HomeHotelsHiltonHilton's Has Updated Its Flexible Cancellation Policy - It's Not Good News

Hilton’s Has Updated Its Flexible Cancellation Policy – It’s Not Good News

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Most of the major hotel chains have been reviewing the flexible cancellation policies they put in place to try to entice people to continue to make bookings during the current crisis. Chains like IHG and Radisson have effectively ended their fully flexible policies, Marriott has made its policy considerably less flexible while Hyatt’s policy remains as customer-friendly as ever. Now Hilton has updated its policy and it’s not good news.

Before today’s update, Hilton’s Covid-19 cancellation policy was very clear in saying that all bookings made by 30 September 2020 were eligible for free changes and cancellations up to 24 hours before check-in. Now, as of 1 October, this is what the Hilton website says:

  • All our hotels offer fully flexible booking options with free changes and cancellations. Most hotels even give you flexibility to change or cancel up to 24 hours before your arrival day*. ​​ Also, any individual reservations made prior to October 1st, 2020 are eligible for free changes or cancellation up to 24-hours before your arrival day.​​
  • *Some exclusions to the 24-hour window may apply. Please refer to the property’s Rate Details for applicable terms or exceptions, if any, when booking or changing reservations.​

That isn’t particularly clear.

Although I have yet to find a Hilton property where the cheapest rate isn’t offering free cancellations (I’ve checked approximately 10 properties), the phrase “All our hotels offer fully flexible booking options with free changes and cancellations” shouldn’t give travelers much comfort. That phrase is simply stating a fact that was true before the current crisis – hotels have always offered fully flexible booking options. The key point is that alongside those options they also often offered considerably less-flexible options too (the cheaper rates). Are those set to return?

In case you think that I’m reading too much into Hilton’s latest update, take a look at this wording that I found away from Hilton’s main site (where most people will be looking) but still on a Hilton webpage:

As of September 30, 2020

– Reservations made on or before September 30, 2020 can be changed or cancelled at no charge, up to 24 hours before scheduled arrival date. This includes reservations described as “non-cancellable” or Advance Purchase.
– Reservations made on or after October 1, 2020 will be subject to the cancellation policies at the time the reservation is made. Most hotels have flexibility to change or cancel up to 24-hours before scheduled arrival date.*

If you cancel a rate which required an advance payment or deposit, we will do everything we can to process your refund as quickly as possible. Due to the influx of cancellations, it may take up to 14 days to complete your request.

*Some exclusions to the 24-hour window may apply. Please refer to the property’s Rate Details for applicable terms or exceptions, if any, when booking or changing reservations.

That’s a lot clearer. As of 1 October, there is no longer a requirement for Hilton properties to offer flexibility on all the rates they’re offering. Most of Hilton’s properties still appear to be offering free changes and cancellations on their cheaper rates but the updated policy opens the door for hotels to go back to offering less flexible options when the mood suits them.

Bottom Line

Most (possibly all) Hilton properties still appear to be offering free changes and cancellations regardless of the rate that’s being booked, but the wording of the updated cancellation policy clearly allows individual properties to bring back less flexible rates when they feel the time is right. Anyone making a Hilton booking should make sure they read the cancellation terms for the rate they’ve chosen very carefully as they may not be as flexible as they were just a few days ago.

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  1. Ao they are getting back to normal! What’s the issue. If you can’t read cancellation policies and select a be that works it is on you, not the hotel company. No one can expect them to offer full cancellation forever. BTW all hotels do offer it and usually it is only a few dollars more per night. Also if you select a special rate (like AAA, AARP or senior) they almost all offer flexible cancellation.

    Trying to get clickbait again and create controversy. Please!! You are better than this!

    • Where’s the clickbait?

      Hilton changed its policy and it’s not good news. Unless you think Hilton’s move is good for consumers (a belief that would single you out as an colossal idiot) the post title is factually correct.

      • On a separate note, as you appear to be the same “AC” who, on 12 August, told me that this blog had “lose [sic] any value it used to have” and that you were unsubscribing (good tantrum btw) I have to ask this: Why are you still here?

        • I’d have to agree with AC on this one.
          “Hilton Cancellation policies move to normally” would be a far better headline. Definitely click bait-ish.

          • Hilton didn’t announce that its rates were going back to “normal” (in fact Hilton hasn’t bothered to make any offical announcement about its change in policy) so why should I have to make Hilton’s announcement for it?

            The point of my post was to highlight that Hilton’s change in policy was a negative one for customers in much the same way as when I wrote about the new flexible policy earlier in the year I highlighted how good it was for customers. This wasn’t meant to be a informational post to do Hilton’s work for it – it was a warning to be careful.

            The headline was a legitimate warning to travelers who have not been informed by Hilton that it is no longer offering free cancellations on all bookings. Hilton was great at telling everyone about it’s policy improvements (emails went out to all Hilton Honors members) but, amusingly, it’s now keeping very quiet as it rolls back those improvements. I stand by my headline.

  2. I tend to book flexible at the start, just in case things go awry, then shortly before we go, switch it to a prepay non flex booking, ok do not save hundreds, but can be in the tens of $ or € 🙂 every little helps !

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