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These Airlines, Cruises, and Hotels Allow Travelers To Cancel Last Minute

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These Travel Providers Can Help You Save A Fortune

Trip cancellations are skyrocketing in the U.S. due to poor weather, staff shortages, and travelers testing positive for Omicron. The recent surge in Omicron cases is also leaving travelers with little confidence around traveling, but having a tripped booked with a provider offering a great cancellation policy can help minimize travel worries.

Most countries around the world are asking passengers to take a PCR or antigen test before entering, often requiring a PCR test taken 24-72 hours before their flight. The United States is now topping over one million cases per day, which means many travelers may find themselves testing positive before their trip. 

Furthermore, although cruise ships had been a safe haven from COVID-19 throughout their restart in the first half of 2021, the transmissibility of Omicron is currently causing large outbreaks on many cruise ships. This leaves many travelers are wondering whether they can cancel their cruise and stay at home. 

Thankfully, most major airlines and travel providers have updated their cancellation policies since the emergence of Omicron to be as flexible as possible.

If travelers don’t have travel insurance, these travel companies are excellent options to avoid losing a fortune from the current situation: 

Airlines With Flexible Cancellation Policies

Since the start of the pandemic, most airlines have offered free changes and fee-free cancellations up to the last minute. However, many airlines were ending their flexible policies at the end of 2021 due to decreasing cases and increasing confidence around the pandemic. 

Here are some airlines who’ve kept their flexible cancellation policies in 2022:

  • American Airlines – American Airlines have scrapped all change fees for domestic, international, and select long-haul international flights on Premium Cabin, Premium Economy, and Main Cabin fares. However, travelers who purchased saver rates are non-refundable and non-changeable. 
  • Southwest Airlines – Southwest Airlines doesn’t charge fees to change or cancel flights; however, applicable fare changes may apply. Their cancellation policy is one of the best in the United States. 
  • Delta Airlines – Travelers can make changes to main cabin bookings free of charge with Delta Airlines. Travelers can cancel or exchange their tickets for credit, but travelers must use the credit within one year of the receipt. 
  • Air Canada- Air Canada has a COVID-19 Goodwill Period that’s still in effect in 2022.  If you booked your flight prior to April 13, 2021, you’re entitled to a travel voucher. If you booked your flight after this date, you need to check the terms of your specific rate.
  • Emirates – Emirates is an excellent option if travelers are traveling long-haul. All bookings made up to March 31st can be changed or canceled for free in exchange for a travel voucher. As long as your travel is before May 31, 2022, Emirates has different conditions depending on when you booked. For example, travelers can change bookings made after October 12th, 2021 for any flight to the same destination in the same booking.
  • Virgin Atlantic – All Virgin Atlantic flights booked on or after March 31, 2021, for departure until April 20th, 2022, are eligible for unlimited, free changes if the new travel date is before April 30th, 2023. This is an excellent option if travelers are heading to Europe in 2022.
Air Canada Boeing 777-300ER taking off

Hotels With Flexible Booking Policies 

Many hotels have extended or created flexible cancellation policies in 2022. For example, Renaissance Wind Creek Aruba Resort is offering a new 24-hour cancellation policy for all reservations starting from now until December 21, 2022. Any travelers who wish to cancel their trip 24-hours prior to arrival will receive a 100% full refund. That gives travelers all the booking confidence they need.

Many big hotel chains have also added or extended flexible booking policies into 2022:

  • Hilton allows guests to adjust or cancel ‘most reservations’ up to 24 hours of arrival. 
  • Hyatt allows cancellations on all reservations booked on or after July 1, 2020, depending on the refund policy at the time of booking. Guests should check the hotel’s cancellation policy before booking because they can change during busy times. 
  • Marriott guests who booked after September 1, 2021, must follow the cancellation policies in place at the time of booking. Generally, travelers can cancel or change most bookings at the last minute.
  • Although cancellation rates at Wyndham vary, they allow many guests to cancel direct bookings up to 24 hours before the trip. In some cases, they allow same-day cancellations. 
  • Intercontinental Hotel Group allows bookings made directly with the company (not third parties) to change dates without charge before their cancellation deadline. The cancellation deadline is often PM local hotel time on the last day that you are allowed to cancel. Many hotels are currently allowing free cancellation up to 24 hours of check-in, but travelers should check the hotel beforehand.
hotel in punta cana

Cruises With Flexible Booking Policies 

Cruises—who were the hardest hit by the pandemic in 2020—have some of the best cancellation policies. Here are some examples:

Norwegian Cruise Line Cancellation Policy 

Norwegian Cruise Line updated its cancellation policy this week. Their policy states, “For new and existing bookings made by January 31, 2022, for any voyage with an embarkation date through and including May 31, 2022, guests are free to cancel up to and including January 31, 2022. 

