Friday, March 13, 2020

Hyatt Hotels now waiving change & cancellation fees for stays in March & April and postponing World of Hyatt changes

I've been meaning to write about Hyatt's policy that they came out with at the start of the week for Advance Purchase Reservations (non-refundable prepaid stays) whereby you could cancel those stays with no refund but get 10,000 World of Hyatt Points to use towards a future stay. Today they expanded on that policy and allow for full cancellations for stays in March and April while continuing the points offer for stays in May and June:
Existing reservations for upcoming travel between March 14 and April 30, 2020:
All existing reservations made before March 13, 2020 that are for arrivals between March 14 and April 30, 2020 can be changed or cancelled at no charge up to 24 hours before your scheduled arrival. This includes Advance Purchase Rate reservations.

New reservations for any future travel:
Any reservation you make between March 13, 2020, and April 30, 2020 – for any future arrival date – can be changed or cancelled at no charge up to 24 hours before your scheduled arrival. This includes Advance Purchase Rate reservations.

Existing Advance Purchase Rate non-refundable reservations for travel through June 2020:
As announced earlier this week, special exceptions are in place for all Advance Purchase Rate non-refundable reservations made directly with Hyatt on or before March 8, 2020 for arrivals before June 30, 2020. Guests holding these fully prepaid reservations who have decided not to travel may still opt at least 24 hours before their stay to receive 10,000 World of Hyatt Bonus Points compensation in lieu of both their stay and the offer above (if eligible). World of Hyatt points may be used toward future travel at any of our 900+ hotels across 17 brands globally. 

Hyatt also provided some good news for the World of Hyatt programs including the suspension of their inactivity rule, holding off on their Peak/Off-Peak point redemption and they are not going ahead with the majority of their 2020 hotel category changes (read our post about those planned changes here)

Suspending Points Forfeiture:
We will be suspending the forfeiture of points through May 31, 2020. As a reminder, our general policy is that points do not expire, but they will be forfeited if a member’s account is inactive for 24 consecutive months.

Postponing Award Chart Changes:
We are postponing the introduction of Off-peak and Peak point redemption (originally planned for March 22, 2020) until 2021. This means that free-night redemptions will continue to be at standard rates for the rest of this year. Before we launch Off-peak and Peak point redemptions for stay dates in 2021 and beyond, we’ll give you and our members advance notice as we always do.

Additionally, we are postponing our annual hotel award category changes (originally planned for March 22, 2020) until 2021, with the exception of five hotels still shifting award categories on March 22, 2020. Those hotels and their new category assignments include:
Any free night award and Points + Cash redemptions booked at these hotels on or after Sunday, March 22 at 8:00 am CDT will follow the new Award Chart. Members who have existing award bookings for a night after Sunday, March 22 that moves to a lower award category will receive an automatic one-time refund on the point difference. Points will be refunded in members’ accounts starting on Monday, March 23. Once changes go into effect on Sunday, March 22 at 8:00 am CDT, any adjustments made to existing reservations will follow the terms of the new Award Chart.

Evaluating Elite Tier Qualification & Benefit Extension:
In February, World of Hyatt extended elite tier status and award expiration dates for qualifying members residing in Asia Pacific. Please visit the World of Hyatt COVID-19 FAQs for details.

Given the quickly evolving nature of the situation, it is simply too early to suggest revised elite tier qualifications and award expiration beyond members in Asia Pacific. However, we know that adjustments will need to be made, and we are committed to communicating these updates as we can. 

Overall nice to Hyatt join the ranks of allowing March and April travel to be cancelled and changed at no cost. Of course with hotel stays unless you are booking a prepaid non-refundable rate you can typically cancel up to 1 to 3 days before arrival at no cost.

You can learn more about Hyatt's response to the Coronavirus here.

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