Oh, come on! You now have to cancel your hotel reservation two days ahead of time or face getting dinged for that first night? Yep. Afraid so.
Effective today (June 15, 2017), new last-minute cancellation policies are going into effect at Marriott/Starwood hotels.
In order to avoid paying for that first night (including taxes and fees), you now have to cancel a full 48 hours (or more, depending on property) in advance.
Here’s the official word from Marriott today:
Marriott International is implementing a cancellation policy at hotels in the Americas including the United States, Canada, Caribbean and Latin America, across all brands except for Design Hotels. The revised policy allows us to make rooms available to guests that would have otherwise gone unoccupied due to a last-minute cancellation.
The change: While cancellation policies vary by hotel, hotels whose policy is to allow guests to cancel their room reservations on the day before arrival without incurring a fee are faced with a significant number of unsold rooms due to last minute cancellations. Guests will now be required to cancel their room reservation by midnight 48 hours prior to arrival to avoid a fee. This will allow hotels a better chance to make the rooms available to guests seeking last minute accommodations.
The revised cancellation policy will take effect on June 15, 2017 and applies to reservations made on or after June 15, 2017.
Because cancellation policies vary by hotel and for certain events and rates, customers should always check the cancellation policy that applies at the time of booking. Cancellation information is provided to guests prior to finalizing a reservation on www.Marriott.com.
Some observers suspect that hotel chains impose these rules to prevent travelers from booking a standard rate, then canceling the reservation at the last minute and re-booking at a cheaper rate using popular new last-minute booking sites and apps.
This sucks for business travelers because our schedules can change on a dime, and frequently do so with much less than 48 hours advance notice. Remember the good old days when you could cancel without penalty up to 6 pm on the day of arrival? In 2015, both Marriott and Hilton did away with that, upping the deadline to 24 hours- which did not sit well with TravelSkills readers at all (see post). Now this.
Now that Marriott has cornered the market with its purchase of Starwood, it can make consumer-unfriendly moves like this. Regrettably, we’ll likely see the rest of the industry follow suit– and keep in mind that several brands already have onerous cancellations policies in place, so always check before you buy! Another tip: Many hotels will work with travelers individually on these fees, so try to work it out with an agent if you can.
How do you feel about a 48 hour cancellation policy? Please leave your comments below.