Can I get a refund on my flight? All the latest airline changes, cancellation policies & status extensions

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As Covid-19 continues to wreak havoc across the world, many airlines have opted to tempt nervous travellers back in with flexible booking options, and have expanded their policies on how passengers can cancel their flights, change their dates or destination and even cash in their ticket for points. 

This is great, as it takes a little bit of the uncertainty out of booking a holiday during such uncertain times. 

Here is a summary of a few of the airlines, and their policies when it comes to cancellations, rebooking and loyalty programs in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis. 

British Airways 

 

Re-booking flights/cancellation/using vouchers:

Currently, British Airways are allowing you to change either your date or destination without incurring a change fee. Passengers will still obviously need to pay any fare difference. This applies to bookings made from 3rd March – 30th September (for journeys due to be completed prior to 31st August 2021). To change destination you need to in effect get a voucher and then book new flights. 

If you choose to cancel your booking, you will receive a voucher to the same value to be used on any future booking (you can change destination or use for multiple tickets). This also applies to bookings made from 3rd March – 30th September, completed by 31st August 2021. Any trip booked with a voucher must be completed by 30th April, 2022. However, if your flight is cancelled by BA you can chose a full cash refund but you will need to request this by phone. There is no way currently to request a refund online. 

Any Executive Club members can instead choose to receive Avios points instead of a cash refund. 

If your flight has been cancelled, you can call British Airways on 0800 727 800 to discuss your options. You can apply for a voucher online which takes around 7 days to arrive. sometimes they are instant. If you had a simple booking with no extras with one or two people you should be sent an electronic voucher to use online. There are also mega “vouchers” which you can request by phone where a voucher for up to four people can be combined into one voucher in the name of the lead passenger. 

 

BA cancellation timescales to be eligible for a voucher if you chose not to travel:

Flights:

  • Until check in closes

BA Holidays: 

  •  Bookings made from 3 March to 10 June 2020
    Eligible for travel dates from 3 March to 31 December 2020 – Notice required – 48 hours
    Eligible for travel dates from 1 January to 31 August 2021 –  Notice required – three weeks
  • Bookings made from 11 June to 30 September 2020
    Eligible for travel dates from 11 June 2020 to 31 August 2021 –  Notice required – three weeks
  •  

How to get the voucher and what you can claim for

To get a voucher DO NOT CANCEL your booking online using manage my booking. Do not try to claim after your flight has departed. You will be a no show and receive nothing.

Instead, follow these steps:

  1. Go to this page to fill in the online form
  2. It will take quite a while to get a response, but the voucher expiry date will be based on your departure date, not when they email you. It will be valid for 12 months from the original departure date. 
  3. Charges such as excess baggage or seat selection will be transferred to the new booking.
  4. If you have a BA holiday booking but have not paid the balance, you can get back the deposit via voucher. 
  5. The value of any non-changeable hotel and/or experience products on a BA holiday booking it will be excluded from the voucher credit.
  6. If you have part-paid or fully with Avios you can still claim using the same form. 

What you can use the voucher for

  • The voucher is valid for use against any flight booking on ba.com, it doesn’t have to be a BA flight.
  • It can also be used against a BA holidays booking
  • The voucher can be used on any British Airways marketed route with a BA flight number.

 

Miles Expiry/Status extensions:

Tier Status has been extended by British Airways for another 12 months. They have also decreased the amount of Tier Points needed by 25%, which also applies to Tier thresholds (meaning they require less points to reach). You can find more information here. 

This will now make the thresholds:

TierNormal thresholdAdjusted threshold (75%)
Bronze300 or 25 eligible flights225 or 18 eligible flights
Silver600 or 50 eligible flights450 or 37 eligible flights
Gold1,5001,125
Gold Guest List5,000 to upgrade 3,000 to renew3,750 to upgrade2,250 to renew
Concorde Room Card5,0003,750

 

BA Executive Club Vouchers

  • British Airways will also apply a 6-month extension to all newly issued Companion Vouchers earned in July, August and September. This is in addition to those that have already received an extra 6 months up to now. Therefore if you are close to getting a voucher, it would be worth triggering it before the end of this month. 
  • There is no change to the validity of jokers (GGL redemption vouchers)
  • Gold upgrade vouchers have already been extended by six months
  • Any vouchers that have been included in a refund voucher will be valid for a as long as the refund voucher is valid (April 22)

You can find the relevant BA page here.

 

American Airlines

American Airlines First to Los Angeles-Honolulu domestic review

American Airlines A321

Rebooking flights/cancellation/using vouchers:

American Airlines have removed change fees for any flights booked up until 30th Sept 2020 for travel through 31st Dec 2020, including award and Basic Economy tickets. Any fare difference in the rebooked flight or flights will need to be paid by the passenger.

For any new tickets booked between now and the 31st December 2020, change fees will also be waived for travel from the 1st January 2021 and later.

