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COVID-19: refund provided as voucher (for non refundable fares)

Old Apr 6, 2020, 7:58 am
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European Commission EC261/2004 guidelines in context of COVD-19 dated 18 MAR 2020
US DoT Enforcement Notice regarding refunds dated 3 APR 2020.
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COVID-19: refund provided as voucher (for non refundable fares)

Old Jun 22, 2020, 12:42 pm
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: YVR
Programs: AC MM
Posts: 1,478
Wondering if anyone had a similar experience and what the best action to take would be from now on.

We had tickets departing YVR March 21 with 4 segments (YVR-AMS (stop-over 14 days) - MCT /AUH - AMS (stop-over 7 days) -YVR) all over the span of 6 weeks.
On march 10th, when Europe started closing and Canada issued an only essential travel advisory, I contacted KLM to cancel and get vouchers for future travel which is what they offered that time.
This was done by phone first and then also in writing via FB Messenger.

I was told vouchers would be issued within 5 days. After 5 weeks no communication and I contacted them again via FB Messenger - was told to apply for voucher through their website.
End of May still nothing and I called AMEX to get the money back as this was getting impossible to get resolved.
Last week KLM re-charged the tickets to the credit card and I re-opened the claim by providing further information requested by AMEX.

Today I get an email from KLM which says:

A while back, youve requested a refund in the form of a travel voucher. Our apologies for the delay in getting back to you. Were sorry to inform you that youre not eligible for this type of refund, as your ticket has been partially used. However, you are entitled to a cash refund of the part of your ticket that you have not used.

I am at a complete loss as no part of the ticket was used, it would have been nearly impossible unless we went against non-essential travel advisory and I certainnly don't want a partial refund.
Right now I am just waiting to hear back from AMEX but at the same time trying to prepare what the next step can be as this has been now going on for 3 and half months for something which should have been quite straight forward.

I believe someone mentioned filing an official complaint, though I have no idea where this would be filed and with whom.
yvrcnx is offline  
Old Jun 23, 2020, 3:46 am
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: New England
Programs: American Gold, Marriott Gold, Hilton Silver
Posts: 5,675
Since you appear to be Canadian, I would suggest Transport Canada, since it seems that the regulators across the pond are turning a blind eye to all of this.
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diburning is offline  
Old Jun 23, 2020, 8:39 am
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 438
I ended up filing a chargeback with AMEX.. Gonna see over next 8 or so weeks if KLM will get AMEX to reverse the charge.

Originally Posted by Xandrios
I'd say that the normal procedure would be to go through KLM and leave Amex out of it initially. KLM can refund your payments, and according to their latest terms, they will.

From what I understand KLM did offer to give you the refund but the amount is less than the sum of your payments. How much less? Are we talking about the ticket issuance fee (10 eur) and the change fee (Likely $150-$200)? That is quite typical and I do not believe that they are required to refund those. Theory being, the process of (re) issuing your ticket is a service and that is what you pay the fees for. Once the ticket is (re) issued that service has been delivered (hence you cannot get a refund for that - the service you paid for has been rendered).

But...the original ticket price, plus the fare difference for the change, that should be refundable. Does that match what KLM has offered?

If you initiated a chargeback for all the money paid, including (likely) a few hundred $ for the change/re-issue fees, it is very likely that the claim would be denied I'd say. And while I fully agree that this is unfair, I'm afraid KLM would be in the right. Having said that I am no legal expert, but this is my understanding of how it works.
seks is offline  
Old Jun 23, 2020, 9:44 pm
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Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Hong Kong, France
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Originally Posted by seks
I ended up filing a chargeback with AMEX.. Gonna see over next 8 or so weeks if KLM will get AMEX to reverse the charge.
I have trouble following your timeline of events.

I assume that you first called KLM to get a refund on say 29 March. This must be the first step.
Did you do it? DId you request a cash refund? DId you complete the form for a voucher?

Depending on KLM response you then would have contacted your credit card for possible chargeback.
Their travel insurance.(Global Excel).is primarily for nonrefundable expenses (ticket, hotels, ..). A voucher/credit means that the Travel insurer will not refund you.
Whether the chargeback that you initiated almost three months after the canceled flight will be succesful is unclear.
I suggest that you call KL to try to get a cash refund. If answer is negative, make sure that the value of the voucher covers what you paid for (minus the change fee).

Regarding the change fee (not the fare adjustment); As Xandrios points out, you did a voluntary change to your ticket prior to all the cancellations. This is an administrative fee covering the service KL provided in changing the ticket at your request. There is no reason to refund it.

Last edited by brunos; Jun 23, 2020 at 10:03 pm
brunos is offline  
Old Jun 26, 2020, 6:08 pm
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Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: 38,000 feet
Programs: LH HON, BA GGL, AF Plat, EK Plat
Posts: 6,440
Originally Posted by seks
I called Global Excel again and they ask me to look at the policy that AMEX provided:

I would check when this policy was changed/added to include the travel voucher bit! To me sounds like they added that way after you bought tickets (me thinks)
nufnuf77 is offline  
Old Jun 29, 2020, 6:53 am
Join Date: May 2017
Location: MAN
Programs: FB Platinum
Posts: 316
Originally Posted by Porcepic
Look at the bright side on this: at least it is now easier to use your voucher on a more expensive ticket that will trigger the 15% bonus.

I have just booked a flight that was less than the full amount of my voucher. They sent me a new voucher for the difference in cost. To my surprise, they increased the value of the original voucher by 15% before calculating the refund...
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PeteM01 is offline  
Old Jun 29, 2020, 12:03 pm
Moderator: Aegean Miles+Bonus
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: AMS / ATH
Programs: AFKL Plat, A3 Gold
Posts: 7,383
So the way to get the most value is first buy some kind of cheap item (e.g. an 5-euro EC-upgrade intra-european) with the voucher. Then the leftover (almost the full amount) will be increased by 15%, you'll get that as a new voucher (Probably higher/more than the original voucher!) and spend it on whatever you like - not having to worry about how to get that 15% extra..

To be honest I wouldn't be surprised if its a bug. But use it while you can..
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Xandrios is offline  
Old Jun 30, 2020, 5:24 am
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: FR
Programs: FB Plat
Posts: 314
My experience this morning:
- I cancelled a booking which was impacted by flight cancellations. As I paid the ticket with vouchers, I have only been offered a voucher and no possible cash refund,
- I booked another flight for this summer:
  • when trying to use the aforementioned voucher (value < cost of the ticket), the 15% bonus was automatically added,
  • when trying another voucher issue for Covid-related reasons (value > cost of the ticket), the bonus was not applied. The website tells me they would issue a new voucher with the residual value of the voucher (no bonus included, at least on what was told by the website, I have not pushed the process further),
  • when trying to use a previous voucher issued before Covid (AF gift card, value < cost of the ticket), no bonus was applied.
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Porcepic is offline  

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