How to Cancel a Hilton Hotel Reservation [Cash or Points Booking]

A Hilton Hotel In Budapest Hungary

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It’s an unfortunate reality that, sometimes, things do not go as planned and we’re forced to cancel or make changes to things we are looking forward to. This can be especially rough when canceling a vacation because, not only do you not get to go on the trip, but dealing with the cancellation policy of your hotel can be brutal.

If you made your hotel booking with Hilton and find yourself in a situation where you need to cancel — you’re in the right place! Here’s all the information you need to navigate the Hilton cancellation policy.

Hilton Cancellation Policy

Cancellation Policies Due to COVID

Currently, due to COVID-19, Hilton is offering free changes and cancellations on all bookings made before April 30, 2020 (see policy).

After April 30, 2020, it will revert back to its standard cancellation policies, which are detailed below. If you booked via a third party, refer to your booking provider for its policies.

With cancellation policies due to COVID being ever-changing, for the most up-to-date policies across all hotels, please refer to our COVID Hotel Cancellations article.

Reservations Made With Cash

In most cases, Hilton requires you to cancel your booking to be canceled 48 to 120 hours (2-4 days) in advance before your check-in, in order to receive a refund. But this can depend heavily on the type of room rate you’ve booked, and the specific policy of the hotel you’re staying at.

There are some rates offered that, as mentioned above, allow you to cancel up to a few days before your arrival and receive a full refund. Other rates might require full prepayment for your stay upfront, and are non-refundable should you need to cancel.

Due to this, it is extremely important that you pay close attention to the cancellation policy associated with the rate you book because once you’ve completed your booking, you are tied to that cancellation policy.

Hot Tip: Many hotels in the Hilton portfolio are independently operated, and can have their own cancellation policies. For example, some resort-style properties can require up to 30 days advance notice in order to get your money back.

The Cancellation Policy for the Rate

Of course, if you’ve ever booked a hotel stay before, you know there usually are many different nightly rates to choose from. So how can you easily compare the cancellation policy for different rates in the same way that you can compare prices?

Hilton Rate Comparison
Different Hilton rates offer different cancellation policies. Image Credit: Hilton

Luckily, Hilton makes it pretty difficult to miss. Once you select a rate you’re interested in, you’ll see a page like the one above — offering you 3 options with varying degrees of cancellation flexibility.

As you can see, the 3 rates offered are a Flexible rate, which is the most expensive option, Semi-Flex, and Advance Purchase which is the cheapest option.

So how do the respective cancellation rates compare? Flexible rates usually require you to cancel 48 hours (2 days) prior to your check-in date in order to receive a full refund. Semi-Flex rates usually require you to cancel 4 days prior to your check-in date in order to receive a full refund. Finally, Advance Purchase rates require prepayment of the entire stay in full, and are not refundable should you need to cancel.

For Flexible and Semi-Flex rates, you can still cancel after the 48 hour and 4-day windows, but you will likely be charged a fee equal to a 1-night stay for doing so.

This is why checking the respective cancellation policies is very important. If you were to just pick the lowest rate available in an attempt to save money, you might be on the hook for much more money if you end up needing to cancel. Meanwhile, the Semi-Flex rate is just $6 more per night and gives you significantly more flexibility.

This is, of course, just 1 example, though. Prices for each of these rates can vary dramatically based on the hotel, the season, occupancy, and any ongoing promotions. This can make the decision of choosing a cheaper rate to save money or going with something flexible a bit more difficult.

Bottom Line: The importance of knowing the cancellation policy for your rate before you book cannot be underestimated. Just taking a few extra minutes to clarify can end up saving you hundreds of dollars. 

Reservations Made With Points

If you booked an award stay with Hilton using your Hilton Honors points, the cancellation fee will usually depend on the hotel you’re staying with. Most properties in the Hilton portfolio allow you can cancel an award booking 48 hours (2 days) before your check-in day.

Never simply assume this to be true if you don’t see the cancellation policy clearly stated when booking. If you’re unsure of the policy, simply call the hotel you’re planning to book with and ask. The extra time will be worth the peace of mind.

How to Cancel a Hilton Reservation

It is easy to cancel your Hilton Reservation online by following these steps:

Step 1 

Sign in with your Hilton Honors account and then click your name to open a dropdown tab. Then click Account to be taken to your account page.

Hilton My Account
Access your account from the Hilton homepage. Image Credit: Hilton

Step 2

From here you can manage any upcoming reservations by clicking the stay you wish to cancel. You can also view your Hilton Honors elite status level, the number of points you have, and the number of nights you’ve stayed with Hilton this year.

Step 3

Once you’ve clicked the reservation that you’d like to edit, you then want to click Cancel and then Confirm, and that’s it! Your reservation is officially canceled and you should receive an email confirmation.

Hot Tip: If you need extra assistance with your cancellation, or are having trouble with the website, you can contact a Hilton customer service agent at 800-445-8667.

Changing the Reservation Dates

If you don’t want to cancel and prefer to change the dates of your booking, follow the exact same steps above, except instead of clicking Cancel, select the new dates you want to switch to and then click the Change button.

