So, as many of us I am sure, I had a couple of pre-paid reservations that I needed to cancel as the ban on entering the US took hold for UK residents. Both the bookings were in the UK, and I experienced two very different views from the hotel groups.
I had two bookings at the newly branded Hyatt hotels in Manchester UK. One was pre-paid and the other flexible. The Hyatt policy is:
Waiving Change and Cancellation Fees
Guided by our purpose of care, we are temporarily adjusting our policies to allow for maximum flexibility to help you make the right decisions regarding travel at this time:
Existing reservations for upcoming travel between March 14 and April 30, 2020:
All existing reservations made before March 13, 2020 that are for arrivals between March 14 and April 30, 2020 can be changed or cancelled at no charge up to 24 hours before your scheduled arrival. This includes Advance Purchase Rate reservations.
New reservations for any future travel:
Any reservation you make between March 13, 2020, and April 30, 2020 – for any future arrival date – can be changed or cancelled at no charge up to 24 hours before your scheduled arrival. This includes Advance Purchase Rate reservations.
Existing Advance Purchase Rate non-refundable reservations for travel through June 2020:
As announced earlier, special exceptions are in place for all Advance Purchase Rate non-refundable reservations made directly with Hyatt on or before March 8, 2020 for arrivals before June 30, 2020. Guests holding these fully prepaid reservations who have decided not to travel may still opt, at least 24 hours before their stay, to receive 10,000 World of Hyatt Bonus Points compensation in lieu of both their stay and the offer above (if eligible). World of Hyatt points may be used toward future travel at any of our 900+ hotels across 17 brands globally.
Reservations can be changed or canceled up to 24 hours before a scheduled arrival on www.hyatt.com or via the World of Hyatt app (some group bookings excepted). For full details or to opt for the 10,000 World of Hyatt Bonus Point offer, please call one of our Global Contact Centers or email us at email@example.com.
Guests who booked via online travel agents or other third parties are advised to contact their booking provider for information on their policies and for assistance.
I would have been covered by this and could have chosen 10,000 Gold Passport points or a full refund. A quick call and the refund was on the way.
Their policy is, it would appear, simple:
We are constantly updating our global cancellation policy to reflect the most recent developments related to the COVID-19 and to offer our guests as much flexibility and planning comfort as possible.
– We allow free modifications or free cancellations for all existing and new reservations (in all countries and all RHG hotels worldwide) for stays until April 30, 2020
– Please note that any modification to existing reservations will be subject to availability and any rate difference
– Guests who booked via online travel agents or third-party travel professionals are advised to contact their booking provider for information on their policies
– For reservations with stays after April 30, 2020, our normal cancellation policy applies
Except that when you try and make a change on the web site or the app for a pre-paid stay the system enforces whatever conditions applied at the time of booking. Very disappointing. A call to the reservations centre confirmed that the rate was pre-paid but that they would not allow a free cancellation ‘because the rate included breakfast’. Hang up and call again and still they maintained that the booking could not be cancelled without penalty, even as I pointed out their web site statement.
Let’s be kind and say it’s down to training of staff.