Until recently, if you made a hotel reservation, you guaranteed it with a credit card.
In almost all cases, if you canceled the reservation, even on the day you were supposed to check in, you weren’t charged.
Those days may be over.
I just read of a new policy from Marriott that levies a one-night penalty for cancellations made within 48 hours of expected check in.
The new policy applies to all of Marriott’s brands in the U.S., Canada, and Latin America.
Hilton has also implemented a similar policy.
Is it negotiable?
If you have frequent stay status with the major chains, the answer is a qualified yes, but under no circumstances should you ever cancel a reservation online.
That will almost always cost you a cancellation fee.
Best suggestion is to have a conversation with a manager, if possible. Don’t just call the 800 reservation line. Second choice would be to talk with a supervisor at the front desk of the hotel.
Does it mean you won’t get charged for paying for a room you won’t be using? Not necessarily. But the chances are better.
Are these policies here to stay? Not sure. We’ll have to check in a few months and see if they’ve changed again. Stay tuned…