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Major hotel brands are providing rooms to Ukrainian refugees while pausing projects in Russia

March 24, 2022
5 min read
Skyline of Moscow at dusk
Major hotel brands are providing rooms to Ukrainian refugees while pausing projects in Russia
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As the situation in Ukraine intensifies, governments around the world are continuing to place heavy sanctions on Russia while businesses and major brands, such as McDonald’s, Coca Cola and Starbucks, are stopping activity in the country.

Major hotel chains including Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, IHG and Accor are also making public statements about Russia, which invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, and their plans in the country moving forward.

So far, Hyatt, Hilton, IHG and Accor have decided to suspend development activities and future investments in Russia, meaning that unopened properties and projects in the hotel pipeline will, at least for now, be on hold if not ultimately canceled.

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Hotel operations, however, are continuing on for many non-Russian brands with a presence in the country despite the fact that Hilton, IHG and Marriott have closed their corporate offices in Moscow.

“At this time, we have made the decision to suspend our development activities and any new investments in Russia, effective immediately,” Hyatt said in a statement. “We will continue to evaluate hotel operations in Russia while complying with applicable sanctions and U.S. government directives as we hope for a resolution to this crisis.”

Currently, Hyatt has five hotels open in Russia with one, the Hyatt Regency Rostov-On-Don, that was scheduled to open in May. In its statement, Hyatt said that it’s working to determine how to best care for its Russian hotel colleagues and guests in the country.

Related: Should you change your European travel plans in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine?

Hyatt is also offering much-needed support to Ukraine. “The global Hyatt family has come together in inspiring ways to care for those impacted by this tragedy, including providing refugee accommodations across Europe, sending supplies to the people of Ukraine, job transfers for Hyatt colleagues and a relief fund for our Hyatt colleagues in need of basic necessities, relocation support and care. We will continue to work to expand our humanitarian efforts across the Hyatt portfolio.”

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And on March 22, Hyatt announced a new way for people to help with the situation in Ukraine by allowing World of Hyatt members to support the Red Cross by donating points.

Members can visit a dedicated website to donate in 1,000-point increments that will convert to $20 for the Red Cross to help with essentials like food, water and clothing; medical care at border crossings; baby products and services for children; tents and shelters for refugees; and support for physical, mental and emotional stresses.

People can also make monetary donations directly to the American Red Cross, alongside Hyatt, here.

Meanwhile, Hilton, which has 26 hotels in Russia and three that were set to open later this year — a DoubleTree and Hilton Garden Inn in Moscow and a DoubleTree in Vladikavkaz — has partnered with American Express to donate up to 1 million hotel rooms in support of refugees and humanitarian relief efforts in Europe.

“Our hotels have always been part of the fabric of the communities we serve, and we are committed to supporting the places where we live and work,” said Christopher J. Nassetta, Hilton’s president and CEO. “Even in these dark times, we believe the light and warmth of hospitality can make a difference when it matters most, which is why we are welcoming refugees and supporting relief efforts in countries across Europe.”

Profits from Hilton’s business operations in Russia are being donated to humanitarian efforts for Ukraine and the Hilton Effect Foundation has donated $50,000 to chef José Andrés’ World Central Kitchen as well as Project Hope.

Like Hilton and Hyatt, IHG, which has over a dozen hotels in the Moscow area alone, is working to provide support for refugees, its staff and guests in both countries.

“IHG has a commitment to look after the people and communities where we have a presence around the world,” the Atlanta-based company said in a statement, adding that it’s working with hotel owners in countries neighboring Ukraine to offer refugees temporary accommodations alongside making donations to CARE International and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to support in getting aid, food, water, shelter and other supplies into Ukraine.

Marriott, in a statement, said, “We are deeply concerned to see the humanitarian crisis impacting the people of Ukraine and [neighboring] countries and our teams are mobilizing to help those in need. Supporting the communities in which we operate has always been part of Marriott International’s culture and the company has a long history of working with numerous international organizations in support of refugees and displaced peoples globally.”

The brand is encouraging Marriott Bonvoy members to help support Ukraine by donating points to UNICEF or World Central Kitchen directly through the Marriott website. This year, Marriott Bonvoy will match donations point-for-point up to 100 million.

With more than 50 hotels currently open in Russia, Accor is focusing on supporting its roughly 3,500 employees in Russia, according to the Financial Times. The company has suspended work on five hotels currently in development in Russia and is working with European authorities and organizations to provide humanitarian relief to refugees with at least 15 hotels, five of which are in Paris, opening their doors to help, reported Bloomberg News.

Of course, there are many ways you can help as well. We’ve pulled together resources to help you donate to organizations that are making a critical difference during the conflict, including ways you can put your points and miles to use to help those affected by the tragic situation.

Featured image by Lars Ruecker/Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Apply for American Express® Gold Card
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Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees