A perfect Paris vacation foiled by a flagging flap — what can I do?

It was supposed to be a special trip for Alana Pitts and her father to celebrate his birthday in Paris. They’d made reservations at the Hilton Arc De Triomphe hotel in Paris back in June, using his HHonors points, and selected a special room on the executive floor with two queen-size beds.

But just a few weeks before leaving, Pitts’ father received some bad news by chance.

“My father called Hilton to ask whether we would receive free internet access in our room,” she says. “[A representative] informed him that Hilton no longer owned the hotel and that they would be moving us to another Hilton property outside of Paris — either Hilton La Defense, or Trianon Palace in Versailles.”

In other words, that perfect Paris getaway would not be happening.

“Both of these hotels are very far from where we planned to stay,” she adds. “As our trip is just two weeks away, we were shocked and upset to hear the news and were surprised that we weren’t provided any notice. My father had to call Hilton in order for Hilton to give the news.”

Pitts and her father are caught in the middle of a reflagging — a common event in the hotel industry. Hilton didn’t want to lose this hotel, which was its leading Paris property, but it was stripped of the right to call it a Hilton after a lengthy court battle with the property’s owners.

Chances are, Hilton was as unprepared for the reflagging as the Pitts. It may still be in denial that the Arc De Triomphe property is no longer in Hilton’s portfolio.

But what’s the fix? Hilton offered to rebook the family at a “comparable” hotel in Paris.

My father told Hilton that he was not satisfied with having to move to the other hotels.

The reason we booked the Hilton Arc De Triomphe Hotel was because of its central location within the city of Paris. We also chose the hotel for the two queen beds to accommodate three adults and his earned Executive Lounge access.

Neither of the hotel options have rooms with that setup — most would require a rollaway cot or pull-out couch, which no one wants to sleep on for a week-and-a-half-long trip.

The Pitts could always ask for their miles back and try to find another hotel. But even though it’s October, rates remain high.

“We started looking for other comparable hotels within central Paris, but with just two weeks until our trip, we are only finding exorbitant nightly rates,” she told me.

Ideally, Hilton would give the family the room it had originally promised them. And if it no longer owns the hotel, then it should pay the hotel. After all, a deal’s a deal, right?

But reflaggings are anything but simple. I’ve seen loyalty reservations get lost and reservations not honored in the wake of a rebranding. This one looks messier than most.

On the one hand, Pitts’ agreement was with Hilton and its HHonors program, and I don’t need to check the slippery HHonors contract to know that Hilton can drop this reservation whenever it wants to, and for whatever reason.

But on the other hand, isn’t a reservation a contract to offer a room at a given rate? And didn’t Hilton enter that agreement by accepting Pitts’ points when he made the reservation at the soon-to-be reflagged hotel in Paris?

I’m not sure whether there’s anything I can do to make Hilton sweeten the deal. I imagine there are hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of other guests in similar circumstances, and they are making adjustments to their schedule to accommodate a surprise court ruling.

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at chris@elliott.org. Got a question or comment? You can post it on the new forum.

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  • http://flyicarusfly.com/ Fly, Icarus, Fly

    I get it that Hilton is waging its own battles with the property and that it’d be too much to get them to pay out of pocket for a stay at a property that is no longer theirs. In most situations, I think offering alternate accommodations (though not as desirable) would be enough. (That said, I don’t think all “agreements” are treated equally, ie. cash vs. points — ask anyone traveling on frequent flyer miles.)

    But the snafu here is in not informing guests with reservations as soon as Hilton knew it could no longer honor them. I think a good resolution would be to go halfsies with the OP on the best possible rate for the original property (while re-crediting their points).

  • sirwired

    In this case, Hilton Corporate is pretty much acting as the agent of the local hotel. (If it was a corporate-owned hotel, none of this would have happened.) Just as we would not expect a Travel Agent to provide another flight, gratis, when a flight is cancelled, it’s not reasonable to expect Hilton Corporate to pay the original hotel which it no longer has a relationship with.

    Certainly they should have called them proactively to let them know, but that’s a matter for a voucher of a few thousand points; not something that calls for them paying the original hotel at rack rate.

  • typhn

    Surely they deserve more. Reading this, it does not sound as if they would have known until they had shown up at the hotel, but for the chance conversation about the free internet access. What would have happened then, I wonder.

  • emanon256

    I voted yes, I think that even in the event of a re-flagging, the hotel should have to honor all previously made reservations. I am not sure if that is what is legally required, but that is my opinion.

  • Adam1222

    I don’t quite understand what people want Hilton to do here, or what a mediation would accomplish other than maybe a voucher for a free hilton night (elsewhere) or refunded Hhonors points. Hilton already spent tens of thousands of dollars (if nto hundreds) in litigation with this property. You’re now asking them to give that property more money?

  • backprop

    I think it’s a bit hand-waving to excuse Hilton because it “no longer has a relationship” with the hotel. The “relationship” they had was quite a bit stronger than that of, say, a travel agent booking a flight on someone’s behalf.

    Nobody with a reservation really cares about the legal minutiae between Hilton corporate and the physical property owners – it was a *Hilton hotel*! I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect a Hilton hotel to care for its confirmed guests.

  • BillCCC

    I think you should mediate. I am a little surprised that Hilton did not mention that the customer would be changing hotels until the father called them. When did Hilton plan on mentioning this? After arrival? During a phone call from the hotel that they no longer owned? Very strange.

  • deemery

    At a minimum, the hotel chain has the obligation to pro-actively notify its customers of such changes and to work with them for resolution. It’s happened to me, too (but it was in Pittsburgh, not Paris :-)

  • Michael__K

    AFAIK, Hilton makes no distinction between a corporate-owned or franchisee-owned hotel that’s visible to the customer. That is purposely kept completely opaque to customers.

