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Booking.com - Would you opt for refundable or non-refundable reservations?

Booking.com - Would you opt for refundable or non-refundable reservations?

Old Sep 28th, 2014, 02:17 AM
  #41  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
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bvl - we've had this debate about "cancellation for any reason" insurance and I was assured that it does exist. It must come at a price though. I don't understand the mainly US resistance to getting standard travel insurance, which in most cases is extremely reasonably priced - we have an annual world policy which costs about £100.
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Old Sep 28th, 2014, 04:09 AM
  #42  
 
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triangled
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Old Sep 28th, 2014, 05:27 AM
  #43  
 
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Man_in_Seat_61 said that the default on booking.com is refundable, without paying extra.>>

No, it isn't true. They show a variety of rates, and you can choose whichever one you want, there isn't any "default" rate they automatically give you. It's like any booking site. In fact, hotels like prepaid rates for the reason shown above, someone who just likes shopping and books several hotels. Which is exactly why they give you a discount for booking them. So it wouldn't make sense for booking.com to dafault to giving you the regular ate as their clients are the hotels.

Most prepaid rates are nonrefundable, those terms are generally interchangeable, they mean exactly the same thing (nonrefundable means you don't get your money back). Now in some cases, they may charge your credit card one day and refund it if you cancel in the accepted time (so maybe you are calling that prepaid but not refundable), but it isn't the same thing at all. They call that a deposit and you don't get a discounted rate for doing that. It's just the way some hotels work.

Sure you can buy travel insurance that is cancel for any reason, you just go to www.insuremytrip.com (if American), and of course it costs more. I don't know why people buy that unless they have something going on in their family that might cause problems or cancellation, but wouldn't be a typical covered reason (illness or death in immediate family or yours are usually the reasons, but it wouldn't cover getting a new job and having to move, or someone getting married and you need to go or someone not a "close" relative, which is very limited). Of course it costs more, as the only people who buy that have a pretty good idea they might want to cancel, they are much higher risk.

US travel policies are more expensive, they amount to about 10 pct of the amount you say you want to cover. I wonder if the one Annhig refers to covers anything but loss/theft and medical. US ones for that are extremely cheap, also. The expense is covering expenses that are prepaid, the premium is about 10 pct of that amount you put in for coverage.
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Old Sep 28th, 2014, 06:22 AM
  #44  
 
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Christina referring to your first paragraph and the OP's question. Previously I asked for an example link to where hotels charge different rates with for the same room with different booking conditions. So far there has not been one example. Maybe you could do the honors and give some links to hotels covered by the subject counties...please?
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Old Sep 28th, 2014, 08:35 AM
  #45  
 
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US travel policies are more expensive, they amount to about 10 pct of the amount you say you want to cover. I wonder if the one Annhig refers to covers anything but loss/theft and medical. >>

it is effectively a comprehensive travel insurance policy [including cover for volcano disruption] save CFAR. with UK travel insurance policies, you don't specify how much you want to insure, rather they tell you the limits of your cover eg £5K luggage, £1 million medical, etc. etc. if you want more, you pay an increased premium. I'm not aware of anyone offering CFAR in the UK market, though in theory, you can insure against almost anything.

I see that with CFAR, you can only recover 75% of your prepaid costs.
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Old Sep 28th, 2014, 08:56 AM
  #46  
 
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"Previously I asked for an example link to where hotels charge different rates with for the same room with different booking conditions. So far there has not been one example. Maybe you could do the honors and give some links to hotels covered by the subject counties...please?"

Really? You haven't encountered that? I've seen many hotels offer the same room at different rates depending on whether you were willing to pay in advance for a non-refundable room v. free cancellation. That's very common. Examples of hotels I've recently booked rooms at that do this: Grant Hyatt in Berlin. Ritz Carlton in Vienna. Sofitel in New York City. Radisson Blu Warwick in Philadelphia.

Also, I have to disagree with man in seat 61. The last time I booked a hotel with booking.com (about a week ago), the cheapest rate they showed ("starting at...") was the nonrefundable rate. When I click on the option to see all rates, I see the nonrefundable rate for a particular room category first, then the free cancellation. In most cases, but not all, there is some variance depending on whether the hotel offers that option and when I'm booking.
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Old Sep 28th, 2014, 09:28 AM
  #47  
 
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I agree WeisserTee. you have to work quite hard now to get the best rates that suit your circumstances.

I often find myself going backwards and forwards between TA, booking.com and the hotel's own website before I commit myself.
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Old Sep 28th, 2014, 10:01 AM
  #48  
 
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Free cancellation used to be the default on booking.com and on other similar reservation sites, but it's rapidly disappearing. Of course, the hotels present the alternative as a "discount" instead of a higher price for a refundable reservation.

