Marriott restricting once-very-generous cancellation policy beginning in July

Jun 26, 2020

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As the coronavirus pandemic continues to drag on, we’ve seen hotels and airlines go to great lengths to help customers feel confident when making future bookings. Specifically, nearly every major travel brand has relaxed its cancellation policy, including hotels allowing guests to cancel prepaid rates without penalty.

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First reported by Your Mileage May Vary and confirmed by Marriott, Marriott will be updating its change and cancellation policy for new bookings beginning on July 6. As the policy reads now, guests with new or existing reservations have been able to cancel or receive a refund up to 24 hours prior to arrival, including prepaid rates which are generally more restrictive. This policy is valid through July 5, though Marriott has already extended the dates at least once.

Related: Coronavirus hotel change and cancellation policies

Starting July 6, guests with non-prepaid reservations with arrival dates on or before September 30 can still change or cancel up to 24 hours before arrival without penalty. Guests with non-prepaid reservations with arrival dates after September 30, as well as guests making new prepaid reservations on or after July 6, will be subject to the hotel’s cancellation policy at the time of booking.

Related: Marriott Bonvoy extending all members’ elite status through February 2022

It’s hard to say exactly how much of an impact this will have, as Marriott is leaving it up to each individual hotel to set its own cancellation policy. Under the current policy, guests are incentivized to book prepaid rates even if they’re not sure they’ll be able to travel, as these rates can be significantly cheaper than non-prepaid rates. Even with rates depressed at the moment, the St. Regis Washington DC is offering prepaid rates that are $38 a night cheaper than the member rate, but the discrepancy can pass $100 a night at luxury properties.

It’s important to remember that if you have an existing booking with Marriott, even for a prepaid rate, you won’t be affected by this policy change. You should keep an eye on when your cancellation deadline is (based on when you booked), but this change only affects new bookings made on or after July 6th.

Related: Marriott suspends brand standards and elite guarantees

Bottom line

On July 6, Marriott will become one of the first hotel companies to relax the generous change and cancellation policies it put in place in response to the coronavirus pandemic. These changes specifically affect people booking prepaid rates, or people booking stays that start after September 30th. If you fall into one of these categories, you’ll need to check the hotel’s cancellation policy at the time of booking to see what options you have.

Further Reading: Your ultimate guide to Marriott hotel brands

Featured image by Ethan Steinberg / The Points Guy.

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