    If they chose to market the hotel as (say) “Jacques Hilton-Approved Paris Hotel” and made it clear that Hilton is “just acting as an agent” then I would concede your point. In this case it smacks of trying to have it both ways IMO.

    Maybe the former-franchisee (rather than Hilton Corporate) deserves to ultimately bear the costs of the debacle, but that should be between Hilton and the former-franchisee — the buck stops with Hilton.

    Very likely the lawsuit Chris refers to was well underway when the OPs’ reservation was made. Whoever chose to continue accepting new reservations without any warnings in spite of the lawsuit was taking an informed risk; they should own the consequences of that risk and not pass it along to an uninformed customer.

  • SheilaEnglebardt

    We have a similar arrangement with Marriott for our upcoming trip. I would be devastated to arrive and find that we don’t have a room (no matter what the reason). It is inexcusable that Hilton did not notify this family in advance and recommend a solution; they have a responsibility to make this right (selfishly, Hilton should want to keep an executive level customer loyal to the brand. On the other hand, I’d take them up on the offer to move to a different Hilton regardless of location but ask for compensation for transportation to the city center and for loss of executive lounge amenities. It’s just good customer service to do so.

  • SoBeSparky

    Sure, please mediate. Mostly, I think this because they need your “touch” in getting some attention and help. I am not sure what you can settle for at this point. Maybe they can accommodate them in two executive floor rooms at the La Defense, not a bad hotel, just a stop or two from the Champs d’Elysees. No, it’s not old Paris, but it is fairly convenient.

  • bigboofer

    This is standard Hilton policy of making the “guest” pay for its loss.

    A case in point was a reservation I had at Hampton Inn that was cancelled one week before my stay since the property was re-flagged. The problem is the franchise had built a new Hampton hotel three blocks from the old and just wanted to jack the rate which Hilton was fine with. A confirmed reservation means nothing until you are checked in.

  • john4868

    I voted no simply because this would be a waste of Chris’s time. Hilton is not going to do what the OP wants. If this was a paid reservation, I would agree with the notion that it should be honored at the rate agreed upon but it isn’t. It’s a reward stay for a hotel that is no longer a Hilton. With one very large exception, Hilton did what you could reasonably expect them to do. When the property was no longer available, they offered to move them to equivalent properties that were available. If Hilton had only advised them in advance that they were moving them, I’d have little to complain about their actions and before I’d start to complain too loudly, I’d want to know when the hotel was withdrawn from their inventory (for all we know it could have happened minutes before the OP called and Hilton hadn’t had time to make the alternate arrangements and call the OP yet). No trip is ever “perfect” and every one has challenges. It seems to me that the OP has lost sight of what this trip is really about… Time with her dad. As long as she has that, everything else should be irrelevant.

  • http://www.facebook.com/judyserie.nagy Judy Serie Nagy

    This “Hilton” is one of the best hotels in the world, it’s awful how these people have been treated. Versailles? Come on, they need to be in a good location in Paris, not spending time on the RER every day. Doubt if you’ll get anywhere, Chris, but I think it’s important to spotlight this situation … Hilton should do better for a loyal guest and not offer such an inadequate solution.

  • andrelot

    This is a case more complicated than it appears.

    If the hotel and location involved were “run of the mill”, I’d say the offer of a comparable or superior room should suffice. But premium hotels at hot-spot locations entice guests to stay there for more than functional aspects of their stay.

    I think Hilton should either:

    (a) pay for the guests’ stay at the hotel, and solve the issue with whomever is their new owner/management; OR

    (b) make a generous compensation offer while providing comparable or superior rooms on their other properties .

  • EvilEmpryss

    I voted to mediate this one. My first question would be: Isn’t the rebranded hotel now the “comparable” hotel that they should be housed in? It has all the amenities that they reserved, it’s just no longer a Hilton. This one sounds like a no-brainer… unfortunately it looks like Hilton is the one with no brain. :(

  • Barry Moss

    I think this is a case worthy of mediation. Hotels, airlines, etc. need to stop treating booking made with loyalty points as if they were disposable. Hilton chose to accept the reservation pre-paid with loyalty points while they were in a contract dispute with the hotel–the customer had no indication from Hilton that this was a risky situation. Since Hilton complete hid the risk from the customer, they should be 100% responsible for it.

  • NakinaAce

    Tell Hilton to book him into the Georges V!

  • fshaff

    I had something similar happen to me about a year ago. It was with a timeshare that had changed ownership between the time I made the res (July) and the time it was going to be used (Feb). Ownership changed hands on Jan 1, 2012 and I became aware of it probably around Sep or Oct of 2011. I called the timeshare that I made the res with and they assured me that there would be no problem, even though it would be under new ownership. As it turned out, there wasn’t any problem – everything went smoothly! BTW, the new owner was Hilton!

  • Life Lessons Military Wife

    Please tell them there are plenty of apartments at comparable rates if not better and chalk this one up to experience. At least they were smart enough to reconfirm their reservation BEFORE they left! Very smart move! Save the Hilton points for another trip. I’m sure they will be used at some point the way they were intended. You can still make this a very special trip. Try airbnb.com.

  • Nikki

    I’ve been in enough of these re-flagging snags to know that they don’t end well. Chris, if you do decide to mediate this one, I wish you all the luck in the world.

