Non-refundable hotel reservations

Mar 26th, 2013, 11:57 AM
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Non-refundable hotel reservations

I finally finished making my hotel reservations for eastern Germany--Berlin, Dresden, Leipzig, Weimar, Wernigerode, and Frankfurt. All but Berlin and the Motel One in Frankfurt (where I wanted to stay near the airport) were non-refundable.

I could have made refundable reservations, but they would have cost considerably more--like $40 per night more--$280 for my 7 day stay in Dresden, and probably $1000 more for my long-ish trip.

I checked out various hotels, including some suggested by Fodorites, and I tried to make a reservation at the Hotel Martha, but it was no go. I just didn't see anything I liked more than the Hilton.

Same for the Westin in Leipzig. Usually I like to stay in homier places--like the Bregenz in Berlin, but I didn't see very much that I liked.

I am wondering if this non-refundable thing is common anywhere else. I have never encountered it before.
Pegontheroad is offline  
Mar 26th, 2013, 12:11 PM
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It seems to me it is picking up steam - I first noticed it maybe about 2 years ago and it is getting more and more common. I have been booking for Italy in the fall - probably half of the properties had this option. I think it used to be more so on the booking engines but now the hotels are using it on their websites too. Saw it last year on some Spanish and Portuguese properties as well.

Add to this, pre-paying for trains. I like to pre-plan, up to a point but I am getting annoyed that to be thrifty I need to be so locked in. Now factor in the high high high TA airfares, even for shoulder season, and I'm starting to think my trips to Europe may be winding down.
suec1 is offline  
Mar 26th, 2013, 12:12 PM
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I have seen non-refundable hotels in Paris and perhaps in Rome but there's has always been a choice of the high price or the non-refundable less expensive rate.

Why are you staying near the Frankfurt airport? I've stayed near the main train station in Frankfurt and it's so easy to walk across the street and get the train to the airport. Trains leave every 15 minutes and take about 10 minutes, right to the terminal. It's nice to spend the evening before a flight in town. The main square is about a 20 minute walk from the train station or a few minutes on the tram.
adrienne is offline  
Mar 26th, 2013, 12:25 PM
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Are we speaking of PRE-PAID and non-fundable or simply non-refundable?
Dukey1 is offline  
Mar 26th, 2013, 12:34 PM
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Posts: 16,614 Peg; try this site. Make sure on the left to check airport shuttle.

Also, using this site it will clearly show 'free cancellation' if offered.
iris1745 is offline  
Mar 26th, 2013, 12:36 PM
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When booking online, either through the hotel's own booking service, or a booking engine, you'll find most have a non-refundable offer, good if you are not expecting any problems or changes in your itinerary.

Being in the business, we work directly with a hotel's reservations/management group and receive the best rates possible, sometimes better then the non-refundable rates listed, but that only happens when you've got a history with an individual hotel or hotel group.

We usually advise clients not to book the non-refundable rate if they are making their own reservations and staying less then three nights. Once booked, you might be able to change your arrival date for a modest fee, or at no cost, but canceling your reservation, without suffering a loss, is nearly impossible.
Robert2533 is offline  
Mar 26th, 2013, 12:55 PM
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Thanks for the responses, everyone.

Dukey, these hotel prices are all pre-paid and non-refundable--except the two that I mentioned.

Iris, I'm staying at the Motel One near the Frankfurt airport. It's refundable, but all the others except the Bregenz in Berlin are non-refundable. I've stayed there before an early flight and liked it well enough It's only 59 euros. Cheep cheep cheep.

I'm staying here for two nights because I had an extra day to fill and wanted to be near the the airport for my early morning flight. I'll be driving from Wernigerode, and I considered various places to spend my one free night, but I didn't want to go through yet another time of locating the hotel, parking the car, etc., then getting up the next morning and heading for the airport. it just seemed simpler to go to the Motel One.

When I checked hotel prices in Frankfurt in 2009, I thought they were high. I assume I'll go in to Frankfurt and check it out, though it's never been at the top of my sight-seeing list.
Pegontheroad is offline  
Mar 26th, 2013, 12:57 PM
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For Frankfurt, google Motel One, Frankfurt airport and you will find the booking site as you scrool down. It offers free cancellation.
iris1745 is offline  
Mar 26th, 2013, 01:06 PM
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Sorry, I miss read youe comments.

