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Updates:

April 2

  • Airbnb extends free cancellation window through May.

  • Best Western offers free cancellation through April.

  • Hyatt extends free cancellation window through June.

  • Marriott extends its flexible policies through June.

  • Radisson expands policy to include new bookings, extends window through June.

  • Wyndham extends free cancellation window through May.

March 25

  • Hilton extends flexible policy on existing bookings for travel through June 2020 and on new bookings made through June 2020 for travel at any time.

  • Wyndham waives change and cancellation fees for all bookings through April 2020.

March 16

  • Radisson adds cancellation policy on new and existing reservations for stays through April.

  • Airbnb offers free cancellations for existing bookings until April 14, 2020.


As the COVID-19 virus continues to disrupt travel for the foreseeable future, hotel and vacation rental brands are offering flexible change and cancellation policies, similar to those offered by airlines.

These policies are evolving and expanding by the day, so make sure to check the hotel brand website for the latest information.

Nerd tip: “Free” change policies don't apply to the difference in cost between two reservations. For example, if your original reservation cost $100 and your new reservation is $150, you will still owe the $50 difference, but you won't owe any additional change fees. Also, if you used a third-party travel agency like Orbitz or Hotels.com to book, you will likely need to call that company (instead of the hotel brand) to change or cancel your booking.

Airbnb

After offering "extenuating circumstance" policies for travelers in particular countries, Airbnb has now announced a blanket free-cancellation policy for all bookings made before March 14, 2020, for reservations starting on or before May 31, 2020.

However, new reservations (made after March 14, 2020) are not covered, unlike most hotel policies.

Best Western

Best Western was slow to offer a cancellation policy but has now joined in, offering free cancellation for all bookings for travel through April 30, 2020. That is, you can cancel any travel through April whether you booked it 6 months ago or today.

This policy is less generous than many competitors; if you're looking to make tentative bookings for the summer, consider another hotel brand.

Hilton

After introducing alternate policies for different regions in early March, Hilton has issued generous, blanket change/cancellation policies for both new and existing bookings.

  • Existing bookings: All reservations for stays before June 30, 2020, can be changed or canceled up to 24 hours before check-in for free.

  • New bookings: All new bookings made until June 30, 2020, for travel at any time, can be changed or canceled up to 24 hours before check-in for free.

This flexibility applies to all bookings, including "non-cancellable" advanced purchase rates.

IHG

The Holiday Inn brand offered a simple policy in March: All stays between March 9 and April 30, 2020, could be changed or canceled without incurring fees. However, it's now April and IHG has not extended or modified this policy. Its policy now stands as one of the least flexible of any major hotel brand.

Hyatt

Hyatt has introduced generous change/cancellation fee waiver policies for both existing bookings (for travel through June) and new bookings (for any dates). It has also kept in place a previous policy that offers 10,000 Hyatt points in lieu of cash for cancellations on "nonrefundable" bookings. Here's the full breakdown:

  • Existing bookings: All reservations made before April 1, 2020, for travel through June 30, 2020, can be changed or canceled 24 hours before check-in without incurring a fee.

  • New bookings: All reservations made after April 1, 2020, for travel at any time can be changed or canceled 24 hours before check-in without incurring a fee.

  • Optional: Advance purchase nonrefundable reservations made directly with Hyatt on or before March 8, 2020, can be canceled for 10,000 Hyatt points instead of the original payment amount. In other words, if you would rather get 10,000 Hyatt points than your cash back on these specific reservations, give Hyatt a call and request this option.

World of Hyatt has also suspended its planned award chart changes until 2021. This is likely good news for those looking to use Hyatt points this year.

Marriott Bonvoy

Marriott has announced one of the broadest and most generous change/cancellation policies of any travel hotel program, effectively waiving change and cancellation fees on all reservations.

  • Existing bookings: All reservations for travel at any time may be changed or canceled by June 30, 2020, without incurring fees.

  • New bookings: All new bookings made by June 30, 2020, may be changed or canceled at a future date without incurring fees.

In other words, existing bookings can be changed or canceled until June 30, while new bookings (made until June 30) can be canceled at any time. Note: All changes must be made at least 24 hours before scheduled check-in.

Radisson

Radisson is now offering free changes and cancellations for all bookings (both new and existing), to match other programs.

  • Existing bookings for travel until June 30, 2020, can be changed or canceled without fees.

  • New bookings made until June 30, 2020, for travel at any time can be changed or canceled in the future without fees.

Note that all changes must be made at least 24 hours before check-in.

VRBO

The vacation rental brand VRBO has not yet offered any clear cancellation policy but has punted the responsibility to its hosts. Its policy suggests that those hoping to cancel bookings should "contact the property owner or manager to discuss their cancellation and refund policies."

Wyndham

Wyndham is waiving all change and cancellation fees on new and existing bookings for travel through May 31, 2020. These changes must be made at least 24 hours prior to check-in.

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