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Hilton and Marriott scrapping ‘same day’ cancellation for Best Flexible rates

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Both Hilton and Marriott have failed to officially announce the fact that, from January 1st, they are scrapping the ‘cancel by 6pm on day of arrival’ room guarantee for Best Flexible rates.

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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Comments (9)

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  • Paul says:

    The changes and the manner of their introduction show a high degree of arrogance and contempt for customers. to be fair I rarely buy best flexible rates so unlikely to be affected and there is even less chance of that now

    • callum says:

      Why must so many people make ridiculous claims of companies having “contempt” for customers if they ever do anything to benefit themselves…

      They’re capitalist businesses! Each and every one of them puts their profits first – it’s their sole reason for existence. It has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with punishing or hating their customers!

      • Paul says:

        The issue is not putting their profits first, they make these decisions based on data which suggest there will be no impact on profit or an improvement in profits and so it is for them to decide which rules to impose. I can have no gripe with that as I can chose to accept or decline this change by how I purchase.

        The arrogance and contempt is that they have failed to communicate these changes to their customers, fairly, openly and honestly. I would never have known that this change was being introduced had it not been for this site and a third party advising me.
        The 6pm is generally well known and understood and so to change this in the manner that Hilton have and not communicate it to customer clearly and with some notice is duplicitous at best and downright dishonest at worst.

        Such dishonesty and sharp practice is bad business ethics and is the reason why the “capitalist” world is in the utter mess it is now. Will we will ever learn?

  • flieduk says:

    Just when I had set myself up with Hilton as my chain of choice :/

  • Dave says:

    I was stung for this at the IC Berlin in September. As you mentioned IHG flexible rates usually allow cancellation on the day, The best ‘flexible’ rate required cancellation 2 weeks before arrival! I was told by the hotel it was a because the weekend I booked was during the time of a particular conference where the hotel is exceptionally busy.

    You can see it now for the same period next year, select a random weekend in Berlin and the hotel has a normal cancellation policy, select the weekend 4 – 7 September 2015 and suddenly you need to give 2 weeks notice to cancel.

    Although it was clearly displayed, as someone familiar with the IHG best flexible rate I didn’t expect this and didn’t look at the small print.

    I was disappointed I couldn’t get a full refund when I had to cancel the booking a week out.

  • Andrew S says:

    Do we know if reward bookings are similarly effected?

    I would never pay for flexible rates, but on occasions i am unsure of plans i find this a good way of using up some points.

    • James67 says:

      Also, what about cash and award bookings already made for dates after 1st January? Presumably old terms at time of booking still apply or can they overide these with new terms?

  • sinizter says:

    That’s my two favourite chains being affected.

    If price, cancellation policy and perks do not align with what I need, I would have booked with a different hotel anyway.

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