Marriott's 2 Day-3 Day Cancellation policy started June 15, 2017, and was quickly followed by Hilton's 2-3 day cancellation policy, which went into effect July 31, 2017. Previously, most Marriott and Hilton hotels, apart from resort locations, allowed you to cancel until 1 day prior to arrival. And since Marriott is buying Starwood, the Marriott policy applies to Starwood hotels as well, including brands such as St. Regis, Luxury Collection, Westin, W Hotels, etc.
Reader Mark seems to have only just noticed this change: “I recently was thinking of reserving the Ritz-Carlton San Francisco, with Virtuoso benefits, but there's a 3 day cancellation policy! When did this change? I expected it to be 1 day, as with most flexible rates. Isn't the point of a flexible rate to offer flexibility until the day before arrival? Is there a way to avoid this policy, or do I need to book another hotel?”
First, it's important to understand which markets are affected by Marriott's 2 day-3 day cancellation policy and Hilton's 2 day to 3 day cancellation policy:
Marriott and Starwood 2 Day – 3 Day Cancellation Policy
Marriott's 2 day cancellation policy applies to hotels in the United States, Canada, Caribbean and Latin America, across all Marriott brands (including Ritz-Carlton, Renaissance, etc. except for Design Hotels and MVW) as well as Starwood brands. Some Marriott high demand markets, such as NYC, San Francisco, Washington, DC, Chicago, Denver, among others, have 3 day cancellation policies. Interestingly, there seems to be some variation even within a market; for example, the St. Regis New York has a 3 day cancellation policy, but The Chatwal, a Luxury Collection Hotel, has a 2 day cancellation policy.
Hilton 2 Day – 3 Day Cancellation Policy
Hilton's 2 day cancellation policy i for Hilton operated hotels in the United States and Canada; franchisees may adopt a different cancellation policy. As with Marriott, high demand markets such as New York, San Francisco, and other have a 72 hour (3 day) cancellation policy. All Hilton brands that are Hilton operated are included; for example the Conrad New York also has a 72 hour cancellation policy, the Waldorf-Astoria Chicago has a 2 day cancellation policy, etc.
How to Avoid Marriott and Hyatt 2 Day Cancellation and 3 Day Cancellation Policies
1. Reserve with a Different Hotel Company
Road warriors may not always have a choice, depending on where they're traveling, given that Marriott and Hilton are such large chains and in certain smaller locales may be the main choice, without sacrificing quality. But leisure travelers generally visit larger markets, where there's more of a choice. Let's take New York:
- Four Seasons: 1 Day Cancellation Policy, by 6pm day before arrival
- The Peninsula: 1 Day Cancellation Policy, by 6pm day before arrival
- Mandarin Oriental: 1 Day Cancellation Policy, by 6pm day before arrival
- Baccarat: 1 Day Cancellation Policy, 24 hours prior to arrival
- Park Hyatt: 1 Day Cancellation Policy, by 3pm day before arrival (but mid-tier Hyatts such as the Grand Hyatt New York and Andaz 5th Avenue have 48 hour cancellation policies)
- Sofitel: 1 Day Cancellation Policy, by 4pm day before arrival
- The Plaza (Fairmont): 1 Day Cancellation Policy, by 4pm day before arrival
If you're booking with a corporate rate for work, your company may have a different negotiated cancellation policy with Marriott or Hilton properties than the prevailing ones.
4. Have a Reservation Made Prior to the New Policies
If you made a reservation prior to the Marriott and Hilton 2 day and 3 day cancellation policies going into effect, you should be able to have the hotel honor the cancellation policy noted on your confirmation.
5. Use Your Chase Sapphire Reserve to Cover the Cancellation Charge
While this doesn't avoid the hotel charging the penalty, if you booked the hotel using your Chase Sapphire Reserve and cancel for a reason covered by the Chase Sapphire Reserve Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption policy, such as illness or injury to you, a traveling companion or an immediate family member or severe weather preventing you from taking the trip, etc., you should be able to get the one night penalty refunded. Be sure to first ask the hotel if they'll waive the cancellation penalty first, as it's much easier and less time to avoid the charge in the first place than submit documentation to have the charge removed.
Have you sought to avoid the Marriott, Starwood and Hilton 2 day to 3 day cancellation policies?
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