In a flurry to book last minute reservations with Club Carlson I went for 4 nights (2×2) at the Club Carlson property in Aruba for February 2016. The theory was that I could push it so far out that our availability has time to ‘fit in’ around it and I didn’t have to worry about flights, but I went and bought me some forward risk, without realizing it.
There’s a rumor abounding regarding the sale of this property, sometime this year. And if they sell, there’s a chance that they won’t honor my reservation. This was an eye opener for me as I have always thought to earn and burn, because the burning side of things protects from a devaluation.
This is one of the few events that highlights the difference between an airline and a hotel. If an airline was to cancel a route it is likely they would still ‘get you there’. And if they sold a plane it would likely be a shoddy old one and you’d get an upgrade. The problem with the hotel situation though, if they sell, you’re SOL, because they reimburse you….
I just got off a call with JP Morgan to check about my insurance coverage (and any insurance coverage) I hold the Ritz Carlton card and they have some of the best trip cancelation/interruption coverage out there. But they wouldn’t cover my hotel, here’s why:
- Hotel 2 nights CC1 (his) 50K pts, zero cash portion
- Hotel 2 nights CC2 50K pts, zero cash portion
- Flight 27K pts (3 pax – JetBlue NY-Aruba non stop – killer deal!) $48 cash portion
The flight is actually covered*, because I paid the fees with the Ritz Carlton card. But the hotel is not.
Thinking outside the box
I asked if I could apply some cash to the rooms to make them insured – the idea was to pay for an upgrade, though implementing that would be hard as they were only offering the nor1 standby options (IE there wouldn’t be a charge until check in, so if it was canceled prior to that no joy.
However, there may have been a way to get around that loophole, I was considering prepaying something, like a spa treatment etc, to attach a charge to the reservation and protect it. I asked directly if doing so with the knowledge that it may (or may not) change ownership would be considered wrong or disallowed, and the rep told me it would be perfectly fine (and that it would trigger protection).
The snag though, is that my nightmare situation includes actually being reimbursed by Club Carlson. In an insurance situation there are 3 parties:
- The Insured (Me)
- The Insurer (JP Morgan via the Ritz Card)
- The Tortfeasor (Club Carlson)
Because Club Carlson reimburses me, the Insurer will consider this as indemnity, IE the person in the wrong has compensated me for my trouble, and that portion of the insurance is considered settled. So my receipt of 100K Club Carlson points would appear to JP Morgan that I was made right. However, the devaluation that is occurring simultaneously does change that equation significantly. It would be something that would likely require a law suit to resolve.
JP Morgan is not unique in this situation, I had also considered taking on a third party insurance, but many would also approach it in the same manner. This is a key reason why I dislike insurance policies, and whenever possible I self insure.
After giving it some thought, and a couple of calls this morning my plan is to hope that Club Carlson does the right thing and keeps my reservation intact, I dislike these moments as they create a nagging doubt, but there isn’t much for it, other than trying to cancel Aruba and rebook somewhere else, and the hassle just isn’t worth it. Fingers crossed that they do right by this loyal Gold Elite….
*take anything said here with a pinch of salt, I’ve found benefits/insurance people to make up different rules all the time, this is just what I was told today.
Scott C says
sure hope any pending sale does not happen quickly. I have this one booked over thanksgiving! and already booked flights to boot.
Selfishly, Id rather it happened quickly so I know what I need to do… Id guess it would be done by then though.
Maria Sangria says
The Radisson St Martin was in a similar situtaion last year. My understanding is that they honored existing reservations. I was right in the middle of booking when it switched to RIU ownership and therfore missed out on the booking of it as a CC property. Fantastic breakfast there BTW. I too have a reservation at the Aruba property, but not until March 2016. (fingers crossed)
Yep, its hit and miss, but there’s a chance!
Maria Sangria says
hiltonaruba.com says 142 days. Not enough time for me.
Matt, I am in the same situation with a Feb. 2016 trip planned to Aruba. I did go through the same issue with the Radisson St. Martin last year in which they honored my reservation (best redemption ever) with the full benefits of a RIU guest (read we got the all-inclusive package) when they were selling rooms at $650++ per night (over the Thanksgiving holiday). Like you I would rather know sooner rather than later to make an alternative plan for the hotel as I am locked in to going. I did request that they link my reservations together as I thought it would reduce the likelihood of error happening in the transfer of the reservation to a new system.
I hoping for the best as well. 8 days during Xmas break this year!
I may need to renew my Hilton Gold status just for free breaky!! Hoping they honor my Christmas booking!!
That’s the real win -keep the stay plus get HH Gold perks!
Per mommypoints awhile back: Club Carlson confirmed via twitter that they will accept the reservations even if the sale does happen quickly.
I do hope you are correct, however I trust MommyPoints about as far as I can throw her (10ft or so in good winds).
Haha really? Not a big fan huh
I really don’t know her from Adam, but I get the overall feeling that the credit card commission element of her compensation may sway her content, and perhaps influence things like this. It’s tough to be reader centric when you are being paid to convert them into customers.
This happened to me with a Carlson property in downtown Cancun. A few months after making my booking, it switched hands to some other group (no one that I remember). This other hotel group still honored my reservation and I experienced no difficulty with the hotel honoring my 2nd free night award.
Maria Sangria says
I just spoke to CC. Rep had no idea about the property potentially being sold. Then I googled and found a tripadvisor article confirming it was indeed up for sale, then sold to Hilton. She had no idea whether they’d honor the reservations. It’s up to the purchasing hotel and we would receive an email about it.
Maria Sangria says
Maybe they honor the rez, and honor DH’s Diamond status.
I’m waiting to hear on this one too.
Of course, I managed to make a reservation for 143 days from now and the countdown timer appears to have the cut-over at 142 days and counting. Don’t know if this improves my odds or hurts them. I know I read somewhere that someone got a confirmation that they would honor them through the end of the year, but that’s hearsay of hearsay from a site I can’t recall where I read it… Thought it was one of those TripAdvisor threads.
Sorry to SPAM the thread, but on second thought, does it seem odd that hiltonaruba.com is registered through GoDaddy, has no working social media links, and the flyertalk thread on this says the photo is actually of another groups hotel?
Makes me question the countdown timer, but seems a weird way to squat on a domain name and a great way to get sued…
Matt, I also have a booking for February 2016. Thanks for the heads up, but what a bummer! Sure hope they honor these reservations. Is it Hilton we are hoping will do so, or would Club Carlson somehow make it right?
Lol, I have a Feb 2016 reservation too! We can probably have a Saverocity DO here! I had no idea of the sale, so I too am hoping that the hotel will honor our reservations…
tom c says
Too funny, I’m there in February too. Saverocity DO 3 here we come.
For a change, my reservation is for January… Matt, u booked flights for 27K JetBlue points per person?
9k per person! 9 and a bit to be precise. One way. Sorry you’ll miss the do.
How did you find this rate? I’m looking for the 3rd week of Feb (I hope that’s when everyone else is going!), and I know the calendar isn’t open for that yet. However, I checked for the rest of Feb and Jan and the lowest I see is 14.7k.
It’s variable- just keep checking and hopefully you’ll catch it at that rate when it opens up.
Club Carlson has some shady properties like the recent change with the Puerto Rico property and I think one in Tahiti or South Pacific location that changed ownership. It’s a gamble in planning any travel that far out and stuff happens. I guess that’s what keeps it interesting at some level. Hopefully the property changes hands, improves and still honors your reservations. I assume the Club Carlson card has no travel insurance at all.