Hyatt was first out of the gate offering compensation to people cancelling non-refundable bookings. Hilton and IHG both have come out with even greater flexibility, and both say they’re making changes to elite status requirements.
There are ways to benefit even if you plan to keep your current stays – but should you?
Hilton Cancellation Flexibility, Points Expiration and Status Requirements
Hilton announced that all existing reservations can be cancelled up to 24 hours in advance without penalty through April 30. New reservations booked through April 30 for any future date can be changed under this policy as well.
In addition Hilton will not expire points before May 31, and says they will adjust elite status qualification requirements however “it is too early to make and announce specific changes” but will “shar[e] details as soon as possible.”
IHG Cancellation Flexibility and Status Requirements
IHG now says that prepaid stays March 9 through April 30 are cancellable without penalty. Previously that applied only to China, Japan, Italy and South Korea. This isn’t like an airline waiver where you get a credit to use in the future, this is getting your money back.
In addition IHG has reduced elite status qualification requirements for 2020, perhaps there will be more to come (such as double qualification promotions) but already the thresholds for status have dropped by a minimum of 25%.
An Opportunity For Future Savings, But Is It Wrong To Take Advantage?
As Head For Points observes flexible policies for prepaid reservations mean that even if you want to keep a stay it can make sense to reprice your stay.
- Say you have a flexible reservation, but a prepaid one would be cheaper.
- Book at the cheaper prepaid rate and still have the flexibility
And indeed you can book a prepaid rate now for future travel and cancel later with Hilton. (Unknown to most, Hilton U.S. prepaid reservations were already changeable for a fee.)
Here’s my question, are there ethical concerns to this strategy? Should we really benefit from flexibility travel companies are affording, at a time where they themselves are struggling? If we booked reservations that we plan to keep should we just pay what we intended, since we had been willing to do so?
People need the flexibility now and should use it. It’s great that this is being offered where not legally required (although perhaps reputationally required). I just wonder whether we ‘deserve’ any excess benefit. What do you think?