The Australian Buyer’s Guide to Accommodation Refunds and Cancellations

Itching to travel again? With border restrictions slowly but surely easing, many Australians at home and overseas are looking forward to the real prospect of travel. But, with Covid is known to throw a spanner in holiday plans, it’s worth knowing the terms and conditions of your accommodation booking before pressing confirm.

Under section 267 of Australian Consumer Law, accommodation providers aren’t obliged to refund you should Covid restrictions see the cancellation of your booking. But, that doesn’t mean there aren’t flexible accommodation booking options and cancellation policies out there so you can have peace of mind in the lead-up to your holiday.

Additionally, not all Australian travel insurers cover medical, quarantine, and cancellation costs in relation to COVID-19, so be sure to read the fine print.

Allowing you to travel off the beaten tourist track and experience a town or city like a real local, Airbnb is a fantastic option for post-pandemic travel accommodation. However, cancellation and refund policies vary from listing to listing with hosts able to choose between a range of cancellation options to offer to their guests. For example, flexible cancellation listings allow you to cancel and receive a full refund when you cancel at least 24 hours before the check-in time while strict cancellation listings only offer a full refund when the stay is canceled 14 days prior to check-in or within 48 hours of booking.

Between these cancellation options, Airbnb has moderate listings which allow you to cancel up to five days before check-in with a 50 percent refund for cancellations after that period.

If you’re looking to stay for 28 nights or more, Airbnb’s long-term cancellation policy automatically applies which allows you to receive a full refund up to 48 hours from the time of booking or at least 28 full days before the listing’s local check-in time.

Airbnb in Hobart
Image: Airbnb in Hobart | Source: Airbnb Facebook

Although there’s variation between hotel booking policies, many hotels are relatively flexible and can usually accommodate a date change where necessary. In terms of COVID-19 specific cancellation policies, most hotel groups are reverting back to their original policies, meaning it’s essential to read the fine print and opt for flexible bookings where possible.

According to Hilton‘s website, most of their hotels have the flexibility to change or cancel up to 24 hours before the scheduled arrival date.

Marriott, which encapsulates The Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis and Edition hotels just to name a few, also offers flexible cancellation options which vary from hotel to hotel but can include free cancellation up to two days before check-in.

Pan Pacific typically allows free cancellation up to one day prior to the arrival date. However, the cancellation policy may vary by rate so be sure to read the cancellation t’s and c’s before booking to avoid potential penalty fees or losing out on a refund for prepaid bookings.

Intercontinental also offers expanded rate options so you can opt for a flexible booking.

Crown also typically offers free cancellation up to a couple of days before you’re check-in date.

Booking sites like Expedia allow you to filter accommodation according to free cancellation bookings and are a great resource for sorting through flexible accommodation providers.

Pan Pacific Perth lobby
Image: Pan Pacific Perth | Source: Pan Pacific Perth Facebook

Need some clarity on cancellation policies before booking flights? Read The Australian Travel Buyer’s Guide to Flight Refunds and Cancellations.

This article originally appeared on Fancy

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