When hotel changes flags or is reflagged, it is rebranded as other chain hotel, or the hotel is becoming independent non-affiliated hotel. This happens numerous times per year at all chains. Both the individual hotel in question and the chain are often contractually not allowed to inform about possible change before it actually happens or at most couple of weeks prior.
Here’s what you need to consider if you are holding a paid or award reservation at a hotel that is changing flags/reflagged.
The status benefits that you might have had with the original brand no longer apply. If the hotel is reflagged under other global brand with which you have status with, there is no necessarily change i.e. Starwood affiliated hotel moves to Hilton chain and you have Hilton Gold/Diamond status.
If you no longer wish to stay at the hotel, you should work with the hotel and request them to cancel the reservation without any cancellation fees. You can always argue that the reason why you chose them in the first place was the affiliation with the previous global brand, and that the change thus is significant.
This could be bit trickier as the hotel already has your money, but they tend to be flexible if you decide to cancel. You need to work this out with the property. If the reservation department is inflexible, I would escalate the issue all the way to the General Manager of the hotel.
This is somewhat trickier and there are really two different ways how these are normally handled:
1. Your award reservation is honored, but you won’t receive any possible status related benefits.
2. Your award reservation is canceled, but the chain is trying to accommodate you at their other nearby property. If the number of required points is higher, this is usually waived.
Normally the first sign, that something is going on, is when your reservation disappears from your upcoming reservations display. You might also get a call from the customer service regarding the award reservation you have.
Personally, I do care about the miles and points and the benefits that I receive from the programs that I participate to i.e. suite upgrades, club access, early & late checkouts. I really have hard time staying at hotels, where I don’t get any of these benefits.
You have to consider all the options on hand and proactively suggest options that suit you best. Hotels and chains are normally very eager to work with you to find an acceptable solution for both parties in a situation like this.