    It’s a good thing the OP found out now rather than on arrival – I wouldn’t want to be the desk clerk on duty when that guest got there and found out differently. I’ve already been the GSA and the manager on duty when a rewards guest came in after our property re-flagged (I’ve been through four different re-flaggings)- I’ve been yelled at for a lot of things, but the worst has come from unwitting guests who were not contacted by the old or new management about the changes. I don’t blame the guests one bit for being pissed – but when someone drops the ball on something like that, it leaves the rest of us feeling helpless when we can’t help the guest/s in question.

    To the corporate offices of these brands – to hell with the finger-pointing, do more than apologize (“too bad, so sad” – bleah) – – if you’re going to take the damn points, at least give them a comparable stay at the property they were intended to be at. Make yourselves look good and eat some of the charges for a change. You’d be surprised how much more loyalty you could get from just making that one gesture.

  • Daddydo

    This exact same situation occurred at the
    Pittsburgh Hilton on the point. For sports fans, it is an easy walk to see the
    Steelers or Pirates from a great hotel. On one day’s notice, it was no longer a
    Hilton and nobody seemed to know what it was for the future. Most of my clients
    got their rooms by me driving 100 miles and talking to the manager. A few got
    switched to the Doubletree, a Hilton subsidiary. Those that were changed, you got it, HH honour points. They have their own separate contract. I tell clients time and time again…..give up the points and take the cash. Buy it yourself and then you have better protection.

  • grw57

    I think the best bet would be to accept the La Defense. It is not that far from the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre. I doubt that the Hilton is going to pay for the original hotel that Used to be a Hilton unless perhaps the father is a Diamond member; even then, not so sure. I found that when I stayed at the Hilton Arc De Triomphe, my Diamond status did little for me. That was 10 years ago, so perhaps things have changed…

    I hope it works out well and all I can say is don’t miss the trip – Paris is awesome and the people are actually friendly if you let them be.

    Hilton did drop the ball, so I hope they offer some sort of comp

  • amyarrow

    The hilton may have spent 100’s of thousands of dollars on litigation but seeing as how Hilton has billions thats not much to them. The guest is not responsible for the litigation or the reflagging and an issue between corporate and a franchise should never affect the customer. Hilton knew about the litigation and conitinued to take reservations knowing the risk the customer had no way of knowing this risk therefore the consequences of the risk should be Hilton’s to pay. It is Hilton’s job to make things right for their guests.

  • john4868

    I disagree with you. The fact of the matter is that the hotel is no longer a Hilton and would not be would the OP arrived. Basically the hotel was sold. While it is reasonable for the new management to live with revenue reservations made by the old management, I don’t think it’s reasonable for them to honor a zero revenue booking. At the same time, it isn’t reasonable to me to expect Hilton to honor a rewards booking made in hotel that is not longer theirs. Rewards bookings have different rules than regular bookings. Its important to remember that the chain is basically allowing you to use unused inventory and it cost them nothing. Because of this, they have different rules (the “slippery contract” Chris refers to) for those reservations. Ultimately, this hotel is no longer a Hilton so they wouldn’t receive the same amenities anyway.

  • LFH0

    In response to the question, “Isn’t a reservation a contract to offer a
    room at a given rate?,” the answer is “it depends.” Strictly speaking, a
    reservation by itself is not a contract. In order for there to be an
    enforceable contract there must be “consideration” given by each side;
    that is, some type of detriment to be undertaken. In the absence of
    either side have promised to do something to its detriment, the promise
    is treated as a gift, and such gratuitous promises are not generally

    In an ordinary reservation, the intending guest promises to pay a
    certain amount in exchange for the hotel promising to have a room for
    that intending guest. Since each side has promised to undertake some type of detriment, either side can enforce the contract against the other.

    Here, however, what the intending guest has promised is a certain number
    of “points.” According to the general terms of the HHonors program, at
    paragraph 18, and agreed to by each side, “Accrued points and Reward
    Certificates and Confirmations do not constitute property of the
    Members.” So if the points do not constitute the intending guest’s
    “property,” then the intending guest really has not promised to give up
    anything in exchange. That is, Hilton’s promise of a room is just an
    unenforceable gratuitous promise.

    There’s still two possibilities through which the intending guest might
    prevail. First, a court might still find that the points do in fact
    constitute property, notwithstanding the HHonors program terms to the
    contrary. Second,a gratuitous promise might be enforceable under the
    doctrine of “promissory estoppel” if one side relied on the gratuitous
    promise to its detriment, and non-enforcement of the gratuitous promise
    would be unjust. In this case, the intending guest relied on the promise
    to pay for airline tickets, and that might be sufficient to invoke
    promissory estoppel.

    Of course, these are just general contract principles and do not constitute legal advice in this particular circumstance.

  • TonyA_says

    I voted no for the same reason – neither the hotel or Hilton will give the OP what they ask for. There is a long thread in FT about the same issue. Most did not get the resolution they were asking for. It stinks and no French perfume can hide the stench.

  • grw57

    Should Hilton have stopped taking reservations because they ‘might’ lose the franchise? I fully agree that Hilton should have been more proactive in notifying guests of the potential problem, but they have another hotel less than 1/2 mile away that they could re-accommodate.

    The best that the OP is going to get is a refund of money/points and maybe a night or two voucher; but then you have to deal with airfare etc.

    I don’t have any affiliation with Hilton, I became disillusioned with them a few years back. But in this case, I really don’t agree that they should pump money into a hotel that they lost a franchise to. They are fulfilling their contract by offering accommodation in the city the OP wanted.

    I would push for compensation for inconvenience but there needs to be reasonable flexibility.

