Weekend survey: When should a hotel refund a nonrefundable room?

By | September 16th, 2010

When I say this is a hot topic, I’m not kidding. I had to shut down the comments on this post earlier today because people just couldn’t get along. But here’s your chance to sound off in a more civilized forum: A weekend poll.

More hotels are offering nonrefundable rooms. And more guests are booking them (often without knowing it).


When should a hotel bend its nonrefundability rules? I asked you about airlines last week. But hotels have their own unique set of circumstances.

Here are the results.



  • Lisa

    so what stops me booking a cancellable room, then once i know 24hrs before its pretty certain the trip is on, cancelling the refundable room, and then rebooking the room at a pre-paid rate?

  • AnnPeek

    What part of “nonrefundable” do people have a difficult time comprehending?

    If you read the word nonrefundable and still make the booking, then it’s on you to get yourself to the hotel for your booking. That’s what being a responsible adult in a contract means. The nonrefundable bit is why you are getting such a good price on the room. If you want to pay more for the ability to cancel and get some or all of your money back, then don’t book a nonrefundable room.

    If, for some reason, the hotel isn’t operating because of a storm which affects the normal running of the hotel or a hostage takeover or some other very unusual event which makes the property usable or unsafe, then money should be refunded, and/or an alternative booking should be offered. That’s good business.

We want your feedback. Your opinion is important to us. Here's how you can share your thoughts:
  • Send us a letter to the editor. We'll publish your most thoughtful missives in our daily newsletter or in an upcoming post.
  • Leave a message on one of our social networks. We have an active Facebook page, a LinkedIn presence and a Twitter account. Every story on this site is posted on those channels. The conversation ranges from completely unmoderated (Twitter) to moderated (Facebook and LinkedIn).
  • Post a question to our help forums or ask our advocates for a hand through our assistance intake form. Please note that our help forum is not a place for debate. It's there primarily to assist readers with a consumer problem.
  • If you have a news tip or want to report an error or omission, you can email the site publisher directly. You may also contact the post's author directly. Contact information is in the author tagline.