Flight cancellations have become a common occurrence since the Covid-19 pandemic and airlines have changed their policies to match. They’ve made it more difficult, or essentially impossible, to get your money back. To protect yourself against new, less consumer-friendly airline rules it’s a good idea to use frequent flyer miles more frequently.
Carriers like Turkish Airlines have rewritten their own rules refunding passengers with vouchers as opposed to money. One way to protect yourself against airline shenanigans is to book flights through one of these major mileage programs. Since airlines are converting your money into miles, if you have them, it’s better to book with miles as long as cancellations are common.
Most of the major airlines quickly return miles (well under 30 days) when they cancel a flight you don’t want to immediately re-book. Holding on to your money is a safer bet as airlines have conveniently changed rules to remove their responsibility to refund for cancellations. Using one of the major mileage programs gives you more flexibility to re-book on multiple airlines or routes, as opposed to a single carrier’s mileage program.
When You Don’t Have Miles
Use the miles you do have – even if they’re not a part of the three major mileage programs. (Here’s how to start accumulating them in one place if you’re not already.) As a general rule, you don’t want to buy miles or mileage boosters because they’re worth more in cash – but with the high rate of cancellations lately it may be worth the added insurance to purchase a small amount, if you’re just under the miles needed for a flight.
Some specific travel insurance may be an option if you’re well below the number of miles needed to book flights to protect your purchase. The credit card you use may also be able to help, just be sure to check their policies before booking. There are good ways to earn miles without credit cards and you may actually have more miles than you realize. If you can put off air travel however, it’s a good time start stocking up for when it’s a bit less risky to buy tickets.