  • Joe_D_Messina

    Plenty of blame for both Hilton and the hotel ownership in this one. Two weeks out, the ownership needs somebody to fill the hotel; why not the OP and her family? If Hilton was willing to pay for them to stay at another Paris hotel, one wonders why they’re not paying for them to stay where they already had reservations. Only alternatives I can thing of is that Hilton either vowed to not do business with the hotel or the hotel ownership wants to stick Hilton with rack rates while other hotels are willing to cut a better deal. If it’s the former, Hilton looks extremely bad, if it’s the latter, it doesn’t speak well for the hotel ownership. Branded as a Hilton or not, these people had reservations to stay at THEIR hotel. To put undue obstacles in the way to that deal being honored is not good business.

  • Charles B

    Excellent idea. But for pity sake, don’t wire any money! :-)

  • Adam1222

    If the Hilton Arc de Triomphe burned down, would they be obligated to “make it right” by getting thema room at the Hilton Arc de Triomphe? The Hilton Arc de Triomphe has ceased to exist. Even if a hotel is operating there, it is not the same hotel.

  • http://www.facebook.com/donna.caruso.37 Donna Caruso

    I would normally agree with you John, but in this case I believe since Hilton accepted a rewards booking WHILE they were in litigation, they new the risks. The unsuspecting OP didn’t even know their reservation would be in peril from the beginning. In this case, I truly believe Hilton should make them whole.

  • http://www.facebook.com/CarverFarrow Carver Clark Farrow

    I respectfully disagree with the analysis for numerous reasons. In order:

    1. While I don’t know the specifics of this case, ( it appears as if the rebranding was unanticipated), hotels could easily write the contract to require leaving properties to honor reservations that have already been made whether with cash or points and to provide the same or comparable amenities. At least honor them for the next 30 or 60 days to give guests a reasonable opporunity to change plans.

    2. For years, hotels have been aggressively pushing that Reward Reservations are the same as revenue reservation and have the same terms and conditions as revenue reservation, at least for standard rooms.

    3. While it is true that airlines reward bookings are excess inventory, that is no longer true for many chains, Starwood, Marriott, etc., except in times of exceptionally high occupancy (think superbowl,, presidential inaugaration, etc.) in which the hotel seeks a waiver from the chain.

    4. At the very least, the hotel or the chain, should be required to send out an e-mail notifiying guests of the rebranding.

  • http://www.facebook.com/CarverFarrow Carver Clark Farrow

    Agreed. One point though. The relationship between a chain and the hotel is far closer than a mere third party agent. Its a franchise agreement. Depending on the strength of the agreement, i.e; the relationship can be very close.

  • http://www.facebook.com/CarverFarrow Carver Clark Farrow

    The problem is that hotels net a fraction of the going rate on rewards stays. Hilton would be paying many times what it would have paid had the property remained a Hilton. Hilton doesn’t want that expense and the hotel doesn’t want to take less money, especially since I suspect there’s alot of bad blood there

  • Michael__K

    .. this would be a waste of Chris’s time. Hilton is not going to do what the OP wants.

    Hilton offered a “comparable” hotel, the OP wants a comparable hotel. So far so good. The only issue is that the OP points out that the alternate rooms aren’t truly comparable.

    That seems to me like *exactly* the sort of case where a mediator like Chris is well-suited to help. He might be able to raise this to the attention of someone higher up at Hilton with the latitude to take other appropriate actions given that the offer of a “comparable” room isn’t really honorable.

    [BTW I did a quick Expedia search for the last week of October and I duplicated the OP’s observation– I could not find any available rooms or suites with 2 double beds in the Arc de Triomphe neighborhood]

    If the OP wants 2 normal beds they are probably either going to need to get 2 separate rooms or they are going to need to choose a different neighborhood. I think a reasonable resolution would be for the OP’s to stay in a different neighborhood and get some of their points back for their inconvenience.

    I don’t see what bearing it has that this was a rewards reservation other than that a refund in points (rather than in cash) would be entirely appropriate. A reservation is still a reservation and a reservation is a commitment.


    It seems to me that the OP has lost sight of what this trip is really about… Time with her dad. As long as she has that, everything else should be irrelevant.

    If you don’t believe that hotels should waive their rules when customers have extenuating personal circumstances, then I fail to understand why you think this has any bearing on the hotel’s commitments.

  • KaraJones

    @John Baker – “Hilton is not going to do what the OP wants”?? How do you know this? That’s exactly the reason why Chris SHOULD get involved. If he doesn’t, then you are correct: Hilton will not budge. But that is what Chris does – he gets these companies to do things they wouldn’t do otherwise.
    And it’s a rather disdainful comment to say “the OP has lost sight of what this trip is really about… Time with her dad” . Really? Well if that were the case, she could have time with her Dad in Iowa or Podunk instead. Their plan was NOT simply to be together. It was to be in the center of Paris together. THAT was what their trip was about. And Hilton did not offer them equivalent properties – they offered them some other properties that were non-equivalent.

  • john4868

    1. Hilton offered any of their other hotels in the Paris region. That’s all they have to offer. The hotel they orginally booked into is no longer available for reward stays. Hilton isn’t going to honor a reward reservation at a non-Hilton property.
    2. The second comment goes to the “Perfect Vacation” ruined comments. It maybe Chris’s editing or her melodramatics. Either way, the point of the vacation was to spend a week in Paris with her dad. Her original hotel is no longer available. Instead of focusing on that, find a new hotel that is available and more on. Otherwise, she risks ruining the time with her dad.

  • TonyA_says

    From the form letter you can read on flyertalk, Hilton offered ONLY their other properties in Paris as a substitute. Those who paid with money essentially paid the hotel and got to stay even beyond Sept 18, the day it was no longer a Hilton. Those who were paying with points were offered to pay with money. Those who did not like the deal got their points back.

