Booked Travel Prior to Covid - want refund from tour company

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Mar 30, 2021
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0
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I booked a trip for my husband and myself to go with a tour group to Costa Rica in September 2019 and paid for it with AmEx in November, 2019. We were originally scheduled to leave in March, 2020. We also paid travel insurance. A week before our departure they postponed the trip due to Costa Rica travel restrictions. A few months later the travel company, Cruise & Tour, rebooked the trip for November 2020, again the trip was postponed. It was rebooked for April, 2021 and on March 12, 2021, they notified us that we would have to buy additional coverage in case Costa Rica or the U.S. decided to quarantine us. We were also told we would have to pay an additional $160/person for COVID testing prior to returning to the U.S. We are getting up in years and my husband has several co-morbidities. The State Department is currently listing Costa Rica as a condition red and not safe to travel there. Not including the fact that there are new strains of the virus. We filed a claim with the insurance company and we asked Cruise and Tour to refund our money. Cruise and Tour said they cannot because all of the monies have been spent. Also, we know that typically airlines and hotels will cancel reservations within 72 hours of departure. We have also contacted AmEx, but they say the 60 day grace period has expired even though we have not traveled yet. We believe that these are extraordinary times and if we would not have signed the original travel request if all of these conditions had been known way back then.
 

Comicman

Jul 13, 2020
869
1,821
Is there any chance they will let you convert this to a credit for another trip when Covid is more under control?
Once you accepted the rebooking you most likely lost any chance of a refund. This company might have no money to refund you any ways as the money you paid might all be locked up in credits for the items of your trip ( flights, hotels, tour guides and other things). If they only have credits how can they give you a refund. Yes this sucks , I know.
Unfortunately, the 60 day window to do a charge back starts when you paid for this trip not when you take this trip. The credit card can make exceptions and might have in the past. But the credit cards also know they will have big problems getting this money back from the travel related companies and would have to pay out of the credit cards pocket to reimburse you . And I just do not see them doing this as it is a slippery slope to the credit card company to go out of business.
There is always a chance to appeal to this company to make an exception for you. I call this artful begging. Make sure to be nice, make sure to make your points clear and not accusatory , and remember you are not alone in having the same reasons for wanting a refund.
Beyond that if you make claims like "I will never use you again or even I do not think we will ever travel again. you do not give them much incentive to help you.
As to insurance unless you have cancel for any reason insurance it is doubtful they will pay anything unless you have a covered medical condition that prevents you from traveling. Fear of getting Covid is not a valid reason. As to the extra charge for insurance that covers if you get Covid and have to Quarantine is a necessary thing as with out this it could cost you 10's of thousands of dollars in costs.
So I think best bet is to see if this company contacts are listed here or request a check for the contacts and write a nice letter.
Though I would not think they will refund unless there is something in their terms that makes them.
You should read all the terms of your contract to see if there is anything there.
 
Last edited:
Mar 30, 2021
3
0
56
Is there any chance they will let you convert this to a credit for another trip when Covid is more under control?
Once you accepted the rebooking you most likely lost any chance of a refund. This company might have no money to refund you any ways as the money you paid might all be locked up in credits for the items of your trip ( flights, hotels, tour guides and other things). If they only have credits how can they give you a refund. Yes this sucks , I know.
Unfortunately, the 60 day window to do a charge back starts when you paid for this trip not when you take this trip. The credit card can make exceptions and might have in the past. But the credit cards also know they will have big problems getting this money back from the travel related companies and would have to pay out of the credit cards pocket to reimburse you . And I just do not see them doing this as it is a slippery slope to the credit card company to go out of business.
There is always a chance to appeal to this company to make an exception for you. I call this artful begging. Make sure to be nice, make sure to make your points clear and not accusatory , and remember you are not alone in having the same reasons for wanting a refund.
Beyond that if you make claims like "I will never use you again or even I do not think we will ever travel again. you do not give them much incentive to help you.
As to insurance unless you have cancel for any reason insurance it is doubtful they will pay anything unless you have a covered medical condition that prevents you from traveling. Fear of getting Covid is not a valid reason. As to the extra charge for insurance that covers if you get Covid and have to Quarantine is a necessary thing as with out this it could cost you 10's of thousands of dollars in costs.
So I think best bet is to see if this company contacts are listed here or request a check for the contacts and write a nice letter.
Though I would not think they will refund unless there is something in their terms that makes them.
You should read all the terms of your contract to see if there is anything there.
Thanks for taking the time to reply. We have tried every avenue and read and reread the contract. They will not give us credit and the insurance company will only pay $406.00 for future travel. Thanks again, we are just going to cut our losses at this point. If we did go and have to quarantine then we would have other mounting costs. It just seems like big business always wins and the bigger they get the more they will screw the little people.
 

