Hotel reservation problem

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Aug 22, 2018
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#1
I am 76 and my husband is 81. I recently made a hotel reservation for us to stay in San Francisco when we visit our son and daughter-in-law for Thanksgiving. After I made the reservation I learned that I cannot cancel it and get a refund. If we cannot go for some reason, we are out of luck The other hotel I had made a reservation at, the Nikko, guaranteed I could cancel for free at any time. In the end, at my son's suggestion we cancelled the Nikko and scheduled at the IGH Mark Hopkins. Is there anyway to get a guarantee that if we cannot go because of illness (not unheard of at our ages) we can get our money back?
 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
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Maui Hawaii
#2
I am 76 and my husband is 81. I recently made a hotel reservation for us to stay in San Francisco when we visit our son and daughter-in-law for Thanksgiving. After I made the reservation I learned that I cannot cancel it and get a refund. If we cannot go for some reason, we are out of luck The other hotel I had made a reservation at, the Nikko, guaranteed I could cancel for free at any time. In the end, at my son's suggestion we cancelled the Nikko and scheduled at the IGH Mark Hopkins. Is there anyway to get a guarantee that if we cannot go because of illness (not unheard of at our ages) we can get our money back?
Many (if not most) hotels offer you a choice of a prepaid, slightly less expensive rate that is non-refundable, or a regular reservation that is not prepaid and can be canceled without penalty, usually 48-72 hours in advance. You appear to have made a prepaid, non-cancellable reservation. You should proceed as you have done and cancel the Nikko without penalty. If you cannot use the prepaid reservation because of illness, you can ask for a refund, but they may not agree to it. I doubt they will commit to a refund now but will want to see why you are unable to use the reservation.
 
Likes: Tanya
Sep 19, 2015
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#3
Have you thought about travel insurance?

When you act as your own travel agent it is important to understand what you are committing to. One needs to spend the time or contact a real travel agent, with a name and a phone number and email, and not an online booking engine.

If one books a non refundable rate it is just that — non refundable; this is why travel insurance exists.
 
Likes: Tanya

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
#4
Buy travel insurance. Most policies will cover if you if you become ill and can’t travel. You need to ask any company you consider what the cover.

You need to be careful when booking on your own hotel- the cheapest rates are usually nonrefundable.
 
Likes: Tanya
Mar 17, 2015
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#5
Just to be clear, you need to buy insurance sooner than later, if you purchase within 15-21 days (depends on the policy and insurer), then pre-existing conditions may be covered, again, depends on the policy. You cannot wait until something happens and purchase the insurance then. You may also want to check with the credit card you booked with to see if it offers any trip insurance benefits. Travel insurance should only be about 10% of the cost of your trip, which to me, offers quite a bit of piece of mind.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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San Francisco
#6
I got caught in this several years ago, LGB, when IHG changed their website. I just missed the notice that it was a non-ref rate. I had no issues and showed up at the hotel on time, but it made me very wary. Check your credit card to see if you might have trip cancellation insurance as a perk. If not, you can buy specific trip insurance. I use a Travel Insurance company in Omaha. Verify what the exact penalty would be if you could not make the trip; if it's just the first night perhaps it's a risk you are willing to take. If you'd lose the entire cost of the stay, you'll want insurance. The Mark Hopkins is a magnificent edifice, I hope you enjoy every minute in San Francisco.
 
Aug 16, 2018
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#7
Always be sure to read the restrictions before confirming a reservation and know that the least expensive rates tend to be “fenced,” meaning that they have restrictions . Most of the time they are non refundable, non eligible for cancellation. If you do end up needing to cancel due to illness, calling the hotel directly and explaining the situation in a humble and polite manner will serve you well. It is unlikely that the hotel will guarantee you that you will be able to cancel a non refundable, non cancelable reservatiom this far ahead of time. Hopefully, you all will be able to enjoy the trip and the magnificent Mark Hopkins, and you will know better for next time! Happy early Thanksgiving!
 
Likes: Neil Maley
Dec 19, 2014
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#8
As others have said, if you book a non-refundable (which also means non-changeable) rate, it is just that. If you don't go then you lose your funds.
However, under appropriate circumstances (true emergencies), the general manager or front desk supervisor can "loosen" restrictions and work with you. It is not a guarantee.

Travel insurance may be an option, but make sure you clearly understand what is covered and what isn't covered. Also, pre-existing conditions may come in play, so make sure you read the terms and conditions carefully, or else you will be making another post.

A word of caution.... hotels have been significantly scaling back "refundable" rates. For those who have NOT traveled recently, the 6PM (or 4PM) same day cancellation policy is essentially gone. Major chains such as Marriott and Hilton now require a 2 day cancellation. I just recently booked a refundable hotel rate that stated the rate must be cancelled 3 days ahead of arrival.

If you book direct, the hotel will CLEARLY spell out the cancellation policy. Don't ignore it! 3rd party bookings or OTA bookings, beware.