How do "Early Departure Fees" work exactly?

If I booked a room for 4 nights, and I want to leave after 2 nights, and I have pre-paid for the 4 nights, will I still be charged early departure fees?

T & C from the hotel say:

Early Departure

Many Starwood hotels have an early departure fee. When you check-in, you will be asked to confirm your departure date. You may be able to change your departure date without a penalty if your rate plan permits and if you do so before the end of your arrival day. After reconfirming your departure date, if you decide to leave earlier, you may be charged the early departure fee. Please contact the hotel if you have any questions.

I am fine forfeiting the money as I understand that this is my fault if I booked for longer and left early, but my concern is can they charge me additional fees for leaving early?

  • Let's say I do not tell the front desk about my plans as even I am not sure of them
  • This is for my upcoming trip.
  • 1
    Can you clarify, is Early Departure Fee something specifically noted on the reservation? In the scenario you describe, you would merely forfeit the payment for the remaining 2 nights unless rate rules allow for partial stays.
    – DTRT
    Apr 12, 2017 at 15:37
  • 1
    It's specific to the hotel in which you are staying. It usually starts when you check in, and you're asked to confirm your departure date. Did you do that? If you are not at the hotel, and still within the period allowed for changes/cancellations, you may be to change your departure date. If you're there, then you would have to go to the desk/concierge/manager and ask whether you would get a refund for the two days you pre-paid, or whether it will charge all or part of that for your early departure.
    – Giorgio
    Apr 12, 2017 at 15:41
  • 1
    The hotel chain I use usually charges for one night if you leave early. So if you leave the night before or 3 nights before you'd pay a penalty of one night. Only way to know is to look at the Ts&Cs you're agreeing to
    – Berwyn
    Apr 12, 2017 at 15:55
  • 1
    The reason for this is that it can sometimes be a lot cheaper to make, say, a 7 night reservation than a 3 night reservation. The hotel wants to make sure you're not just booking a longer stay in order to get a lower rate per night and then cancel the extra nights
    – Berwyn
    Apr 12, 2017 at 15:59

2 Answers 2


An early departure fee is typically used as a revenue management instrument to prevent evasion of restrictions applied to bookings for fewer nights.

An example would be a refundable booking for several nights including lower pricing period which may be a weekend or a Saturday night in some hotels. Someone who wished to take advantage of a lower booking cost per night, would book a longer period than they wished and then cancel early and hope to retain the same cost per night.

This typically only applies to refundable bookings, as it doesn't make sense to charge an early departure charge if you have prepaid. However, it does sometimes apply to bookings made with loyalty points.

Each hotel chain or even hotel could have a different policy, so it is necessary to know the exact hotel before being able to advise exactly what is relevant to your case.

The early departure fee is often the cost of one night's stay. So if you booked for 7 nights and stayed 2, or 7 and stayed 4 you would pay for just one night extra than your actual stay, providing you comply with the notice period, e.g. 24 hours before checking out.


First, it is highly unlikely, almost impossible, you would be changed an Early Departure Fee and forfeit the prepaid nights.

The Early Departure Fee is a form of revenue protection particularly for post-paid stays to cover cases where the booking is made with a lower long-term, convention or special rate but the number of nights you actually stay would only qualify for a higher 'regular' rate.

For comparison, it would be similar to booking a hidden city airline ticket.

Now, you might be able to get some money back if the re-priced post-paid rate leaves you with a credit from your pre-paid amount. I've never tried this but it's worth asking about when you check in.

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