From the New Year, the vast majority of both Hilton and Marriott family properties will be adopting a cancellation policy of midnight on the day before arrival. ‘Midnight’ is defined as local hotel time.
If a room is cancelled on the day you were meant to arrive, your credit card will be charged for the full room rate. Both chains will also be insisting that a valid credit card number is supplied at the time of reservation, something which was not required by some properties.
There will be flexibility for individual hotels to opt out of this arrangement but that does not seem incredibly likely.
This will leave Hyatt, Starwood, IHG, Carlson et al at a competitive advantage if a traveller is concerned that they may end up cancelling a room at short notice and want to avoid being billed.
I cannot link to any official announcements of this policy because there aren’t any. Hilton announced it via a post on Flyertalk whilst Marriott has confirmed that an internal memo leaked to a US travel site about its changes is genuine.
With hotel occupancy at high levels, chains may believe that they can start pushing back against the well-being of their customers. Feel free to vote with your feet if you feel differently.
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