Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has continued to spread throughout the globe since originating in the Chinese city of Wuhan at the end of 2019. To date, the virus has infected over 4 million people in more than 100 countries and killed over 300,000. The reverberations of the rapid spread are being felt throughout the global economy with an outsized impact on the travel industry. As companies have begun to proactively limit business travel to many regions of the world, airlines have reduced and suspended service to impacted regions.
For official government travel advisories placed on impacted countries, visit the State Department's website.
Presidential Proclamation regarding travel from Europe to the United States: Following the presidential announcement on Wednesday March 11, foreign nationals with 14-day prior travel within any of the 26 Schengen-area countries will not be eligible to enter the United States. United States citizens and permanent residents and their families will be allowed to enter the United States through one of the 11 CDC-approved airports. The travel ban will take effect at 11:59 PM EST on Friday March 13 and will remain in effect for 30 days.
3/14 update: On March 14, the White House extended the European travel ban to include Ireland and the United Kingdom. This addition to the travel ban will take effect at midnight on Monday March 16. The same exemptions that are a part of the initial travel ban will apply to the UK and Ireland.
Airline Loyalty Status for U.S Carriers
Delta Air Lines: On 4/5, Delta became the first U.S. airline to extend elite status for all members through 2021. All MQMs earned in 2020 will be rolled over to 2021 to qualify for 2022 Medallion Status.
United Airlines: United has extended elite status for all members through January 31, 2022. The carrier has also announced that it will lower the PQP threshold for earning Premier status in 2021.
American Airlines: American has extended AA Advantage elite status through January 31, 2022. AA has also also lowered its EQM, EQS, and EQD qualifying thresholds for 2020. American has yet to announce any adjustments for earning elite status in 2021.
Canceling bookings Made Through WhereTo
As always, any flight booked on a US carrier on WhereTo can be canceled without penalty within 24 hours of booking. To cancel a flight in WhereTo, you can either reach out to an agent via chat, phone, or email or by simply clicking the 'cancel' button on your reservation in 'My Trips.'
Flight waivers for US carriers
If you have booked travel or plan to book travel in the coming weeks, please see below for the latest developments from your carrier.
Alaska is waiving change and cancellation fees on all flights for travel booked between February 27th and March 31st for all travel through May 31, 2022.
3/12 Update: Alaska is waiving change and cancellation fees for tickets purchased on or before February 26, 2020 for travel through April 30, 2020.
Tickets must be changed or canceled prior to the departure of your original flight. Fare differences may apply. Visit alaskaair.com for further details.
If you purchased a nonrefundable First Class, main, or award ticket for travel that falls within one of Alaska's flexible travel policies, you may change without fee or, cancel your trip and deposit the funds into your My Account wallet or credit certificate via email.
American has issued a blanket waiver that lifts change fees for any flights booked between March 1 and March 31. For flights booked between March 1 and March 31, change fees will be waived so long as the change is made within 14 days of travel. The following location specific waivers remain in effect:
3/15 Update: American has extended its waiver to include flights booked prior to March 1 for travel through May 31. The offer applies to all American fares, and travelers have until January 30, 2021 to rebook travel.
Italy: American Airlines is waiving change and cancellation fees for flights to or from Italy booked by February 27 for travel between February 27 and March 15.
China: American has lifted one-time change and/or cancellation fees for flights to or from Beijing and Shanghai booked by January 24 for travel from January 24 through April 24.
Delta Air Lines
Delta Air Lines has issued a blanket waiver that lifts change fees for all itineraries booked between March 1 and April 15, 2020 to any destination. This waiver includes both domestic and international flights for travel between March 1, 2020 and February 25, 2021. Rebooked travel must begin no later than March 12, 2021. The following location-specific waivers remain in effect:
Italy: Travelers may be eligible for a one-time fee-free trip change or cancellation. The waiver covers travel on flights from February 25 through March 15. Altered travel must be booked by March 15 and must begin by April 3.
China and South Korea: Travelers may be eligible for a one-time fee-free trip change or cancellation. The waiver covers travel on flights from January 24 through April 30. Altered travel must be booked and begin by May 31.
Europe: Delta has waived change fees for customers traveling to, from, or through Europe and the United States through May 31.
All Delta domestic tickets issued on or before March 17 for travel between March 17 and April 30 can be changed at no penalty, however a difference in fare may apply.
All Delta international tickets issued on or before March 17 for travel between March 17 and May 31 can be changed at no penalty, however a difference in fare may apply.
If travelers choose to cancel their tickets, they may apply any unused value of that ticket toward the purchase of a new ticket for a period of one year from the original issue date.
JetBlue is waiving change and cancelation fees for all new bookings between March 6 and April 30 for travel through October 24, 2020. Customers who cancel their flights will be reimbursed via a JetBlue Travel Bank Credit, valid for one year from date of issuance
JetBlue is still waiving change and cancellation fees on flights booked between February 27 and March 11 for travel through June 1, 2020.
Customers with existing bookings may also make changes and cancellations penalty-free for travel through May 31, 2020.
Southwest Airlines does not charge customers a fee to change or cancel their flight. When plans change, customers may apply the value of their original fare to a future flight – so long as the flight is cancelled at least 10 minutes prior to departure time. The funds are valid for future travel up to one year from the original purchase date and must be used by the individual whose name is on the original ticket.
In light of the extraordinary challenges faced by airlines and travelers during the COVID-19 pandemic, Southwest has extended the expiration dates of some travel funds:
- Customers’ funds that have expired or will expire between March 1 - May 31, 2020, will now expire June 30, 2021
- Any newly created travel fund because of a flight cancellation between March 1 - May 31, 2020, will have an expiration date of June 30, 2021
United Airlines is waiving change fees for flights booked between March 3 and April 30. Updated travel must take place within 12 months of the originally booked travel dates and a difference in fare will still apply. Any cancellations will be reimbursed via a travel credit for the original value of the ticket and will be valid for 12 months from the original ticket date. Additionally, the following location-specific waivers are also in effect:
Italy: Travelers may be eligible for a one-time fee-free trip change for travel to or from cities in northern Italy. The waiver covers flights booked by Feb. 26, for travel from Feb. 27 through April 30. Altered travel must completed within one year of the original ticket dates.
China (Beijing, Chengdu and Shanghai): Travelers may be eligible for a one-time fee-free trip change or cancellation. The waiver covers flights booked by Feb. 12, for travel from Jan. 24 through April 30. Wholly rescheduled travel must completed within one year of the original ticket dates.
China (Wuhan): Un-flown segments are eligible for no-fee cancellation if the ticket was purchased by Jan. 21 with scheduled travel between Jan. 22 and March 29.
Hong Kong: Travelers may be eligible for a one-time fee-free trip change or cancellation. The waiver covers flights booked by Feb. 12, for travel from Jan. 28 through April 30. Wholly rescheduled travel must completed within one year of the original ticket dates. Un-flown flights can be refunded.
Hotel Waiver Information
Hyatt is waiving cancellation fees for stays through March 31 for guests residing in the Greater China region, South Korea, Japan and Italy with reservations at Hyatt hotels, and for guests with reservations at Hyatt hotels in those affected countries and regions.
World of Hyatt is also offering members residing in the Asia-Pacific region tier status and benefit extensions, and is working to evaluate tier status and benefit extensions for traveler who frequently visit this region.
Marriott is waiving cancellation fees for hotel stays through March 31 for guests traveling to or from the following locations:
- Asia Pacific: Mainland China, Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, French Polynesia
- Europe: Italy