Co-op Holidays has unveiled a travel pledge to pay cash refunds to holidaymakers within 10 working days if it cancels a holiday.

The Co-op Holidays Promise launched by Midcounties Co-operative’s tour operator brand also offers low deposits, last-minute cancellations and no fees for changing a booking.

It has brought out the pledge alongside a new Covid-19 inclusive insurance policy in conjunction with Rock Insurance.

The new promise is applicable on any future holiday booking and includes a pledge to pay a cash refund within 10 days, including the deposit, if it has to cancel the holiday for any reason. It also commits to not deferring refunds or issuing refund credit notes.

Under the new promise, deposits are offered from £49, which it claims is among the lowest currently offered in the market.

Co-op Holidays will not charge administration fees when customers want to change a booking, except those costs incurred by third-party suppliers, such as airlines or hotels. If prices rise or fall as a result of the amendment, clients will either pay the extra or will be refunded the difference.

Holidaymakers can also cancel their holiday up to six weeks prior to travel and will only lose the original deposit that they paid under the new promise.

The promise is offered with an insurance scheme which includes automatic cancellation and medical cover for Covid-19 at no extra charge. This will be included in all new policies and Rock Insurance has agreed to backdate the cover to all policies issued since April 14 where EIG is the underwriter. These customers will automatically receive the enhanced cover.

The operator’s packages are sold by any travel company affiliated to Midcounties Co-operative, which includes its 55-plus high-street Co-operative Travel agencies across the UK and 16 branches joining the group this August from Central England Co-operative, agents in its virtual call centre, any of its 170-plus homeworkers, known as The Personal Travel Agents at Co-operative Travel, and by any of 170 agencies in the Co-op Travel Consortium. The operator sells a range of packages, from short breaks to all-inclusive holidays.

Hugh Smith, operations manager of Co-op Holidays, said: “It will take some time before Covid-19 is a distant memory. Until then, we want the customers of our affiliated agents to be able to book and look forward to that hard-earned holiday and continue to enjoy the magic of travel.”

Rad Sofronijevic, chief operating officer of Midcounties Co-operative’s travel division, claimed the pledge was “one of the best propositions in the market”.

She added: “After these very tough months for the travel industry, Midcounties’ travel brands are picking up momentum once again. Our Co-operative Travel stores have all now reopened, offering an appointment system to allow for social distancing. Along with our retail shops, the personal travel agents and consortium members have seen a lift in bookings since travel restrictions were eased and our support for agents and members along with valued customers remains our primary focus.”