Is it normal for the fee for changing a booking in a hotel to be the whole of the room rate for the night?

I am booking for a one night stoppover a few months in advance, and am concerned about the moderately likely possibility of the airline changing the flight details in the mean time...

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    Most of the time when I make hotel reservations the standard terms seem to be that I can cancel 24 hours in advance and not be charged, but after that it costs one nightly rate. Though perhaps that's specific to the rough class of hotels I prefer to book. Commented Sep 26, 2017 at 12:52
  • Some hotel chains that I use allow cancellation up to 6PM of the night of the booking. (Which annoyed one location when I went to cancel a booking and had to point out to them the terms of their own chain. ) So it is going to come down to the fine print of the hotel chain you are booking with - and that is something that we can't tell you about.
    – Peter M
    Commented Sep 26, 2017 at 13:27
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    It can also depend on the rate itself. Some hotels have rates which are totally flexible and rates which are not modifiable, where a change then basically cost the whole cost as fee.
    – dunni
    Commented Sep 26, 2017 at 20:08
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    It depends where you book as well. It's not uncommon for some online hotel booking sites to list a price with a flexible cancellation policy and a lower one that's prepaid in advance. Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 18:36

2 Answers 2


I book about 60 hotels a year, and typically do check the fine print. Having to pay the first night if cancelled too late is quite typical. If you only have one night, that is ugly, but it is better when you booked a week or more.

As others said, technically, cancel and change is typically the same for the hotel and follows the same charge rules; but they might be more willing to accomodate if you change.

Note that depending on the rate you book, you might have to pay the whole stay when you want to cancel (that’s what’s called ‘prepaid’) - therefore, you got a slightly cheaper price when booking. Others are slightly more expensive, and allow free cancellation until 6 pm the day.
You need to think about this when booking, not just pick the cheapest price.

  • Thanks - the fine print for the hotel in question doesn't talk about cancelling or changing "too late" ... it's anytime. I later found out that they do have another rate which allows you to change or cancel. It's about twice the inflexible rate, doh! Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 22:52

Is it normal for the fee for changing a booking in a hotel to be the whole of the room rate for the night?

Depending on the hotel, it is normal for them to charge a fee - or not. Whether or not that fee is equivalent to a whole night's rate is up to the hotel. Your best bet would be to call them directly and explain your situation. Once they understand that you are changing your reservation and not cancelling it, then they might be more generous on waiving that fee.

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