Alexander Pahany

Staff Member
Forum Moderator
Jan 6, 2021
498
1,719
Houston, TX
I was in Costa Rica in November 2020 and two weeks ago. If you decide to go, you will find a nationwide mask mandate in effect, mandatory hand-washing before you enter restaurants, temperature checks, etc. at all of the places you visit. I found the sanitation procedures held to a higher standard than they are in Houston where I live. The Costa Rican government does require the purchase of travel insurance, which is about $11 per person per day. There are ample testing locations in the larger cities in Costa Rica.

Ultimately, of course, the decision to travel is up to you. "Condition Red" or not, I found the experience to be quite pleasant!
 

Patina

Verified Member
Dec 22, 2015
2,066
4,234
The biggest problem I see is that one could get 'stuck' in Costa Rica if the required test for return to US is positive. It can end up costing a lot to quarantine!
 
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Sam

Jan 22, 2015
221
474
Colorado
The biggest problem I see is that one could get 'stuck' in Costa Rica if the required test for return to US is positive. It can end up costing a lot to quarantine!

the insurance that is required for Costa Rica does cover quarantine. I was also able to find the insurance from a good company for much less than $11 per day
 
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Alexander Pahany

Staff Member
Forum Moderator
Jan 6, 2021
498
1,719
Houston, TX
The biggest problem I see is that one could get 'stuck' in Costa Rica if the required test for return to US is positive. It can end up costing a lot to quarantine!
This is true and it’s a risk one would have to calculate when deciding whether or not to travel. I’ve had both of my vaccine shots and my girlfriend had one, so we felt very comfortable. And again, using all the same precautions we use here (mask, hand washing, etc.) it was a risk we were willing to assume. I can think of WAY worse places to be stuck than CR. Others’ results may vary!
 
Mar 30, 2021
3
0
56
I was in Costa Rica in November 2020 and two weeks ago. If you decide to go, you will find a nationwide mask mandate in effect, mandatory hand-washing before you enter restaurants, temperature checks, etc. at all of the places you visit. I found the sanitation procedures held to a higher standard than they are in Houston where I live. The Costa Rican government does require the purchase of travel insurance, which is about $11 per person per day. There are ample testing locations in the larger cities in Costa Rica.

Ultimately, of course, the decision to travel is up to you. "Condition Red" or not, I found the experience to be quite pleasant!
Thanks for sharing your experience. We just have a lot of other costs we would have to come up with if we were quarantined down there and also the government seems to keep changing it's mind and I think we are better off, just staying in a location I know. It just doesn't seem fair and that we don't hold any cards anymore.
 

Alexander Pahany

Staff Member
Forum Moderator
Jan 6, 2021
498
1,719
Houston, TX
the insurance that is required for Costa Rica does cover quarantine. I was also able to find the insurance from a good company for much less than $11 per day
I used one of the government’s recommended providers, Sagicor, just for the sake of convenience, but I’ve no doubt there are plenty of others they will accept.
 
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Neil Maley

Staff Member
Forum Moderator
Dec 27, 2014
25,883
29,033
New York
www.promalvacations.com
I used one of the government’s recommended providers, Sagicor, just for the sake of convenience, but I’ve no doubt there are plenty of others they will accept.
Actually there are more that don’t specifically state the information the Costa Rican government wants. Most insurance will state they cover “up to the cost of the trip” or a certain dollar amount per day. Those amounts may not be the $2,000 in required insurance CR wants proof of.
 
Sep 24, 2020
7
5
44
I came here to add to this. The mandatory insurance required for costa rica is to cover up to $2000 per person for extended lodging costs and 50K of medical (so you're not a burden to their system or unable to pay for extended lodging as needed). I've seen multiple valid insurance sites including the government run ones charging from $25 per day to a $17 per person flat fee for the entire stay (some of them are priced sliding scale based on age etc), as many regular trip protection policies are excluding coverage for Covid because its a known event at this point. If you're existing plan covers these amounts and Covid you wouldn't need to add coverage to it, but you do have provide proof that its valid for those amounts.

