Hilton has been leading the pack when it comes to COVID-19 response allowing guests to cancel reservations, even those prepaid, and extended everyone’s status by a year, including those that were about to be downgraded this past march.
Now, Hilton has made an update to the conditions on April 9, although it hasn’t changed the UPDATE-date listed on the website.
You can access Hilton’s page for coronavirus response here.
Here’s the update:
If you are a Hilton Honors member and cancel an Advanced Purchase rate, you may be eligible for a free night certificate for each cancelled night. Free night certificates can be used at our over 6,000+ properties worldwide. Stays must be completed by August 31, 2021.
It is unclear what these free night certificates are, but I would assume that Hilton relies on their existing procedures for BMGs (Be My Guest).
The text states that they can be used at over 6,000+ properties worldwide through August 31, 2021. Usually, these BMGs are brand specific. You must use it at a Hilton affiliated brand under which they were issued.
Here’s the travel flexibility part:
Your Travel Flexibility – Updated as of March 25, 2020
We have made additional adjustments to our modification and cancellation policies to provide you with maximum flexibility while travel remains restricted in many parts of the world.
- Existing Reservations. All individual reservations—even those described as “non-cancellable” (“Advanced Purchase”)—that are scheduled for arrival on or before June 30, 2020 can be changed or cancelled at no charge, up to 24 hours before your scheduled arrival day.
- New Reservations. Any individual reservations you make—even those described as “non-cancellable” (“Advanced Purchase”)—that are booked between today and June 30, 2020 for any future arrival date can be changed or cancelled at no charge, up to 24 hours before your scheduled arrival day.
If you cancel a rate which required an advanced payment or deposit, we will do everything we can to process your refund as quickly as possible. Due to the influx of cancellations, it may take up to 30 days to complete your request. If you are a Hilton Honors member and cancel an Advanced Purchase rate, you may be eligible for a free night certificate for each cancelled night. Free night certificates can be used at our over 6,000+ properties worldwide. Stays must be completed by August 31, 2021.
If you need to adjust reservations made via the Hilton website, app or call center, you can change your reservation here or contact the Hilton Guest Assistance team. If you need to adjust reservations made through another travel site, please contact them for assistance.
Here are some of our previous articles about Be My Guest Certificates:
I wouldn’t mind foregoing refunds for prepaid nights if I can turn those for stays at hotels such as Conrad Koh Samui or Waldorf Astoria Maldives with very high nightly rates.
The issue Hilton may be experiencing here with refunds is that there is nobody left at the hotels to process them that have suspended operations (and may end up closing for an indefinite period).
If these certificates indeed are BMGs, they are straightforward to use. You just book the most flexible rate for the standard room and hand in the certificate at the time of checking in or out. The hotel then moves the room charge to an internal account to be charged back to corporate.
I have always received the points associated with the paid rates (points shower with expensive rates!) when using these certificates.