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Advice for cancelling entire trip, separate tickets; how to reschedule & aviod fees?

Advice for cancelling entire trip, separate tickets; how to reschedule & aviod fees?

Old Aug 21, 19, 7:45 am
  #1  
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Question Advice for cancelling entire trip, separate tickets; how to reschedule & aviod fees?

Sorry that this is probably poorly explained but I just arrived back home from the emergency room where I was diagnosed with a torn quadriceps ligament. I can barely walk at this point.

I have a trip (flight and hotel) beginning Sunday to Europe. I have 2 one way tickets (one going there and a separate ticket for returning). The tickets for both the departure and return were 'paid' for with United points but I bought travel insurance (via Travel Guard Group, Inc.) for the departure but not for the return (I am not sure why I did only one way). But I paid for the taxes and fees with a United Explorer Mileage Plus credit card.

My main question at this time, where should I begin the trip cancellation process? Do I call the airline, the credit card company (to see if they have any cancellation benefits), or the Travel Guard Group (insurance).

Any other advice would be appreciated. Thanks.
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Old Aug 21, 19, 7:49 am
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The CC company isn't gong to help on this one, I don't think. I'd start with the travel insurance company to see if they want you to cancel and pay the fee and then they'll reimburse you or if some other process is in place.

At worst you're out $250 for refunding a pair of awards (https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly...ticketing.html) so the exposure isn't too awful.

Hope you're on the mend soon.
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Old Aug 21, 19, 8:19 am
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Travel insurance, aside from often being terrible for other reasons, appears to suck even worse for award travel.

The good news is that $250 is a minor loss compared to if you had two heavily-restricted paid tickets.
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Old Aug 21, 19, 8:25 am
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Don't forget about canceling the hotel reservations too, before the deadline if you have a refundable (nonprepaid) rate, although if you contact a hotel directly, they might be willing to allow you to cancel or apply any deposit toward a future stay, assuming that you booked directly with the hotel, its chain, or FHR/Virtuoso/etc.

For the plane tickets, pay attention to deadlines too and don't just be a no show even if you expect your insurance to cover the costs.
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Old Aug 21, 19, 9:55 am
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post

For the plane tickets, pay attention to deadlines too and don't just be a no show even if you expect your insurance to cover the costs.
Do you mean contact United Airlines to tell them that I am not able to fly so that I am not a now show? I made these airline reservations about 7 months ago. Is there any deadline (this close to departure) beside the departure time of which I need to be aware?

Another thing I forgot to mention is that United has changed the flight arrival time on my return flight by 5 hours. Is that a reason that United would accept for me to cancel and give me a full refund?
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Old Aug 21, 19, 9:58 am
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Five hours should be enough to allow a full refund and no fee when you cancel the ticket, assuming that you havne't "accepted" the change. It's a USA DOT rule and should be in the UA CoC.

DL has a rule that award tickets must be canceled by at least T-72 or all miles are forfeited. I don't know whether there would be a similar rule for your tickets.
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Old Aug 21, 19, 10:02 am
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Please continue to follow this read in the UA Forum.
Good luck...
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Old Aug 21, 19, 10:09 am
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
Five hours should be enough to allow a full refund and no fee when you cancel the ticket, assuming that you havne't "accepted" the change. It's a USA DOT rule and should be in the UA CoC.

DL has a rule that award tickets must be canceled by at least T-72 or all miles are forfeited. I don't know whether there would be a similar rule for your tickets.
OP is booked using UA miles.

Do not cancel until as close to the last minute as possible. All of the above considerations are out if your flight is cancelled or there is a significant schedule change. In that case, you are entitled to cancel for a full ree-free refund. By "last minute" I suggest not playing it too close.
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Old Aug 21, 19, 10:14 am
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Originally Posted by pinniped View Post
Travel insurance, aside from often being terrible for other reasons, appears to suck even worse for award travel.
I was glad I'd spent the very small fee for the crappy UA insurance on my last international award trip. The price is based on the cash cost of the tickets, so it was only $26. When we landed, a travel waiver that had been issued while we were over the Atlantic popped up on my phone. We were stuck in EWR with our ongoing flight canceled and no way to get the three of us home together the next day.

