Starwood is taking a step back and following Hilton and Marriott (read more here) by making the Best Flexible Rate cancellation policy more restrictive.
Up until now, most Best Flexible or Standard Rates have allowed same day cancellation until 4PM or 6PM without any penalty. Starwood’s blanket cancellation policy will change from same day to previous day by 6PM for reservations made on or after January 15, 2015.
Individual properties are free to allow more flexible cancellation policies in the future, but they have to manually redo the policy.
Here’s the announcement that Starwood made on their FlyerTalk post (access here):
Effective January 15, 2015, Starwood will implement a change to our room cancellation policy, which will be implemented at all Starwood hotels globally that currently offers a same-day-cancellation policy. After this change takes effect, guests must cancel a reservation as of 6:00 pm local time the day before arrival. This change will impact about 35% of our hotels, which currently allow for same day cancellation without penalty. The majority of Starwood hotels already have a cancellation policy of at least one day prior to arrival or greater.
The minimum room cancellation policy will apply to all new reservations made after January 15, 2015.
Starwood will be honoring any negotiated contractual rates. Reservations made under contracts will be governed by their negotiated terms.
Why call it a “Best Flexible Rate” in the future if it needs to be canceled minimum if 24 hours before arrival? Most of the corporate and other negotiated rates continue to allow same day cancellations (normally until 6PM).
Seems that the race to the bottom is starting with the hotels as well. One chain “signals” others changes that will negatively affect consumers and others then follow with similar “enhancements”. This is absolutely nothing else than a money grab.