TM Travel World offers suggestions of what to do if you book a non-refundable hotel and change your mind.
He points out that Marriott will actually let you cancel a non-refundable room if you do so by midnight the following day. Beyond that, call the hotel chain and say you made a mistake and see if they can help. And if they can’t contact the hotel directly, perhaps a hotel manager bill let you cancel the booking to keep a future customer happy.
I’d add a few points:
- If the hotel won’t let you cancel, consider asking them to let you change the dates into the future to another time when you might be able to use the reservation. At least it won’t be a total loss that way, and the hotel may be more willing to help knowing it will have your future business.
- I’ve successfully cancelled via central reservations with a bit of a trick, though I admit it’s not among my prouder moments. Rather than just saying I made a mistake and would they let me cancel? I’ve described my mistake as booking the wrong rate type, perhaps your company requires you to book Best Available Rate and you don’t want to get in trouble booking the less expensive Advance Purchase Rate. Perhaps they’d let you upgrade the booking to the more expensive Best Available Rate? Boom, changeable rate, then cancel. I’ve only done this (though on multiple occasions, but not in the past year) with Priority Club.
Non-refundable airfares are usually more cancellable than hotel bookings. Bookings made directly with most airlines can be cancelled within 24 hours or by midnight the following day. (American will even let you hold an airfare on their website still, and those with grease monkey script skills can do so with the United website… so if you’re not absolutely sure, consider holds instead of actual ticketing).
Both Orbitz and Expedia will let you cancel almost all purchases of airfare made within 24 hours, they’ll just void out the ticket you’ve purchased. This works on almost all airlines, the only time I’ve ever had a problem was Expedia telling me that they’re no longer permitted to do this with Airtran bookings. And I assume there are others as well where this is a problem, similar to the Priceline policy.
Priceline’s 24-hour refund policy (for regular, not name your own price, airline tickets) is actually published.
If you accidentally make a mistake with your flight itinerary or passenger names when booking your published price airline ticket, just call us within 24 hours of booking your ticket (and at least 1 hour before departure or check-in) and we’ll give you a full refund, no questions asked. And that includes no cancellation fees from priceline.com or the airline.
Just dial: 1-800-PRICELINE 1-800-PRICELINE (from the U.S. or Canada) or 1-212-444-0022 (from anywhere else).
Sorry amigo, but there are some limits to my clout (but not many). Refunds do not apply to Air India or Spirit Airlines tickets, paper tickets, or tickets booked using our Name Your Own Price® and Vacation Package services. Optional travel insurance is non-refundable. Also, once The Negotiator deep-sixes your reservation, the booking cannot be reinstated.
JetBlue only has an unofficial four hour cancellation policy, if I recall correctly, but that’s my vague sense because I haven’t booked a JetBlue ticket in many years.
What has your experience been cancelling non-refundable tickets or hotels, and do you have any further tips for doing so?