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A Tale of Two Trips: Vacation Nightmares and Credit Cards, Part Four

April 19, 2018
5 min read
A Tale of Two Trips: Vacation Nightmares and Credit Cards, Part Four
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This is Part Four in our Vacation Nightmare story. Be sure to read Part One, Part Two and Part Three for an introduction to our unfortunate travelers and full details of what they encountered on the first three days of their trip.

There's a common saying that bad things come in threes, and if that's true, the Allens and Becks are hopefully in the clear for the rest of their respective vacations! They've dealt with baggage issues, car rental damage in a parking lot and a brand-new cell phone dropped in the water. Surely nothing else can go wrong on this trip, right?

Sadly, that's not the case.

On day four of the Disney adventure, each family is about to walk out the door of their hotel when they get a frantic phone call. One of their parents has had a fall and is being rushed to the hospital back home. Instead of continuing on to Epcot, the Allens and Becks must cut their vacations short and head home. The kids are (naturally) disappointed but recognize that Gram-Gram needs her family by her side, so they begrudgingly start packing up.

Meanwhile, Mr. Allen and Mr. Beck pick up the phone to call the airline, as they'll need to change their flight to depart as soon as possible, two days earlier than originally planned. While the airline is willing to waive the change fee given the circumstances, it won't budge on the fare difference: $170 per person. Without any other option and desperate to get home, both fork over the money and begin packing the car.

As their husbands are on hold with the airline, Mrs. Allen and Mrs. Beck head down to the front desk to notify the hotel that they'll be leaving two days early. The hotel indicates that it's not a problem to do so, but since their reservation was prepaid months in advance, they aren't able to offer a partial refund of the unused portion ($400). Neither cares too much, since the money spent is a sunk cost at this point; they're just wanting to get home.

HOBOKEN, NJ - JUNE 19: Storm clouds pass over midtown Manhattan and the Empire State Building in New York City on June 19, 2017, as seen from Hoboken, NJ. (Photo by Gary Hershorn/Getty Images)
A summer thunderstorm can snarl air traffic at major hubs during the summer, as the Allens and Becks experience. Image courtesy of Gary Hershorn via Getty Images.

Unfortunately, things go from bad to worse rather quickly during the journey home. At the airport, a severe thunderstorm delays their first flights, and by the time they land, their connecting flights have long since departed. Since they were booked on the last flight of the day, they're rebooked for first thing the next morning. However, since the delay was weather-related and thus outside the airline's control, it isn't willing to provide complimentary accommodations for the unexpected overnight. It does provide vouchers to receive a discounted rate at a nearby hotel: $90 for a standard room for the night. Both families book two (connecting) rooms at a total cost of $180 and then incur additional meal expenses of $65.

Once again, Mr. Allen's decision to use the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card pays enormous dividends. For starters, the card offers trip cancellation/interruption coverage. Since he had to cut his family's trip short due to a covered reason (accidental bodily injury of an immediate family member), he's eligible to be reimbursed for not only the additional flight expenses but also the portion of the prepaid hotel that they had to forfeit.

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In addition, since they are delayed on the way home and require an overnight stay, the card's trip delay coverage kicks in, paying up to $500 per ticket. In the Allens' case, this will cover the entire cost of their lodging ($180) plus the meals ($65) once they submit the claim form and all required documentation.

The Becks? They're stuck paying the flight change, hotel and meal expenses out of pocket, adding to the growing list of unexpected expenses.

Day Four Scorecard

Allens: Received reimbursement for $680 flight change, $400 in unused hotel expense on Orlando and $180 hotel charge plus $65 worth of meals during the unexpected overnight.

Becks: Had to pay the flight change and overnight expenses, and weren't able to receive reimbursement for the unused portion of the hotel stay in Orlando.

Difference: $1,325

Cumulative Difference: $3,136

Just when you thought the Allens' and Becks' trips couldn't get any worse, they're both hit with a need to cut their trip short PLUS an unexpected overnight due to a flight cancellation. Once again, the Allens come out way ahead, simply by using the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card for their purchases.

Come back tomorrow for a final wrap-up of these two unfortunate families' experiences!

Featured image by Getty Images/EyeEm