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Update: Choice has extended the dates for booking with waived cancellation fees. This post has been updated to reflect the changes through May 21, 2020.
While COVID-19 continues to create chaos in the travel world, Choice Hotels has announced policy changes to help out travelers. The new policy changes focus on helping customers adjust their travel plans and pause worries about points expiration. However, there haven't been any adjustments yet to earning or maintaining elite status.
Waiving Cancellation Fees
If you have an existing individual reservation made directly with Choice Hotels at one of their properties, you can change or cancel with no charge up to 24 hours before your scheduled arrival. You can cancel or make changes on the Choice Hotels website before June 30, 2020.
- For a reservation that has a cancellable rate, you can cancel or change your reservation here.
- To receive a refund on a non-refundable prepaid reservation made directly with Choice, complete the form available here.
Unfortunately, reservations made through an online travel agent or other third parties aren't eligible for refunds or changes directly with Choice Hotels. Travelers will need to contact the booking agent that they used to get information on their specific reservation.
Flexibility For New Reservations
Planning a future trip? Choice Hotels is offering flexibility on new individual reservations made directly with Choice Hotels “for a limited time.” If you need to, you'll be able to make changes or cancel those new reservations anytime up to 24 hours prior to your arrival.
Pause on Points Expiration
If you are a Choice Privilege member with points due to expire soon, you can breathe easy until at least December 31, 2020. While not as long of an extension as other hotel brands are giving, it's still a nice cushion of up to two months.
If you need account activity to prevent your points from expiring, you might consider generating some account activity with the no-annual-fee Choice Privileges® Visa Signature® Card. By making a purchase on this card, you'll generate “qualifying activity”. With qualifying activity at least every 18 months, your Choice Privilege points won't expire.
Choice Hotels has not yet announced flexibility for those hoping to earn or maintain elite status. The company has said this is something they are looking at so we will keep an eye on future announcements. Now that Hilton Hotels announced that it will be providing status extensions, we hope that Choice Hotels (and others) will follow.
These Choice Hotels policy changes help provide travelers with flexibility and some peace of mind during these challenging times. It's nice to see them putting the customer first when it comes to reservations and points. We also like the forward-looking policies that allow travelers to keep thinking about future plans without worrying. Hopefully, we can all start traveling again soon!
For information on how other hotel chains are dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, check out:
- Airline, Hotel Programs Begin Limiting Non-Travel Redemption Options
- Hyatt Suspends Points Expiration, Delays Peak Award Pricing, Provides Cancellation Options
- Hilton Extends Free Night Certificate Validity Due to Coronavirus Pandemic
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