Book Your Travel Wisely: Tip-of-the-Day #325

This is a tricky travel wisely, that is. What do I mean? Look for a deal? Sure. Book through reputable travel sites? Yep. Choose a form of payment that is secure? YES. All of this leads up to my story.

Two years ago I booked a luxury vacation through I had to cancel my trip for personal reasons and used my credit with Luxury Link to rebook the same trip at a later date. That trip was cancelled due to Hurricane Odile. Fast forward two years (too long to wait for a vacation) only to get an email from Luxury Link the day before the trip saying they had closed their virtual doors and any upcoming (paid in full) vacations would not be honored. The exact phraseology reads like this:

Dear Consumer:

Effective immediately, Luxury Link LLC aka Luxury Link Travel Group has ceased all operations and entered into a General Assignment for the Benefit of Creditors (ABC), following which all of its assets will be sold. As a result, Luxury Link will not be able to honor the travel you have booked through it. We suggest you contact your credit card issuer for your options regarding any charges to your credit card. You may also want to contact the destination property directly to see what arrangement you can make with it. As Luxury Link is no longer operating, it will be unable to assist you in rearranging your travel plans or obtain a refund. 

You will be receiving further news regarding the ABC in the next few weeks. Until then, no further information will be available.

Luxury Link Management 

Nice, right? There was good news and bad news. Bad news: I booked the lion's share of the cost through a credit card I no longer use and the account is not active. I tried phoning Chase to see if they could pull up my account and source the date in October 2013 when the transaction occurred and they couldn't even find a record of my account. Buh bye any chance of dispute through that channel. The good news? I booked the second part of the trip using an American Express that I still actively use (in fact, I'm a pretty good customer!) and they didn't bat an eye when I asked if they could dispute the approx. $600 charge dating back to Feb of 2014. No problem. Done.

Lesson here (and, I read an interesting article online where the author mentioned the same thing):

  1. Don't book your travel so far in advance if you can help it. Agencies go out of business. Airlines go out of business. Hotels go out of business. It doesn't happen all the time, especially if you're booking with a reputable, long standing establishment...but in my case, Luxury Link had been around for at least a decade and plenty of loyal customers swore by their customer service.
  2. Don't book a trip with a credit card you have even the slightest chance of cancelling. You'll be screwed if you ever need to go back and dispute a charge.
  3. Always use your American Express (when possible). They have the BEST customer service of anyone out there and will always have your back--even a year and a half after a transaction was processed!

Life....still learning. Good luck out there!

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