Additionally the Costa Rican government pushed through approval of antigen testing which they did not have approved locally prior to a couple of months ago and they are finally getting those testing kits out to the general public. Antigen testing is considerably more cost effective (I've seen labs in San jose offering for as low as $45 US plus tax and the tourist board website has a great resource with testing locations all over the country and there are caps on what the labs are allowed to charge for the testing). Now, that's not as convenient as the onsite PCR testing some accommodations are offering but its definitely cheaper and still satisfies the US re-entry requirement. So was there a specific lab they were requiring you to use external from San Jose (because the labs in San Jose are cheaper than in the coastal/more outlying areas), or was that a blanket up to amount? Because that's about as high a cost as I've seen it.

The additional cost situation is getting better for the destination, and I also read in the Tico Times they're working on a rapid testing facility for the aiport as well.
Actually there are more that don’t specifically state the information the Costa Rican government wants. Most insurance will state they cover “up to the cost of the trip” or a certain dollar amount per day. Those amounts may not be the $2,000 in required insurance CR wants proof of.
 

Neil Maley

Staff Member
Forum Moderator
Dec 27, 2014
25,883
29,033
New York
www.promalvacations.com
The insurance our clients purchased that the Costa Rican government approved cost less than $12 pp per day and there are family plans .


Our client purchased this in addition to regular travel insurance because this insurance doesn’t cover pre-departure cancellations or enough medical if someone needs hospitalization for any other medical issues.
 

Alexander Pahany

Staff Member
Forum Moderator
Jan 6, 2021
498
1,719
Houston, TX
The insurance our clients purchased that the Costa Rican government approved cost less than $12 pp per day and there are family plans .


Our client purchased this in addition to regular travel insurance because this insurance doesn’t cover pre-departure cancellations or enough medical if someone needs hospitalization for any other medical issues.
That’s the same one I used in November 2020 and in March 2021. Simple to buy, cheap, and it uploads into the system Costa Rican Immigration uses when they clear you into the country.
 

Sam

Jan 22, 2015
221
474
Colorado
I just ran a sample policy for Costa Rica, using the company that I have used in the past. I said my trip cost was flights only as I have a place to stay. I put the cost at $550. For 8 days, the cost was $21.80. It meets all the requirements set out by Costa Rica
 

Alexander Pahany

Staff Member
Forum Moderator
Jan 6, 2021
498
1,719
Houston, TX
I just ran a sample policy for Costa Rica, using the company that I have used in the past. I said my trip cost was flights only as I have a place to stay. I put the cost at $550. For 8 days, the cost was $21.80. It meets all the requirements set out by Costa Rica
If you can get it cheaper, fantastic...just make sure it meets the requirements set forth by the government and that you have the requisite letters:

 
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Sam

Jan 22, 2015
221
474
Colorado
from their website

This plan covers COVID-19 the same as any other sickness. Please see Trip Delay Benefit for $2,000 lodging/accommodations expenses. **Costa Rica travelers - This plan meets requirements for Costa Rica. A VISA LETTER is provided at the time of purchase which indicates the coverage needed to get your QR code from their website.
 

Alexander Pahany

Staff Member
Forum Moderator
Jan 6, 2021
498
1,719
Houston, TX
from their website

This plan covers COVID-19 the same as any other sickness. Please see Trip Delay Benefit for $2,000 lodging/accommodations expenses. **Costa Rica travelers - This plan meets requirements for Costa Rica. A VISA LETTER is provided at the time of purchase which indicates the coverage needed to get your QR code from their website.
Sounds great!
 

Neil Maley

Staff Member
Forum Moderator
Dec 27, 2014
25,883
29,033
New York
www.promalvacations.com
from their website

This plan covers COVID-19 the same as any other sickness. Please see Trip Delay Benefit for $2,000 lodging/accommodations expenses. **Costa Rica travelers - This plan meets requirements for Costa Rica. A VISA LETTER is provided at the time of purchase which indicates the coverage needed to get your QR code from their website.
If the policy specifically says it has $2,000 in coverage it most likely meets the CR requirements.

Many policies don’t specifically say this. Many say “up to cost of trip” of a certain amount per day. That doesn’t meet the requirements for CR because they don’t know how much you paid for your trip and a daily amount doesn’t mean it will be enough.
 
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