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Update 4/17/2020: Good news! Marriott has now processed extensions for elite status, Free Night Awards, and Suite Night Awards.
As the coronavirus crisis deepens, large travel brands seem to be issuing policy updates every week or so. Marriott has recently extended its original policy providing flexibility for new and existing reservations. However, Marriott has still been quiet about extending elite status for members living outside Asia.
Here are the policies Marriott currently has in place for COVID-19:
Marriott customers now have until June 30, 2020 to change or cancel an existing reservation with no charge up to 24 hours in advance of arrival. This includes pre-paid rates that are typically non-refundable. That's a two-month extension from the original deadline of April 30, 2020.
This policy applies only to reservations made directly with Marriott. Any bookings through travel agents or other third parties are not covered by this policy. Instead, travelers are directed to contact the company that they booked through for options.
With all the uncertainty surrounding the future of travel these days, new bookings might not be at the top of your COVID-19 quarantine to do list. If you are feeling optimistic, Marriott is making it easy to book anytime in the next few months without worry.
Any reservations made between now and June 30, 2020 can be canceled or changed up to 24 hours before arrival. This includes prepaid rates. Since pre-paid rates tend to be lower, maybe now is the time to lock in good prices with limited risk!
While these policy updates provide travelers with some peace of mind and flexibility, we did spot “some exclusions may apply” language in the announcement. Marriott recommends that travelers “refer to the property's Rate Details for applicable terms and exceptions”. Some specific exclusions include:
- Design Hotels and Homes & Villas by Marriott International are not covered by this policy.
- Marriott Vacations Worldwide has exceptions for owner reservations.
Full details about possible exceptions are available on Marriott's updated statement on novel coronavirus.
In mid-March, Marriott emailed Bonvoy members to say that it's extending the following benefits for Bonvoy members:
- Points expiration is paused through August 31, 2020.
- Active Free Night Awards is extended to January 31, 2021.
- Suite Night Awards with an expiration of December 31, 2020 are extended an additional 12 months to December 31, 2021.
Marriott is making these updates automatically for all Bonvoy members. However, it is always a good idea to keep an eye on your account to make certain that updates are applied correctly.
Marriott has two sets of policies for its Bonvoy members. One policy was announced in February for members who reside in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan which included extending elite status through February 2022.
In the mid-March update, Marriott said it's “too early” to make decisions around elite status extensions for Bonvoy members residing outside of those specific areas listed above. As the situation evolves, we hope to see Marriott follow other hotel brands in extending elite status for Bonvoy members.
While Marriott's policy updates are overall good news, some Bonvoy members may be frustrated by the delay in the decision to extend elite status. As the coronavirus crisis continues to make travel difficult, we'll keep looking for updates from Marriott.
For more on about how other major hotel brands are responding to the coronavirus crisis:
- Hilton Extends Elite Status, Suspends Points Expiration Due to COVID-19
- Choice Hotels Suspends Points Expiration, Provides Flexible Cancellation Policies
- Hilton Extends Free Night Certificate Validity Due to Coronavirus Pandemic
- Hyatt Suspends Points Expiration, Delays Peak Award Pricing, Provides Cancellation Options
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