Reader Email: Canceling Prepaid/Noncancelable/Nonrefundable Hotel Booking


LoyaltyLobby reader emailed me the following question earlier this week about canceling a prepaid rate that is not cancelable:


I always advise people to be very careful when making advance bookings using rates that are noncancelable or nonrefundable. You should only book these rates if your plans are 100% firm or you can to live with the fact that you will end up throwing away reservation or two once in a while.

Here’s what you could do:

1. Contact the elite level customer service first to see if they can help you with canceling the reservation without penalty. They will likely call the front desk and negotiate on your behalf.

If this is not successful then:

2. Contact the hotel directly and ask to speak with the General or Revenue Manager. Most of the managers are reasonable and willing to work with you including letting you cancel.

If this is not successful then:

3. If they are not willing to cancel the reservation/refund, inquire about using the money for a future reservation at the same hotel. This way the hotel wouldn’t lose any revenue and it would be win win for both parties.

If this is not successful then:

4. Have a friend living in the city checking in to hotel and get some points and stay & night credit out of it. Just make sure that you have added them as your second guest. It is not guaranteed that you will get the points etc. but very likely.

Travel Insurance

It could be worthwhile considering buying a yearly travel insurance if you travel a lot. Of course it wouldn’t cover for changing plans without a reason, but if your relatively passes away or you get sick, it would likely cover the expenses.


Always be careful with prepaid rates that are not cancelable with the airlines and hotels. I have thrown away few airline tickets over the years and handful of hotel ones.

Remember that hotels don’t have to cancel and refund if you have agreed to the terms at the time of purchase.

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