Does cancellation insurance have to cover the cost of a canceled flight, even if it was paid for with bonus miles? In the last instance, the BGH upholds a plaintiff.
The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) strengthens travelers in the dispute with cancellation insurance: Anyone who paid for a canceled flight with bonus miles that are now irretrievably lost is entitled to compensation. This results from a Karlsruhe judgment from the beginning of March, which was published on Monday. (Ref. IV ZR 112/22)
The plaintiff had booked flights to and from the United States, which he paid for with bonus miles from an airline program. He canceled the trip because of illness. According to the airline’s conditions, the bonus miles used will not be credited back in such a case.
The family insurance taken out by the plaintiff’s wife stipulated that “among other things, cancellation costs in the event of non-commencement of the trip up to 80% of the travel price” are insured. The insurance conditions state that compensation will be paid for the “contractually owed cancellation costs”.
So far unsuccessful in court
In the dispute with the insurance company, the man had so far gone empty-handed. Most recently, the district court of Wuppertal decided that he had not incurred any resignation costs. Bonus miles are “not tradable in the sense that there is a market for them where they can be bought and sold,” the statement said. And a “non-monetary consideration for a flight” should “not be tradable via a trip cancellation”.
The BGH now sees it differently in the last instance: “By taking out travel cancellation insurance, an average policyholder will expect protection against such costs that arise because the insured person cannot go on a booked trip due to illness,” write the top civil judges . You think that for the insured person this also includes the bonus miles. Because they have value “regardless of their lack of tradability, because the plaintiff can use them as part of the bonus program as consideration for goods or services offered”.
So the man is entitled to compensation. It is not yet clear how much money the insurance company will have to pay him. The district court had not yet clarified the value of the bonus miles used and now has to do so.
BGH judgment of March 1st