Hyatt has extended their free cancellation policy. Reservations made directly with Hyatt for travel through July 31, 2021 are refundable as long you as you cancel the booking at least 24 hours in advance. Effective July 1 though you need to watch when booking to make sure this rule applies.
In recent years hotels have tried to encourage customers to make non-refundable bookings, and to increase the amount of time you have to cancel standard reservations in order to avoid a penalty. However given the uncertainty of COVID-19 people are reticent to make bookings even when they’d like to travel because so much can change.
- They’ve realized it’s better to get people to choose to book a Hyatt, and then stay at a Hyatt if they travel, then not to book at all.
- There are plenty of empty rooms most of the time, so reserving a room that you then cancel isn’t likely preventing the hotel from selling that room to someone else.
- And this is a long-term secular phenomenon, not one that requires pushing out a month at a time or that will simply vary by region.
Here’s the catch. You actually have to watch during the booking process to make sure this flexibility applies. Hyatt explains,
Hotels may adjust this cancellation policy during some high-demand periods (e.g., holidays or special events). When making reservations, guests are always encouraged to review the rate rules, which show the current cancellation and deposit policies for all properties and rates, to ensure they understand the cancellation and/or deposit rules for each reservation.
Cancellation rules for MGM, Small Luxury Hotels of the World, and Lindblad Expeditions booked through Hyatt may be different (these aren’t Hyatts) and rules for reservations booked through third party agents may be different as well.
I really liked the simplicity of ‘all reservations cancellable close to arrival’ but what allows them to do it is that guests aren’t sitting on rooms that might be sold to someone else. During peak periods that isn’t true. And no Hyatt owner would go along with allowing people to squat on rooms during some future socially-distanced Superbowl when they could otherwise sell out.