Marriott and Hyatt have joined Hilton and IHG in offering free cancellation of existing and future non-refundable bookings.
For reference, here is our article on the IHG and Hilton cancellation policies.
What is Marriott policy on coronavirus cancellations?
This is the Marriott coronavirus page.
As usual, you should read that page carefully before acting and not rely on my interpretation, in case you make an expensive mistake.
However, as I understand it:
all EXISTING reservations, even Advance Purchase non-refundable rates, can be changed or cancelled up to 24 hours prior to arrival. You can cancel up to 30th April. The stay itself can be for any future date.
for NEW reservations, even Advance Purchase non-refundable rates, made between today and 30th April, you can cancel for a full refund AT ANY POINT up to 24 hours prior to arrival
Booked before 13th March? You can cancel for free until 30th April, irrespective of stay date.
Booked between 13th March and 30th April? You can cancel for free at any time, irrespective of stay date.
All good. Or is it? Because the small print says this:
“Some exclusions may apply. May exclude periods with special event restrictions or peak demand weeks. Please refer to individual property rate rules for details.”
This is as clear as mud. You can either cancel for free or you can’t. Marriott can’t have it both ways. In reality, I expect that the clause above will only apply in very rare circumstances, eg Super Bowl weekend or New Years Eve when hotels generally refuse to offer refundable rates at all. Marriott really should have removed the line however.
It is also worth noting that Design Hotels are excluded from this policy.
You can find out more on the Marriott coronavirus page here.
What is the Hyatt policy on coronavirus cancellations?
The Hyatt policy is very similar:
Existing reservations made before 13th March, for stays until 30th April, can be cancelled up to 24 hours before arrival. Advance Purchase non-refundable rates are included.
Existing reservations made before 8th March, for stays in May or June, will NOT qualify for a refund if cancelled. However, you will receive 10,000 World of Hyatt points (which I value at £100) as compensation as long as the cancellation is made 24 hours before arrival.
New reservations made between 13th March and 30th April, for ANY future date, can be changed or cancelled at no charge up to 24 hours before your scheduled arrival. Advance Purchase non-refundable rates are included.
Hyatt has also postponed the introduction of peak and off-peak points pricing until 2021.
It has also deferred almost all of the category changes due to be implemented on 22nd March until 2021. There are only five exceptions, and the only European one is positive – Park Hyatt Mallorca will still drop from Category 6 to Category 5.
There is no word yet on changes to status qualifications for 2021 but the company has stated that there will be adjustments made at some point.
Full details of these policy changes are on the Hyatt website here.