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Hotels Tighten Cancellation Policies

Many people are used to canceling hotel reservations sometimes at the last minute without penalty or cancellation fees. Not anymore.

Several major hotel chains quietly imposed stricter cancellation rules recently, including Marriott, Hilton, and Holiday Inn.


Buried on the Marriott website is their announcement:

Marriott International is implementing a cancellation policy at hotels in the Americas including the United States, Canada, Caribbean and Latin America, across all brands with the exception of MVW and Design Hotels.

In an effort to better serve guests seeking last-minute accommodations, guests will now be required to cancel their room reservation 48-hours prior to arrival in order to avoid a fee. The revised cancellation policy will take effect on June 15, 2017 for reservations made on or after June 15, 2017.

So the old 24-hours policy is giving way to 48-hours advance notice (and at some locations, 72-hours) or the traveler will be charged for the first night’s stay.

Hilton followed suit announcing that reservations made on or after July 31, 2017 would incur a cancellation penalty of the first night’s stay if not cancelled at least 48 hours in advance. Some of their hotels will also have a 72-hour cancellation requirement as well.

And last, IHG, which runs Holiday Inns, Crowne Plaza, and Kimpton Hotels is imposing a 24-hour cancellation rule as of August 4 in the United States.

Once upon a time it was common for a hotel to allow cancellation as late as 6 PM on the expected date of arrival. No more. So be sure to check the reservations page so you know what policy applies at your particular hotel.

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11 thoughts on “Hotels Tighten Cancellation Policies”

  1. Very unhappy with this change as illness often prevents me from making it to my intended destination. An entrepreneur will likely establish “missed stay” insurance and step into the void to guarantee a full refund to those who can’t make it to their hotels. Another expense making travel more difficult and expensive.

  2. I don’t have an issue with this, 2 or 3 days notice or you pay a fee. Hotels have a hard time booking at the last minute. I’d have no issue if they said free if you cancel 4 days out, 10% fee for 3 days, 20% for 2 and 30% for 1 or something like that.

  3. All the reason why I avoid these hotel chains and have successfully been using B%B’s at a much cheaper rate for a few years now. When I travel it’s like a car dealership…. The fancy, costly overhead does not impress me and not willing to pay for it.

  4. So what happens if you don’t cancel in time to avoid the fee, but the hotel sells your ‘reserved’ room after you cancel late?

    Do they get paid twice for the same room? Doesn’t seem very fair. They have charged you for the first night.

  5. @bobl

    Yes, that is exactly what would happen. If you call at 1PM today to cancel your room for tomorrow, they will do their best to sell that room and charge someone else for it tomorrow.

  6. @ K. Bello
    No need for insurance as there are already specialty sites that will sell your unused reservations.
    roomertravel and cancelon are 2 already that those that need to sell and try not to get hit with the late cancellation fee can go to and sell.
    Once more Hotels jump on the trend of charging for cancels these alternative reservation sites will do more business.
    Do not like the change but it does give an option to sell your reservation rather then just canceling it.

  7. I have noticed two startling things: I recently did two ‘award night’ stays with a major chain and in the past if I needed to cancel prior to 24 hours I could just cancel and re-book, i.e. my route changes. But now the reservation is final and if I didn’t need it I could cancel it but I would be charged the cash equivalent of the room. I’d get my points back but I would also have to pay for the room which seemed ODD. The second thing goes to the points made earlier on selling the room to someone else. There are more and more outlets like Hotel Trivago, Hotwire, and other last minute deals so less and less inventory should be floating around that would otherwise not be sold.

  8. Here is the exact wording: When using points for a reservation, you will be charged a monetary amount (listed on your confirmation) if cancelled after the deadline and your points will be returned. – this was never the case before….

  9. I think that 48 hours notice required for a hotel room reservation is fair in order to avoid charges.

    In some areas that are extremely busy, 24 hours notice may be enough time to reasonably allow someone else to rent the room, but in areas where reservations don’t fill that fast, 48 hours is likely more appropriate for business.

    I’ve have never waited less than 24 hours before knowing when and where I wanted to reserve a hotel room.

  10. It is important to get the word out about these changes because with the upcoming solar eclipse, it may affect a lot of people. I have heard of people who reserve rooms in 3 or 4 different areas along the path of the eclipse and will decide at the last minute which location should have the best weather to view the eclipse. For their sake, I hope a lot of those people had their reservations made before the policies started changing or they may find themselves paying for several rooms.

  11. This makes sense. Anyone who books a room without reading what the cancellation policy is deserves the consequences of their actions. This is a situation where personal responsibility comes into play. Hotels are a business, and particularly during slower seasons, will not necessarily be able to rebook the room. 48 hours is fair notice. If you need to be able to change your mind at the last minute, book travel insurance, or wait to book a hotel until the last minute and hope someone else cancelled.

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