Once you do, the updated dates will officially be made, as long as there is availability at the hotel for your new dates. Keep in mind that if you are changing to new dates that are more expensive than the ones you have currently booked, you will need to pay the difference in price.

Final Thoughts

Dealing with canceling a trip can be a massive pain in the neck. But, if you prepare beforehand, it doesn’t have to be.

This is why we cannot stress enough the importance of reviewing the cancellation policy for your rate closely before completing your booking. If you’re booking a hotel stay with Hilton and think there is a high chance you may need to cancel, we highly recommend paying a bit extra to book a Flexible or Semi-Flex rate. The extra money you pay nightly, if reasonable, is usually worth the added flexibility and peace of mind.

Frequently asked questions

What happens if I cancel my Hilton reservation?

That will depend on what rate you have booked with the hotel. If you’ve booked a Flexible or Semi-Flex rate then you should be able to receive a full refund for your stay, as long as you cancel before the stated deadlines.

If you booked an Advance Purchase, non-refundable rate, then you likely will not be able to receive a refund if you cancel. So, view the cancellation policy closely before booking!

What happens if I cancel a non-refundable reservation with Hilton?

If your room rate required full prepayment upfront and is non-refundable, there is not much you are able to do, and it is very unlikely that you will be able to get your money back.

However, if you need to cancel your reservation due to extenuating circumstances, you can also contact Hilton customer service and ask for an exception to be made. The agent might not grant an exception, but it never hurts to ask!

How late can you cancel a Hilton reservation?

Generally speaking, if you’ve booked a Flexible or Semi-Flex rate, you should be able to cancel 2 to 4 days before your check-in date and receive a full refund, but this timeframe can vary from hotel to hotel.

If you have booked one of these rates and need to cancel after the 2 or 4-day timeframe, you will likely be charged a 1-night cancellation fee.

Jarrod West

About Jarrod West

Jarrod first became fascinated with the world of points and miles as the perfect way to visit dream destinations without breaking the bank. On his first major award trip, he spent 3 months traveling through Europe, financed nearly entirely with points; while flying in premium cabins and staying in 5-star hotels along the way. Now, he is on a mission to help others realize their travel goals and upgrade their travel experiences. Jarrod has been writing about credit cards and travel loyalty programs for 4 years, and his work has been featured by Travel and Leisure, Matador Network, Yahoo Finance, and U.S. News.

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  1. Should I be concerned if the points from a canceled Hilton award reservation still aren’t in my account 48 hours after I canceled? Thanks.


    • Hi Tim,

      I wouldn’t be too concerned, but if it takes more than a few more days then I would contact Hilton and see what the hold up is.


  2. Deborah Gayneaux April 30, 2021

    If you cancel after the cancellation date do you just lose deposit or full stay?


    • Hi Deborah,

      If you booked a flexible or semi-flexible rate you should be charged a 1-night fee if you cancel after the cancellation date.


  3. Valerie McCray May 11, 2021

    Our family had planned to have a reunion at a Hilton in VIrginia in July of 2020. Because of the coronavirus we could not because of CDC guidelines prohibiting group gatherings. We were expecting nearly 200 people. The hotel said we could not cancel without paying a penalty. Why couldn’t we get a full refund? Our only options were postpone to the next year or cancel with a hefty fee. Please explain why we could not get refunded.


    • Hi Valerie,

      I’m very sorry to hear about that. We do not have any affiliation with Hilton, so I cannot say why they would not offer you a refund for your stay. Did you try contacting Hilton corporate customer service? If not, I recommend you do so, the number is 1-(800)-445-8667.


  4. Chris Clayton August 21, 2021

    My wife and I are Diamond Hilton members and have spent 4 of the last 7 months in a Hotel. Unfortunately, after spending 60 days at a Hilton property in Gilbert Arizona, we had an unpleasant experience and left rather abruptly. Looking back at the whole experience, it was quite a letdown. Having been to a quite a few hotels all around the world, and I have had much nicer times at Hilton property’s.
    The bigger problem came after our 2nd visit. This time it was a more expensive Hilton and at first were very happy with the larger rooms, couch, small kitchen and the breakfast was better too. But the manager was a complete nightmare. We were almost overcharged twice in 2 days. Once by $1,400 and then $900 the second day. And when I tried telling the manager who was at the front desk, he just kept repeating, am I paying or not, and if not get out now!
    Then the police were called and my wife had to leave her job. Only to figure out that I was 100% right and they were way off, rude, and unapologetic.
    The kicker came when my wife receives a voice message from the manager, telling us we have to leave asap! He found out I told a guest about our incident and we had to go. All I did was tell another patron of my experience. I even tried giving the manager the benefit of doubt that maybe he was just frustrated with incompetent staff.
    Wait! The guy then rings all 3 of the cards they had on file, even though 2 of those cards were supposed to be not touched and out of their systems. On top of that, he changed our agreed rate from $95 to $150! Unbelievable. After contacting the sales department, the girl gave me his supervisor’s number. What a joke that was.
    Long story short, we have spent the last 30 days at the Hyatt in Gilbert and we couldn’t be happier.


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