When the coronavirus pandemic took hold in the US, major hotel chains responded by changing their cancellation policies. For starters, they allowed people to cancel reservations even if they booked the most restrictive non-refundable rates. Also, they put into place very generous policies for cancelations with regards to future bookings. For the most part, you could cancel any reservation and get a refund right up to the day before your stay.
The hotels had to do this because people weren’t willing to make any reservation that they couldn’t cancel if the situation on the ground changed. Hotels needed bookings and were willing to do whatever it took to get people to think about traveling again.
While the number of cases in the US continues to rise, hotels aren’t as generous as they used to be with their cancelation policies. Hyatt’s COVID-19 travel website now states the following policy for the chain.
With some very limited exceptions, reservations booked on July 1, 2020 or beyond – for arrival dates through July 31, 2021 – can be cancelled at no charge up to 24 hours before your scheduled arrival.
Any reservations booked on July 1, 2020 or beyond that disclose a different cancellation or refund policy at the time of booking are excluded from this policy and subject to the cancellation or refund policy disclosed at the time of booking. Please visit the Change and Cancellation Fee Waiver Exceptions for a list of excluded Destination, Hyatt Residence Club, and Miraval properties.
Hotels may adjust this cancellation policy during some high-demand periods (e.g., holidays or special events). When making reservations, guests are always encouraged to review the rate rules, which show the current cancellation and deposit policies for all properties and rates, to ensure they understand the cancellation and/or deposit rules for each reservation.
I can confirm that some Hyatt hotels have set more restrictive policies, particularly during high-demand periods. Take, for example, this cancellation policy I found when looking for a Hyatt hotel yesterday.
I was booking with points so I didn’t have to worry about prepayment but the no refund or changes policy was a change back to “normal” (read: pre-COVID) policies that I’ve not expected in the time of coronavirus. I still decided to book the room anyway because I’d rather pay 15,000 Hyatt points for a room instead of paying $599 a night and I wasn’t sure about how long award rooms would remain available.
This is just a reminder to check the cancellation policies when booking a room because the waivers put into place earlier in the year are getting rolled back a little bit at a time.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary