Both IHG Rewards Club and Hilton Honors have made positive announcements about removing the restrictions on Advance Purchase bookings.
This means there are unintended consequences:
if you have a Hilton or IHG hotel booking made at the Best Flexible rate, it makes sense to cancel it and rebook a cheaper Advance Purchase rate – because the Advance Purchase rate is now fully refundable!
if you have a Hilton or IHG hotel booking made at the Advance Purchase rate, you should check it – you could save money by cancelling and rebooking it if rates have fallen
Before you do this – because I don’t want to take the blame if anything goes wrong! – please carefully read:
What is the new IHG policy on refunding Advance Purchase rooms?
IHG has said that it will waive cancellation fees on Advance Purchase bookings for stays up to 30th April.
The rule applies to both new and existing bookings.
Positively, IHG has said that this policy will also apply if you booked via an online travel agent such as Expedia or Booking.com. However, you will need to contact the agent to discuss your cancellation rather than choosing the online cancellation option, as this is likely to trigger the existing ‘no refund’ rules.
If you have an existing IHG booking before 30th April at a flexible rate, or where the rate has fallen sharply since you booked an Advance Purchase rate, I recommend cancelling and rebooking at an Advance Purchase rate.
Please double-check the official IHG travel advisory notice, which is here, before taking action.
IHG is also reducing the elite status criteria for 2021
IHG Rewards Club is lowering the criteria for earning or renewing your status for 2021.
Take a look at this chart (click here to see the original):
Spire Elite is cut from 75,000 base points to 55,000 base points, or from 75 nights to 55 nights.
What is the new Hilton policy on refunding Advance Purchase rooms?
Hilton has said that it will waive cancellation fees on EXISTING Advance Purchase bookings for stays up to 30th April.
For NEW bookings, the wording implies that Advance Purchase bookings made by 30th April for ANY future date will be fully refundable.
The only requirement is that you cancel 24 hours before arrival.
Hilton has NOT said if this policy applies to bookings made via other channels such as Expedia.
If you have an existing Hilton booking at a flexible rate, or where the rate has fallen sharply since you booked an Advance Purchase rate, I recommend cancelling and rebooking at an Advance Purchase rate.
Please double-check the official Hilton travel advisory notice, which is here, before taking action.
Hilton has also said that it is working on a policy to deal with status expiry although it is not yet finalised. In the interim, all points expiry will be curtailed until 31st May.
Before you ask, there is no similar news yet from Marriott. The only waiver on offer is only valid to 31st March and only covers the following countries: Mainland China, Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, French Polynesia, Maldives, India, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal Bangladesh, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, New Caledonia, Samoa, Italy. You can find out more on marriott.com.