    Since this affected many people, then the choices Hilton gave were reasonable. I do not think they could give each and every person special treatment. What was quite bizarre was the lack of information and service while this was going on. It seemed like no one knew what to do.

  • john4868

    @facebook-100000255798982:disqus I tried to find out how long this case is going on but couldn’t (in fact its under appeal so it continues). Hilton could accept reservations because of the very fact that their reward contract says that they can change availablity or remove a hotel from the program.
    Participating hotels within the Hilton Worldwide portfolio and Reward types and classifications may change at any time without notice at Hilton HHonors Worldwide L.L.C.’s sole discretion.
    Reward Stays are not subject to blackout dates or capacity controls, except for Points & Money Rewards™, which are subject to both at the participating hotel’s and/or Hilton HHonors Worldwide L.L.C.’s discretion. All Rewards depend upon availability and some Reward Stays types may not be available on the date of Member’s request. Because of that there was no risk. Beyond that, Hilton believed that they would prevail and to stop accepting reservation would put them in conflict with the very contract they were defending in court.

  • TonyA_says

    If they showed up on or after 18SEP, then the hotel was no longer accepting Hilton funny money (points certificate). They would need to pay with real money.

  • Michael__K

    I know that Chris wrote this:

    I don’t need to check the slippery HHonors contract to know that Hilton can drop this reservation whenever it wants to, and for whatever reason.

    …but can anyone actually find anything in the Hilton rewards program contract or even in the regular terms and conditions for reservations that would give Hilton the ability to “drop this reservation?” I couldn’t…

    This situation seems most analogous to an oversold situation where a customer with a confirmed reservation is “walked” to a “comparable” nearby property. I don’t see anything in Hilton’s terms and conditions (nor in most hotels’ terms and conditions) which address that scenario either. But I know from personal experience that the widespread industry practice is to automatically refund one night for the inconvenience anytime that happens. If it’s a rewards reservation then you automatically get one nights’ points back. And that’s assuming the alternate hotel is really comparable.

  • john4868

    @KaraJones:disqus Hilton isn’t going to give someone a reward stay at a hotel they don’t own or operate. They did what was reasonable and offered the OP any of their other hotels in the Paris area. Unfortunately, this is the only one they had in central Paris. I’m not aware of any rewards program that allows you to redeem awards at properties that aren’t related to the business. This property no longer has any relationship with Hilton and Hilton isn’t going to pay the property for the OP to stay there.
    The OP has decided to fixate on a hotel change and allowed that to ruin her trip with her dad. It isn’t perfect but it’s still Paris. If the hotel is that important. then pay for it in cash. Otherwise, find a good solution and move on.

  • TonyA_says

    Hilton apparently lost the case on 5 July and was given 90 days to remove their brand. The date of the turnover was 18 Sept. I understand that sometime in between these dates Hilton stopped accepting Reward reservations for the property.

    As far as the hotel was concerned they were willing to honor the Hilton reservations for as long as they got paid the normal room rates. Of course Hilton was no longer paying the hotel or the hotel was no longer accepting Hilton’s reward rate beginning 18 Sept. So Hilton had to put their reward guests somewhere else they had rooms. Think of it as another kind of walking a guest.

    Edited to correct spelling error.

  • Michael__K

    1. Not accurate. A confirmed reservation is a confirmed reservation. If they can’t honor it (and this has happened to me a bunch of times — usually when the hotel is oversold) then they need to “walk” you to the nearest comparable hotel. They can’t refuse to honor the reservation or send you to a far-away sister property. Plus, they always in my experience– as a matter of policy — refund one night’s charge (or one night’s points) for the inconvenience of being walked.

    2. If you don’t think these “melodramatic” comments should have any bearing on the hotel’s (or the customer’s) commitments, then I wouldn’t expect you to conclude that the hotel’s commitments are irrelevant.

  • Michael__K

    Participating hotels within the Hilton Worldwide portfolio and Reward types and classifications may change at any time without notice at Hilton HHonors Worldwide L.L.C.’s sole discretion.

    That doesn’t state and I don’t read it to mean that pre-existing confirmed reservations are retroactively cancelled. Points for Hilton rewards reservations are deducted from your balance at the time when the reservation is made.

    Added: There’s also this provision, which supports my interpretation (i.e. you may lose perks when a hotel is re-classified but you don’t lose your reservation):

    If a hotel ceases to be a hotel within the Hilton Worldwide portfolio, all stays subsequent to such date will not be eligible to earn HHonors Points regardless of when the reservation was made.

  • TonyA_says

    Carver, in this case a French judge ruled that Hilton leave by 5 OCT last 5 JUL. France Hilton filed an injuction which was denied around 10 AUG. That led them to leave by 18 SEP. At least that is how I understand what happened.

  • Michael__K

    Think of it as another kind of walking a guest.

    As I’ve pointed out in other comments, getting walked generally means you get one of the nearest comparable hotels with availability and you get cash (or points in the case of a rewards reservation) back for your inconvenience.

  • KaraJones

    @ Michael_K – Exactly. I agree.

  • TonyA_says

    What do you expect France Hilton to do? They can have 500 extra room guests per day in this former Hilton property. Since most are paying guests, then they can opt to stay in the same hotel. But do you really expect Hilton to renogiate a rate with the hotel owners that sued them for 60 € million? Hilton tried to stay longer but their injunction was denied. They really did not the staff on the location to walk quests since the staff were mostly hotel employees who went with the owners. I cannot see why substituting a FREE room with another Hilton property is so bad.

  • Michael__K

    What do you expect France Hilton to do?

    I liked your analogy to walked guests. If they offered the standard “walked” guest treatment they would book them a non-Hilton hotel as nearby and comparable as feasible and offer them points back for the inconvenience.

