Conflicting cancellation info

Old Mar 31, 20, 7:56 am
  #1  
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Question Conflicting cancellation info

I had a pre-paid reservation at the Domes of Elounda in Greece booked for June 2020. Along comes COVID-19 uncertainty and on 3/13/20 I call Marriott to cancel. I'm informed that the property isn't honoring cancellations at this time, but keep checking as the pandemic keeps changing things. A few hours later I see the "Message from our CEO" posting on Marriott.com which clearly states:

... guests with existing individual reservations, including reservations with pre-paid rates that are typically more restrictive, we will allow changes or cancellation without a charge up to 24 hours prior to arrival as long as the change or cancellation is made by April 30, 2020
I call back to request a cancellation and refund and the agent immediately cancels my reservation and issues a cancellation number. Issue resolved? Not so much.

A week goes by and I have not received the credit yet. I email the hotel and I'm told:
Being a seasonal resort, your booked period falls within peak demand weeks. As such under the above exception, the resort is excluded from the Marriott policy and your reservation remains under the terms and conditions initially booked
I responded with a link to the 3/13/20 "CEO" posting and my cancellation number. The hotel wouldn't budge. They told me:

Further to your email, please note that as explained in the latest Marriott cancelation policy update, “Some exclusions may apply. May exclude periods with special event restrictions or peak demand weeks. Please refer to individual property rate rules for details.
Yes, Marriott did change the messaging and did state there were exceptions, but this changes were posted AFTER I cancelled my reservation.

I have since disputed the charge (on my Marriott Bonvoy Chase card) and have not heard anything in response.

Why is the hotel so adamant about refusing my cancellation when clearly I am in the right?

For the record, I am a Bonvoy Gold Elite Lifetime member.

Last edited by David_OC; Mar 31, 20 at 8:04 am
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Old Mar 31, 20, 8:03 am
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Welcome to FT! You may wish to amend your post a little as someone will come along to tell you that your June 2010 vacation is long over.

Marriott has been quite difficult about cancellations and refunds (I presume you have cancelled but not received a refund?) I think this is a tricky one. Travel insurance will probably not apply because a disinclination to travel is typically not covered. I don't know if a chargeback will work because, again, you decided you didn't want to travel, in theory the hotel was willing to accommodate you. If the hotel isn't willing to budge, have you considered asking them for a credit for a future stay?
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Old Mar 31, 20, 8:05 am
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I am just frustrated over the fact that the reservation was cancelled by Marriott central reservations, but the hotel won't honor it.
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Old Mar 31, 20, 8:41 am
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That's terrible and completely unacceptable. The exception Marriott included is ridiculous and I didn't see anything comparable in Hilton's or Hyatt's policies. To make matters worse, that information and/or a list of exceptions is no where to be found on the website when you're making a reservation.

Unfortunately, I'm starting to think the policy is that any reservation with a standard cancellation policy of 7 days or less will be adjusted to 24 hours, but all the cancellation periods anyone would actually care about (e.g., 14-90 day cancellation periods for resorts) fall under the exception. I've noted most of my regular city reservations have been adjusted to 24 hour cancellations, but several resort stays still show 14, 30 or 60 days. I could maybe understand exceptions for New Years, events like the Super Bowl or some other holidays, but providing properties with an exception for an entire season is nonsense.
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Old Mar 31, 20, 8:48 am
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Moral of the story:

No matter how tempting of a rate that is offered, Never... Never... book a pre-paid, non-refundable rate.
Under NO circumstances....... NEVER
You never know what the future will hold.

Newman

Last edited by Newman; Mar 31, 20 at 9:24 am
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Old Apr 1, 20, 11:41 am
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Originally Posted by Newman View Post
Moral of the story:

No matter how tempting of a rate that is offered, Never... Never... book a pre-paid, non-refundable rate.
Under NO circumstances....... NEVER
You never know what the future will hold.

Newman
I think that's overly restrictive, although of course it's all a matter of personal risk tolerance. Personally, I rarely book a non-refundable rate, but I will based on the circumstances and the amount of the discount. For example, my family was meeting in Rome for a 6 night Christmas vacation. Tickets purchased and paid for by everyone. I made a regular, fully cancellable hotel reservation in October. The rate was about 268 Euro. About a week before the trip, the nonrefundable rate was 178 Euro. The 560 Euro savings was worth the miniscule risk of forfeiture.