Just add your dates or city/town to and you will find hotels with free cancellation and some with free breakfast.
iris1745 is offline  
Mar 26th, 2013, 01:15 PM
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The big Hotel chains have been offering non refundable rates for a couple of years now. is the first on line seller that adopted this kind of rates, asking not only bigger hotels but also simple pensions to offer lower rates that would be non refundable.

Now is offering non refundable rates everywhere,but i have my doubts how legal that is.

I can only speak of my country, Greece, where according to law every reservation can be cancelled free of charge 21 days prior the arrival date.
This means that non refundable rates before the 21 days limit, are not legal. In case of a cancellation on time the hotelier has no rights to charge anything.

I don't know if other countries have similar laws as well.
clausar is offline  
Mar 26th, 2013, 01:18 PM
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I agree that this option seems to be much more common in the last couple years, and while I appreciate the chance to save some money, it can be dangerous. that said, I recently had good luck when a hotel for Paris booked thru waived the one night penalty when I had to cancel my trip 48 hours out. It never hurts to politely ask!
Sidny is offline  
Mar 26th, 2013, 01:24 PM
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All I can say is, I have used for years.

Six of our hotels in Spain this year,using this site, have free cancellation. Some with free breakfast.

You are right, many times free cancellation is not offered, but when it is, it clearly states free cancellation.

When you cancel a reservation, it is almost instant that you receive the cancellation notice.

So, not trying to disagree with anything you said, but I wanted to be clear about the reliability of this site.

Used by millions of people.

In Athens I used Priceline bidding for a 5 star hotel in district one [1]. Eighty dollars a night.
iris1745 is offline  
Mar 26th, 2013, 01:25 PM
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P.S. No getting your money back when using Priceline bidding.
iris1745 is offline  
Mar 26th, 2013, 01:26 PM
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I plan on buying travel insurance in case health problems would prevent my going. When my sister and I each paid a $500 deposit for a trip to China, our Travel Guard insurance covered the cost when she had a heart attack.

I'm not crazy about paying up front for discount train tickets either, but so far it's worked out well.
Pegontheroad is offline  
Mar 26th, 2013, 01:28 PM
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Most city hotels have a 48, or 24 hours cancellation policy in the contracts that they sign with Wholesalers, who again are selling to travel agents....

It is quite common that there will be no charges if you cancel even 2 days before your arrival.
The problem is often that Venere or any other online seller, will try to charge you, without being charged from the hotel.
clausar is offline  
Mar 26th, 2013, 01:30 PM
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Posts: 1,896 offers hotel prices with both free cancellation and no cancellation options. Depends on how definite I am as to which I use. Never get travel insurance apart from Medevac because of the hassle of claiming.
gertie3751 is offline  
Mar 26th, 2013, 02:15 PM
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The scheme works just as it does with discount advance purchase airfare - pay less for a nonrefundable or pay more for a refundable rate.
Seamus is offline  
Mar 26th, 2013, 02:54 PM
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I have always booked with Expedia and, non-refundable rooms are cheaper 10 - 40 euros a night. Some hotels like Hilton ( in several German cities) are completely non-refundable.
I prefer to play it safe and book refundable. One can always switch before the trip.
danon is offline  
Mar 26th, 2013, 02:55 PM
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Actually, I do check the hotels web sites and it has never been lower. Not saying it is never lower.

So I wouldn't call it a scheme, I think it's a 'model' for booking hotels that works.

Peg; Final word, never use anything like a booking site if you do not feel comfortable.
iris1745 is offline  
Mar 26th, 2013, 03:22 PM
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In Germany is the market leader. By default, most rates are refundable untill 6pm same day. And you won't pay until check-out.
Some "Hot Deals" are non-refundable but usually the difference is not as huge as what OP quoted, e.g. a non-refundable Hot Deal of €70 vs a regular refundable price of € 80-90 would be more the norm.
Cowboy1968 is offline  

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