I’ve given the advice not to cancel airline travel yet even if you aren’t going to fly. You don’t really want a future travel credit from the airline. You want your money back. That’s not going to happen unless the airline cancels your flight. There’s an increasingly likely chance that happens. So wait until the last minute to cancel your plans, to see if it does.
This is doubly true if you booked your travel 11 months ahead of time, and the airline is going to give you a voucher when you decide to cancel. You’re out of luck because in most cases the voucher is only good for travel 12 months from the original date of purchase.
Hertz has been keeping most customers’ money who made prepaid reservations. There’s a hack to get some of the money back that works even better if you have a long or expensive booking.
United, for its part, says that if you have an international itinerary with a significant schedule change and want your money back they will make you wait a year. United is not honoring the policy that was published on its website at the time tickets were purchased. That’s a case where I believe you should consider filing a dispute with your credit card company. And there are no doubt plenty of others, as some travel providers fight to hold onto cash without delivering services.
- Under the Fair Credit Billing Act you have 60 days to file a dispute from the statement date on which a charge appears. In practice banks generally extend longer timeframes as a courtesy.
- Legal protections for the consumer only apply to disputes in writing. The informal process, whether online or over the phone, is probably more convenient but the card issuer isn’t held to the same requirements.
- Generally a card issuer can push the charge back through Visa and onto the merchant for 18 months so may honor a dispute that long, though they do not have to do so.
- In the federal 10th circuit a credit card company is not required to honor a dispute at all where you’ve already paid off the charges on your card! (The 10th Circuit is based in Denver and covers Colorado; Kansas; New Mexico; Oklahoma; Utah; and Wyoming.) As a general matter they still will do so however.
There seems to me little question, I think, that United’s failure to honor a published promise at the time of sale would warrant a chargeback. And if you’re being given a voucher you cannot practically use, because it will expire before you can reasonably travel again? You have materially fewer options to use the credits in the near-term than you did when you bought the ticket.
Even if you don’t win the dispute travel providers pulling what strike me as dishonest tactics ought to go through the paperwork to argue for their duplicity with card issuers.