Hyatt didn’t welcome my dog, so I canceled. Can the hotel keep my money?


Joshua Perry canceled his reservation at the Hyatt on learning that he couldn’t bring his dog. The Hyatt assured Perry that it wouldn’t charge him for the room, but it did so anyway — and successfully challenged his credit card chargeback.

Why did Perry have to pay for a room he couldn’t use?

Unfortunately for Perry, he failed to request the cancellation prior to the hotel’s cut-off time.

His story also carries a warning not to finalize a reservation with a travel company without doing all your homework ahead of time, and to get all confirmations of anything promised by a customer service agent in writing. Had Perry checked the Hyatt’s pet policies before completing his booking, he would have discovered that he and his dog would have to stay elsewhere. And had he received a written confirmation of his cancellation, he might have prevailed in his chargeback.

Perry booked his room at the Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center through Hotels.com for $171, to be charged to his Citibank credit card. The hotel has a non-cancellation rule: Reservations canceled within 48 hours of the beginning of a scheduled stay are nonrefundable.

While within the 48-hour window, says Perry, he called the hotel and canceled the reservation:

I canceled over the phone and was told both by the Hyatt staff member and also by the Hotels.com representative that an exception had been made and I would receive a full refund for the room. However, no email confirmation was given. In fact, I asked for an email confirmation and was told that I couldn’t be sent one but assured that the refund would be processed.

Then Perry saw a charge on his Citibank statement for the Hyatt.

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He contacted Citibank, which gave him a provisional credit for the charge. But Citibank’s customer service representative told him that it would need written confirmation of the cancellation to grant him a permanent credit. And Hotels.com told Perry that it did not have any record of its interaction with the Hyatt. Hotels.com and Hyatt challenged the chargeback, and Citibank restored the charge to Perry’s account.


Perry then contacted our advocates for assistance. (Executive contact information for Hyatt Hotels Corporation and Hotels.com (a brand of Expedia) is available on our website.) But the lack of a written confirmation of the cancellation was an obstacle to our being able to help Perry as well.

Hotels.com’s terms and conditions indicate that

You agree to pay any supplier required cancellation or change fees that you incur. In limited cases, some hotels do not permit changes to or cancellations of reservations after they are made, as indicated in the rules and restrictions for the hotel reservation. You agree to abide by the terms and conditions imposed with respect to your prepaid hotel reservations.

Perry sent us a copy of the confirmation of his reservation, which showed that he could cancel his booking free of charge up until 4 p.m. on the day 48 hours prior to the beginning of his stay.

Our advocate asked Perry for documentation of the chargeback to determine whether we could help him contest Citibank’s final determination. Perry submitted a letter indicating that the chargeback was reversed because, contrary to what he had told us, he had not canceled within the 48-hour window.

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We asked him whether he could provide telephone records indicating when he had requested the cancellation, and his phone bill showed that he had placed the call to the Hyatt at 6:42 p.m., nearly three hours after the cut-off time for canceling his reservation.

With no documentation of either the Hyatt’s or Hotels.com’s agreement to cancel the reservation, and because Perry’s cancellation request fell outside the 48-hour window, our advocates don’t feel that we can successfully assist Perry to challenge Citibank’s final decision to reverse the chargeback. We thus classify his story as a Case Dismissed.


Jennifer Finger

Jennifer is the founder of KeenReader, an Internet-based freelance editing operation, as well as a certified public accountant. She is a senior writer for Elliott.org.

  • LDVinVA

    Another case of not doing your homework. I travel with a dog at times and the first thing I do when looking for a hotel is see if they accept pets. Then, cancelling after the deadline, well, what did the OP expect?

  • SirWIred

    I will say that every time I cancel a hotel room, I ask for a confirmation, and they simply tell my my “confirmation” is my reservation number. That’s not real useful in differentiating my cancellation from my original reservation.

  • JohntheKiwi

    The record on the hotels side (in whichever system the front desk uses) should have logged who cancelled that reservation. If the timestamp on that cancellation matched the time of the call, that should be enough for Hyatt to accept the clients story. I probably could have got out of this one. I personally believe the front desk agent did advise the cancel penalty would be waived. It’s fairly typical in my experience (20 years in travel).

  • Annie M

    First mistake- booking through Hotels.com and adding a middleman.

    Second- not doing homework before booking. A majority of hotels still don’t allow pets. You know what assuming does…..

  • Noah Kimmel

    if you are a member of the loyalty program and attach your number to all bookings, you can see the reservation status online and get an email notification for cancellation and any charges.

  • Annie M

    It is if you go in and check it after you cancel – it will say it has been canceled.

  • Annie M

    Then why would the agent say they will make an exception?
    “representative that an exception had been made and I would receive a full refund for the room”

    If he called within the correct time frame – there wouldn’t need to be an exception made. .

  • JohntheKiwi

    They didn’t call within the corrrect timeframe. The cancel policy was 48 hours, they called 3 hours into that, so 45 hours prior.

  • The Original Joe S

    YUP. Of YOU and ME!

  • Blamona

    Appropriate outcome in this case

  • Richard Mengelkoch

    I use Bestwestern.com to make all reservations for us and our dog. I then call the hotel directly to confirm both the resv. and that a dog friendly room is available. That is important because most hotels have only a limited number of pet friendly rooms. I also note the name of the person I talked to and the time and date. I have never had a problem in many years.

  • cscasi

    Now we can surmise why he did not get a cancellation email. The hotel probably cancelled his reservation per his request. However since the time was past the cancellation window to get a refund, he probably said the never sent him one. Well, there are records and when questioned, the had the proof available.

  • cscasi

    Maybe some hotels do. But, whenever I make a reservation with Hilton or MArriott, I always get a confirmation number. If I cancel a reservation, I always get a different number for the cancellation.

  • cscasi

    Who said the agent said? The customer. Could it be that he was just saying that to try to avoid having to pay for the cancellation made after the cutoff time for a refund?

  • Annie M

    You are absolutely right.

  • Annie M

    That’s my point- he didn’t cancel within the correct time frame that he claims he did.

  • Annie M

    That’s my point- he claims he called within the time frame but could not have because he also claimed the ahentbdayd they would make an exception. If he had called 48 hours before there wouldn’t be an issue

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