A LoyaltyLobby reader alerted me today for cancellation policy changes that he had seen for best flexible rate reservations he had made for reservations this week in the UK.
Hilton, Marriott and Starwood have all changed their policies when it comes to canceling “Best Flexible Rate” reservations from same day cancellations to first 24 hours before and then up to 48 hours before. Can you even call them best flexible rates anymore?
You can access IHG Rewards Club here.
Here’s email from the reader:
I have noticed in the last few weeks that the IHG Best Flexible rate now has a free cancellation cut off of 4pm on the day before check in. Up until 2 weeks ago, this was 4pmon check in day. Can’t say for sure it’s all UK properties however the bookings I have made this week are all now quoting this new cancellation policy and are spread across the UK so not just certain high occupancy areas such as London. Not had any notification of this change from IHG. Was wondering if this was just UK or have they snuck this change across all areas ? It is a huge change in terms for me as my plans are subject to last minute changes so this could cause me a lot of problems going forward.
Here’s clarification that I received from IHG spokesperson:
The changes to IHG’s cancellation policy will provide our guests with greater consistency when managing their reservations and offer certainty for our owners. IHG’s previous cancellation policy varied by both region and brand, and this new change will mean that the majority of the IHG estate will now operate under similar terms. Guests will have one day prior to arrival to cancel their reservations without penalty, which still leaves them with 24 hours if they need to cancel their booking.
Implementation will begin within each of the regions as follows:
o Began on July 28 – Europe
o Began on August 4 – Americas
o By end of September – Asia, Middle East and Africa
o At this time, China will not be modifying its current policy
o The cancellation for Reward Nights will remain as it works today and follows the hotel house cancellation policy
o Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants currently has a 48-hour cancellation policy in place and there will be no change
o The cancellation policy for Greater China region will remain the same where 85% of hotels have a same-day cancellation policy and the remaining 15% range from one-day up to 9 days prior to arrival
It really unfortunate that hotels are moving far more restrictive cancellation policies on “best flexible reservations”.
This basically means that they will get more same day reservations because guests are hesitant to book in advance in case flights are delayed and they are in hook for reservations they are unable to cancel.
I am still waiting which chain is first to market premium to have same day 4PM cancellation guarantee included in the rate……