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Marriott ordered to cease Cuba hotel operations by August

June 06, 2020
3 min read
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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.

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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.

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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Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Best starter travel card
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

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • 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

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases