Starting July 31, you’ll have to cancel your Hilton hotel reservation a minimum of two days ahead of time or face paying full price for that first night. That’s right. All Hilton brands will soon join Marriott/Starwood in this restrictive new 48-hour cancellation policy.
The new last-minute cancellation policies are going into effect at Hilton at the end of this month.
We checked today and found the 24-hour policy still in effect at some hotels, so we assume this applies to all reservations made on July 31 and beyond. Hilton already has restrictive cancellation policies of 2-3 days in effect in high demand cities like San Francisco or New York.
A Hilton spokesperson told TravelSkills: “…we have proposed an update to our policy guidance for US and Canada hotels that will begin at the end of the month (July 31). We have proposed updating the default house cancellation policy to 48-hours (72-hours in select locations) for our managed properties and have suggested the same for franchised hotels (this decision will be made at the property level). As always, the cancellation policy associated with any reservation is made clear to our guests throughout the booking process and in the confirmation emails they receive…We regularly review guest booking and cancellation patterns across our 5,000+ properties, and have seen cancellation rates rise the last few years These insights have led to the proposed update, which will allow us to maximize the number of available rooms for guests seeking accommodation. Both guests and hotel owners will benefit from rooms that would previously have gone unused.”
Listen to Chris discuss this with KCBS anchor Rebecca Corral.
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.
UPDATE: July 25: InterContinental Hotels Group brands (Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, etc) imposed a 24-hour cancellation policy effective this August. (It’s only a matter of time before it moves to a 48-hour policy, we expect)
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 both Marriott and Hilton are imposing the new policies, we’ll likely see the rest of the industry follow suit. Also keep in mind that several brands or individual properties have their own 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 the hotel if you can. It can’t hurt to ask for an exception, especially if the cancellation is beyond your control, such as bad weather or flight cancellation. A polite plea might do the trick.
See New York Times story here.
How do you feel about a 48 hour cancellation policy? Please leave your comments below.