can use on any sailing through 2020. This new policy applies to all sailings taking place on or before July 31, 2020. 

Scenic Group (which is comprised of Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours, Emerald Cruises, Scenic Eclipse, Evergreen Cruises & Tours, and Mayflower Cruises & Tours) is allowing all guests who are scheduled to embark on or after June 1 — or anyone who books up until this date — to transfer their booking without any fees up to 30 days prior to departure. 

Scenic Eclipse Stateroom / Courtesy of Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours

Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection has suspended all European itineraries until April 23. Guests have the option to either receive a future cruise credit to use within two years or rebook their sailing on any voyage through 2021. Guests who are booked on cruises after April 23 will have the option to cancel their sailing up to 14 days before their voyage at no extra cost (alternatively, they can also choose to rebook on any 2020 or 2021 sailing). Uniworld is also allowing customers to rebook with one of their sister brands at The Travel Corporation. Learn more about Uniworld's new policy here. 

Avalon Waterways will let guests change or cancel their cruise up to three days before departure. More information can be found here.

Read More: Here's What You Need to Know About Travel Insurance and the Coronavirus 

Hotels Chains and Vacation Rentals

Hotel room / ake1150sb/iStock

Hilton has cancellation waivers in place for all guests who may be impacted by the coronavirus. More information and specifics can be found here

Wyndham Hotels and Resorts is waiving all cancellations and penalty fees for guests traveling to or from China, South Korea, or Italy. Note that this policy does not cover third-party bookings. 

Guests from China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan who are scheduled to stay at a Peninsula hotel or resort on or before April 30 can cancel or reschedule their booking for free. (This policy does not cover third-party bookings.) Additionally, guests who are set to stay in Peninsula hotels within the Greater China region through April 2020 can postpone, cancel, and/or reschedule their booking for free within 12 months of their original stay. 

Radisson Hotel Group is extending its cancellation policy for stays on or before April 30 in the following regions: China, South Korea, Japan, Iran and Northern Italy. Guests residing in the aforementioned regions will also be able to cancel their stay for no additional cost. This policy also includes third-party bookings.

Marriott International is waiving cancellation fees for hotel stays through March 31, 2020 for all guests traveling to or from Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Japan, South Korea, French Polynesia, Maldives, India, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, New Caledonia, Samoa, and Italy. 

IHG is allowing all guests traveling to or from mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, South Korea, or Italy on or before March 31 to change (or cancel) their reservations for free. This only applies to direct bookings, not third-party ones. More information here.

All guests who have booked a stay directly with Hyatt in South Korea, Japan, and Italy will be able to postpone or cancel their reservations for free through March 31. Contact details can be found here.

Airbnb guests (and hosts who have homes in or are welcoming guests) traveling to or from severely impacted regions (including China, Italy, and more), will be able to cancel their reservations free of charge. Additionally, any guest who is unable to complete their trip due to travel restrictions or medical reasons caused by COVID-19 may also cancel their booking without incurring any fees. Read the full policy here.

Read More: What Does the Coronavirus Mean for Travelers? Here's What You Need to Know

Tour Operators

Man holding passport / goodmoments/iStock

Globus, Cosmos, Monograms and Avalon Waterways — which are part of Globus Brands — are all allowing travelers to reschedule their tour through 2021 without penalty. Guests will also have until 30 days before their trip to cancel without paying a fee. 

Intrepid is offering several cancellation policies in an effort to ease concerns. The tour operator is offering refunds, credits, and free cancellations (depending on the booking and payment dates). Also, if your trip gets canceled, you can either reschedule for a later date, receive a travel credit to use within 18 months, or opt for a full refund. Read more

Read More: 7 Steps to Take Before Canceling or Rescheduling Travel During the Coronavirus

Domestic Airlines

Airplane / AlexeyPetrov/iStock

JetBlue is waiving all change and cancellation fees for bookings made through March 31. This policy applies to all of JetBlue’s fare classes, including Blue Basic. Note that all travel must be completed by September 8, 2020. 

American Airlines is suspending change fees for customers who purchase their tickets by March 31. This policy also applies to the airline’s non-refundable fares, as well. 

United Airlines is also waiving change fees for bookings made through March 31. This applies to all fare types, including basic economy. Those who decide to cancel their booking will be allowed to reschedule to another flight of equal or lesser value up to one year from the original ticket issue date. However, if the new flight is more expensive than the original, customers must pay the fare difference. 

Delta Airlines has waived changed fees for all bookings through March 31. The airline is offering one-time changes for travel to Shanghai, Beijing, Seoul, and Italy through April. More information can be found here.

Alaska Airlines is offering several policies in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Those who’ve purchased (or plan to purchase) Saver fares between February 27 and March 31, 2020 (and travel occurs between now and February 28, 2021) you can cancel your trip for no extra charge. If you purchase (or plan to purchase) a First class or non-refundable ticket from February 27 through March 31, 2020, you can either change your flight with no fee (travel must be completed by February 28, 2021) or cancel your trip. Learn more.

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