Quick points: Get compensation when you're walked from a hotel
Being "walked" is a travel term for showing up at a hotel for your reservation, only to find that there's no room for you. This happens when a hotel is oversold or when a new hotel isn't open to the public, as TPG senior reporter Katie Genter recently experienced.
Oftentimes, this means you're accommodated at a nearby hotel, but some hotel groups have published compensation policies to go alongside this. This means you may be able to make out with extra points and even cash compensation when you're walked.
Let's look at these benefits and the hotel programs that offer them.
For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Getting compensation when you're walked from a hotel
While you can be walked from any hotel, only a few major chains have published benefits.
Marriott Ultimate Reservation Guarantee
Marriott Bonvoy members who are walked from a hotel are eligible for the Ultimate Reservation Guarantee so long as their reservation was booked directly with Marriott. Here's what that guarantee includes:
Edition, The Luxury Collection, W Hotels, JW Marriott, Marriott Hotels, Sheraton, Delta Hotels, Le Meridien, Westin, Autograph Collection, Renaissance Hotels, Tribute Portfolio and Gaylord Hotels.
$200 and 90,000 points.
Courtyard, Four Points, SpringHill Suites, Protea Hotels, Fairfield by Marriott, AC Hotels, Aloft, Moxy Hotels, Residence Inn, TownePlace Suites and Element.
$100 (Platinum and Titanium Elite members also receive 90,000 points).
The Ritz-Carlton and St. Regis.
Titanium Elite and Ambassador Elite members receive $200 and 140,000 points.
Marriott has the most generous compensation policy, but it can be tricky to actually get what you're entitled to. When I was walked last summer, I received 90,000 points for being walked from a Four Points property, but the $100 check never arrived. I was also accommodated at a nearby SpringHill Suites.
Hyatt reservation guarantee
If you book a room on Hyatt’s website and prepay with a credit card, Hyatt will provide a free night at a comparable hotel, free transportation to and from that hotel and a phone call to your family to let them know where you ended up. Many details are unclear — for example, what "comparable" actually means — but it's nice to know you'll have a hotel room available even if the one you booked is unavailable.
IHG Book With Us Advantage
IHG states you are provided a room at a comparable hotel and transportation to said hotel if you’re walked from one of its properties. Additionally, any advance deposit will be refunded. Like Marriott and Hyatt, this is only available if you book your stay directly with IHG on its website.
Always ask for compensation
Even if your preferred hotel loyalty program doesn't have a published compensation policy, you should push for it regardless. It's in your best interest to ask at the front desk and call the hotel loyalty program to see if they can send you extra points or a partial refund if you're accommodated elsewhere but not refunded. Depending on who you talk to, you may even come out ahead.
Being walked is never fun — especially after a long flight or drive. But if you know what you're entitled to, you could walk away with extra points and a hotel stay nearby.