“Anyone choosing to cancel will receive a full refund in the form of a future cruise credit to be used for sailings that embark through December 31, 2022. Reservations canceled outside of final payment will receive a full refund back to the method of payment used to book. If outside final payment and an FCC was used as payment, the original FCC will be added back to the guest’s profile.”

Royal Caribbean Cancellation Policy 

Royal Caribbean has extended their ‘Cruise With Confidence Program’. The program was about to expire on December 17, 2021. The new extension is valid for all reservations confirmed on or before January 31, 2022, for cruises setting sail until May 31, 2022. They don’t allow full refunds, but they do allow users to rebook their cruise with a credit. 

Why Travelers Should Consider Purchasing Travel Insurance 

Travelers should consider purchasing a travel insurance policy that covers COVID-19 cancellation and medical expenses. We’ve used HeyMondo throughout the pandemic. They cover travelers for PCR test expenses (which can be massive), accommodation expenses due to self-isolation, last-minute cancellations, and medical expenses from contracting COVID-19.

traveler holding her suitcase at the gate at the airport, wearing a mask

During the current uncertainty, using a travel insurance policy—even if you rarely purchase one—is a sensible idea. Remember, many travel insurance policies aren’t covering some COVID-19 expenses. HeyMondo, in contrast, will cover you for most things.

Final Thoughts

Although uncertainty still surrounds traveling as we enter 2022, you can find companies that will help you cancel and change your trip up to the last minute.

You can save a fortune by choosing companies with flexible booking policies and having a suitable travel insurance policy.

Read More:

Travel Insurance That Covers Covid-19

What To Do If Your Flight Is Delayed Or Canceled

What To Do If You Test Positive Right Before Your Trip?

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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling.  Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories


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MizCricket

Thursday 6th of January 2022

"...the transmissibility of Omicron is currently causing large outbreaks on many cruise ships."

LARGE OUTBREAKS?!?!?!?!?!?! SERIOUSLY? And please share the CREDIBLE SOURCE(S) you found these facts!

According to "MSN Travel" article "Cruises Continue to Sail Despite...." (by Fran Golden) January 5, 2022:

"Early on December 30, Royal Caribbean Group (parent company of cruise lines that include Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, and Silversea) issued a press release aimed at investors touting that of 1.1. million guests the company had carried since restarting operations in June, only 1,745 guests had tested positive for COVID-19, most with mild or no symptoms, 44 of which required hospitalization, according to the cruise company."

Further stating: “Incidents of COVID on our ships is virtually below any U.S. locale,” John Heald, Carnival Cruise Line’s senior cruise director, told followers on Facebook Live. “We are not stopping cruising.”

On January 5, the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) also stepped in to back the cruise industry.

“If the average cruise ship were a U.S. state, it would be the safest in the country—by far,” ASTA president and CEO Zane Kerby, said in a statement.

Kerby added that cruise lines have implemented “extraordinarily stringent anti-COVID measures.”

Another source is the "Travel Weekly" article "ASTA Chief Calls CDC's Warning..." (by Jamie Biesiada) January 5, 2022: "As further evidence, he also pointed to Royal Caribbean Group's recent statement that its positivity rate since June 2021 was 0.02%, significantly less than Alaska, the U.S. state with the lowest positivity rate (9.4% as of Jan. 4)."

We seem to now be dealing with a form of the ever-present annual flu virus. Omicron's mild symptoms mimic the common cold and/or allergies. Those who have been hospitalized and or died "due to" this virus or its other variants -- why has no reporting of those patients comorbidities not been publicly mentioned to put the disease into indisputable, reality-based facts, rather than deliberately spinning the truth while deliberately playing on human fears?

Your article is perpetuating the continuation of irrational restrictions with a possible future shut down of a large travel sector's contribution to our national economy, also continues debilitating international restrictions for U.S. travelers.