Lodging Companies Issue Travel Waivers and Elite Status Extensions 2020 Due to 2019 Novel Coronavirus

The issuance of travel waivers by lodging companies is rare; but due to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus — which is also known as COVID-19 or 2019-nCoV — cancellation fees been waived by several lodging companies; and some frequent guest loyalty programs are offering an extension of elite level status for select members.

Lodging Companies Issue Travel Waivers and Elite Status Extensions 2020 Due to 2019 Novel Coronavirus

Canopy by Hilton Reykjavik City Center

Photograph ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

If you have booked a reservation at a hotel or resort property, you may be eligible for a waiver of a fee to change your itinerary.

Here are four lodging companies which have issued travel alerts as a result of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus:

  • Hilton has waived cancellation fees for hotel stays for guests traveling to, through or from China, Italy, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia through Tuesday, March 31, 2020.
  • Hyatt Hotels Corporation has waived cancellation fees for hotel stays through Tuesday, March 31, 2020 for guests who:
    • Reside in Greater China, South Korea, Japan and Italy with reservations at Hyatt hotel and resort properties globally
    • Have booked reservations at Hyatt hotel and resort properties in Greater China, South Korea, Japan, and Italy
  • InterContinental Hotels Group has waived cancellation fees for hotel stays for guests traveling to or from mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Italy, and South Korea through Tuesday, March 31, 2020.
  • Marriott International, Incorporated has waived cancellation fees for hotel stays through Tuesday, March 31, 2020 for guests traveling to or from the following locations:
    • Asia Pacific: Mainland China, Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, French Polynesia, Maldives, India, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, New Caledonia, Samoa
    • Europe: Italy

Elite Level Status Retention and Extensions

Grand Hilton Seoul

Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

Eligible members of frequent guest loyalty programs who qualify to have their elite level status extended will not have to apply or otherwise take any action, as their elite level status will be extended automatically in most cases.

Here are five lodging companies which have extended elite level status to select members of their frequent guest loyalty programs as a result of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus:

  • Best Western Rewards All members globally will maintain their current elite level status through Monday, January 31, 2022 without needing to fulfill the necessary qualifications effective immediately; and support is also being extended to members who might have already suffered a downgrade as a result of restricted travel, as members who downgraded a tier at the end of 2019 will be leveled-up to their previous tier and will maintain that status through Monday, January 31, 2022, without needing to fulfill the necessary qualifications.
  • Hilton Honors is offering all members who:
    • Have successfully earned or retained elite level status in 2019 will have the status which they earned or retained extended to Thursday, March 31, 2022.
    • Have not qualified to retain elite level status in 2019 and would have been downgraded on Tuesday, March 31, 2020 will be able to keep their current elite tier status until Wednesday, March 31, 2021.
    • Are based with a “preferred address” in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan will not have their points expire until Thursday, December 31, 2020 effective immediately.
  • IHG Rewards Club is offering eligible members — whose account address was in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan as of Monday, February 17, 2020 — the following:
    • Members who have successfully earned or retained elite level status in 2019 will have the status which they earned or retained extended to Friday, December 31, 2021.
    • Members who have signed up or renewed InterContinental Ambassador Program from January 1, 2019 to June 30, 2019 will have their status extended by six months from the expiration date.
    • Points will not expire until Thursday, December 31, 2020 effective immediately.
    • Members who have no used their complimentary weekend night vouchers in their membership accounts will get a new voucher instead whose expiration date will be the same as that of their current membership status, while the old one will immediately expire.
  • Marriott Bonvoy is offering eligible members — whose account address was in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan as of Saturday, February 1, 2020 — the following:
    • Members who have successfully earned or retained elite level status will have the status which they earned or retained extended by 12 months from February of 2020 to February of 2021.
    • Points with an expiration date in February of 2021 will be extended to keep membership accounts active.
    • Members who have chosen the Suite Night Awards benefit — which provides eligible members with a one-night upgrade which can be confirmed to a Standard Suite or Select Premium Room — as their annual choice benefit set to expire by Thursday, December 31, 2020 will have the validity of the Suite Night Awards extended until Friday, December 31, 2021. Those who have applied to redeem the awards but have not finished their stays can call an official customer service center of Marriott Bonvoy to cancel the reservation; and the Suite Night Awards will return to their membership accounts.
    • Members who have earned complimentary stays through the Annual Choice Benefit program or other campaigns which will expire this year can have the validity of their complimentary stays extended by 12 months from their current expiration date.
  • World of Hyatt is offering members who reside in the Asia Pacific region a series of elite tier status and benefits extensions, including:
    • Qualifying World of Hyatt Discoverist, Explorist and Globalist members will now have a new tier expiration of Monday, February 28, 2022 — rather than Sunday, February 28, 2021 — to maintain their elite tier status and benefits.
    • Currently valid Suite Upgrade Awards, Club Access Awards and Free Night Awards which expire in 2020 for qualifying members will be extended through Friday, December 31, 2021.

Summary

Holiday Inn Andorra

Photograph ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

Other frequent guest loyalty programs should follow the generous lead by Best Western Rewards, of which all of its members benefit from the extension of elite level benefits.

If other lodging companies which have not been included in this article announce similar travel waivers or extensions of elite level status, they will either be updated in this article or announced in a new article…

…and if this article is missing any information, please post the details in the Comments section below. Thank you.

All photograph ©2014, ©2015 and ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

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