Our trip to Japan is coming up in 50 days. However, we have not been that proactive in making plans. The only two bookings we’ve done were for our flights, and a one night stay at a Marriott hotel in Tokyo. Like many, we have not been that motivated to make further travel plans at this time, especially in our case, our trip scheduled in just over a month.
Why no motivation to book?
All the heightened activities surrounding coronavirus had forced us to not take any further action. For work, our department had resorted to work at home. The kids are at home and are scheduled to be home until early May (and possibly even longer). The grocery stores are nearly empty with basic necessities. Tokyo’s 2020 Summer Olympics also canceled. There’s just so much instability, and traveling is the farthest thing in my mind, in many of our minds.
The aspirational trip can wait
Having said that, we decided to cancel our trip to Japan – a trip that was worth $35,000, but after using miles and points, we only spent $534 in fees out of pocket.
Do I call ANA or Virgin Atlantic
But canceling has been giving me a lot to think of. First, the hold time, the wait time. I’ve been hearing stories of folks who wait 2-3 hours before a representative was able to assist them. I also did not know exactly what to expect. Why? I booked our trips using our miles/points and booked with Virgin Atlantic, but the flight that we booked was with ANA. My first thought was to cancel and call ANA, but my friend, Lowell, advised me to call Virgin Atlantic. He gave me an idea what he went through when he canceled his trip.
Canceling with Virgin Atlantic
Since I used my miles with Virgin Atlantic, I decided to reach out to their Flying Club vs. going through their regular customer service #.
- Call Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Flying Club: 1 800 365 9500
- Prepare to be on hold for awhile (I was on hold for 1.5 hours – better than expected)
- Have your booking reference # ready (6 digits/letters)
- Once you get an agent, express to him/her your situation, in my case, my intent was to cancel my trip to Japan
If we cancel
The agent advised me of my options if we choose to cancel now. At the time of my phone call, I was still 50 days away from my trip. So if I were to cancel at the time of my call, this is what would happen:
- $50 cancelation fee per person (there are 2 of us for this trip – so that’s $100)
- Original fees will be refunded (cancellation fee will be deducted from the original fees)
- Our total fees when we booked was $267 per person x 2 = $534
- Refund could take 30-40 days
- My friend, Lowell, canceled 20 days ago and had yet to see the refund
- Award miles will be refunded in full (instantaneously)
- Lowell confirmed that his award miles were refunded quickly
The agent suggested that we might want to wait to cancel
The agent suggested that we could choose to cancel as late as a day before the flight, and the same $50 fee/person would apply, and that we’d get our miles back, and the original fees. He also mentioned that at this time, cancellation fees are not being waived. This has been their policy even before there was coronavirus.
We chose not to cancel…for now
That’s right. We didn’t cancel right away. We still intend to cancel by late April or early May (before our scheduled trip). Why? I figured if I canceled now, we’d be out $100 (or, $50/person). If the policy does not change in April or early May, and we choose to cancel then, we’d still be out the same $100. Or, we could also benefit should they begin waiving the cancellation fees (no guarantees, but that could happen).
Or, perhaps reschedule?
Yes, after doing much thinking, we are entertaining the idea of rescheduling our trip. While I didn’t ask the agent about this, it could be an option according to The Points Guy since I haven’t traveled yet with my Virgin Atlantic (ANA) booking:
Rebook your travel up to April 30, 2021, subject to availability, with no change fee and no difference in fare.
Reroute your travel to, from or via another destination, up to April 30, 2021. Again, no change fees, but flights are subject to availability and any difference in the fare.
Why are we now thinking of rescheduling
This booking required some research. Instead of using the required 220,000 points transferred from American Express to Virgin Atlantic, we took advantage of a 30% transfer bonus offer where we only used 170,000 points.
Plus, our trip to Japan in May was scheduled for 8-9 days total, and now that we have an opportunity to possibly cancel or reschedule, I’d like to opt for a longer visit of at least 14 days.
Will we cancel or reschedule?
I still want this aspirational first class trip to Japan. It was meant as a gift to me and my wife as part of our 20th wedding anniversary celebration. But there are many more important things that we need to worry about these days. Any non-essential trip can wait, and we’re willing to wait until then. I will update this post once I decide my next steps. One thing is for sure – we will not go on our trip to Japan in May 2020.
What will we do? Will we cancel? Or will we reschedule? What would you do?