    I didn’t see where they OP’s were asking for a free room. They wanted to pay a premium (and they did pay a premium months ago — in points) to stay at a central location in Paris. I don’t see how substituting a hotel in the suburbs outside of the city is a reasonable offer unless perhaps the entire city is sold out solid (which isn’t the case).

    I don’t think there’s any justification for letting a grudge with the new hotel owners stand in the way of Hilton doing the right thing for their loyal customers. Although I see that the new hotel (The Hotel du Collectionneur) is sold out at least for Oct 21-23 so that may be moot at this point.

  • http://www.facebook.com/CarverFarrow Carver Clark Farrow

    Its actually not the HHONORS program Terms and Conditions that are germane, but rather the Hilton contract with its guests which is independent (relatively) of the HHONORS program. Of course, I couldn’t find it ;)

  • http://www.facebook.com/CarverFarrow Carver Clark Farrow

    Beyond the grudge, Hilton was expecting to pay relatively little for the rewards guests. I suspect that negotiations would be difficult if not impossible under these circumstances.

  • http://www.facebook.com/CarverFarrow Carver Clark Farrow

    I have to respectfully disagree with your legal analysis. In order
    1. Is a reservation a contract. Yes. Undeniably. Mutually enforceable promises are sufficient for a contract, which is what we have here. The difficulty is knowing exactly what was promised on the merchant’s side. I suspect one woud have to dig very deep into the contract taking into account all of Hilton exceptions and contingencies.
    2. Given that its a contract, the entire discussion of gratuity is not relevant.
    3. The fact that the Hilton points belong to Hilton is neither here nor there. The validity of the hotel contract does not depend on who owns the points. Numerous valid contracts are entered into in which at least one party doesn’t have possession, custody, or control, of the promised consideration, Stocks are often traded that way. Speculators often operate that way.

  • http://www.facebook.com/CarverFarrow Carver Clark Farrow

    I don’t think its appropriate for us to say to the OP what is relevant to her enjoyment of the trip, particularly since we don’t know whether Paris is just a cool destination or has additional meaning.

  • TonyA_says

    Re your Point #1: All existing reservations beyond September 18, 2012, will be handled by the new hotel operator (Hotel du Collectionneur Arc de Triomphe).
    However, the new hotel operator is no longer a part of the HHonors program so it won’t accept your reward certificate as payment.

    So the hotel is not walking you. It is rejecting your form of payment.

    What you want to do is for Hilton (the FRANCHISOR) to walk you. Now that is an interesting point since Hilton is not (or no longer) the hotel where you have a reservation. What you have is a useless reward certificate to a hotel entity that no longer exists or a new hotel that would not take it.

    I guess your “rights” are determined by the T&Cs of the HHonors program. http://hhonors3.hilton.com/en/terms/index.html

    Some points to consider:

    Specific Program benefits and services have been established for all Members; however, benefits and services offered by hotels within the Hilton Worldwide portfolio may vary. If Hilton HHonors Worldwide, L.L.C., or any HHonors Marketing Partner improperly denies a Member an accrual or benefit, the liability of Hilton HHonors Worldwide, L.L.C., or the Marketing Partner will be limited to the equivalent value of that accrual or benefit as determined solely by Hilton HHonors Worldwide, L.L.C..

    Hilton HHonors Worldwide, L.L.C., is not responsible, and assumes no liability, for changes or discontinuances of the Marketing Partner’s service or product(s) which may affect Program Rewards offered, the accrual of points or devaluation of Certificate.

    Nowhere therein requires Hilton to walk you if you paid with points.

  • Michael__K

    The moment the OP made a reservation, their points were forfeited and converted to a reservation commitment.

    As I wrote in another comment, the provisions you quote pertain to HHonors perks (like executive floor access, free/discounted amenities, earnings points for your stay, etc.).

    The fact that they spell out that the perks aren’t guaranteed if the program is changed or the property is re-classified is a tacit acknowledgement that the reservation itself is an entirely other matter.

    Added: “Nowhere therein requires Hilton to walk you if you paid with points.

    There is no mention of “walking” guests anywhere in their terms regardless of whether the guest paid with points or cash. But I could attest from first-hand experience what the industry standard is (regardless of whether you paid with cash or points).

  • Cybrsk8r

    None of which should come out of the OP’s pocket.

  • Cybrsk8r

    What I have learned from this story is that the Hilton HHonors program is pretty worthless.

  • Michael__K

    If we agree that they should be treated as walked guests, I’m not sure negotiations are necessary.

    Can’t Hilton either book the public rate for the OP or else just reimburse them? If the OP agrees to a non-refundable reservation for a “Double Double” room (205 Euros/night) that’s as low a rate as I can find anywhere in the Arc de Triomphe area for a 4-star hotel with availability for 3 adults in October.

    The “Flexible rate” is about twice as much, yet that is still competitive for 4-stars / 3 adults in that neighborhood.

  • Michael__K

    Would that be the “Rules & Restrictions” one sees when one books a room on their website?

    If so, those just consist of a few short paragraphs dealing with cancellation deadlines, early departure penalties, amenities that cost extra, etc. There’s absolutely nothing in there about reservations not getting honored or the possibility of getting “walked” to a different hotel.

    On the other hand, if this “contract” is not visible to customers on their website at any point during the reservation process, then is it enforceable?

  • James

    The Hilton La Defense is very nice, and is literally 5 minutes on the RER. They should take the offer of La Defense. I am sure they get a nice room there.

  • TonyA_says
  • y_p_w

    Here’s the part of the terms that might apply here:


    “4. Participating hotels within the Hilton Worldwide portfolio and Reward
    types and classifications may change at any time without notice at
    Hilton HHonors Worldwide L.L.C.’s sole discretion.”

