Travel Wallet

Recently, I resolved a question about our Tauck travel wallet with the help of our local travel agent at Bon Voyage Travel in Tucson.

Like some other Tauck travelers, we opted to re-schedule our cancelled Tauck trip reservations from 2020 until 2021. A generous financial incentive was offered by Tauck and as we wanted to make the trips any way, it made sense to leave it in the travel wallet. Now it’s 2021 and we’re hoping the postponed and reschedule trips later this year will still go. We wanted to confirm our travel wallet balance to our notes. At first, there were some discrepancies between our wallet balance and what our local agent showed in her records. What got our attention was that Tauck showed an even lower balance. Since we’ve kept complete records of correspondence, we knew our balance calculation was accurate. Our local agent quickly recognized our correct balance position but Tauck had to do an audit. Thankfully, a short time later, they too validated our correct balance and all is documented now for future reference.

My question for the forum: Why doesn’t Tauck have a client specific Tauck Travel Wallet statement on their website? It would be protected with typical log on and password just like any other client specific, privileged communication with Tauck. This feature would allow easy access to the wallet balance information for trip planning and financial accounting.

Tauck clients should be able to quickly and accurately determine their Tauck travel wallet balance without having to resort to a flurry of email messages and frantic phone calls. Other forum contributors may have similar concerns or even better ideas about how to maintain some sort of convenient awareness of the Tauck Travel Wallet balance. Thank you for sharing.

Noreen

Comments

  • Noreen - I suggest you provide your suggestion through either a phone call to Tauck or via a Contact Tauck email. Whenever I have submitted a question to Tauck via the email it has received a response. It may take a few days, but I've always received something.

  • Thank you for such a good suggestion. I will email them today.

    Noreen

  • We feel thst our travel wallet has less money in it than we calculated. Can’t find the original email confirming the amount we think, but at the ti,e trusted Tauck to have the correct records. Good for you for your persistence!
    My next concern is that we were told you can only transfer something over from the travel wallet once, if that tour is then canceled, you lose. Has anyone who has had a tour canceled twice encountered this?

  • edited March 21

    I posted about this in Jan or Feb, but don't have the link.

    As you have likely figured out, the "Tauck Travel Wallet" (note the terminology) is shown in the upper section of your Summary of Purchase and appears as a "credit" (a negative amount), but only if a trip is cancelled, you re-book it, and apply previous payments to the new trip. It is a temporary, COVID era, Tauck benefit ("incentive"). Currently, the amounts are $250 p/p if your trip is not paid in full, and $500 p/p if paid in full.

    However, while it reduces the cost of the trip, balance due, etc. it is not a technically a credit or payment. It is not money that Tauck puts into an account that you can withdraw if you eventually cancel and request a refund. It is a "discount" applied to the cost of the trip. It is just like the "Gift of Time" which is also not refunded nor automatically carried forward to a re-booking (you may qualify again, however.) So, if you cancel, you don't get that amount back nor can you apply it to a new trip, because technically isn't money that you paid. You only get back what you actually paid in (except for Guest Protection fees which go into a Dreamsaver account if you don't re-book- a topic for another day.) If you re-book, again, and the program still exists, you will get another re-booking "credit." The amount will be whatever Tauck is offering at the time and may also depend on whether your previous trip was paid in full. If offered, the new amount will again appear in the "Tauck Travel Wallet."

    So, the bottom line is if your tour is cancelled and you re-book multiple times, since it is a discount and not a payment to you, the "Tauck Travel Wallet." (re-booking) credit money will not carry forward from booking to booking. Trust me, we have re-booked three tours multiple times since the start of COVID and that is the way it works.

    I have never seen anything other the $500 or $1000 in the "Tauck Travel Wallet" since we have never had excess over the cost of the re-booked trip because the price of the new trip has usually increased. We'll see where the excess shows up when Treasures of the Aegean 2022 is priced. We double booked that one, paid the deposit and guest protection fee twice, and Tauck transferred our paid-in-full balance, so we will have most likely paid more than the cost of the trip. The best place to see the amount that will be carried forward is the "Total Payments" from Summary of Purchase of the previous trip. That amount will be combined with a second deposit and guest protection program fee if you double booked like we did, then it will be divided into "Deposit Paid" and "Other Payments" in the new Summary of Purchase.