If you cancel your flight you can retain the value of your trip to use at a later date (until December 31st, 2021). You will need to call their Reservations line to do this.

If your flight has been cancelled by the airline, you can request a full refund. You will need to do this via the form on their website.

See all the info from American Airlines here

Miles Expiry/Status extensions:

All AAdvantage members elite status will be extended to 31st Jan, 2022. They will also be reducing the elite status qualification requirements for 2020, and extending any Admirals Club memberships that have been purchased for an extra 6 months.

All extensions are automatic and will be applied by the airline to your membership.

Any reward tickets that have been cancelled are able to be re-deposited as miles, without incurring a fee. 

 

Qatar Airways

Qatar QSuites business class

Rebooking flights/cancellation/using vouchers:

Qatar are currently offering unlimited, fee-free date or destination changes to any flight bookings for travel until December 31st, 2020. Travellers can change their destination to any city in the same country, or any city within 5000 miles of their original destination. Fare and tax differences will need to be covered by the passenger.  

If you wish to cancel your ticket, you can keep the value as a credit to use on any future flight for two years from the original date of issue. Tickets exchanged for travel vouchers have a validity of two years from the voucher issuance, and also receive an extra 10% value (calculated on the base fare, taxes not included).

For any of these changes, customers are required to call the Qatar service centre on +44 330 024 0125 (from the UK). If you booked through an agent, contact them directly.

If your flight has been cancelled, you are entitled to a full refund, which you can apply for here.

Travellers can also apply to submit their ticket value for ‘Q Miles’, which are valid for three years and can be redeemed on further flights, upgrades, extras, hotel stays and more. If you aren’t yet a member of the program, you can sign up and then request the change.

See the full details from Qatar here. 

 

Miles Expiry/Status extensions:

QMiles members will have their tier status extended for a further 12 months, which applies to all those whose status would have expired before 31st January, 2021.

Gold and Platinum members will have Qcredits validity extended for two years, meaning members are better able to maintain their tier status.

Some members with miles that were supposed to expire in the next few months have received emails saying the validity has been extended for a further nine months, However, there is no information about this on Qatar’s website.

They recently updated their policy for expiring miles, meaning that as long as the account sees some activity within 36 months, the miles expiry will be extended (even if it’s only earning or redeeming one Qmile).

 

Iberia

Rebooking flights/cancellation/using vouchers:

Any flights booked between May 28 to September 16th  for travel in 2020 are eligible for a fee-free change of either date or destination. These changes can be made up to fifteen days prior to departure. Fare and tax difference must be covered by the passenger.

For any flights booked for travel before the 30th September 2020 to or from a country that has introduced new quarantine or entry conditions after July 25th 2020, passengers can either change their flight for any new flight up to 30th June 2021, or request a voucher that can be used on flights up to December 30th 2021. This balance can be used towards any future trip, even multiple tickets.

If your flight has been cancelled, you can request a voucher to the same amount, change the dates for free or request a refund. To request a refund, call (+34) 913894357.

For any flights booked using ‘discount with Avios’ through the Iberia website, passengers can cancel and receive a voucher to use in future with an included 10% bonus (based on the base far, not including taxes). These vouchers can be used up until 30th June 2021.

For further information, you can see Iberia’s policies in detail here. 

Miles Expiry/Status extensions:

Iberia have changed their policy several months ago, ensuring that as long as some activity (whether it is earning or redeeming points) occurs within your account during the last 36 months, your miles will not expire.

They have also implemented measures to ensure that members maintain their membership ‘tier’, regardless of any activity (or lack thereof) between January and March 2020.

 

Emirates

Emirates

Emirates new B777 business class in a 2-2-2 config

Rebooking flights/cancellation/using vouchers:

Currently, Emirates are offering any of those who booked tickets on or before 30th September 2020 for travel before 30th November 2020 the option to keep their original ticket, with a validity extension of up to 24 months and no change fees. The fare paid will also be valid for any other city within that region (for example, if you were flying to Amsterdam and decided to change to Munich, there would be no difference in fare, as they are both part of the ‘Europe’ region).

To reschedule your already booked flight, call Emirates when you are ready to re-book. All unused tickets will automatically be extended, so no rush.

Passengers can also choose to convert their tickets into vouchers, which will be equal to the same amount originally paid for the ticket, and valid up to a year (with the option to extend for another year if necessary). These vouchers can be used for any Emirates flights, upgrades or other services, and can be used as much as necessary until the value of the voucher has been completely used up.

Further to this, even if your flight hasn’t been cancelled by the airline you can request a refund. However, if your flight hasn’t been affected by the Covid-19 crisis and you want to cancel anyway, you will most likely be held to the fare rules of your ticket, which means change or cancellation fees.

You can see all the details, request a refund or a travel voucher here

 

Miles Expiry/Status extensions:

Emirates are ensuring that members of their Emirates Skywards program can maintain their status levels and miles despite the Covid-crisis, with a reduction for tier status travel requirements for anyone with a tier review date before 1st April 2021.