    Seems pretty broad. I also understand that a paid and/or credit card secured reservation promises a minimum payment to the hotel owner – the “consideration” that was mentioned. However, many of these rewards programs are contingent on the participation of the individual hotels that are part of the network. They agree to host these stays under the programs for minimal or no cash considerations in order to be part of the greater network. Once they’re free from the network, they probably don’t feel as if they’re obligated to comply with the former terms.

  • bodega3

    This isn’t any different than any other business taking over for another. It isn’t like Hilton isn’t providing any stay, just not at the one that is no longer part of their company. I am a HH member and find their program to be very much like any other. If you have a free mileage ticket on a carrier and they pull out of that airport, they are not going to protect you on another carrier. They will either give you your miles back or protect you out of another airport. With the OP or the air example, you are still getting to use your awards, it just may not be what you originally planned, but free is free, so you need to decide to take it or pay for something else.

  • http://flyicarusfly.com/ Fly, Icarus, Fly

    Very interesting! It’s all part of the marketing expense, I guess. (Unless you’re in a popular location and lots of people want to cash in award points to stay.) All the more reason why Hilton wouldn’t want to pay cash to the property to maintain the reservation, opting instead to send the OP to another property. It’s not exactly comparable, but if I were the OP, I’d take the Hilton La Defense (just under 7km or 4 miles away). That beats paying for my own room. Perhaps they can persuade Hilton to give them the new property for half the miles, considering they screwed up the notification…

  • http://flyicarusfly.com/ Fly, Icarus, Fly

    I’d liken it more to a flight that gets cancelled. The airlines will put you on the next available flight which you might or might not like. Rarely will they give you a ticket on another airline. I have a feeling the OP is being treated very differently than a cash-paying customer would be…

  • http://flyicarusfly.com/ Fly, Icarus, Fly

    Take it!

  • http://flyicarusfly.com/ Fly, Icarus, Fly

    I think this is what I would do if I were in this position. But I’d ask that since it’s not a comparable property, that Hilton take less points for it. Or throw in a few breakfasts or dinners. I think they’d go for that!

  • http://flyicarusfly.com/ Fly, Icarus, Fly

    Not sure how this is different from a flight that suddenly gets cancelled. The airline would just put you on another flight (which may be worse than your original one, with layovers, for example). As long as it’s a reasonable wait time, I don’t think they’d even consider putting you on another carrier. In this case, the property is no longer available so they’re offering her one 7kms away. Definitely not as good, but within reason, I think…

  • TonyA_says

    HH participating hotels pay Hilton about 5% of the guest’s folio (what they spent on room plus other services). This is in addition to royalty franchise fees. In other words, hotels are paying for the points the guests are EARNING. When the guest uses points to stay in a HH hotel, Hilton pays the hotel a LOW reimbursement rate for the room unless the hotel has at least 96% occupancy where Hilton will up the reimbursement rate to 90% of ADR (the average rate hotel charged for rooms).

    I understand that Hilton offered La Defence and Versailles as substitutes. But neither are in the center of Paris. The irony is that the Arc de Triomphe property is not that well located either. It is still quite a walk ro anywhere a tourist would normally want to go. Most clients I have served would prefer to stay near the Opera, the Museums or at the Le Marais area.

    IMO, Hilton could have given affected customers some gratis points for the incovenience they had caused. If you read the flyertalk thread on this bruhaha, many folks were targeting the property for its free Executive Lounge. Maybe Hilton could have given out passes to other lounges elsewhere. Personally, I would not be too attached to any hotel and would be ready to accept a decent substitute in a good location. I certainly cannot say I would miss a hotel that I have not yetstayed in.

  • Adam1222

    Whether its a Hilton or not is hardly “legal minutiae.”

  • backprop

    Nobody said it was. Minutiae refers to the legal wranglings that apparently went on between the hotel and property owners that let to the Hilton name being removed from the hotel. The point is, the hotel was a Hilton when the OP made the reservation. It is unreasonable to expect a traveler to magically find out that the hotel was rebadged and that Hilton’s responsibility is nothing more than that of a travel agent who helped someone buy a ticket on an airline.

  • TonyA_says

    I am amazed how some people think they can plan and accomplish their DREAM vacation for free (using only awards or points). It is like having their cake and eating it too. They fail to see that there is a service provider on the other side of the equation who will be paid little or nothing and may not be that welcoming and hospitable.

  • Michael__K

    Arriving at your destination several hours late is a common well known risk that also happens to be very well documented on every carriers’ website.

    Spending 2 weeks or whatever at an entirely different destination then you had planned, even though there is availability at your original destination is not only highly irregular, but you won’t find any mention of this possibility on any hotels’ website.

    Many places, 7km is actually a very reasonable distance to send a guest. However, when 7km is the difference between Central Paris and a suburban business district — and the hotel prices between the two locations starkly reflects that difference — then that is not reasonable.

  • backprop

    How is it any different from walking into Subway with ten stamps on your card (and I have NO idea if Subway still does this, so bear with me) and “thinking you can eat and drink their lunch for free”?

    Loyalty programs, while the legalese allows pretty much whatever, are there to get people to use services, loyally (!), with the expectation of a reward after a predetermined number of uses. It’s not unreasonable to expect to redeem them.

  • john4868

    Thanks for the analogy because you are exactly right… This case is no different than your Subway analogy. You might want to redeem your award at the Subway down the street but if it becomes a “John’s Subs” overnight they won’t honor your Sub Club card any more since their not a Subway. You’d have to go to the next nearest Subway to redeem it. That is exactly what happened here.

