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Travel Tip: How Hotel Cancellation Policies are Changing

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Until recently, if you made a hotel reservation, you guaranteed it with a credit card.

In almost all cases, if you canceled the reservation—even on the day you were supposed to check in—you weren’t charged.

Those days may be over.

A new policy from Marriott now levies a one-night penalty for cancellations made within 48 hours of expected check in.

The new policy applies to all of Marriott’s brands in the U.S., Canada, and Latin America.

Hilton has also implemented a similar policy.

Is it negotiable?

If you have frequent stay status with the major chains, the answer is a qualified yes, but under no circumstances should you ever cancel a reservation online.

That will almost always cost you a cancellation fee.

Have a conversation (not with someone on the front desk or with the reservations folks) with the hotel’s manager on duty.

That’s your best chance to avoid getting dinged for paying for a room you won’t be using.

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