Recap: Unreasonable Cancellation Policy, New Southwest Routes & More

 

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John K
John K

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Rene
Rene

I honestly don’t get the outrage of the cancellation policy: you need to put it in perspective. The average night is $2500 — they charge less than 50% of that for no-shows.

If you had paid in cash, you wouldn’t argue that they should not charge the fee and keep the full room price instead. It is just easier to refund the full price and charge the no-show penalty separately.

The only reason people are outraged that suddenly something they considered “free” costs real money. If they were to not refund any points instead of charging the fee, I am sure people would be outraged that they don’t refund the same percentage as they do for cash refunds.

It’s stated that there will be a cancellation/no-show fee after 60 days prior arrival. Yes, they could add that it would be $1000, but I have seen examples where the fee is different — so maybe it is just not a fixed rate known until to finalize your booking. They do include the exact amount in the confirmation email.

Bonvoyed
Bonvoyed

That’s just not true. The cancellation isn’t less than the nightly rate. Over the fourth of July the rooms are ~$1,000. However, after I booked they tell me in an email – not the confirmation email – email that comes from the StR a couple of days later that the cancellation is $2,000 a night.

To be clear this wasn’t disclosed at the time of booking. I contacted Marriott to ask about the fee after I got the email from the property and was assured that the email from the StR was an error and wouldn’t be charged that cancellation. They told me it applied to cash bookings. Seems like Marriott customer service was wrong again.

To your last point, it does NOT say that no/show fee applies in my confirmation email, when I booked, and on Marriott’s website currently. It says “Redemption, non-refundable if cancelled less than 30 days before arrival.” No where does it mention a cash cancellation or no show fee. If I paid in points, the points should be non-refundable. I never paid in cash or agreed to pay in cash when I booked the hotel.

The cancellation fee is disclosed for CASH rates when booking and it equals the nightly rate. For my dates over the fourth it would be ~$1,000. So they are charging double for a points no show to that of a cash no show. I don’t see how that isn’t wrong or outrageous.

Rene
Rene

I was going off the cases presented in the source and I was just spot-checking rates and rates in the season presented. Also, the source states that in one of the confirmation emails the fee was disclosed.

Don’t get me wrong. I would certainly be annoyed if I’d be hit by such a penalty. I’d try getting it reversed and would probably use similar arguments as the ones made. However, I do understand why the system can’t handle this and I do understand why the business has no interest to invest money to fix this.

I was not aware that the same penalty or higher penalty is charged for a lower off-season room rate. There have been comments on the source stating variable no-show penalties and I just assumed it would be calculated based on season, room rate and other factors. I don’t think it a hotel should be legally allowed to charge a no-show fee higher than the damage. Since that is hard to access, I think that a penalty equal to the first night room rate is appropriate.

You say you’d be OK that point bookings are non-refundable. While that might be true for you, I’d argue that many people rather pay a small penalty in cash than forfeiting a tenfold of that worth in points. It certainly depends on the specific case, how long your trip is and how you value points vs. cash. In many cases, I would not be OK with this.

While I fully understand the frustration of being charged cash, I don’t think it’s reasonable to assume that a hotel chain should maintain a separate system to track and charge no-fee penalties in points. The 99% case is just payment in cash, the penalty in cash. Point redemptions are a small percentage, cancellations on those an even smaller percentage of their daily business. This problem affects a minuscule percentage of customers and the business has no financial benefit from fixing this problem. Why would they?

If they don’t refund the points, keep a portion of the points and charge a penalty, the main argument of administrative restrictions is obviously wrong. If the system is already doing only partial refunds, there is no reason why the hotel should be allowed to charge an additional penalty.

Bonvoyed
Bonvoyed

To clarify, at least in my case the hotel says the cancellation fee isn’t just the cost of a single night. It’s $2,000 per night. So for a five day stay, they want a no show fee of $10,000 if I can’t make it for whatever reason.

In this case, I would much rather be out 240,000 Marriott points which I agreed to use for this stay than $10,000 which they decided to change the no show penalty to days after I booked. It said it was non-refundable outside of 30-days, I booked knowing I would lose those points if I had to cancel inside 30-days. I did not however, agree to pay $10,000.

If the fee was reasonable and disclosed at booking I would feel differently about this. But to me, the policy of the StR Aspen as is feels punitive. Particularly, as the cancellation fee for a cash booking is less than that of a points booking.

And in my case, it wasn’t disclosed in the confirmation email. It was at the end of a welcome email a couple days later from the hotel.

Rene
Rene

I understand and agree with you in your case. This should be illegal IMO. But that is different from the cases presented in the source.

I don’t agree with the policy, I just understand why it is implemented the way it is, given that the cancellation fee and no-show penalty is not the room rate.

Honestly, I am surprised how much I care about this. Maybe I was just triggered by the attitude of the source author believing he is entitled that the fee is calculated in points using magic or fairy dust.

Frank
Frank

I don’t understand how they can be allowed to charge more for you not showing up than if you do…cancellation fees should be limited to what I’ve paid — I booked the room, it’s up to me if I want to show up or not.

I’ll say it again, I’ll never feel bad taking advantage of these companies because I know they would (and do) the same to me

Nosnowjustice
Nosnowjustice

Regarding Marriott, WOW.

I know I’m preaching to the choir, but… I love some of their tropical resorts. However, after hearing many bad reports lately, and especially having just read up on how they handled this case in Aspen, I’m not staying at any Marriott related hotel until they turn the ship around. Bonvoy!
So glad I didn’t sign up for any Marriott cards and opted for other hotel groups instead.