Warning about booking Preferred Hotels through Choice Privileges

Discussion in 'Choice | Privileges' started by vbkamb, Jan 10, 2012.

  1. vbkamb

    vbkamb Active Member

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    I wanted to share my experience booking a Preferred hotel through Choice Hotels, using Choice Privileges points. I know this topic has been discussed before, but I want to share my story and the ultimate outcome from Choice Hotels, as it was not a pleasant experience.

    I was in Mexico with my wife over the Christmas holidays and had a car, so we stayed in a few different spots over 8 nights. On Christmas Eve and Christmas night we had a reservation we made through Choice Privileges at the Now Sapphire Riviera Cancun.

    Upon arriving at the Now Sapphire on December 24th, I checked in and saw that my reservation showed a charge of $400 plus per night. When I informed the front desk that my reservation was made using Choice Privileges points and showed her my reservation confirmation, the front desk agent told me she had know idea what I was talking about and that I had to pay for the room out of pocket.

    I then asked to speak to a supervisor and he too came over and informed me that he had know idea what I was talking about and that I was going to pay the full charge for the room, as I was within the cancellation period. At this point they had already taken the information from my american express card as well, as the agent asked for it as I was initially checking in. When I told the supervisor that I was not paying for the room as I already used points for it, he told me that I was paying it, he didnt care and if I had a problem with that, he was calling the police.

    Not a fun situation to be in, when you are in Mexico. So, I told them I was going to contact Choice Privileges to see if they can help out.

    Not wanting to pay the $860 and having already spent 100,000 on the room there for two nights. I then called Choice Privileges from my cell phone long distance. I informed the agent what was happening and was put on hold for a very long time while she researched to see what she could do. After about a 45 minute wait, the agent told me she was able to get someone to fax over a confirmation again to the hotel to show them I was using points and didn't have to pay.

    45 minutes after that and after some more back and forth, the fax shows up at the hotel front desk. Only after I call again to Choice Privileges and have them send it again. However, the front desk agents again say this is not proof that my room is paid for and that I still need to pay for the room.

    At this point, I call Choice Privileges again and after another 30 minutes of waiting for them to figure out what to do, they agree that someone will call the hotel directly and tell them that I should not be charged for the room as it is booked on points.

    So, I again go to the front desk and wait for them to call. Mind you also, that this is Christmas eve and the front desk is a mess with people checking in. Finally, the call comes through and I hear the conversation as I do speak broken Spanish and when the agent hangs up they finally tell me, you are still not getting the room for free.

    At that point, I call Choice Privileges again, who tells me that I should just leave the hotel. They tell me as I am on the phone, they will refund my 100k points and to call them when I get back to the US and they will compensate me for the whole situation, since on top of all of this, I now have to find a last minute place to stay on Christmas eve and Christmas night in the Mayan Riviera (not cheap).

    After a little bit more of back and forth, the front desk agrees to give me back my initial credit card slip for deposit (that is how holds are done in Mexico), only because I think they are tired of me at this point and I get in the car and leave with my wife.

    We luckily did have the car and were able to find a place to stay for the two nights. But it was an incredibly stressful and not fun experience.

    Now, when I get back to the US, I call choice privileges who refers me to their customer relations department. They ask me to send them a copy of the receipt from the two nights I paid for last minute and I do all that.

    Finally, today I am told by Choice Hotels that I did receive back my 100,000 points and that was all that they could do for me. In fact, a supervisor even tried to tell me that that hotel was no longer with Choice Hotels, so they could not do anything for me. To which I tried to explain the Preferred Hotels affiliation and using Choice Points for these hotels.

    Anyway, in the end, Choice Hotels told me that I should be happy to get my points back for a hotel I did not stay at. I asked if there was something that could be done, so this horrible experience would not happen to others and they basically could not care less.

    So, just a word of warning for anyone looking at booking Preferred Hotels through Choice Hotels. It seems like this is a relationship that is not exactly understood by all parties.

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