Chase Miles and Points Travel fails

Resolution and update on my friend’s Chase travel concierge fail

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.

Quick recap

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.

The confirmation e-mail

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

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Just an average joe trying to fly his family for less

21 thoughts on “Resolution and update on my friend’s Chase travel concierge fail

  1. It would be interesting to see how other credit cards react in similar situations. That would be a good metric to determine if chase had provided enough compensation.

      1. Earlier this year I booked a hotel in Costa Rica via Citi Prestige’s concierge for the 4th night free benefit. A few days later I emailed the hotel directly to confirm the reservation (being skeptical of third party travel agents, as your story also warrants) and the hotel responded saying that they didn’t have the room available so my confirmed reservation would be cancelled.
        Bummed, I called back Citi while continuing to negotiate with the hotel directly. The Citi rep was understanding and apologetic of the situation, and was able to get the original rep on the phone to handle the case. He picked the issue back up and made arrangements with the hotel… in the end the availability of my room type was still nonexistent, so I had to downgrade to a lower room type. However the rep/hotel combo gave me a 10% discount (on the lower rate) as compensation. I was primarily pleased with how Citi owned the situation, which wasn’t even their fault, and provided the continuity in service. It seemed night and day compared to your story, although my direct outreach was a big part in avoiding the stress.

  2. joe. i understand the principle here and i would be frustrated too, but let me just state a few critical facts.
    1) CSR is new. not even 1 yr old yet. what does that mean? it means nobody paid $450 for that CC yet so thats irrelevant. that CC had no marketing. i dont need to tell u the kinds of pple who signed up so far and how much money chase has lost. and many will cancel by AUG of this year. chase has lost a shitload money already altho that doesnt justify their stupidity in this scenario, but just understand this.
    2) the ridiculous mainstream nature of the CSR made it not elite. everyone has one. whether you see this as a problem or not, thats up to you. i have my own opinions on this as well. but that doesnt help the chase travel team when everyone is calling saying “DYKWIA. DIAMOND MEMBER BITCH.”
    3) chase is not a travel agency. they pretend to be because they want the CSR to be a money making cash cow and try to beat amex at its own game. all the media outlets are just clowning on amex. but with the CSR, they have to invest billions to get on the same level as Amex. what your friend had experience is just a taste of the infrastructure failure for the CSR. chase produced a premium front end product with nothing to back it up. just think about what “customer service” in travel chase really offers. just because you can SM them so easily for a CC bonus match doesnt make them better than Amex. just like i sell you a ferrari but you have no roads to drive it on. totally useless except it looks good on paper.
    4) apparently chase is drinking some stupid kool aid since they have market research to suggestion that the targeted audience (millennials) for the CSR dont wanna bother calling for shit and would rather figure shit on their own + handle problems on their own. and I guess all they want is a CC that will give them benefits and fun “experiences”. furthermore, they dont want to be concerned with “hand holding for old people”. where are they getting this BS from dude? Amex’s concierge service is substantially better (and more effective) by a wide margin.
    5) i dont use any bank OTAs unless i have to. exception is Amex FHR. or Citi 4th or USB FP. etc etc. Otherwise use chase to transfer. dont rely on their BS services.
    so in conclusion, ur friend was unlucky. chased shouldve stepped up. but they sucked instead. which is not surprising. so dont use their OTA services again. just use them for pts and transfers. otherwise go to dude. even orbitz is better. not to mention i dont even understand the redemption. why exactly was CSR 1.5 cpp on hilton necessary? not talking shit but he stayed at a hilton dude with UR pts. UR pts worth way more than 1.5 with flights. but i mean, he couldnt generate enough hilton pts via CCs? UR pts are valuable man, but i guess everyone does indeed value pts differently.

    1. Lol I agree with most of your points. I’ll make two of mine.

      1) annual fee wasn’t waived so everyone already paid $450

      2) my friend has to run a much tighter budget and isn’t in a position to earn enough UR to fly five people, so he used points instead of cash. I can’t fault him for that.

      1. true. the cash annual fee wasnt waived but you know exactly what i mean. you have 100k UR then travel credit alone is based on calendar year so $300 x 2. chase busted out loss leader.

        and since your friend has a huge family on a budget, i am hoping hes busting out two player mode CC bonus hitting with all the new increased bonuses. if he has the CSR, i assume hes under 5/24. i hope he didnt waste those slots man. so many options to hit SPG Hilton Amex or Marriott 100k, CIP 100k Citi prestige 50k with 4th nite free, USB FP and BofA M+ for 2cpp flights. too many to list.

        good blog. have fun over there man. take care!

