Over Thursday and Friday 12 & 13 March the big three chains Marriott, IHG and Hilton announced the removal of cancellation penalties in response to the COVID-19 pandemic on all hotel reservations taking place between now and the end of April, including both existing and new reservations. This means that all your reservations with these groups for the rest of March and all April are now cancellable. This also includes reservations made via third party travel agents - although just because Marriott/IHG/Hilton allows them to be cancelled and refunded doesn’t bind the travel agents who could refer the customer to their own terms and keep the cash (speak to brilin about a similar situation occurring with Emirates, Cruise cancelled, flights cancelled, Emirates keeping £200 seat assignment fees, Nasty Emirates)
You can read Marriotts detailed policy here https://marriott-re-2019ncovc.com
Furthermore, IHG is reducing its Elite qualification criteria, so 40-night Platinum now needs 30 nights to renew (or 30,000 base points) and 75-night Spire now needs just 55 nights, or 55,000 base points. Both Marriott and Hilton have promised to look again at elite qualification levels as matters develop. Finally, Marriott has confirmed all outstanding free night certificates from credit cards, choice benefits or Travel Packages expiring this year will be extended to 31 January 2021 with unused 2020 SNAs being extended to 31st December 2021.
With the latest announced travel ban between continental Europe and USA I have a feeling these changes are going to be needed. As the travel restrictions deepen how will this effect your travel plans?
Originally I posted this thread at 09:00GMT on 12 March pointing out that IHG had moved to allow cancellations and speculating when, or if, Marriott would follow. Since then the thread has been edited folowing contributions by insiders brilin, jc411 and blava007 - thanks for your eagle eyes gentlemen!
EDIT: Courtesy of brilin - Hilton confirmed at 12:00GMT March 12th that it too will allow free cancellations on all reservations between now and end April 2020.
EDIT: Courtesy of jc411 - Marriott confirmed at 16:00GMT March 13th that it too will allow free cancellations on all reservations between now and end April 2020.
EDIT: Courtesy of blava007 - Marriott confirmed at 18:00GMT March 13th that free night and travel package certificates expiring on or before end 2020 will be extended to end January 2021 with all SNAs being extended to end December 2021.