When Does "Pre-Paid" Actually Mean "Pre-Paid"

Discussion in 'Starwood | Preferred Guest' started by DestinationDavid, Apr 30, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    So here's my (long) story ...

    I booked a complicated award routing recently and need to book quite a few hotels between now and March 2013. I'm a Hyatt elite but despite trying very hard I've started to learn they just don't have the hotel coverage for my travel patterns. So I'm looking at Starwood.

    I booked a hotel in Kuala Lumpur in addition to one night stays in San Francisco and Boston two nights ago. I almost always book pre-paid rates because I prefer knowing my accommodations are taken care of and that my spending money is just for incidentals when I'm traveling. I checked my credit card statement last night to discover none of my pre-paid rates were charged. I then woke up this AM to find an email from the Kuala Lumpur property saying my card didn't go through.

    Turns out my credit card company thought the Malaysian charge was fraud and froze my account, thus none of the charges went through. I called the Boston and San Francisco properties to talk to them about the issue only to discover that despite getting an advance purchase pre-paid rate, both properties had my reservations secured and said they wouldn't have tried to charge me until a day before I checked in.

    So when it comes to Starwood properties, when does "pre-paid" actually mean pre-paid? Seems the Malaysian hotel tried to get the prepayment thus triggering a freeze, but the US properties had no issues because they never intended to charge me till the day before my reservation.
     
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  2. newbluesea
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    newbluesea Gold Member

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    I have never (and probably will never do) done prepaid ie non-refundable rates overseas. I do know that domestically SPG properties tend charge your card just a few days before arrival.
    I suppose because of exactly the problem you ran into where cards tend to flag overseas charges more quickly those hotels might want to have it sorted before your arrival.

    On a side note I find that for some reason when you make a prepaid stay especially if no other folio charges many SPG properties seem to have dificulty generating a folio even when you specifically ask for one at check out.
     
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  3. estnet
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    estnet Gold Member

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    My experience has been highly variable some charge right away others don't. What cc froze b/c Malaysia? I stay there a lot and haven't had that problem
     
  4. DestinationDavid
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    Citibank AAdvantage card.
     
  5. DestinationDavid
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    I prefer the pre-paid but don't always do them. In this case the price is so low that even if i had to abandon the reservation it wouldn't really hurt too bad.
     
  6. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    May I ask what hotel you booked (or tried to) in KL at such a low rate? I'm going in August with my family and will be arriving in KL after 24 hours of solid traveling — would like to book someplace nice-ish pre-arrival.
     
  7. estnet
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    estnet Gold Member

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    Thanks good to know. I usually use capital one b/c they don't charge any foreign exchange fee.
     
  8. DestinationDavid
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    Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur. Was $90/night for my date.
     
  9. newbluesea
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    I do find Citicard perhaps the quickest of all my cards to suspect fraud and they have a tendency to immediately cancel the card and issue a new one which is fine.. except when you are travelling its a real pain:rolleyes:
     
  10. DestinationDavid
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    This is my 3rd "freeze for fraud" by Citibank involving travel. Getting a bit annoying at this point. :mad:
     
  11. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    I have booked pre-paid at the KL Westin several times and once at the KL Sheraton. The CC was never charged until I checked in. Most Starwood Asian properties I have booked pre-paid charge only on arrival but not all. Just to make it less predictable I have had the Westin Shanghai charge once and not charge once.

    My own experience with pre-paids has had similar oddities almost everywhere although I have never had a problem.

    Next: when using a credit card in Malaysia, Russia, Byelorussia, Ukraine, Nigeria or a variety of other hot spots for fraud, it is wise to advise your credit card issuer in advance even if they say you need not do that. A number of issuers let you do that notification online as does PayPal. Advising them does not guarantee you'll not be frozen, but it will improve your odds. I have been frozen many times with PayPal rarely with cards.
     
  12. SPG Champion
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    SPG Champion Official Representative

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    Just as a vantage point, the decision to charge a pre-paid rate immediately or to wait is left up to the discretion of the director of revenue at a given property.

    Best regards,

    William R. Sanders
    Social Media Specialist
    Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide

    spgchampion@starwoodhotels.com
     
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  13. DestinationDavid
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    Thanks for clarifying William, much appreciated!
     
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  14. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    Had them myself. Last time, I had to call from Venice.
     
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  15. hotelsallover

    hotelsallover Silver Member

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    The only Malaysian hotel where I have really " pre paid" is LM KUL. All the other SPG hotels in Malaysia have been sold as pre paid, but then paid at check-0ut.
     
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