After a flight cancellation, how do I get a refund from Chase?

refund from chase

After JetBlue cancels Deborah Luiz’s flight from St. Maarten to Boston, her credit card promises to refund her points and airfare. The points arrive but the money is delayed. How does she get a refund from Chase?

Question

I need help with getting a $935 refund from Chase. In March I was supposed to take a return flight from St. Maarten to Boston on JetBlue. But JetBlue canceled the flight because of the pandemic and promised me a refund.

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Here’s the problem: I had used a combination of points and money to book the ticket on my Chase Ultimate Rewards card. So far, Chase has returned my points, but I don’t see a refund for the flight. I have an email from Chase promising me both the refund and the points.

I had to book a new return flight to Boston through American Airlines. So I paid the airline with my Chase credit card. But I suspect that may have created some confusion. I’ve called Chase Ultimate Rewards several times and they stated it would be refunded in 60 days. It’s now been 90 days! Can you help me get my refund? — Deborah Luiz, Eastham, Mass.

Answer

Chase should have refunded both your points and flight, as promised. It’s clear to me why you only got your points back. For Chase, that was the easy part — it controls your points. But for your money, it has to wait for JetBlue to authorize the refund. Chase had to wait for JetBlue to authorize the refund so you could get your money.

I don’t think buying the return flight on another airline confused the folks at Chase. JetBlue, not Chase, was in control. But there was also a third party: your online agency, Expedia. Chase uses Expedia for its reservations. Between Expedia, JetBlue, and the pandemic, things slowed down. A lot.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), airlines and online agencies must pay refunds within a week. Not 60 days or 90 days. One week. The DOT looked the other way during the pandemic, giving airlines and agencies plenty of time to issue refunds. And still, people like you waiting for more than three months. That’s unacceptable.

How to get a refund from Chase

I list the names and numbers of executives at Expedia, JetBlue and Chase on my consumer advocacy site, Elliott.org. A brief, polite email to one of the executives might have helped.

There’s an unspoken agreement between a credit card company like Chase and its members. You’ll put all of your purchases on the card, but in exchange, Chase will support you when you encounter problems with a transaction. Chase has a track record of slow responses, at least with readers of this column.

When I look at the exchange between you and Chase, I don’t see that. I see form responses sent by nameless Chase employees that do absolutely nothing to help you. Even the involvement of my advocacy team did little to change that. It took several tries — and many months — to resolve your case.

But Chase did, finally, help you get your $935 back. I think the next time you run into a problem like this (and I sincerely hope there isn’t a next time), you should skip your online agency, credit card and airline, and just file a complaint with the DOT. They’ll get you a refund within a week — if they do their job.