We got a hotel room, woke up on Paris time the next morning, and got a one-way rental to Columbus. The car alone was $400; insurance eventually paid over $600. The AIG insurance sold by UA had a great online claims process. I got nowhere on-line with my Chase card's insurance, though to be fair, I never tried picking up the phone.

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Old Aug 21, 19, 10:23 am
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When I call United to discuss getting a full refund for the reservation that has changed arrival time by 5 hours, do I get right to the point with them and ask for the refund or do I beat around the bush and ask something like, 'since my flight arrival time has changed is there anything you can do if I am no longer interested in this flight?"

My goal is to get a refund and not find a better flight because of my injury/medical condition.
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Old Aug 21, 19, 10:47 am
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From my own experience with UA if you have a medical reason for not flying they will refund or waive most of the rebooking fee. I had to cancel a few years ago for medical reasons at the very last minute and when I called UA they expressed concern and told me they would cancel my reservation, issue a flight credit good for one year on the same PRN but for any itinerary and when I was ready to use it just pay the change fee and then file for the refund with proof from my doctor. I did just that and got a nice refund. Since you booked with points I am guessing they would be willing to refund the re-deposit fee. Call them ASAP.
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Old Aug 21, 19, 10:47 am
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Originally Posted by iowa guy View Post
When I call United to discuss getting a full refund for the reservation that has changed arrival time by 5 hours, do I get right to the point with them and ask for the refund or do I beat around the bush and ask something like, 'since my flight arrival time has changed is there anything you can do if I am no longer interested in this flight?"

My goal is to get a refund and not find a better flight because of my injury/medical condition.
If they've proposed changing your arrival time by 5 hours and you have not clicked on anything accepting this, I'd just start there and say you'd like to cancel because of that. My guess is that this would be a quick call since it's an award - all you're really asking for is a redeposit waiver.

When the change is greater than 90 or 120 minutes (I forget which), they give you much greater options, one of which is to simply say it's a "trip in vain" and get a refund, regardless of fare rules.

Again, this assumes you haven't accepted the 5 hour shift already and there isn't some other reroute that could get you there on-time.
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Old Aug 21, 19, 10:48 am
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Just tell them that the change in arrival time by 5 hours makes it a "trip in vain," you're unable to schedule an earlier or later arrival, and ask for a refund.

No need to disclose medical conditions, I would think.
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Old Aug 21, 19, 10:50 am
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You have tons of options here:

(1) Try to get a refund because of schedule change. With a 5 hour change this should not be a problem. Just call and say "this new flight time doesn't work for me, I'd like to cancel for a refund". Don't mention the injury. If this works, you're done!

(2) If that doesn't work, cancel the flight before the check-in deadline (1 hour before departure). If you don't do this you lose a lot of options. This is an important step. You don't have to pay at the time you cancel.

(3) Get a doctor's not recommending that you don't travel.

(4) United's policy is they refund change fee for illness/injury, and they'll refund the ticket if you can't travel for 1 year. See the refund page: https://www.united.com/ual/en/tw/customer/refund click "Refund Policies". Note you'll have to pay the change/redposit fee and get it refunded, there's no way to just avoid paying it.

(5) If United gives you problems, your Explorer card has Trip Cancellation insurance which should cover the cancel/change fee, read the details in your brochure or see wiki on this thread: CSP & CSR Trip Cancellation/Delay Insurance Issues/Comments

(6) Go through your Travel Insurance; obviously I don't know the details of that!

(7) Cancel/change/redeposit fees are not that high, so even if all 6 above fail you're only out a few hundred bucks!
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Old Aug 21, 19, 11:00 am
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There are a number of approaches that have been purposed and each as a possibility.

The waiting to one hour before departure for a major delay isn't highly useful approach as it rarely applies, well less than 10% of the time.

The 5-hour schedule change is a possibility for the one ticket but as separate tickets that will be a push to get UA to refund both tickets.

Travel insurance will obviously cover the one ticket.

UA's medical waiver is very applicable to both, see the wiki of Consolidated "Refunds/Cancellations Due to Illness/Death" Thread [Merged] for process details
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