Most people book non-refundable flights, so it’s understandable that everyone wants to know about airline cancellation policies. But many hotel stays can be cancelled without penalty, usually up to 1-7 days before arrival. What to do about the other folks who book non-refundable stays, usually at a discount?
Tensions over the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) are escalating, and now Hyatt has made the first public statement I’m aware of on the subject of canceling non-refundable hotel stays.
All advance purchase reservations made directly with Hyatt on or before March 8, 2020, will be granted a special exception. This applies only to travel through June 2020 but I imagine it could be extended if conditions remain bad. If you booked your travel through a third-party site like Expedia, you’ll have to follow up with them.
Guests who have one of these non-refundable reservations and choose not to travel are still going to be out-of-pocket. However, they can call or email Hyatt at firstname.lastname@example.org and request 10,000 bonus World of Hyatt points as consolation. You must contact Hyatt at least 48 hours before your stay to make this election — points instead of using your stay. World of Hyatt Explorist and Globalist members can delay until 24 hours before their stay. If you don’t already have a World of Hyatt account, Hyatt will help you create an account to receive the points deposit.
This is extremely generous. It isn’t enough to cover the cost of more expensive stays, but it will pay for all or most of a future award redemption at some hotels. Remember you can also book Points + Cash awards or use points for other things like upgrades and non-hotel experiences. Contrast it with United’s recent decision to refuse refunds even if it changes your flight to a new one 25 hours (over one day) later.