One of my favorite travel hacks in the 2000s was booking a nonrefundable rate on day of travel. During the Great Recession when hotel occupancy was very low, I would routinely book a non refundable rate on the day of travel. A couple times, I actually made my reservation from the hotel lobby. Curiously, I was scolded on another forum for gaming the system. 12 years later, I still don't see how.
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Old Apr 16, 20, 8:08 am
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4/16/20 Update from hotel:

We received a dispute from our bank regarding the payment for your reservation at Domes of Elounda in June . Please note that we received the cancellation of your reservation and we haven’t proceeded with the refund yet, due to the high volume of cancellations/ refunds requests.



Kindly be informed that we froze the refunds at this stage, as the Greek Government has recently voted a law A 84/13.4.2020 - articles A70/A71, with an immediate and international application. As such, relevant credit will be offered for an 18 months duration. If you do not redeem your voucher within 18 months from the issue date, the paid amount will be returned to you at that time.

We really do regret any inconvenience this new legislation may cause, but please bear in mind that, particularly in Greece, entire communities’ primary (sometimes sole) source of income comes from tourism. We truly believe we are in this together and want to thank you in advance for your solidarity.

We assure you that we will show you the same flexibility and respect, honoring your booking at any time within 2020 or 2021.
Cental reservations cancelled my reservation yet the local property refuses to issue a refund. I think this will end up in small claims court.
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Old Apr 16, 20, 9:07 am
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Originally Posted by David_OC View Post
4/16/20 Update from hotel:



Cental reservations cancelled my reservation yet the local property refuses to issue a refund. I think this will end up in small claims court.

Has the credit card company responded to the dispute? I wonder if they will accept that response. My thought is that Marriott's new policy should cover you and the CC company should refund.
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Old Apr 16, 20, 10:22 am
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They haven’t responded yet - other than using a temporary credit, pending resolution. They promptly deduced my Bonvoy miles for the purchase though (as expected).
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Old Apr 16, 20, 11:02 am
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Originally Posted by David_OC View Post
4/16/20 Update from hotel:....
..........relevant credit will be offered for an 18 months duration. If you do not redeem your voucher within 18 months from the issue date, the paid amount will be returned to you at that time.....
Cental reservations cancelled my reservation yet the local property refuses to issue a refund. I think this will end up in small claims court.
Unfortunately, this type of delayed credit has become the normal during this pandemic. You will receive your refund eventually. Good luck in pushing it sooner.
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Old Apr 19, 20, 6:53 am
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Same here

Had a prepaid booking at the same property. Cancelled under Marriott’s published COVID19 policy by calling Marriott customer service, was promised a cash refund.

Hotel said I should rebook or accept a voucher. Called Marriott customer service again and was promised a cash refund. Hotel contacted me again saying Marriott customer service gave wrong information and they are offering a voucher. Raises this with Marriott customer service again, waiting for their reply.

Domes of Elounda is not publishing peak times in their T&C, so that clause does not apply. They are now claiming some new Greek law allows them to offer vouchers. However, my booking was with Marriott through their web site and not with the property directly, so I clear how this applies.

Fun times.
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Old Apr 19, 20, 9:21 am
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I just canceled my pre-paid Marriott Blue Palace reservation in Crete, Greece through the website. I got the warning about it being prepaid, and feel that is the default. I will give it a week, and then call if I do not see a refund. I was jumping on Flyertalk to see if I needed to call Marriott proactively to request my refund.
I don't "need" the refund now since I do want to reschedule, however I hate having money owed to me at different sources. Greece is the only time I use a travel agent and it was because I was going with friends. The Marriott portion was booked on our own. Now I have over $1500 being held by United, $800 being held by Marriott (if it doesn't get refunded), and $3000 being held by the Greek travel agency. I don't see any chance of me being able to rebook until May of next year and that is a long time for companies to hold my money.
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Old Apr 20, 20, 4:11 am
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I suppose all hotels and agencies will offer vouchers. It will be a mess. I will never again book early as I did this year. I think I will wait end of May to book, every year.
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Old Apr 20, 20, 9:54 am
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Originally Posted by Babymule View Post
I just canceled my pre-paid Marriott Blue Palace reservation in Crete, Greece through the website..
I decided to call Marriott today to follow up. I was told they need to open a case number and that pre-paid rooms are not automatically refunded by canceling on line. I should see the credit in 5-7 business days.
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Old Apr 20, 20, 10:07 am
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Originally Posted by Babymule View Post
I decided to call Marriott today to follow up. I was told they need to open a case number and that pre-paid rooms are not automatically refunded by canceling on line. I should see the credit in 5-7 business days.
Please follow up in a week. I'm interested in how the jurisdictional issues play out. I wish you success but don't see what leverage Marriott, or the credit card issuer, has if a sovereign nation has decided vouchers are good enough.
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