Re British's comment on how tours may go, a fellow traveler on our Sep tour contacted Tauck recently and asked about the relevance of tour conditions and the decision to cancel the tour. Here's her question and Taucks response:
"Would we tour if there are restrictions - masks, social distancing, etc? - answer: most likely the tour would be cancelled due to restrictions. They would want us to be able to enjoy ourselves and be comfortable when travelling."
So not looking good for this year. Masks and a certain amount of care wrt sanitization is doable, but social distancing could be a major problem.
Sam, I’m quite sure I get no special treatment from Tauck, that’s not how they do business. Example, sometimes when I see or hear the size of the hotel rooms that others get, or the amazing View on maybe their first or second tour, it’s kinda annoying, but it all equals out in the end.
Try to be patient, I know it’s hard. Right now Mr B is waiting for a return call from AMEX platinum who booked our flights. We used American airlines but it’s a code share with British airways. The outbound flight is still showing as Ok, but apparently, according to the agent, BA are cancelling in two week batches. But our return flight is cancelled on AA, so she’s trying to sort that. We might have to wait a little longer for BA to cancel. Kinda annoying because I have the money earmarked for a home project now, but Mr B won’t hear of it until we get the money back......remember you said your wife kept doing little improvements since lockdown! Well believe it or not, in our house Mr B is the boss and I have to be patient and wait.🤪
I think it really is a wait and see situation. There is a lot ‘they’ do not know. Don’t wear a mask, oh ... only kidding, recommend you wear a mask, oh ... what I meant was you must wear a mask. This pandemic could disappear like smoke when summer comes, or it could get worse. By summer Tauck may figure out how to test everyone in the smaller group trips. There are trips that are primarily outdoors, and arrangements could be made for exclusive Tauck venues. K&T comes to mind where you have almost no contact with ‘locals’, and that little contact could be eliminated with relative ease.
Wow, you mean I can get a test from Tauck, sign me up for any tour then😀 if this virus disappears like smoke, I’ll eat my mask! Just not that simple. If Tauck customer are afraid to go to K and T when there is Ebola thousands of miles away, like they were when you and I were in Africa a few years ago, they will not want to risk Africa this summer, Do you remember how small our groups were? Oh, and we just got our money back for our flights!
We did K&T about the same time- were asking regularly asked if we were concerned about Ebola.
In addition to looking for a cure/vaccine and faster, more reliable testing (less than 5 min.) there are considerable efforts being devoted to determining resistance (to you and ability to transmit) if you've had it and have the antibodies, and about contagion from those who are asymptomatic. Then there is another DNA study trying to find out why some people get it worse than others, despite age or underlying medical conditions.
It would be nice if they came out with an aerosol vaccine in the next month or so, that is easy to produce, e has no bad side effects, is super effective, takes effect immediately, lasts a lifetime- where you could line everyone up and give them a quick spritz up their nose. Dreamin'
Yesterday, I posted:
UAL allows you to change your flights on their website, even if you booked through another agent.
UAL allows you to change your flights on their website, even if you booked through another agent.
Turns out it wasn't that easy. Chase Rewards (or their computer) got word of the change and told United to cancel my new reservation. So I got emails from both saying my new reservation was canceled and that refund instructions would follow. Since there was no sense calling Chase Rewards (can't get through), I called United (got right through). After explaining whet happened, he reinstated my reservation and told me that my reservation was now completely with United and I wouldn't have to deal with Chase Rewards any more. I think what he did was apply my refund (or credit) to rebooking the new flight.
So bravo to UAL and a continuing boo to Chase Rewards.
Good for you, Ken. I may be dropping my Sapphire Rewards Card at the end of the year. The job Expedia is doing is horrible, and Chase is upping the yearly fee another hundred bucks on top of it. Anyone have another premium travel CC recommendation?
Hadn't heard about the price increase - that's a bummer, especially given the current travel environment. The Expedia customer service is definitely an issue, but should "improve" once the crisis passes. I say improve in quotes because I have had problems with them in the past. Once spent the better part of an hour with a totally incompetent customer rep trying to fix a rescheduled flight with too short a layover. She had short term memory problems (probably trying to multitask) and kept forgetting what I was trying to do. Still that extra 50% value on your reward dollars is hard to pass up.
If you're shopping around for a new credit card, nerdwallet.com is a good place to start. My problem with other premium travel cards is that the restrict the high percentage rewards to flights and hotels. So that cash back from Tauck trips wouldn't be nearly as much.
Ken - here's an article about the fee increase from the site you recommended:https://www.nerdwallet.com/article/travel/chase-sapphire-reserve-increases-annual-fee-and-adds-perks-why-it-could-be-a-bum-deal-for-you
Sam, we also were booked on the June 24 cruise to Iceland. Our TA called last Friday to say that Tauck offered a bonus to rebook. We may consider this for June 23rd or June 30th of next year. We have a B2B booked to the Arctic July 1. Since Tauck has not cancelled this yet, we are waiting to see what happens with that.
So much time planning trips and even more time involved with unplanning, rescheduling, etc. Unfortunately, that's life these days. .
Connorlaker- I assume Tauck will contact me at some point. We were looking into a mid-July 2021 rebooking.
Re another credit card, my husband has American Express Platinum. We get five times points for anything travel related and I get a free Gold Amex card. We can get into Amex lounges even if we fly coach. We get $200 a year credit airline related expenses like if we have to pay bags or even for Global Entry fees.
If we book hotels from Hotels and Resorts, we get early check in and late check out...4pm and upgraded room if available. Free breakfast too. We use this quite a lot for trips within the US. We also booked the Savoy in London that Tauck uses on their tours For a week in London some years ago at a great price.