    It is easy to track all this stuff, even for multiple trips, if you keep each and every Summary of Purchase, and/or, enter it into a spreadsheet like I do. We book directly with Tauck, so I can't say how having a TA between you and Tauck works with regard to payments and the Summary of Purchase.

    As far as an account on the Tauck website, that might be nice, but look how long it took for My Account on the new website to get up and running and accept payments. Also, it still won't likely catch a human error which is what likely happened in your case. Unless there is a software glitch affecting everyone, the old saying "garbage in, garbage out" applies and Tauck would still need to audit your account. I don't see the need for "frantic" when dealing with Tauck. :)

  • Alan - On October 15, 2019 we paid in full for two trips with Tauck. One was Switzerland:Europe Crown Jewels in the amount of $14,480 and the other was The Rhine and Moselle for $20,578 for August 2020. The reason I paid in full is that I grew up in Ireland and had a family member there with health issues and was traveling and had a lot going on at the time. One less thing to think about. When Tauck cancelled both trips they offered an extra $500 per person which came to $2000. Then we rebooked the Rhine and Moselle for September 2021 and paid a deposit of $3,198 and you are absolutely correct is stating the difference in price form 2020 to 2021. Now, the Rhine and Moselle cost $25,278 including the insurance. We always stay in their best cabin which believe it not sells out really quickly. We also booked two more trips with Tauck. The Northern Spain and Rioja Valley was canceled last week and I expect the Douro one on June 2 will also be cancelled. The bottom line is that I had $42,774 in my travel wallet. I called my travel agent and she said that Tauck said I had $34,000 and I was concerned. My travel agent and Tauck sorted it all out and all is well. However, lesson learned is not to pay in full. We have four trips with Tauck this year and one is already cancelled. It was a disappointment but we expected this. Tauck offered us $250.00 each on this last trip. Alan, I want to thank you for your help and insight which was a good learning experience for me. In future, as we travel a lot I now have a spread sheet thanks to you.

    Noreen

  • Noreen
    8:56

    Wow, and I thought juggling 3 tours was tough! :o If you can tell us, where was the discrepancy- whose numbers were correct and, if you know, what was the reason for the discrepancy? I or my TA would have given Tauck a call, too.

    As to paying in full, that can be a tough decision. Math-wise the paid-in-full discount is more than we would earn in interest if we took a refund and re-deposited it in our money-market account. I use my spreadsheet to program payments, but the lure of the $500/$1000 discount is strong. Since we were within a few weeks of departure last winter when our first trip was COVID-cancelled, we had paid in full, so the two subsequent re-bookings were also paid in full. The next trip cancelled wasn't paid in full, and the re-booked follow-on was cancelled almost a year early, so wasn't paid in full either. I learned through other sources that our third tour would definitely be cancelled, so I paid the balance to receive the higher discount.

    I would be lost without my spreadsheets! I have two spreadsheets (actually two sheets of the same spreadsheet)- one sheet tracks funds in our money market account that we use to track and forecast certain income, trip expenses, and payments (we don't mix travel funds and expenditures with our regular income and living expenses. The other sheet tracks individual tour costs and payments. Obviously, I won't show the first one, but captured a single tour section of the "Trip" sheet.

  • Noreen, you can set up an automatic final payment with your on file credit card, which we normally do these past few years. Up until this year when the agents we have spoken to when each tour has cancelled, told us to make sure nothing was put into the final payment from our travel wallet or Dreamsaver because once it was used, if that tour was again canceled, we would lose it. I’m thinking some people are being told differently to us.

  • British
    12:52PM
    . . . . . My next concern is that we were told you can only transfer something over from the travel wallet once, if that tour is then canceled, you lose. Has anyone who has had a tour canceled twice encountered this?

    I am convinced this is a failure to communicate issue. Likewise, I am convinced, the only amount in the Tauck Travel Wallet that can not be transferred over is the $250/$500 p/p re-booking "credit" which more correctly is a discount just like the Gift of Time. The Guest Protection Plan fee goes into the Dreamsaver if not immediately applied to a re-booking, so is carried forward, just in a different account.

    Everything else, i.e. excess funds from payments made against a cancelled trip, is carried forward, when you re-book. You will get a new re-booking "credit" for each subsequent re-booking, until Tauck cancels the program. The amount of the credit can increase or decrease depending on whether the previous trip was paid in full at the time you book the subsequent trip. At the time of cancellation, you may be past the qualifying period for a Gift of Time, but I think Tauck is still honoring it in these times. They have for me.

    If anyone has information or a Summary of Purchase that contradicts this, please post.

  • Well, my TA said there are different travel wallets and the lady at Tauck apologized to her for the mixup. I am not very pleased with the answer. However, I emailed Tauck and I am waiting to hear back from them and if I find anything new or helpful I will be sure to let you know. I don’t know why my TA failed to inform me of automatic final payments. I’ve made airline reservations for our trips to Basel and returning from Zurich (back to back). Tauck’s price was $3006 roundtrip each in business class. However, on AA website I was able to get exactly the same dates and times for $2305. My TA informed me that Tauck has a contract with AA and this was their price. It is a good idea to check before purchasing tickets with Tauck. I would have prefer to use Tauck but I am unwilling to pay an extra $1400.

    Noreen

  • Went back and looked at the Summaries of Purchase for the 3 trips we currently have in the hopper. Two this year and 1 next. Our Normandy tour that we added onto Switzerland is where it gets complicated. First section shows the tour price followed by debits then credits for GoT and Guest Protection since its an add on tour. Then a final credit for the $250 pp for the 2020 Switzerland cancellation. Then it lists a Total Package cost after all those deductions. When it gets to payments made there are 2 - the deposit and an "other" payment which I know are a $1000 credit from our 2019 river cruise that got disrupted and $3,000+ payment on the balance of the 2020 Switzerland. If that tour gets canceled it will be interesting to see if they try to recoup the $1000 credit since it has time limits on it.

  • Noreen - I had a very similar experience with Tauck airfare vs airfare on your own. This is why I assume the risk of having to deal with airlines in case of cancellation. Saving the $1000 - $2000 on airfare is worth the risk for me. You live in Tucson as I do. Apparently Tauck fares from Tucson don’t come close to what you can do on your own. I’ve heard others on the forum, that travel from major hubs get much more competitive fares from Tauck. Wish there was a better answer for us minor hub travelers.

  • Makes you wonder if it might be worth it to have Tauck book the international portion but handle the domestic flights yourself to kind of balance the risk. A hassle I know. We actually did that our first trip because we were visiting our in-laws in NYC just prior to the tour. Flew SW into LGA then after our stay departed from JFK on Delta. Wouldn't do that one again as the return flights were a pain. And it would be a hassle not checking your luggage straight thru.

    Before our final payment is due (30 Jun right now) I'll be reassessing the situation in Europe and looking at flights to see if we can find a better deal then make a decision to go with what Tauck air has booked or cancel. We had booked our own last year and had to sweat out getting the refund.

  • Noreen
    6:29PM
    Well, my TA said there are different travel wallets and the lady at Tauck apologized to her for the mixup. . . . . . . I don’t know why my TA failed to inform me of automatic final payments.

    Noreen,

    I suspected there was more than one wallet. I wonder if the others have names like "Traveler's Travel Wallet" or Customer's Travel Wallet.

    You must take specific actions to set up automatic final payment. Did you, or since you work through a TA, your TA set your account up for automatic final payment? We use that with our credit union to pay certain standard, recurring bills for services, etc. that never need to be disputed. There are many situations, however, like our lawn care service, where I absolutely refuse to do that- I don't want the lawn service company to be able to pull money out of our bank regardless of the quality of service provided. I like to have the upper hand- if there is a dispute I prefer they come to me for the money, instead of me going to them to make things right when they have already taken my money.

    Claudia Sails
    6:59PM
    Went back and looked at the Summaries of Purchase . . . . When it gets to payments made there are 2 - the deposit and an "other" payment which I know are a $1000 credit from our 2019 river cruise that got disrupted and $3,000+ payment on the balance of the 2020 Switzerland. If that tour gets canceled it will be interesting to see if they try to recoup the $1000 credit since it has time limits on it.

    Claudia, since it is listed in what I call the "payments box" on the Summary of Purchase, it "should" carry forward if that trip is cancelled, since it represents out of pocket payments you made or reimbursements for services for which you paid but did not receive. Why the time limits? How much time do you have to use it and can you move it over to another trip or have it refunded? I'll send you a PM.

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