Tips on Dealing with a Honeymoon Trip Cancellation
We were supposed to go to Aruba on Saturday and stay at the Hyatt Regency Aruba but because of the snowstorm and frigid temperatures that hit the Northeast and Midwest, our flight was delayed, delayed some more, and eventually cancelled. Quickly looking for another way to get to Aruba in the next couple of days, I realized it was near impossible. Instead, I rebooked us on a last-minute trip to Turks and Caicos leaving three days later. Unfortunately, that flight ended up being cancelled as well. As a result, I thought I’d share with you my experience on dealing with these trip cancellations. Hopefully, you’ll never have to use these tips for your honeymoon!
Aruba Trip Cancellation
Our flight to Aruba was leaving from LGA (LaGuardia Airport), and we made it as far as Delta’s Terminal D :P. I will say that Terminal D looks great after the renovation not too long ago. Almost every table has an iPad with the ability to surf the Internet, check on flight status, and order food without having to leave your seat. We had breakfast at Bisoux, which was pretty good.
We were already notified of the first flight delay on our way to the airport but when I saw that the Aruba flight leaving JFK airport was cancelled, I knew it wasn’t going to be pretty. Not surprisingly, our Aruba flight was cancelled shortly after. We were bummed but rather than mob the attendant like everyone else (who I doubt could have done much), we just left the airport to go home. I had already scoured the Internet and knew there was no Aruba flight leaving NYC for several days. If I kept looking, I probably could have found some obscure flight with three connections, but we weren’t interested in that.
I was happy we booked the trip using miles and points, because we were able to get a full refund for our hotel booking. My wife had signed up for a free Hyatt diamond trial and because she was a Hyatt diamond member, they waived all charges for cancelling last minute, and we got all our Hyatt Gold Passport points back. A lot of people at the airport were screaming about their prepaid hotel stays.
On the way back home, I also got our snorkel trip refunded (thank you Jolly Pirates) and more importantly, went online to Get Human and requested a call back from Delta Airlines. Delta Airlines has terrible customer service and would not refund our ticket at the airport making us call in to get a refund instead. They also did not respond to my tweet when I tweeted @DeltaAssist so my guess is they hope people give up waiting on the phone for hours and forget to request a refund. If you use Get Human, however, you simply enter your phone number, and a representative from the company you’re trying to reach will call you when it’s your turn. I saved hours of listening to mindless drone music and lots of minutes on our phone plan by using Get Human. I still didn’t get a call back from Delta until five hours later, but at least I didn’t have to wait on the phone.
I booked the flights using a mixture of Thank You Points from the Citi Thank You Premier credit card and the Barclays Arrival credit card planning to redeem part of the 44,000 miles signup bonus. I got the refund confirmation from Delta and should see the refund back in my original form of payment. I knew Delta wasn’t going to reimburse us for the taxi back home so I paid for the cab ride with the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card knowing that Chase provides excellent customer service. As soon as the charge posted, I called Chase and explained the situation asking if they could do anything for us. They offered a courtesy credit via Ultimate Rewards points, which essentially offsets the taxi charge, and I really appreciated that, because they didn’t have to. I also asked Barclays if they could take care of us for the car going to the airport since we charged that ride to the Barclays Arrival and surprisingly, they credited us for the full amount, because we were good customers. That’s one of the reasons why I use credit cards for everything.
Turks and Caicos Trip Cancellation
Rather than be discouraged, we were determined to get to someplace warm and decided to go to Turks and Caicos, which has superb weather this week. We didn’t need to use the throwaway ticketing strategy as the round-trip fare was quite reasonable. We also found an amazing non-refundable resort deal on Hotels.com and despite my better judgment, I booked the stay using the Barclays Arrival credit card. I’ll write a post later about how you can save big on hotels via Hotels.com including going through Top Cash Back for 7% cash back.
As luck would have it, our flight to Turks and Caicos was cancelled the day before we were supposed to fly since JetBlue was halting all flights for 17 hours at many of the major Northeast airports. Again, I used Get Human to reach JetBlue without having to wait on the phone and was able to refund our airplane tickets fairly quickly. In another display of JetBlue’s superior customer service and Delta’s horrible customer service, JetBlue is proactively providing courtesy TrueBlue points for customers who experienced a flight cancellation. As a result, my wife and I each received 5,000 TrueBlue points as a courtesy.
The major problem, however, was the non-refundable resort stay I booked. The terms and conditions clearly stated that the booking was non-refundable, but I didn’t want to just give up that easily. Instead, I did some research online, found the COO of the resort we were staying at, and contacted the COO directly. I explained the situation truthfully, and they made an exception for us, which we greatly appreciated. I’m not saying that you should take the same course of action or that you will achieve the same result as me if you face a similar situation. All I’m saying is just because a booking says non-refundable doesn’t mean it really is non-refundable. Also, you should look to communicate with someone who can make authoritative decisions. In most cases, that someone is usually NOT front desk.
The Main Point
Trip cancellations suck, and I hope it doesn’t happen to you on your honeymoon. If you do experience a trip cancellation, however, just remember that miles and points are valuable, because they tend to have lower fees or provide more flexibility when it comes to refunds and cancellations. Credit cards can provide big signup bonuses, but they are also great for small courtesy credits and free trip cancellation insurance, which many offer but are admittedly not super useful. When calling in to cancel and get your refund, utilize Get Human to save yourself time and frustration. And most importantly, be persistent and don’t give up; that tip can apply to almost all areas in life.
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