This article on CNN came out a couple weeks ago, but I struggled with if it was a massive, oh-my-god the sky is falling problem, or something closer to a “meh” issue. Marriott announced on June 15th, 2017, that the cancellation policy has changed across the board – from what was usually a 24 hour period, to at least 48 hours.
Cancellation Policy Details
Guests will now be required to cancel their room reservation by midnight 48 hours prior to arrival in order to avoid a fee
The Marriott statement above represents a fundamental change in policy, affecting hotels in North and South America. These currently do not apply to the AP or EU regions, as well as independently owned Design Hotels, and the Marriott Vacation Worldwide hotels.
Some hotels already had 48 or 72 hour cancellation policies, and some of those will bump up from 48 to 72 hour required. This will also affect Starwood hotels, of which I am a frequent visitor.
How does this affect you?
It depends – on the type of traveler that you are. If you’re a planner, this shouldn’t affect you too greatly, barring some emergency that happens one to two days before your reservation.
Marriott is spinning this as a positive for guests, as it will “help out customers seeking reservations on short notice”. However, it is more likely due to the fact that last-minute cancellations left rooms unsold, and thus losing real money for the hotels and chains.
Points & Comparison
Because I typically book all of my stays on points and free night awards, and carefully plan my trips, I rarely need to cancel. Two days is more than sufficient, which is what I face now (or three days in some instances). Comparatively, this policy is more restrictive than some – IHG’s ridiculous 6pm night before cancellation policy is extremely favorable for guests, but compared to many other chains 24 hours is shorter than the norm.
I do not expect this change in cancellation policy to play a significant role in my travels, but may affect those who book and stay last minute. If you can avoid emergencies, do so, by planning ahead and being careful. Of course, you can’t always anticipate everything, but you can do your best to minimize disruptions in your travel plans!
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