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Confusing Hotel Cancellation Policy Statement

Confusing Hotel Cancellation Policy Statement

Old Jan 6, 18, 2:39 am
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Confusing Hotel Cancellation Policy Statement

Some booking sites have confusing cancellation policy statements for hotels, like this one:

"Hotel cancellations or changes made 72 hour/s prior to check-in (noon local hotel time) will be subject to a fee of 1 night/s" Sometimes, the penalty goes up for closer cancellations.

What if I book 100 hours before check-in? Do I get a full refund or do they still charge me one night?
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Old Jan 6, 18, 8:23 am
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I would assume you get a refund if you cancel before 72 hours? So if you book 100 hours out, you have 28 to cancel. What puzzles me is why this is confusing? Maybe I am reading it wrong.
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Old Jan 6, 18, 8:30 am
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Actually it's not clear, it reads that a cancellation before 72hrs will incur a one night penalty and after that may incur more.
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Old Jan 6, 18, 11:01 am
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Why stress over nothing? There is never a need to worry about cancellation fees IF you book directly with the hotel. If a hotel has a 72 hour or 24 hour or whatever cancellation policy, all you do is call up and change your booking to a different date a week or more ahead. ie. if your booking is for this Friday, change it to next Friday. Then on Monday, call and cancel the booking. Voila, you cancelled prior to 72 hours in advance. You can call up and change a booking at less than 24 hours notice and no one will blink an eye.

'Hi, I have a booking for tonight but a change in plans means I will have to postpone till next week. I would like to change my reservation from tonight to a week from tonight. Thank you.'
Have a look about half way down this page: Confessions of a hotel insider

Of course if you foolishly book through a third party which will not allow you to change the booking and avoid the cancellation fee, well then you have only yourself to blame.

Whether a cancellation policy is worded ambiguously or not isn't the issue. The question really is, 'will it cost me to cancel'. The answer to that is no, not if you're smart about how you book in the first place and how you handle a last minute cancellation if you need to make one.
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Old Jan 6, 18, 11:52 am
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Originally Posted by Norri View Post
Actually it's not clear, it reads that a cancellation before 72hrs will incur a one night penalty and after that may incur more.
I'm pretty sure that "made 72 hours prior to check-in" means between 72 and 0 hours of scheduled check-in.

No penalty up to 72 hours, this penalty afterwards.

Originally Posted by dulciusexasperis View Post
Why stress over nothing? There is never a need to worry about cancellation fees IF you book directly with the hotel. If a hotel has a 72 hour or 24 hour or whatever cancellation policy, all you do is call up and change your booking to a different date a week or more ahead.
What part of "or changes" in the penalty term doesn't apply to this change?

Originally Posted by dulciusexasperis View Post
You can call up and change a booking at less than 24 hours notice and no one will blink an eye.
Bzzzt.

Hotels are a bit smarter than you give them credit for. When I last called for an after-deadline change, the property asked me for the flight number that was cancelled, and verified it. I had stayed there every week for 6 months.

Last edited by CPRich; Jan 6, 18 at 11:58 am
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Old Jan 6, 18, 12:00 pm
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Originally Posted by sokolov View Post
What if I book 100 hours before check-in? Do I get a full refund or do they still charge me one night?
I'm not clear on how your "booking" question relates to a cancellation term. You don't get a refund for booking, you get one for cancelling, if you've made a deposit.

If you book a room 100 hours out, with these terms, and cancel within 28 hours, you pay nothing. If you cancel after 28 hours later (within 72 hours of checking), you are charged the cancellation penalty.

You can book any time you want to. If it's past the cancellation deadline, you typically get a notice that any change/cancellation after clicking "OK" is subject to a penalty.
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Old Jan 7, 18, 3:08 am
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Originally Posted by dulciusexasperis View Post
Why stress over nothing? There is never a need to worry about cancellation fees IF you book directly with the hotel. If a hotel has a 72 hour or 24 hour or whatever cancellation policy, all you do is call up and change your booking to a different date a week or more ahead. ie. if your booking is for this Friday, change it to next Friday. Then on Monday, call and cancel the booking. Voila, you cancelled prior to 72 hours in advance. You can call up and change a booking at less than 24 hours notice and no one will blink an eye.

'Hi, I have a booking for tonight but a change in plans means I will have to postpone till next week. I would like to change my reservation from tonight to a week from tonight. Thank you.'
Have a look about half way down this page: Confessions of a hotel insider

Of course if you foolishly book through a third party which will not allow you to change the booking and avoid the cancellation fee, well then you have only yourself to blame.

Whether a cancellation policy is worded ambiguously or not isn't the issue. The question really is, 'will it cost me to cancel'. The answer to that is no, not if you're smart about how you book in the first place and how you handle a last minute cancellation if you need to make one.
This is just downright poor advice. Many (most) hotels will allow you one change out of the goodness of their heart, and put in comments that it is now non cancellable. You may have gotten lucky a few times, but will get stung eventually if you keep this up. If you do it more than a couple times, your account will probably be flagged. Same thing with No Shows. Do it once or twice, you can probably sweet talk your way out of being charged, eventually they will catch on that you are a low life. Also, all third party websites will allow you to cancel if you contact the hotel and they allow the cancellation without billing the OTA.

As far as that hotel insider thing, hahahahaha. Someone telling you how to eat your mini bar and not pay, watch movies and not pay, nice! Same guy that put out Heads in Beds, a really horrible book that makes the entire industry look bad. smh. Do you read and follow advice on how not to pay for your meals in restaurants also?

Last edited by tatterdema; Jan 7, 18 at 3:24 am
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Old Jan 7, 18, 10:39 am
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Originally Posted by tatterdema View Post
This is just downright poor advice. Many (most) hotels will allow you one change out of the goodness of their heart, and put in comments that it is now non cancellable. You may have gotten lucky a few times, but will get stung eventually if you keep this up. If you do it more than a couple times, your account will probably be flagged. Same thing with No Shows. Do it once or twice, you can probably sweet talk your way out of being charged, eventually they will catch on that you are a low life. Also, all third party websites will allow you to cancel if you contact the hotel and they allow the cancellation without billing the OTA.

As far as that hotel insider thing, hahahahaha. Someone telling you how to eat your mini bar and not pay, watch movies and not pay, nice! Same guy that put out Heads in Beds, a really horrible book that makes the entire industry look bad. smh. Do you read and follow advice on how not to pay for your meals in restaurants also?

Nowhere did I suggest someone make a habit of cancelling reservations tatterdema. As I read it, the question is, 'what IF I have to cancel'. Not, how can I cancel repeatedly? Try to stay on topic.

As it happens, I personally do not accept anything other than a '6 pm.' cancellation policy when I book with a hotel. I recently booked 2 rooms for a week at a hotel in Switzerland and they attempted a 'non-refundable, non-cancelable' condition. I simply told them I could not accept that condition and they removed it almost faster than I could tell them I wouldn't accept it. The fact is that sometimes things happen over which someone has no control and that do mean they need to cancel a reservation. In those instances, the question is do I feel I have a legitimate reason to to cancel? You write as if someone just decides on a whim to make a reservation and then at a later date decides on a whim to cancel it.

If and it is a big IF as I generally would not do so, I made a reservation with a hotel that insisted on a 72 hour cancellation, I would have no hesitation to change the reservation up until 6pm local time on the date of the reservation and then cancel the later booking. I consider a 72 hour cancellation policy unreasonable on the hotel's part. Therefore I would change and then cancel with a clear conscience. Do you understand what I am saying tatterdema? Using terms like 'low life' to suggest someone is trying to do something that is somehow unconscionable is an assumption you are making. Perhaps you think in the direction of unconscionable behaviour, I don't. It is not that long ago that the standard for a cancellation without penalty was 6pm on the day of the reservation. That is the standard I adhere to. Perhaps you are too young to remember when all hotels routinely accepted a cancellation up till 6 pm on the day.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnnyj.../#30b46cf719d8

You are incorrect is saying ALL third party sites will allow you to cancel without payment. Some only take a booking for which you prepay the third party, not the hotel, and as your contract is then with the third party, not the hotel, it has nothing to do with the hotel as to whether you can cancel/change without penalty or not.

Some people see a 'policy' as if it were a 'law'. A policy is simply a guideline which can be modified at will by whoever the policy applies to. To write, 'no cancellation or change' doesn't mean there can be no cancellation or change, it just means you will need to give a reasonable case for them to allow a cancellation or change. Or you can simply ask them to change the terms up front as I did in the example above. Of course, those who book online through third party sites can't do that.

To summarize. I consider a 6pm local time on the day of the reservation to be reasonable cut-off for cancellations. I base that on standard hotel policy for decades. Hotels have chosen to change that because online bookings have resulted in far more 'no shows' and fewer 'walk ins'. I am not an online booker (I always phone the hotel directly to make a booking) and I often just walk in and ask for a room. Therefore, I do not consider there to be any reason for a hotel to change how it treats me. The changes they have made are applicable to others, not me. That is MY policy.

