Changes are in store for Hyatt in 2018. The hotel chain is introducing a revised cancellation policy in the year to come. The change may not come as good news for guests who enjoy a little bit of flexibility when it comes to canceling or changing reservations. Hyatt guests are used to having the option to cancel reservations without penalty at least 24 hours in advance. However, the new policy sets that window down to 48 hours. The new change applies to refundable stays and award stays. Any room that has been booked under a non-refundable stay will remain non-refundable under the updated policy. Hyatt's change will become official on Jan. 1 of 2018.

What Hyatt Guests Need to Know

Not all Hyatt guests will have to run along with the hotel chain's new cancellation policy. Special exemptions are in place for certain members of the World of Hyatt loyalty program. Those with Explorist status, Globalist or Lifetime Globalist status will still have the ability to cancel reservations just 24 hours ahead of time without penalty. This makes 2018 a good time to try to attain an elite status with Hyatt. It will take either 30 booked nights or 50,000 base points to earn Explorist status and be immune to the hotel chain's upgraded cancellation policy.

However, elite status won't completely take care of the issue. It turns out that Hyatt is actually excluding some properties from the relaxed rules that apply to elite members. The properties that are excluded include Hyatt Residence Club resorts, Miraval resorts and M life resort destinations.

In addition, non-refundable rates booked by elite members won't be subject to the relaxed policy. One last stipulation to keep in mind is that the relaxed policy won't apply if an individual property's policy has a cancellation window that exceeds the standard 48 hours.

Anyone who is unsure about the cancellation policy that's in place at a property they've booked a stay with should check their reservation for details.

There is one more way to get around the new policy without jumping up to an elite tier in Hyatt's loyalty program. However, guests will have to act quickly to take advantage of the loophole. The new policy will only apply to rooms booked on or after Jan 1. of 2018. Reservations that are made before then will still come with a 24-hour cancellation policy. One thing to remember is that reservations that are booked before Jan. 1 must remain unchanged if a guest would like to be able to retain the 24-hour cancellation policy.

The Trend of Tighter Cancellation Restrictions

Hyatt isn't alone when it comes to tightening the rules of its cancellation policy. Both Hilton and Marriott recently updated their required cancellation windows from 24 hours to 48 hours. The trend is helping hotels to avoid vacancies. While some guests may feel inconvenienced by the new trend, those who often book last-minute rooms do stand to benefit. Moreover, the new change will allow Hyatt to offer room upgrades to customers more easily because rooms that may have gone unused due to last-minute cancellations will now be available for booking.

Scott Dylan is a contributing writer at GET.com and has been to (almost) every country in North, Central and South America with nothing more than a backpack, a laptop and the desire to explore. He speaks Spanish fluently and has logged enough time in planes, trains, rideshares, buses, taxis and rickshaws to know how to rack up rewards and points to get anywhere his heart desires for pennies on the dollar. Email: scott.dylan@get.com.