Keep in mind that the "discounted" nonrefundable rate usually also mandates advance payment, at the time you make the reservation. The default with booking.com and kin used to be that the reservation was refundable, within limits set by the hotels, and payment was made when you checked out of the hotel. Now, only the refundable rate usually offers payment on check-out.
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Old Sep 28th, 2014, 10:26 AM
  #49  
 
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Unless it's something so perfect that there is no other alternative (e.g., I got a 3-nighter at the Ibis Birmingham Airport that fit my plans so perfectly, that I prepaid months out), I'll usually always get the refundable (if it's a month or more ahead) for one main reason:

If you do another search 10 or 14 days prior to your trip there is a very real possibility that a better hotel, in a better location, will have dropped their rates to less than what you are paying now - - something that wasn't available back when you got that non-refundable hotel. I have jumped to better places & better prices many, many times.
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Old Sep 28th, 2014, 11:48 AM
  #50  
 
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WeisserTee http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...omment-8920814
You have not provided a link or did you read my question correctly.
Still I decided to look at Grand Hyatt Berlin on Booking. Random search shows a room can be modified or even cancelled up to 18:00hrs on the day of arrival and no fees will be charged. That is the only option. I still am waiting for an answer to the conundrum about these mystical rates for the same room.
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Old Sep 28th, 2014, 12:02 PM
  #51  
 
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Relax rib; Rates changes daily and because you could not find it, or even if WT can not find it NOW, does not mean it wasn't the case when it was viewed by WT.

This is nor exact science, it's haphazard, so try to understand.
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Old Sep 28th, 2014, 12:42 PM
  #52  
 
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Look up Hotel Salieri in Venice. They offer cheaper prepaid or more expensive cancellable rates for the same rooms.
http://www.hotelsalieri.com/

And I've encountered this a lot since searching for hotels for our upcoming Italy trip.
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Old Sep 28th, 2014, 12:52 PM
  #53  
 
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Wow, rib, why so much hostility and the snark about "mystical" rates.

Go back to booking.com. Search for a room at the Grand Hyatt in Berlin arriving January 17, 2015, checking out on the 20th. Rooms rates in Swiss francs posted at 21:47 CET (in other words AS I TYPE THIS POST):
Grand King Double
Value deal: nonrefundable 773 for three nights
Regular nonrefundable rate: 833 /3 nights
Free cancellation until 18:00 on January 17: 851 /3 nights
Non refundable, breakfast included: 911/3 nights
Free cancellation, breakfast included 1032/3 nights
and so on...

http://www.booking.com/hotel/de/gran...eq_children=0&
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Old Sep 28th, 2014, 01:02 PM
  #54  
 
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I can't figure out the confusion here.

I just booked Venice, Florence, and Rome hotel rooms for a trip next year via booking.com and every single one of them had higher prices for the refundable rooms. As did the direct website for the hotel in Florence (that was he only hotel where I checked a direct website). But for me it is worth it, just in case I find something better closer to the trip. Oh yeah, also same situation for a room in a hotel close to the JFK airport that I'm using in October.
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Old Sep 28th, 2014, 01:05 PM
  #55  
 
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http://www.residencialflorescente.co...al-offers.html

http://www.booking.com/hotel/pt/resi...dd7dd52af910X1
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Old Sep 28th, 2014, 01:17 PM
  #56  
 
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A great comparison, between booking.com and the hotel web site.

Unfortunately it does not always work as this comparison does.

Certainly shows that everyone needs to check booking sites and directly to the hotel.

Good information.
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Old Sep 28th, 2014, 01:58 PM
  #57  
 
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Seems to me that all this re-checking hotel prices is a lot of work. I put a great deal of time and thought into choosing where I stay, almost always small, independent B&Bs, guesthouses, pensions or two stars. I really have no interest in doing it twice. If you're staying in chains and don't care whether it's a Marriott or a Hyatt I suppose it's worthwhile, but I never stay in places like that on foreign trips.

On my current trip I have a few non-refundable places, although one is an apartment, and I think they often require payment (and maybe a security deposit) upfront. Another is bracketed by non-refundable airline tickets., and a third was just too good a deal to pass up.

If I had the option to buy insurance for 100 GBP/year, of course I would, but since I don't I only buy medical and medevac. The way I look at it, if you can afford the travel you can afford to self-insure. You're not spending money you need for shelter, food, transport or medical care, right? True, it's a gamble, but I've saved a lot of money by not buying cancellation/interruption insurance. (And yes, I have had a trip interrupted, by an accident.)
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Old Sep 28th, 2014, 02:34 PM
  #58  
 
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For us, checking and rechecking hotel sites and booking sites are no problem.

But everyone is different and different thoughts are to be respected.

I have been retired for 21 years and have all kinds of time. So others may not have that luxury.
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Old Sep 28th, 2014, 03:05 PM
  #59  
 
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Mathematical decision:

Let R=refundable price
Let N=Nonrefundable price
Let P=probability of keeping the reservation
Then (1-p)=probability of not keeping the reservation
Wasted cost of buying refundable and keeping reservation = (R-N)xP
Wasted cost of buying nonrefundable and not keeping the reservation = Nx(1-P)
Then buy nonrefundable if Nx(1-P)
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Old Sep 28th, 2014, 03:10 PM
  #60  
 
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Oh, the simplified version of the relationship is buy nonrefundable if N<RP.
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