Members will maintain their status with only 70% of the usual travel requirements.

Any members who are unable to retain their existing tier and have a review between March and September 2020 will have their status automatically maintained until 31st December 2020.

The program has also extended the validity of any Skywards Miles that would otherwise be due to expire from April 2020 until December 2020.

 

KLM/Air France

Rebooking flights/cancellation/using vouchers:

KLM

If your flight is scheduled to depart on or before 31st March 2021, you can request either a refundable voucher or a refund of the amount paid straight back to your account. However, as with most airlines, refunds may take some time.

If your flight was booked on or after 22nd April, and departs after April 1st, 2020, you then you may only change your ticket as per the fare rules. It is likely that most fares beyond this date will have flexibility (or fee-free date changes) written in, though they may remove it for the lowest fare classes. Any fare and tax difference must be covered by the passenger if the booking class is no longer available, or destination changes etc.  

The voucher value is also increased by 15% if it is used to rebook before 31st October 2020, for any flight departing on or before 15th June 2021. Vouchers are valid for one year, or until 31st December 2021.

Vouchers can be used as many times as necessary until the entire value has been spent. 

Most changes can be made directly to your booking online through the ‘My Bookings’ section, however you can call the airline for assistance with rebooking if necessary.

If your flight has been cancelled by the airline, you can request a voucher or a refund, with the same conditions as above.

Passengers who select ‘refundable voucher’ and then decide they want a refund instead can request the refund here. The refunded amount will reflect the original price paid, and won’t include the 15% bonus attached to a voucher.

 

Air France

Passengers have the option to postpone their trip voluntarily with no change fees. If the trip departs before 30th November 2020, there will be no change fees or any fare difference as long as the destination remains the same.

If the flight is departing from the 1st December 2020 onwards, there will still be no change fees, however any fare difference will need to be covered by the passenger if the original fare is not available.  

Any changes must be made before 31 October 2020.

 If you have purchased your ticket directly from Air France, you can request your voucher directly online through the ‘My Bookings’ section of their website or app. 

The voucher value may increase by a bonus of 15% if it is used before 31st October 2020 and trip has a departure date of on or before 15th June 2021. Vouchers are valid for one year, or until 31st December 2021. 

Vouchers can be used as many times as necessary until the entire value has been spent. 

If your flight was cancelled by the airline, you have the option of requesting a refundable voucher or a refund. Refundable vouchers can be changed to a refund at a later date. 

For details related to KLM tickets, check out their info here

For Air France help, you can see all the details here

 

Miles Expiry/Status extensions:

Flying Blue, the loyalty program for KLM and Air France, has committed to extending the validity of their members miles and tier statuses in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis.

The program will prevent all miles from expiring between now and the end of 2020 for ‘Explorer’ members. Members with any higher tier status have a lifetime validity on miles, so don’t need to worry.

Further to this, all members with a qualification period ending between March 2020 and February 2021 will maintain their tiers even if they don’t meet the qualifications. Tier status will be extended by another 12 months.

 

Lufthansa/Swiss

Swiss business class sale

Swiss A330 business class in bed mode

Rebooking flights/cancellation/using vouchers:

Lufthansa, Swiss, and the rest of the airlines in their group (including Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines and Eurowings) are offering passengers fee-free date changes on flights booked from 16th May 2020 onwards.

New flights booked must depart before 31st December 2021, and any change in fare or tax different must be covered by the passenger.

If a flight has been cancelled by the airline, passengers can choose to receive a refund or keep their original ticket valid for use on a future booking. New flights must be booked by 31st January 2021 and must depart before 31st December 2021. Destination and travel class can be changed, however any difference in fare and tax must be covered by the passenger.

Any changes made can be done so via the service centre

 

Miles Expiry/Status extensions:

The Miles & More program, which covers Swiss and Lufthansa, have offered to extend the status of members who did not renew in 2019 or 2020 until February 2022.

Those members who renew their status by the end of 2020 will automatically get renewal until February 2023.

Any eVouchers with expiry in 2020 or 2021 will be extended and can be used until December 31st, 2021.

 

Stay tuned for our next article on hotel chain cancellation and rebooking policies. 

4 Comments on "Can I get a refund on my flight? All the latest airline changes, cancellation policies & status extensions"

  1. You’ve said “Any Executive Club members can instead choose to receive Avios points instead of a cash refund”, but you havent made it clear thats only an option if BA cancels..

  2. Qatar fare differences only apply if the amended booking is in a different fare class.

  3. I have a 241 booked for travel to Miami in December which I do not want to fly, but it was booked in January. Help what is my best option?

    • It depends on when your voucher would expire with the extra 6 months they have added. If it would still expiure if you cancel I would wait as long as you can until near the time. Then they may allow a voucher if they extend the travel dates for vouchers. They also could cancel the flight and then you would not have to pay the £35 fee to cancel.

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