Hotel chains vary in how they do cancellations for awards, but I would argue that Hyatt’s award cancellation or no show policy has the risk of being really, really painful.
Example of Hyatt’s Award Cancellation and No Show Policy
Take for example, a stay that I had booked in December for SXSW in Austin, which I ended up not being able to use. Here was the first reservation–fairly straight forward:
Non-refundable, despite it being a points stay, I get that. But, what if I can’t stay? Here was the conversation I had with Hyatt staff via Twitter:
Obviously, a Hyatt Place is pretty cheap on points, so I was cool losing my points. But, here’s the real kicker, as I learned when I spoke with the Hyatt Globalist line: If you no show, you get charged the standard rate (e.g. cash!).
This apparently is not a new policy. A casual search on FlyerTalk found this thread, started in October of 2013 (emphasis mine)
Legality of the no-show cash fee policy for award bookings
Recently, I was charged an outrageous fee of $400 for a hotel room that averages around 100 as a no-show fee. I am a Hyatt Diamond and fought it with the hotel (which initially refused to reverse it) and then on their facebook page, Twitter page and on the survey. The charge has seen been removed. My initial booking was with points (8K). My question is what is the legal basis for the charge if this were to happen again? When I book the hotel there is some verbiage around that I assume but can this stand from a legal basis? Nowhere do they spell out the exact charge but even if they did is it legal?
If I book a suite in Paris using points and they charge me 2.5K for no-show will it still stand? I understand if they take the points for the booking but since I never agreed to pay the dollar charge and transacted with points is this policy legal? I read some post on SPG in the past where this happened to someone else as well but dont remember the details.
Generally speaking, it seems that the no show fee is the rack room rate.
Fair or not?
For my example, I had to scramble to get a friend who happened to be in Austin to go to the hotel and check in for me. For a location that someone might not have that kind’ve network, this kind of policy seems abusive. I totally get that a hotel wants to have rooms booked. I totally get that cancellation policies exist for a reason. But the part that I fail to understand, is the hotel charging the rack rate in cash, when logically it would just be easier for all involved to charge whatever currency was used for the reservation.
What do you think? Have you ever been hit with a no show fee on a points stay?