Marriott Is Last To The Party, Finally Offers Coronavirus Travel Waiver

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.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. @ Gary – Any idea if this applies to prepaid stays? I have a big one next week I would like to cancel now

  2. Are these expiring “free” annual nights showing up automatically on your account? Mine expires April 3rd and I’ve been so worried about losing it as we haven’t been able to travel until March and now can’t use it. Are these extensions on the annual night showing p now in people’s accounts(mine isn’t)?

  3. Gary,
    Thank you for the update. I have category 5 travel package 7-night reservation coming up in Colorado, end of March. Is this simply a matter of cancelling online and the package will automatically reset its expiration date to 1/31/21?

  4. @Gary —

    Any word from the other chains concerning extending credit card free night awards???

    It has been reported on FlyerTalk and I know from personal experience when I called earlier this month, that IHG has been rebuffing all attempts to have these extended, passing the buck to Chase, who similarly have disclaimed any responsibility for extending same.

    Others, I am sure would like to know of the policies concerning Hyatt, Hilton and to a lesser extend Radisson with respect to credit card free night awards.

    Any pressure you can apply to same I am sure would be appreciated by all……………………

  5. Gary, Thanks. Do you know if free nights will be extended automatically? Or do they really expect everyone to call in a request? I haven’t heard of Hilton extended free weekend nights yet. Hope that happens.

  6. Please note that the Marriott policy – unlike Hilton and Hyatt’s – has “exclusions” which will permit properties to refuse no-fee cancels.

  7. I’m hoping Marriott will do the right thing and extend this to those of us who had room reservations for one of the largest trade shows in CA (Natural Products Expo West) with typically over 80,000 attendees that was to start last week on March 3 but cancelled the night before on March 2. The Anaheim Marriott has billed my credit card for over $3,000 in cancelled rooms and has been adamant no refunds due to the contract they had with the show organizers.

  8. I have a 7 night cat 5 cert that was already extended once and is set to expire this October. Will I be able to extend it further? I know some people got a 2nd extension before this, but do the terms sound like these will be universally extended?

  9. I wouldn’t give IHG quite that much credit as don’t believe they have said anything about extending their free night anniversary awards from credit cards which might be expiring during this epidemic. I have 2 expiring today.

  10. I did an online chat regarding extension of free night awards. They confirmed what is stated here (Expiry extended thru Jan 2021). The agent did not know when the expiration dates in our account would reflect this new expiration date.

  11. Marriott has refused to refund my points on two weeks I rented out on Kauai and Oahu ! They said my renters couldn’t travel to Hawaii due to travel restrictions and the virus . I called Marriott and they said it wasn’t cancelled sixty days out so I couldn’t get my points back !!! I cannot believe this.
    We need a class action lawsuit ! I am fighting this as I have to pay maintenance fees on these points and they were stolen away by Marriott.
    It is robbery.

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