As far as not paying for mini bars, movies, etc., where did you see ME suggesting anyone do that? Do you read and follow all advice someone gives regardless of whether all of it is applicable to your situation or not? Or are you capable of figuring out what will work for you and your conscience and what will not?
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Old Jan 7, 18, 1:04 pm
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Oh good lord I should have known better. I promise, it will not happen again.
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Old Jan 10, 18, 8:40 pm
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If I should have to cancel I will have no use for a rebooked stay at another date at the same property - whether that's possible or not. My experience with Hilton is that they can not change bookings anymore, not even over the phone. It is always a cancellation with a new booking. They could not even take a day off my reservation, although I tried that weeks in advance.

I find the quoted wording rather confusing.
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Old Jan 10, 18, 8:56 pm
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Originally Posted by tatterdema
Oh good lord I should have known better. I promise, it will not happen again.


Originally Posted by sokolov View Post

I find the quoted wording rather confusing.
It is poorly worded and can be corrected by adding "less than" (assuming it isn't a situation with a graduated penalty which of course should have a longer explanation):

"Hotel cancellations or changes made less than 72 hour/s prior to check-in (noon local hotel time) will be subject to a fee of 1 night/s"

However the intent seems clear and the literal reading is nonsensical. So I wouldn't worry about a literal application per the original wording.
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Old Apr 22, 18, 8:07 pm
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Originally Posted by 84fiero View Post




It is poorly worded and can be corrected by adding "less than" (assuming it isn't a situation with a graduated penalty which of course should have a longer explanation):

"Hotel cancellations or changes made less than 72 hour/s prior to check-in (noon local hotel time) will be subject to a fee of 1 night/s"

However the intent seems clear and the literal reading is nonsensical. So I wouldn't worry about a literal application per the original wording.
Why is it nonsensical? It could simply mean: There is a 1 night penalty for any cancellation. If you cancel less than 72 hours/before, the penalty s 100%.
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Old Apr 22, 18, 11:56 pm
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Originally Posted by dulciusexasperis View Post
Why stress over nothing? There is never a need to worry about cancellation fees IF you book directly with the hotel. If a hotel has a 72 hour or 24 hour or whatever cancellation policy, all you do is call up and change your booking to a different date a week or more ahead. ie. if your booking is for this Friday, change it to next Friday. Then on Monday, call and cancel the booking. Voila, you cancelled prior to 72 hours in advance. You can call up and change a booking at less than 24 hours notice and no one will blink an eye.
I'm struggling to make sense out of this. If a hotel has a cancellation policy, you calling up and telling them that your personal T&Cs don't allow this doesn't change anything. And if you need to stay in the particular hotel on Wednesday (or not at all), shifting it to the following Monday won't help you get to your meeting on Thursday.
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Old Apr 23, 18, 10:16 am
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Originally Posted by sokolov View Post
Why is it nonsensical? It could simply mean: There is a 1 night penalty for any cancellation. If you cancel less than 72 hours/before, the penalty s 100%.
Feel free to interpret it that way, despite every single response here and a made up "100%". You'll never be worse off, and we believe you will be better off or the same in every scenario.

(It may make everyone's lives easier if you append "I asked the question, but know the answer and will argue any response that doesn't agree" in the future ).
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Old Apr 23, 18, 11:35 am
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Originally Posted by LondonElite View Post
I'm struggling to make sense out of this. If a hotel has a cancellation policy, you calling up and telling them that your personal T&Cs don't allow this doesn't change anything. And if you need to stay in the particular hotel on Wednesday (or not at all), shifting it to the following Monday won't help you get to your meeting on Thursday.
I don't know why you chose to comment on a 4 month old comment or why you are struggling to make sense out of it.

I simply outlined a common practice used by travellers who have a hotel booking with a cancellation policy that is going to trip them up. They booked, now they need to cancel but it is within the time period that the hotel says they will charge a cancellation fee for. You call up and change the booking to a later date. There is no fee for changing a booking. Got it? Then you call back a day or two later and cancel the new booking which is still not within the cancellation period and so will not cost you anything to cancel. Got it? Or are you still struggling. Someone doesn't want to get to a meeting on Thursday, their meeting was cancelled till next Thursday or cancelled entirely. They want out of the booking but without having to pay a cancellation fee.

I personally do not accept cancellation policies other than after 6pm on the day of arrival, from a hotel. If I call to book and they tell me there is a 48 hour cancellation policy, I tell them it is not acceptable. I will only book with a after 6pm on arrival day cancellation fee. It is entirely up to them to accept 'my T&Cs' as you put it or not. I have yet to have a hotel not agree to do so.
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