Marriott is out with a policy giving flexibility to existing reservations, offering additional flexibility on new bookings, and extending expiring points, suite upgrades, and free night certificates.
Hyatt was first to offer some compensation to guests cancelling non-refundable reservations. Then Hilton and IHG offered full flexibility on non-cancellable bookings through April 30. Hyatt has even updated their policy to be more generous. I started wondering, where was Marriott?
Readers challenged me to call Marriott out on their lack of flexibility, when all of their major competitors had acted and even after the novel coronavirus had been declared a pandemic. I was confident that Marriott would act too, if only because Hilton and IHG had done so. And indeed they have.
- Through April 30 reservations are cancellable up to 24 hours prior to arrival. Marriott’s standard policy is 72 hours and they don’t want anyone to cancel unnecessarily just to meet that deadline. Besides, since hotels aren’t full, waiting to cancel isn’t likely depriving the property from reselling the room.
- All new reservations made by April 30 will be cancellable up to 24 hours prior to arrival regardless of travel date. They want to encourage people to make bookings, and they don’t want to lose out on bookings to more flexible competitors.
Marriott Bonvoy points will not expire until August 31, 2020. Suite Night Awards expiring December 31, 2020 will not expire until December 31, 2021. And Free Night Awards from credit cards, annual choice benefits, and travel packages that are supposed to expire in 2020 will be extended to January 31, 2021 (‘breakage’ or non-use is a big factor in these free nights, and why Marriott offers them instead of points, so extending them a full year would be very costly).
There is no word from Marriott on elite status extension, other than as previously-announced for members residing in Greater China.