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Be Aware: Marriott Not Showing Cancellation Fees – and they can be HUGE

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As everyone has been booking top end Marriott hotels in the Maldives and Bora Bora ahead of the Dec 31st deadline to get these for just 60,000 points a night, something to bear in mind is the cancellation policy, which is 30 days before travel in all reservations I’ve seen.

Under the new Marriott system, you no longer have the option to forfeit points in lieu of a cash cancellation policy as was the case under SPG where a simple email could convert that huge cancellation penalty into a simple loss of your points.  This is something I really hope the bigger bloggers will make a big deal of and get Marriott to reconsider.

That’s because the cancellation penalties can be HUGE. How about $16,250 if you need to cancel a stay in the Maldives within 30 days for any reason? Yes, I had that written into a recent reservation and it was real.  It seems to be based on Rack Rate. A lot can happen within 30 days of such a big trip.  And in looking into trip cancellation coverage, a) many policies won’t cover penalty fees – only a lost prepaid rate. So your Chase Sapphire Reserve won’t help you here (I checked). And b) now that you can’t switch it to a loss of points, you could really be on the hook for this. Bear in mind that in extenuating circumstances, only the hotel can agree to waive that fee and Marriott can’t force anything no matter how loyal you are.  Not only that, even if an insurance policy would cover the penalty, you’ll be looking at well over $1,000 to cover the $16,000.

Right now, there is a glitch in the system and the cancellation penalties are not being written into most confirmation emails (or showing at checkout). It says there IS one, but not how much. Don’t assume it’s negligible. The only way to find out until the glitch is fixed is to reach out to the property or ask SPG to do it for you.

Consider this a Public Service Announcement. 

Have you had any experiences with these huge cancellation penalties? Let me know here, in the comments, on Twitter, or in the private MilesTalk Facebook group.

New to all of this? My new “introduction to miles and points” book, MilesTalk: Live Your Wildest Travel Dreams Using Miles and Points is available now.

 

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