I wrote yesterday (or two days ago? All messed up from Hong Kong time) about how the Chase travel concierge kinda sorta screwed my friend and his family out of a hotel room. Well I’ve got some updates, including what we think happened, how he was compensated, etc. It was getting too long to update the original post so I just decided to start a new post. Here’s what I’ve learned.
To quickly recap the original situation, my friend and his family of 5 (one baby) made a reservation through the Chase Sapphire Reserve portal for a suite at Homewood Suites in Williamsburg. They showed up the first night and Homewood Suites had no record of the reservation.
They checked in for one night, were told by Chase that they would be reimbursed, and then were later told by a second rep that they would NOT be reimbursed. They also had to move hotels on the second night of their trip due to the Homewood Suites being full – a standard smoking room to add insult to injury.
Since I posted, a room opened up back at the Homewood Suites so they moved back because they needed the space and clean air for the baby. They originally redeemed about 50,000 points for a $762 four night reservation.
What we think happened in terms of the reservation being missing
My friend and I think we’ve pieced together what’s happened, but I’d love to hear if this makes sense given what you all know about how Chase travel works and your own experiences.
It seems that Chase travel uses Expedia for their bookings. Yup, a third company is involved. Apparently Expedia faxes their hotel confirmations but this hotel in Williamsburg doesn’t have a functioning fax machine. My friend said the manager at the hotel told him that this happened to a few more reservations over the last few days.
So yeah, maybe Expedia should start using that popular new technology e-mail. Also, to avoid this happening, please remember to call the hotel to confirm your reservation.
Another wrinkle in all this is some info from this Flyertalk thread which indicates that sometimes hotels don’t receive the confirmation until 24 hours before. That seems a little bit last minute to me. Also, I should note that a bunch of people commented with similar “lost reservation” datapoints.
How customer service handled things
Just wanted to make a couple notes on the customer service here. It seems like the first Chase rep my friend spoke to did her best to rectify the situation. She asked to speak to the hotel manager, promised to compensate for that first night (I think it was pretty late already), and overall seemed very helpful.
The manager at the Homewood Suites also seemed like he did his job well – although he had to deliver the bad news that there was no room for nights 2-4, he did call other hotels in the area trying to find them a place to sleep (a suite specifically).
Chase CSR 2, who refused to listen to Chase CSR 1’s phone call, did a terrible job customer service wise. Again, we are talking about a Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholder. If a customer spends $450 a year on an annual fee, I expect them to be treated with respect and for CSRs to be going out of their way to help.
Finally, Chase reached out to me on Twitter offering to help, so good on them for that. I’ve heard nothing from Hilton, so take that for what it’s worth.
Chase’s resolution and compensation
Ultimately, a Chase rep called my friend about two days after the first night. They confirmed that they will pay for that first night and they will also refund all the points from the reservation plus an extra 5,000 for compensation.
One thing I find interesting is that the two Chase reps who confirmed that he would be reimbursed for the first night stated that it would happen “because they listened to the recording.” They didn’t say for the inconvenience or anything like that. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, they possibly felt that the original rep had already stated that. Being cynical – did that first rep screw up giving him compensation for that first night? I’ve reached out to Chase for comment.
IF the cynical view is true, that super sucks. So a Chase Sapphire Reserve $450 annual fee payer shows up at a hotel with the reservation bricked and is just s.o.l.? That seems…bad. Hoping I get to delete these sentences after clarification. Update: They won’t comment since it’s not my reservation.
Should he have asked for more compensation?
So do you think he should have asked for more compensation? For reference, he originally budgeted out $600 for four hotel nights. He used 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points instead. Subtracting out the cost of the first night, he will end up spending $578 on hotel. He also missed one night of free dinner at Homewood Suites due to having to live in that other hotel.
My gut feeling is that he didn’t get enough. Whether Hilton, Expedia, or Chase screwed up, I believe the whole point of a concierge is to figure out what happened and make the customer whole accordingly. Plus, 5,000 points won’t make up for the stress and hassle my friend had to put his wife and kids through.
Ultimately, he said they’ve been enjoying their vacation because “thankfully my kids are low maintenance.” But this is the kind of potential nightmare scenario that a $450 annual fee should severely mitigate; in his case, I’m not sure Chase did enough.
Update, 5/4 – after messaging Chase four times, they gave him another 5000 points. “I think they just gave them to me to get rid of me.” It shouldn’t come to that, in my opinion.
Your thoughts? If you’ve had similar experiences with Chase or other card issuers, what did you receive for compensation?
Featured image courtesy of Pixabay