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Marriott ordered to cease Cuba hotel operations by August

June 06, 2020
3 min read
Marriott ordered to cease Cuba hotel operations by August
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Despite having an economy that's heavily reliant on tourism, there's currently only one US-managed hotel in all of Cuba. If you're looking to redeem points for a free hotel night in Cuba, the only option is the Four Points by Sheraton Havana, though that option will be disappearing by August 31, 2020.

Marriott will be forced to terminate its management of the Four Points Havana and, along with other US hotel companies, will be barred from operating any properties in Cuba due to a new directive from the U.S. Department of Treasury. A Marriott spokeswoman confirmed that the company would not be able to open other hotels it had planned in Cuba.

Starwood Hotels, which was later acquired by Marriott, opened the Four Points Havana in 2016 with the approval of the U.S. government and had its operating license renewed in 2018.

The government's decision, which is aimed at cutting off funding to entities linked to the Cuban military, follows years of escalating tensions between the two countries following President Obama's attempt to normalize relations between the U.S. and Cuba.

Further Reading: You can still go to Cuba as an American — but there’s a catch

So what does this mean for travelers? It's likely that the hotel will eventually reopen under new management, but that could take a while and it's unlikely to be a smooth transition at the end of August. If you have an upcoming reservation at the Four Points Havana, it would be wise to cancel and make alternate plans. Even if the hotel stays open in August, which is a big if, there's no guarantee that the new owners would honor reservations made with Marriott, especially those made on points. The inherently political nature of this issue could further complicate things for travelers, and it's best to steer clear entirely and change your plans while you still can.

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The silver lining for affected travelers is that Marriott has greatly expanded its cancellation policy due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, including making nearly all reservations refundable. Marriott's updated cancellation policy includes the following note about hotel closures, which would apply here: "If a hotel closes, all affected reservations will be refunded, including ones within 24 hours prior to arrival."

Bottom line

The opening of the Four Point Havana was a landmark deal, as it represented the first time a U.S. managed hotel had opened in Cuba since the end of the revolution in 1959. While it's unclear what will happen to the property once Marriott winds down its operations in August, any travelers with upcoming reservations at the Four Points Havana should take advantage of Marriott's flexible cancellation policy and rebook themselves at a different property.

Featured image by Getty Images

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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
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The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

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  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023