We just today called Amex who we booked our flights with for our just cancelled tour. They were able to get all our money back for them.
Sam, when we went to Iceland. We chose the wettest summer there on 100 years but we still had a good time.
I, too, have Amex Platinum. I booked my flights for my recent Israel and Jordan trip with them. When several flights back to the States were cancelled, and others on the tour were trying desperately to contact their airlines or travel agents, I was able to talk to a real person very quickly and get another flight home. Then, Jordan announced that it was closing its airport the day after we were scheduled to leave, and our tour director advised us to get out early if we could, the same thing happened. I was able to get through to a real person right away and get new flights, and a refund of the second flight (less $250, because it wasn't the same airline). In the future, I will book all of my air with them.
In spite of my optimism my next trip has entered the likely cancelation column. We are a party of six, and the other four don’t want to go this year even if it’s not canceled by Tauck. I’m still a bit on the wait and see list. We all have basically double booked the same trip in 2021. I’m on the ‘go’ list if Tauck does not cancel, but it depends on how the trip would be managed. Creative minds could probably figure out how to make it happen if there are no ‘border’ restrictions. I’m actually thinking a transatlantic crossing on a small boat would be nice ... I’ve done three on big boats.
Hi Sealord. If you friends do cancel, please be sure that their bookings are not linked with yours
When we booked our Iceland tour, friends wanted to come with us and we were linked. They cancel lots of things and sure enough they canceled the tour. But when they canceled, the agent cancels us too. First we knew was an email fro kTauck saying how sorry they wer3 they we canceled. Fortunate we saw the email almost immediately and were able to call and reinstate before they gave our cabin to someone else.
If your friends cancel they will get a voucher but if you wait until Tauck cancel , you will have the option of a refund.
We told Tauck at the onset not or link our bookings but they virtually insisted. We will not let that happen again.
I was finally able to get through to Chase UR/Expedia. They now offer a chat link at the bottom right of the web page (that wasn't there a few days ago). Took about 15 minutes for a chat agent to appear and another 10 minutes to process my refund for cancelled United flights. The refund was processed in the identical manner it was paid - part cash and part points. The points appeared back in my account immediately and they said it could take 7-10 days for the cash to show up in the CC account.
So now I have an ESW trip in Sept with no flights. I'll sit on it a few months to see if Tauck cancels it. If not, I'll reschedule it for next year when flight schedules are hopefully back to normal.
Good to hear BKMD. I read the BBC World news daily and there is talk of tourists having to qualify for two weeks on arrival. Getting planes back in the air is complicating as I hope this interesting link will work
Coronavirus: How will airlines get flying again? https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-52441652
The two week quarantine idea for inbound travelers would never fly. (;-)
This saga is almost over. The credit for my United flight finally booked through Chase Travel posted to my CC account this morning. Sent a secure message asking for a check. Unable to talk to a live person, unless it's a lost card or fraud issue.
Congratulations BKMD, I hope you receive your check soon. I just finished a call with my Credit Card Company (had to wait on hold 45 minutes) and they have initiated a request to submit a check to me for the full amount of the canceled flight airfare from Lufthansa. The Dispute Department still has not received any feedback from Lufthansa against my charge back request of April 15, however, since I do not have a balance against my card they said that I could receive the funds right now. Hallelujah !!! What an ordeal, I will be glad once I have my check in hand and this nightmare will be over. I will never fly with Lufthansa again and will try to only use American companies where possible. I will also copy this response into my original post under Lufthansa so that others may have hope to receive their refunds using the Credit Card charge back procedure. Who knows when Lufthansa will ever issue credits, they consistently lie or evade the question all together.
Thanks. Glad it worked out for you, too. I just got an email from Chase saying they can send the funds electronically to my bank account, if I wish. That's something new. Should save some time and hassle.
That's good news BKMD. Gosh, I didn't even think to ask if I could get my my refund electronically, as my other Bank Card stated they could not do that. Oh well, that's ok. I have waited 3 months, I can wait another week or two to receive the check. Just hope our US Mail doesn't go belly up in the meantime.
And speaking of electronic transfers, here's a tip for everyone:
I have a secondary checking account I keep about $5 in. I use that one to provice acct number and ABA number for all electronic transfers, whether Chase, IRS tax refund, etc. That way, if a mistake ( or fraud) happens, where they try to debit rather than credit, there's nothing to take. When the funds hit the account, I transfer it elsewhere using the bank web site.
Maybe I'm paranoid, but they could really be trying to get me
Great idea. You are not being paranoid. We have to do whatever we can to protect our money from crooks these days.
Hope bkmd, prudent. My niece keeps a separate acct for her debit card with a minimal balance for the same reason.
Just got word today that my Sept ESW trip is cancelled. TA said Tauck just announced Sept cancellations.
Tauck just posted a 26 June update. In brief- A lot of philosophy, NEW HEALTH & SAFETY PROTOCOLS, Big is small (more small group offerings.), working diligently with our partners to be prepared to welcome you back when the time is right, TourCare (with links to vessel, tour, etc. partners' policies and procedures), Then the actual 9 June update which you have already seen, so I won't attempt to summarize.
There wasn't a whole lot of specific information in the update.
Thanks Alan, so I was correct about increase in Small Group tours. Be prepared to Pay out extra thousands of dollars.
The update also says Tauck employees and guests will need to sign a "Tauck Travel Well Pledge." Most of it is what you would expect, but the last sentence says "I understand that if I, or any member of my traveling party, become ill on tour, that all related expenses are my responsibility." I am wondering if this would just apply to guests not purchasing Tauck's insurance or if COVID-related illnesses will be excluded from coverage.