I’ve spoken a few times about how important staying in suites can be for families. Anyway, a buddy of mine shared a story with me about a Chase Travel concierge fail that really turned into a bit of a nightmare situation. I’m not sure if Chase can be blamed for the situation itself, but I’m 100% sure it can be blamed for some parts of its response. I’ll update this post as the situation gets (hopefully) resolved.
Update: I posted about the resolution and compensation here.
Now the Chase Sapphire Reserve deservedly gets a lot of good press. Getting 1.5 cents per point for travel can really make travel possible for families on a budget, so my friend used it for his trip for a family of 5 to Williamsburg. Now like I said, suites are important for families – they’re even more important for families of that size.
He booked a four night stay and received this confirmation:
Now that looks pretty solid to me. But, you guessed it, you won’t believe what happened next.
No room at the inn
When my buddy showed up at the Homewood Suites, they told him he didn’t have a reservation. I’ll let him pick up the story from here, paraphrased for grammar and clarity:
“Yeah I received my confirmation number from chase and everything. But the hotel had no record… The first rep I spoke with told me that the hotel had one night available and to go ahead and check in and that Chase would pay for it and that Chase would figure reservations out for me.”
OK, so Chase representative one seems to be doing a good job taking control of the situation. While my friend didn’t get an explanation for why things broke down, at least they promised to accommodate him. Now, again, for a family of five, this situation is far from ideal – they were going to have to move the next day, but at least they had a place to stay for the night and Chase offered to pay for it. I’m assuming they offered to refund the points too, which were a significant amount:
A bad customer service representative
Now at this point, many people would probably just let things lie for the night and figure things out in the morning. I personally would not be able to do that – I’d be too stressed out not knowing where I’m going to stay for night 2. My friend apparently felt the same way because he called back a few hours after checking in. Again, in his words:
“So I check in and call Chase back several hours later to check the status. This second rep confirms that the hotel has no space for us for the remaining nights. I ask her about Chase paying for the first night because the previous rep had made the offer. This second rep flat out refuses saying that it wasn’t Chase’s fault so she isn’t giving me anything, even after I said that it was already promised to me by the first rep.
“I ask her to listen to the recording and to look at the notes. The second rep does nothing and puts me on hold for 10 minutes. She kept blaming the hotel and said wouldn’t transfer me to anyone else, basically accusing me of lying about the first night being paid for.”
OK, so people might disagree, but to me this is ridiculous. The whole reason they record these calls is for situations like this. That’s what bailed me out of my Thank You points snafu a few months back. Also, regardless of whether this is Chase or the hotel’s fault (unclear to me), if you’re going to have a premium card with an annual fee of $450, then your travel concierge better work on making the customer whole in situations like this. Especially when it’s within reason, like one hotel night for less than $200.
A frustrating resolution
So I don’t believe you should have to do this with a premium card like Chase Sapphire Reserve’s concierge, but at this point my friend did the right thing and hung up. I’ll let him finish the story:
“I hung up and called back to speak with someone else who looked back at the recording and confirmed the free night. The second rep wouldn’t even go back to the recording. But now all suites in the area are booked and we are all in one standard room that’s smoking.”
That totally sucks. Again, to me the point of having a premium card is to avoid travel stress. If you’re in a smaller room than you were expecting, and one that is a smoking room to boot (why do these still exist), that is the opposite of decreasing stress.
Let’s recap here. Family of five, the youngest a toddler, books hotel through Chase and receives confirmation. Shows up at hotel, no record of confirmation. Chase offers to pay for one night before they have to relocate due to no room at the hotel. Then second Chase rep reneges on offer and essentially questions customer’s integrity (at least that’s how he felt). Family eventually needs to relocate into a standard sized, smoking room at a different hotel. As of right now, family has received no offer of compensation for their troubles.
What I hope happens next
I have no delusions of grandeur, this is a small blog, but I hope someone at Chase reads this. I recognize that everyone can have bad days so I’ll give CSR 2 some leeway, but I believe Chase should have been going out of their way to make my friend whole.
Now I’m not a “ask for compensation for every little thing like a seat not reclining” type of person, but I think my friend should receive compensation for this. If it’s Chase’s fault, they should compensate above and beyond the one hotel night and the returned points. If it’s Hilton’s fault, they should compensate as well. I believe that the Chase concierge should at least work to figure out what happened.
Now my friend wanted to see me type this up for two reasons:
- Has anything similar happened to anyone working with Chase travel concierge before?
- What do you think is fair compensation for this situation, if any?
- He now feels hesitant to book anything with Chase travel, including airline tickets. Fair or unfair?
So I’ll end things there – do you think Chase (or Hilton) did my friend wrong? What could he have done differently? (Oh, on that point, I’d say he could have called the hotel to confirm before arrival, though I don’t think you should have to do that.) Your thoughts and comments would be much appreciated. Let’s keep it civil – I know these things can sometimes get people heated.
And Chase or Hilton – please make my friend whole and I’m happy to update this post accordingly. Both these companies have done very well by me in the past and I’m hoping they do the same for him.
Update: Obviously one way to avoid this happening is to call the hotel to confirm your reservation. One problem, according to this Flyertalk thread, is that the reservation sometimes doesn’t load until 24 hours before check in!
Update 2: The original hotel had a room open up so they moved out of the smoky room and back to the original hotel.