Short Answer: Most hotels, especially those managed by large corporations, charge a fee for cancellations that can be equal to the cost of one or two nights’ stay. You can avoid most cancellation fees by canceling a certain amount of time in advance — typically at least 24 to 72 hours ahead of your planned stay. For more information on the hotel cancellation policy for Marriott, Hilton, and other major hotel groups, see below.
Hotel Cancellation Policy by Chain
Hilton Cancellation Policy
Hilton Hotels & Resorts has a companywide cancellation policy, but some hotels within the brand may have their own cancellation policies based on location and hours of operation. Be sure to check the policy for your particular hotel when you make a reservation in order to avoid paying a fee.
- Cancellation fee: Varies by hotel and reservation
- Conditions: You must cancel your reservation before the hotel’s hold time in order to avoid paying a fee. Hotel hold times vary by location; some Hilton hotels may require up to 72 hours’ notice to cancel a reservation without a fee. After the hold time, the credit card you used to make the reservation will be charged. When you cancel a reservation, you’ll be issued a cancellation number; keep a record of this in case you need to dispute any charges or fees. If you booked a room using Hilton Honors rewards points, this might affect when and how you can cancel your reservation. For more information on the Hilton Honors rewards program, see our related article.
- How to cancel a reservation: Call the hotel directly or Hilton Reservations and Customer Care at (800) 445-8667. You can also cancel through your Hilton Honors account or by finding your reservation on the Hilton website. You can also locate the hotel online and cancel through its website.
Hyatt Cancellation Policy
In January 2018, Hyatt changed its cancellation policy to require at least 48 hours’ notice (it was previously 24 hours). The change was made to allow “hotels to manage guest room availability more effectively,” according to a press release.
- Cancellation fee: Varies by the hotel based on market prices and the confirmed rate of your reservation. Fees are explained at the time of your reservation and in any confirmation documents, including emails and faxes.
- Conditions: At most Hyatt hotels, the cancellation policy states that you must cancel your reservation at least 48 hours in advance in order to avoid paying a cancellation fee. Some Hyatt hotels may require even more advanced notice, which will be explained when you make your reservation. Travelers who are World of Hyatt Explorist, Globalist, or Lifetime Globalist members are allowed to cancel most reservations 24 hours in advance without being charged a fee.
- How to cancel a reservation: You can cancel your reservation online using your full name and either your reservation confirmation number or the credit card number on file. If you can’t cancel online, you can call the hotel directly or contact Hyatt customer service.
IHG Cancellation Policy
International Hotel Group (IHG), which owns brands like Holiday Inn, Candlewood Suites, and Crowne Plaza, changed its cancellation policy in 2017.
- Cancellation fee: Varies by the hotel; for example, the Kimpton Palomar in Washington, D.C., charges the cost of one night’s stay plus taxes for late cancellations, while the Holiday Inn Salisbury said cancellation fees depend on the rate at which you booked the room.
- Conditions: Most IHG hotels require at least 24 hours’ notice to cancel a reservation without paying a fee, but this policy varies by location. For example, some Kimpton Hotels require at least 72 hours’ notice, while Holiday Inn reservations booked with a flexible rate can be canceled up to 4 p.m. the day before your stay with no fee. Your reservation confirmation should outline the cancellation policy for the hotel. For more information, you can call one of IHG’s Worldwide Reservation Offices.
- How to cancel a reservation: You can call the hotel directly or call one of IHG’s Worldwide Reservation Offices to cancel a reservation. If you booked your reservation through a third-party website, such as Hotwire or Hotels.com, you may need to cancel through the third party’s website or customer service.
Marriott Cancellation Policy
In June 2017, Marriot International changed its cancellation policy “to better serve guests seeking last-minute accommodations.” The current policy requires cancellation at least 48 hours in advance in order to avoid a fee. The policy applies to all Marriott International hotels in the United States, Canada, Latin America, and the Caribbean (except MVW and Design Hotels).
- Cancellation fee: Varies by the hotel, initial reservation cost, and any local events going on at the time of your reservation. Travel news outlets report that the fee is usually equal to the cost of one night’s stay.
- Conditions: You must cancel at least 48 hours in advance in order to avoid paying a cancellation fee. If you made the reservation with a Friends & Family Discount, this may affect when and how you can cancel. To learn more about using the Starwood-Marriott Friends & Family Discount, see our article.
- How to cancel a reservation: You can cancel your reservation by calling the hotel directly or by logging in to your Marriott account online. If you booked through a third-party website like Orbitz or HotelsTonight, you may need to cancel through the third party’s website or customer service.
Wyndham Cancellation Policy
The Wyndham Hotel Group owns Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, as well as other brands like Baymont Inn & Suites, Ramada, La Quinta, and Travelodge. The cancellation policy on Wyndham’s website states that you’ll be charged the cost of one night’s stay if you don’t cancel on time (which varies by hotel). However, individual Wyndham hotels and resorts may have their own policies
- Cancellation fee: Varies by the hotel, reservation rate, and time of year; fees range from one night’s stay to the entire cost of your reservation.
- Conditions: Wyndham’s on-time cancellation policy varies between brands. Wyndham Resorts often require more advance notification than its other hotels. For example, The Wyndham Garden at Niagara Falls allows cancellations up to 4 p.m. the day before your scheduled arrival. If you cancel your reservation after that, you will be charged the cost of a one-night stay. However, the Wyndham Reef Resort Grand Cayman requires that you cancel seven to 14 days in advance, depending on the time of year. Cancellations made after that will be charged a fee equivalent to two nights’ stay. For December reservations, the cancellation policy is even stricter, requiring that you cancel 45 days in advance or risk paying the entire cost of your reservation. At the Wyndham Grand in Clearwater Beach, you will need to cancel 72 hours in advance or pay a fee equal to the cost of one night, plus taxes. For the Days Inn brand, cancellation policies vary by location. Contact Wyndham directly or the hotel itself for individual requirements.
- How to cancel a reservation: You can contact the hotel directly or cancel online reservations on the hotel’s website.
- For specifics on La Quinta’s cancellation policy, see our related article.
How to Find Hotels With Free Cancellation
As most hotel reservations are made online, it is hard to find hotels willing to offer completely free cancellation. You can occasionally find independent hotels that offer free cancellation, but most major hotel chains require at least 24 hours’ notice in order to avoid cancellation fees.
If you make a reservation through third-party sites such as Expedia or Trivago, you may be able to search for reservations that offer free cancellation. However, you’ll want to pay attention to the fine print. Often, cancellation is only free up to a certain date — meaning the hotel can charge you fees if you cancel too late. And, in some cases, “free cancellation” may mean that the third-party website does not charge cancellation fees, but the hotel still can.
You can usually avoid cancellation fees if you cancel your hotel reservation at least a certain amount of time in advance of your planned stay. This window varies depending on the hotel and when you are traveling, though 24 to 72 hours’ notice is common. For resorts or reservations made during peak travel times, you may need to cancel several weeks in advance to avoid fees. You can cancel most reservations online or by calling the hotel directly. If you made your reservation through a third-party website, you can usually cancel through the website as well.
Planning a party? See our article to find out about hotels that allow parties in rooms.