        1. Hi, what’s the problem or disadvantages with using UR for hilton hotel? Coincidentally I recently booked the same Homewood Suites in Williamsburg VA with my UR that I just earned with my CSR for this summer. 1 week is $1200 but will cost me only 80k points so I’m getting 1.5x. I’m also a citi hilton honor member but they charges 40k pts per night. Crazy. They gave me 80k pts so I only get 2 nights. I previously had chase Marriott card with 100k pts also only got me 2 nights in Marriott at Hawaii. So yes UR is awesome so not sure what the issue is with using UR for hotel. please educate me. Thx.

          But to this article…chase did wrote down 300 millions for the CSR promo which is why they discontinued the ridiculous giveaway. And yes this is their attempt to beat Amex at their own game. Not sure if it is a success or not but chase did signed up millions of members. Actually number not disclosed by chase but certainly exceeded their forecast so much so that they ran out of the metal card and issued the plastic one instead at one point. And Amex has been in rapid decline quarters after quarters. Mainly bc Amex ability to get tickets to the ballet or NY Philharmonic Symphony is no longer in demand NY the targeted audience.

          Agree chase needs to bulk up its services otherwise millennials will drop them and move onto another card just as quick. Will find out by Sept if they will renew with another $450 or not. I doubt it.

          This article hit home not only bc I booked the same hotel using the same UR points but bc this summer while in FL my sister experienced the same lost rsvp ordeal. Expedia forgot to booked her rsvp with Homewood and willing to fix it but insisted that Homewood has no more room on her arrival night which isn’t true. They had more expensive rooms left which Expedia wasn’t willing to pay for the upgrade but after much back and forth Expedia in the same of customer service caved.

    2. Better analogy: I sell you something that looks, on the outside, like a Ferrari. But the engine’s from a Chevy. A Chevy Spark.

      I don’t have a CSR. But I do have a Platinum Amex. Excellent choices, great customer service, esp if there are issues. That matters to me, a lot. Even with the increase in AF, there is more value to me in a card that both offers and delivers on elite service for the elite price.

  3. Correct me if I am wrong but when it comes to travel reservations made using UR points, the people that handle that are not Chase reps. They are from a third party travel company called Connexions travel. So I think the Chase team via Twitter that responded and gave the extra points may have worked for Chase but not the original contacts.

    1. yes. that is correct. chase is not a travel agency. and neither are many other banks EXCEPT AMEX. Chase Ultimate Rewards and Citi ThankYou booking sites among many other, are administered by a company called Affinion / Connexions Loyalty. but not AMEX. it handles its own shit.

      hence, people dont understand the value of AMEX. now, Amex has a lot of room for improvement, but i am tired of this CSR vs AMEX BS. AMEX is for people know understand the value of AMEX. Otherwise just go get the CSR and USB Alt and any other CC created by AMEX alumni… haha.

  4. Booked a hotel in Copenhagen through amex travel. Voucher specifies it was handled by Orbitz. AmEx clearly outsources too

  5. I had a similar problem but caught it on time. It was with a Marriott hotel. I made the reservation through the UR portal. Fortunately, I called the hotel the day before and they told me no reservation was under my name. Had to contact Chase and the rep had me on hold for 20-30 min. The rep called the hotel and confirmed that I did not had a reservation under my name. She was able to fix it and I did not had any problems on check in but the history would have been like your friend if I haven’t called the hotel and Chase.

    1. Man…that still kind of sucks even though you caught it. I hate having to move within the same city these days (loved it when it was just two of us though!)

  6. CSR Concierge service is a joke. Their travel portal is sluggish and not friendly. Overpriced. CSR is a “hit it and quit it”.

  7. Outrageously bad customer service from Chase. Never would have expected 5,000 points to be considered reasonable compensation for the hassle. Will never use Chase for hotel booking. And my Reserve card will be jettisoned when annual fee comes due, as they obviously don’t stand behind their promise of booking a room. Thanks for publishing this Chase failure, so people can know Chase can’t be trusted.

  8. Yeah, 5000 points is definitely not enough. Total failure by Chase customer service. And it shouldn’t matter that Chase isn’t a travel agency. They are the ones that promised the service. If the 3rd party that they outsource it to doesn’t deliver, then ultimately Chase is responsible.

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