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Can you get a refund for your holiday if it goes onto the red or amber list? We explain

HOLIDAYMAKERS hoping to head abroad for some summer sun could once again have their plans thrown into chaos.

It comes as the government is expected to announce more changes to the travel green list today as part of their three weekly review.

🔵 Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest updates

There are fears Portugal could be moved from the green list to amber


There are fears Portugal could be moved from the green list to amberCredit: AP

Initially, it was hoped that holiday hotspots including the Spanish and Greek islands could be added to the quarantine-free travel list this week, opening up more destinations by June 7.

Now, reports suggest no new countries will be added to the green list, while others in the group, such as Portugal, could be moved to amber or even red.

Brits travelling back from amber list countries are required to self-isolate for 10 days and take a pre-departure PCR Covid test and provide a negative result.

They will also have to pay for a further two tests on day two and eight of quarantine.

Those travelling back from a red list country face a 10 day hotel quarantine stay that costs up to £1,750 per person.

The extra restrictions will mean that some tourists won’t be able to continue with their plans – so what are your refund rights? We explain everything you need to know:

Can I get a refund if my holiday is moved to the amber or red list?

Whether or not you’re entitled to a refund if the country you’re travelling to is moved from the green list to amber or red depends on the advice from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

The Government’s traffic light system indicates what countries it deems safe for Brits to travel to and what processes must be followed upon return.

But the assessed risk factors for travel are different to those of the FCDO – sometimes the FCDO will deem a country safe, even though it’s on the amber list.

And it’s the FCDO advice that holiday firms use to assess whether a holiday can go ahead.

If the FCDO advises against travel, then you will be entitled to your money back from a package holiday provider.

Travel: What are your rights to a refund?

MILLIONS of Brits have had holiday plans cancelled. Here’s what to do if you’re affected.

Firstly, speak to your airline or holiday firm about a refund or rearranging your plans.

You are entitled to a cash refund if it’s cancelled your holiday but many have large delays processing cash or may offer vouchers instead.

If the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advises against all but essential travel to countries or regions, you may also be covered for cancellations by your travel insurance if the holiday provider or airline is not helping you.

Keep in mind travel insurance must have been taken out before the FCDO advice changed, otherwise you won’t be covered.

If you don’t have travel insurance or the excess on your insurance is so high it’s not worth claiming, you may be able to claim your money back through your credit or debit card provider.

Credit card payments between £100 and £30,000 are covered under Section 75 of the Consumer Rights Act.

To start a claim, you need to contact your credit card provider directly – Which? has a free tool that can help you do this.

Debit card claims or credit card claims of under £100 may be covered under similar Chargeback guarantees.


You aren’t entitled to your money back if the the Government simply moves it to the amber list.

If you need to cancel your trip because you aren’t able to self-isolate when you’re home the you should expect to forfeit the full or part of the cost of the trip.

This is because you’ve decided not to go on holiday not because the trip has been cancelled by circumstances beyond your control.

“Remember there’s a big difference between a holiday cancellation and simply not being able to go,” said Martyn James, consumer expert at complaints site Resolver.

“However, realistically, as you can’t travel, the firm should allow you to change the date of travel, get vouchers or even a full refund.”

Some providers, such as TUI and British Airways Holidays, will let you move your booking penalty free if your trip has been affected by changes to the traffic light system.

Travellers who booked their holiday separately will only be able to get a refund on flights if they’re cancelled.

Flights to amber list countries are unlikely to be cancelled, so you’ll need to fly or lose the cost of flight, according to Which?.

If you paid by credit card you may be able to get a refund under Section 75 of the Consumer Rights Act, as long as it cost between £100 and £30,000.

Debit card claims or credit card claims of under £100 may be covered under similar Chargeback guarantees. 

You should contact your credit or debit card provider on how to make a claim.

Will my travel insurance cover me?

Consumer group Which? warns not all travel insurance policies offer full cover for holidays that can’t go ahead due to Covid.

For example, they might cover you if you fall ill with coronavirus but not if you’re told to quarantine by NHS Test and Trace when your due to depart.

“As a (very) general rule, insurance covers you for unexpected events or things out of your control, not for changing your mind,” said Mr James.

“So if you want to leave a holiday because it looks like the country you are in is going on the red list, you may not be able to claim any costs.”

This is why it’s important to check the small print before purchasing a policy.

What should you look for in a good travel insurance policy?

TRAVEL insurance policies can vary a great deal, but here are some “must have

  • Medical expenses – A good policy will give cover of £1million or more for travel in Europe and £2million or more for the USA
  • Repatriation service – The costs of getting you back to the UK for medical reasons should be covered automatically by your policy
  • Cancellation and curtailment – A good policy will cover you for £2,000 or more if you have to cancel or shorten your holiday
  • Missed departure – Covers additional accommodation costs and travel expenses up to £500 or more if you miss your flight due to circumstances out of your control
  • Delay – You’ll usually be covered for £250 or more if your travel plans are delayed due to circumstances out of your control
  • Baggage cover – Covers you if your baggage is lost, damaged or stolen. Look for policies that have cover of £1,500 or more.

Holidaymakers should also be aware that travel insurance taken out for a green list trip may no longer be valid if you decide to go ahead with it, despite it being moved to the amber or red list.

In particular, this will affect countries that the FCDO advises against travelling to.

Heading to these countries against FCDO advice will mean you’re not covered if you have an accident, get ill or lose your luggage when abroad.

However, some travel insurance policies may still cover you if the government has moved it to the amber list but there’s isn’t an FCDO travel ban in place.

You should check your policy and speak to your provider to see where your insurer stands on this.

What should I look out for when booking a holiday?

Mr James said it’s important to look for holiday providers with a flexible Covid cancellation policy to book your trip.

He added before booking, make sure you can contact the firm in case something goes wrong, and ask them where they stand on changing Government and travel advice, and lockdown restrictions.

“Ask if you’ll get a refund, if you can move the holiday forward and if you get vouchers, how long do they last for and can you cash them in,” he explained.

“I know this seems like a hassle, but these are the main problems that people have encountered with refunds in the last year – and a good holiday firm or airline should have clear and fair solutions and answers.”

The Sun’s Travel Editor Lisa Minot looks ahead to the Green list announcement – with fears Portugal could be taken off


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