What do I think about Expedia’s Vacation Waiver? Well, the jury is in . . . my refunds processed the next day. Here is a review of how the Vacation Waiver worked.
Three weeks ago, I made plans to visit Colorado for a long weekend. I was supposed to leave today — about three hours from now. When I made reservations through Expedia, I paid for their Travel Protection – Vacation Waiver (please note that the Vacation Waiver is different than standard trip insurance). I normally only take out travel insurance for more expensive overseas trips. But this Vacation Waiver intrigued me — cancel for any reason — like — “Hey, I just don’t feel like going after all.” How much? $41.00 to cover a $792.84 trip — this included the flight, a rental car, and a hotel reservation for just the first night there.
And guess what? Last night I decided that I didn’t feel like going out of town this weekend after all. I’m tired. I’d spent last weekend in Austin with family, and what I want is a relaxing weekend at home.
I also thought it was a great opportunity to test how well the Expedia Vacation Waiver would work.
This morning I signed into Expedia, went to “My Trips.” I had paid $715.04 when I booked the trip. I wouldn’t be charged for the car until I picked it up in Denver. I canceled the car reservation myself with no penalty.
My hotel was a non-refundable Expedia special, so without the waiver, I would get nothing back.
Then I clicked on my Vacation Waiver and read the small print:
“Prepare for life’s unexpected occurrences. With a Vacation Waiver you can cancel or change your trip—for any reason—and Expedia will pay your change fees. Go ahead, book that family vacation today, resting assured that you can change it if you need to!
— Change or cancel your trip for any reason.
— Covers you prior to the scheduled start of your trip.
— Cancelling your flight? Get a full refund of any cancellation fees and a credit for the amount of the cancelled ticket.
— Changing your flight? Get a full refund of any change fees and a credit for future travel.” — from the Expedia site. Please note — flight CREDIT, not refund.
You cannot activate the Waiver online, so I called the Expedia Customer Service number and said I wanted to cancel the Denver trip. The representative explained that I would have to cancel the Frontier flight myself. Frontier would issue a credit that I could use towards future travel. The Expedia Vacation Waiver only covers penalty charges. This is basically what the Waiver page states, except I had expected Expedia to handle the legwork.
I was on the phone with Expedia for more than fifteen minutes, on hold as the service representative did the work to get my hotel money refunded through the insurance. At the end of my wait, I was assured that I would have a refund of $349.86.
Then I went to the Frontier website to cancel the flight. I couldn’t do it online, and when I called Frontier, the menu options recording warned me that if I used a phone representative to change or cancel my flight, I might incur a $25 service fee. I’ve never flown with Frontier before, so I wondered whether I was in for a Spirit Airlines type experience.
The Frontier representative was pleasant. The cost of my flight was $324.00. Frontier subtracted a $99 fee (but nothing additional for speaking to a real person), and I retained $225.20 as a credit for a future Frontier flight. Great.
I called Expedia back to find out how to get the penalty fee refunded. I had to fax the Frontier email receipt to Expedia, and then had no idea whether they had received the fax. I checked my American Express account several hours after my fax and saw nothing. Then both the hotel and penalty charge refunds processed and appeared on my American Express account the next morning before noon.
|Original Charge||Refunds and Credit||Cost|
$99.00 penalty refund
$225.20 Frontier credit
So what do I think? It was more entailed than Expedia would lead you to believe, based on reading the Vacation Waiver description on their website.
- Be very clear: you WILL NOT get the cost of your airline ticket back. I’m fine with the credit on this particular flight — I will use it another time.
- You also need to understand the nature of airline credits: they can ONLY be used by the person whose name was on the original ticket. You CANNOT do something handy like using your credit to pay for your college kid to come home for Thanksgiving. This is normal. It may stink, but this is standard.
- You aren’t going to see this credit back on your card immediately. But it was fast . . . less than 24 hours.
- Fax the airline receipt? Really? Who uses fax machines anymore?
I have used Expedia for a long time, and I’ve had very good experiences with their services. The waiver plan works — I received the refunds posted to my American Express less than 24 hours after calling Expedia and faxing them the airline receipt.
Is it hassle free? Um, NO. But I liked that with this type of trip insurance, I could choose to cancel without a medical emergency.
So for $41 and 45 minutes of aggravation, I got to change my mind.
I love Leadville, Colorado, but I’ll save returning there for later . . . when I have more time to wander and explore the old mining towns of the rockies.
Disclosure: I did not receive compensation for writing this review, and it reflects an accurate report of my experience with the Vacation Waiver insurance. In mid-September 2016, I became an Expedia affiliate, which means that you will now find Expedia links in my articles.
I grew up in Mississippi and New Orleans, have lived in both Seattle and Manhattan, and finally moved back to Texas in 1990’s.
I have a darling teenage daughter who heads off to university in the fall of 2017. I have been divorced and am now widowed. Finally, I am a colon cancer survivor.
I am now writing and traveling full time — what a wonderful thing!
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