To help! My Expedia Credit is about to expire

DEAR TRAVEL CAREER: I booked a stay at the Opus XVI Hotel in Bergen, Norway in 2020 through Expedia. The hotel was part of a package. I had to cancel the trip due to COVID-19.
Expedia refunded our airfare and issued a $1,875 credit for Opus XVI which expires December 2021. Norway was closed to US travelers so we were unable to use the credit.

Christopher Elliott, the travel convenience store

I called and requested an extension or a refund from Expedia. A rep told me they would contact the hotel on our behalf, but we needed to deal directly with the hotel for a resolution. Expedia said it already sent the $1,875 to Opus XVI.

I emailed the hotel last summer and received an email response that they declined my request. Instead, the hotel offered a 50% discount if we booked a future stay directly.

I emailed Expedia, sharing the hotel’s denial of our request, and asking for their help in getting an extension. We have not received any response from Expedia. I understand this was a non-refundable reservation, but as our stay was canceled through no fault of ours and we cannot visit Norway, we believe our credit should be extended. It is unfair to pay for a stay that we cannot take. Can you help ?

— Kent York, St. Paul, Minnesota

RESPONNSE: The Opus XVI shouldn’t pocket your money. Expedia should have helped you get a refund or an extension.

Your trip to Norway was part of an organized trip including airfare and accommodation. Technically, this makes Expedia your tour operator, and it takes some responsibility for ensuring that all components are in order and usable. Expedia is also your travel agent and as such should take care of you, especially during a difficult time like this.

Telling you that you had to deal directly with Opus XVI was simply wrong. A good travel agent and tour operator takes responsibility for the products they sell. Expedia failed to do so.

I understand Expedia had already paid for the hotel, but that’s not your problem. And I also know the rules say you can’t get a refund. But these are unusual circumstances, and companies like Expedia and its hotel partners have invoked it time and time again during the pandemic. You can also.

I would have sent a short courteous email to an Expedia executive. I list the names, numbers and email addresses of Expedia Customer Service Managers on my Consumer Advocacy site, Calling doesn’t make much sense because you won’t have a record of the conversation. You need written proof that you have tried to resolve this issue through the correct channels.

Companies shouldn’t be able to pocket your money at a time like this. You may want to entrust your business to a travel agent or tour operator – as opposed to an online agency – who will fight for you in an extraordinary circumstance.

I contacted Expedia on your behalf. The company has agreed to extend your hotel voucher for one year.

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