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Hotel chains like Hilton and Marriott have been tightening their cancellation policies from 24 hours to 48 hours in advance, and now Hyatt is following suit.

Starting January 1, 2018, if you make a new Hyatt reservation or alter an existing one and end up needing to cancel, you’ll need to do so at least 48 hours in advance to receive a refund. And, no surprise here: This only applies to refundable paid and award stays — nonrefundable stays are nonrefundable no matter when you cancel.

While this isn’t a welcome change for business travelers and others who need to keep their plans flexible, there’s luckily a workaround. If you have Explorist or Globalist status in the World of Hyatt program, you’ll still be able to cancel your reservation up to 24 hours ahead of time with no penalty. So if you’ve been considering working toward Hyatt status in 2018 and could use the extra flexibility, this could be some extra incentive to hit at least 30 nights or 50,000 base points to earn Explorist.

Hyatt explains the new policy as follows:

Effective for reservations made or changed on or after January 1, 2018, Hyatt will implement a revised minimum cancellation policy that allows hotels to manage guestroom availability more effectively, including offering rooms and upgrades to rooms that would have otherwise gone unoccupied.

This new default cancellation policy requires guests to cancel their reservations at least 48 hours in advance to avoid a cancellation fee. Because each Hyatt hotel may continue to set its own cancellation policy based on local market dynamics and expectations, we always encourage guests to check the cancellation policy at the time of booking. It will continue to be transparently communicated at the time of booking and in guest emails.

While this change is designed to improve room availability, we recognize that flexibility is important and will offer relaxed criteria for our most frequent guests. Beginning with reservations made or changed on January 1, 2018, World of Hyatt Explorist, Globalist or Lifetime Globalist members will be able to cancel up to 24 hours before arrival when the hotel’s cancellation policy is 48 hours. This relaxed criteria will apply to all hotels excluding Hyatt Residence Club resorts, Miraval resorts and M life resort destinations and excludes pre-paid and non-refundable rates. It will also not apply when a hotel’s cancellation policy exceeds 48 hours.

Finally, if you’ve been considering booking a Hyatt stay, it might be smart to lock it in now before this change takes effect on January 1; since reservations booked (and not changed) before then will follow the more lenient 24-hour cancellation policy.

Featured image courtesy of the Park Hyatt St. Kitts.

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