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With the nationwide outbreak of the coronavirus, lots of readers will be rescheduling or even canceling upcoming trips. My own experience canceling a hotel booking I made through the Chase travel portal might be instructive. I canceled my trip because of a serious winter storm, but the steps you take to cancel a hotel booking made through the Chase portal can apply to any cancellation.
I’d booked the package through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal with points earned from my Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. I’d never had to cancel a Chase Ultimate Rewards portal hotel booking before, but it was surprisingly easy.
Here’s the process.
Update: Because of the novel coronavirus pandemic that is currently grinding travel to a halt you can expect to have much greater than normal holds times if you try to call in to cancel. However, you can submit a cancellation request online with this form (which can be found on the Ultimate Rewards page’s FAQ section) and your refund should be confirmed within 7 days. Chase is currently working with Expedia to setup self-service cancellations and says that it will have them ready soon.
Keep in mind, Chase travel portal bookings are subject to the change/cancellation policies of the travel provider (i.e. hotel) and refunds will be in the original form of payment (points or cash). Chase has also said that “we are addressing individual cases and will work with customers who can’t reach us right now.”
How to cancel a Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal hotel booking
I wanted to treat the kids to a getaway and we’ve taken winter trips to waterpark hotels in the past. There are several in Niagara Falls, Canada, including Great Wolf Lodge, Americana Waterpark Resort and Spa, and Fallsview Indoor Waterpark. (The last is where we booked; it’s affiliated with four hotels.)
You can book some of these waterpark packages through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal, including Great Wolf Lodge. However, Great Wolf Lodge charges an arm and a leg (and the food and extras are horribly expensive). It would have cost ~33,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points for a single night.
Instead, I booked the Clifton Victoria Inn at the Falls, which is part of the Fallsview Indoor Waterpark group. I chose a refundable rate and paid ~10,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points for the night, which includes four two-day water park passes.
I’d hoped the weather forecast would change, but I ran out of luck, so I canceled it through the Chase portal. It’s a really simple process — start by navigating to travel.chase.com/trips or by clicking the “See Your Itinerary” button on your confirmation email.
Once you find your reservation, select “Cancel Reservation.“
You’ll get a confirmation the booking has been canceled. In this case, because I paid with Chase Ultimate Rewards points, it only took a few minutes for the points to credit back to my account. However, if you’ve paid with your credit card, it can take up to 24 hours to process and up to seven days for the credit to post.
The kids, of course, were disappointed. But I was pleased it was so easy to cancel and get my points back.
What if you’ve booked a nonrefundable rate?
If you have to cancel a nonrefundable booking, you’re usually out of luck. However, Chase (and other online travel agencies) often make exceptions during major storms.
Currently, Chase has a page up on the Ultimate Rewards travel site regarding Winter Storm Harper. It advises folks with nonrefundable hotel bookings (or hotels that charge a fee to cancel) to call Chase Travel at 866-345-4003 for assistance.
For nonrefundable bookings made through other online travel agencies (like Orbitz), I’d suggest calling them first as well. If you’ve booked directly with the hotel or chain, call directly to see what they can do for you. Even if they haven’t issued an official travel waiver, reports online suggest that in many cases they’ll issue a refund or credit if you’re not able to travel because of a major storm. And right now with the novel coronavirus travel restrictions many companies have special waivers in place.
Situations like this are a good reminder to always book your travel with one of the best credit cards for travel insurance. Many have trip interruption or cancellation insurance which includes coverage for weather events like this. For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card guide to benefits says you’re covered if you have to cancel because of “Severe weather, which prevents a reasonable and prudent person from beginning or continuing on a Covered Trip.” So even if your hotel or online travel agency won’t issue a refund, you may have recourse through Chase’s travel insurance.
Always read the guide to benefits to know what you are (and aren’t) covered for before you book.
Has a winter storm or the coronavirus thrown a wrench into your travel plans? Have you had to cancel hotel bookings? Share your experiences in the comments below.
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