Club Med vacation is canceled. Do I have to accept a credit?

Her Club Med vacation gets canceled when the pandemic hits. Then her rescheduled vacation gets canceled. Can she get a refund?

  • Sunday, July 25, 2021 1:30am
  • Life

Q: We booked a week-long vacation through a travel agent affiliated with American Express (Altour) for last spring break. We had accommodations at the Club Med Miches Playa Esmeralda, including roundtrip airfare, for our family of four.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the resort closed two weeks before our departure, and our trip was canceled. Club Med offered us a future travel credit for the land portion and an air credit for the flights. Last May, we rebooked with Club Med for spring break 2021.

Now the resort has not reopened, and our trip has been canceled a second time. They are again only offering us a future travel credit. For the airfare, which we booked through Club Med but is with American Airlines, we must use the flight credit before the end of this year.

We have been trying to work through our travel agent, but we have gotten only delays and obfuscation. I’m not sure if it’s the travel agent or Club Med.

At this point, we do not want to rebook, and we simply want a full refund of both the land and air portions of our trip. Club Med sold us a trip twice and canceled it twice. They have had $11,573 of our money for over a year. We feel it is not our responsibility to buy something else from them since they sold us a trip they cannot provide. We’ve told the travel agent that we want a refund, but she says they can only rebook. Can you help us get a refund?

— Emily Moerer, Merion Station, Pennsylvania

A: Club Med can’t keep your money indefinitely. I think you deserve a full refund for your vacation.

I also think you were smart to work with a travel adviser. You had an extra layer of protection. Altour should have advocated for a quick refund or offered an acceptable alternative. It’s unclear what Altour did for you. If I had to guess, I’d say it wasn’t stalling but was probably overwhelmed with other COVID-19 refund cases.

A lot of tour operators offered vouchers after the initial outbreak. And many customers accepted them, hoping the pandemic would be over soon. But this is the travel industry equivalent to “long COVID,” a condition where people continue to experience COVID-19 symptoms for longer than usual. It would have been easier if Altour had found a way to get your first vacation refunded. Then you could have booked a redo yourself when it’s safer, instead of scrambling to use your expiring flight vouchers.

By the way, your hard-earned money doesn’t expire. So why should your flight credits?

You could have appealed this to American Express. I list the names, numbers and email addresses of the Amex managers on my consumer advocacy site at www.elliott.org/company-contacts/american-express. I also publish the Club Med executive contacts at www.elliott.org/company-contacts/club-med.

I contacted Altour on your behalf. It made arrangements for a full refund.

Christopher Elliott is the chief advocacy officer of Elliott Advocacy, a nonprofit organization that helps consumers resolve their problems. Elliott’s latest book is “How To Be The World’s Smartest Traveler.” Contact him at elliott.org/help or chris@elliott.org.

Talk to us

More in Life

Josey Wise puts out one of the hundreds of glass pumpkins on a display at the Schack Art Center for the upcoming Schack-toberfest on Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021 in Everett, Washington. The festival runs from Sept, 23 to Nov. 6. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Glowing gourds light up Schack-toberfest in Everett this fall

You can see more than 1,000 of the glass pumpkins, and even make your own. Plus, check out The Artists’ Garage Sale on Sept. 25.

David Pallett, 77, works out with personal trainer Jim Hart on Aug. 30 at Optimal Sport Gym in Philadelphia. (Jose F. Moreno / The Philadelphia Inquirer)
Experts: Don’t put off exercising until retirement years

It’s never too late to start moving, but science is finding you may not catch up to lifelong exercisers.

If your diarrhea doesn’t resolved itself within a month, then it has turned into persistent or even chronic diarrhea. (Getty Images)
Does persisent diarrhea keep you running to the toilet?

Then it’s time to ask your doctor to test for infections, allergies and autoimmune diseases to find the root cause.

Welcome fall with Quil Ceda Creek Casino’s Asian chicken salad with a vegetable medley. (Quil Ceda Creek Casino)
Taste of Tulalip: Asian chicken salad with vegetable medley

Set the stage for fall with a Quil Ceda Creek Casino favorite featuring a kaleidoscope of colorful ingredients.

The Dmitri Matheny Group, led by horn player Dmitri Matheny, is scheduled to perform Oct. 9 at Tim Noah Thumbnail Theater in Snohomish. (Steve Korn)
All about music: Schedule of concerts around Snohomish County

The listings include Sir Mix-a-Lot, ZZ Top and Bands, Brews and Bowling at Evergreen Lanes in Everett.

The Stove Shakers are scheduled to perform Sept. 24 at Rocko’s Fireside in Everett. (The Stove Shakers)
Where to hear live music in Snohomish County nightclubs

The listings include Engel’s Pub, Mirkwood Public House and Port Gardner Bay Winery shows.

Oscar Madison, played by Joe Goins, left, annoys Felix Unger, portrayed by Thomas A. Glass, in Red Curtain’s production of “The Odd Couple,” showing through Sept. 26 at the Red Curtain Arts Center in Marysville. (Red Curtain)
Theater, dance and comedy shows around Snohomish County

The listings include Historic Everett Theatre, Edmonds Center for the Arts and Thumbnail Theater shows.

Have you tried mashed avocado smeared on whole grain toast? Top it with a cooked egg for more protein. (Getty Images)
On Nutrition: Food & Nutrition tips for finding the best breakfast

Here are some “break our fast” ideas high in protein, dietary fiber, calcium, potassium and vitamin D.

Chicken tamale casserole is an easy weeknight meal that’s full of cheesy, Tex-Mex flavor. (Gretchen McKay / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
Eat This: Chicken tamale casserole is Tex-Mex made easy

While it’s far from authentic, it offers all the flavors of a really great chicken tamale without the work.

Most Read