  • Chris_In_NC

    Tony, I can vouch for that. There were 2 times in the past when redeeming Marriott rewards points, I was inadvertently charged the reimbursement rate to my credit card instead of to Marriott Corporation. I was shocked at the amounts. Both were in the $16-18 range. One was a Residence Inn and the other was a Marriott Hotel.

  • Michael__K

    Flight cancellations are very common and airline websites document those policies. A cancelled flight doesn’t mean you can be sent to a different airport without your consent.

    Hotel-side “cancellations” are relatively uncommon and the hotel websites generally do not even document this possibility. Yet there are industry-wide policies in place for that and I don’t see why those policies shouldn’t apply here. There isn’t ordinarily a distinction between cash-paying and rewards customers (from firsthand experience) when a guest is walked.

    Added: Also, if you are significantly delayed by a cancelled flight in Europe (assuming it’s not force majeure) you get cash for your trouble.

  • Adam1222

    Actually, you said the relationship between Hilton and the property was legal minutiae. And that is the sole issue here. There are two different issues here; (1) failure to provide notice and (2) what the actual solution is. Hilton clearly tried to maintain this reservation, by engaging in litigation with the property. That failed. The end.

  • Michael__K

    A better analogy would be if Subway took dinner reservations and you had a confirmed reservation….

  • john4868

    Ok … I’ll use your analogy. A local very high-end steakhouse with multiple locations runs a rewards program based on the amount that you spend annually. Recently, he sold off one of his restuarants because it wasn’t performing. I wouldn’t expect the new owners to honor my rewards card for $100 eventhough I made the reservation months in advance.

  • backprop

    Um, I was addressing your statement as to “I am amazed how some people think they can plan and accomplish their DREAM vacation for free.”

  • TonyA_says

    The Paris Metro is a good example. You can buy 10 tickets at a discounted price. You don’t earn a free ticket by simply riding more often. It is more of a bulk discount rather than a loyalty program. There is no other Metro you can take.

    A hotel loyalty program is mainly there to hook you to stay in the same brand of hotels, so you would not switch. Sure you can get a free night once you reach so many points. But my point is if you use that freebie on a very important event then you need to understand the consequences. Because no matter what they tell you, the guest that PAYS for a room will get more rights. Why, because the loyalty programs reimburse the hotel so little for your stay.

    This Hilton fiasco proves my point. If the hotel thinks they can rent out the room for 350€ then why should they bother to continue to accept Hiltons probably 70€ reimbursement rate? From Hilton’s perspective, why should they rebook you at a different hotel when they can shove you in another Hilton for 50-70€?

    If the event is that important then consider paying money for it.

  • Michael__K

    You forget that the customer already spent the reward points (which would otherwise be usable at other vendors) 4 months earlier at the point when they made the reservation. And selling a restaurant is a planned event, not a surprise.

    Of course people don’t make reservations 4 months ahead for restaurants except perhaps for one of those celebrity-chef Michelin-rated restaurants (which I doubt have rewards programs, but maybe you can earn dining miles :).

  • TonyA_says

    Oh my goodness, I was eating a footlong Subway sandwich when I read your post and I thought you meant a subway like the underground train. I’m now laughing at myself.:-)

    I think when you get your 11th sub for free, it is still a sub and you can easily afford to pay 5.99 for it if you have to. I doubt if the OP regularly pays €350 per night for a hotel room. It is more common for folks to accumulate HHonor points in cheaper Hilton chains, save until they have a big balance and then use it for a grand vacation they normally cannot afford if they had to pay cash. Do not be too upset if your FREE grand vacation does not happen as planned.

  • TonyA_says

    Michael, the hotel would walk you if they were still getting paid by Hilton (a reimbursement fee).
    But in this example, the hotel will honor your reservation only if you pay them with cash or card the ongoing rate since they no longer accept Hilton certificates.
    Note that Hilton never prepaid the hotel for your stay so the hotel does not owe you anything.
    You might have exchanged points for a certificate which you could use to pay for your stay. But until the hotel can get your certificate and redeem it for money, then it has nothing. Since Hilton and the hotel no longer have a business relationship, then no exchange will happen.
    Your only recourse is to deal with Hilton itself. And, I doubt if they would get you a room at that same location if they have to pay the rack rate because their only obligation is the reimbursement rate the hotel agreed to when they were still with the program.

  • Michael__K

    The stuff between Hilton and it’s franchises is all inside-baseball. Good to know and thanks for pointing it it out, but if this isn’t spelled out in any customer-facing terms and conditions then I don’t see why it should matter.

    Notice that Hilton is NOT claiming that they don’t owe anything. According to Chris’ article, they acknowledge that they are on the hook for a “comparable” room. So the disagreement is mostly about what “comparable” means. (And I was further asking why these relocated guests deserve any less in inconvenience compensation than is standard for any other walked rewards guest)

    Just to be clear: I’m not suggesting that the Hotel du Collectioneur (the new hotel) owes the OPs anything — the obligation to the customer is 100% on Hilton.

  • TonyA_says

    I read a post in flyertalk that some folks who checked in 18 or 19 SEP were walked to a different hotel nearby by HILTON. Then again some posts complained about being placed in the Airport Hilton after the cutoff date. The point is no one was left out in the streets of Paris by Hilton. IMO Hilton can simply make up for the incovenience by giving back some points to its members. But trying to find a comparable NON-HILTON hotels for that many folks affected might not be possible economically.I understand that some properties can have 30-50% of its rooms as awards! That hotel has about (I think) 500 or 400 rooms.

  • Michael__K

    I don’t have much sympathy for the “not possible economically” argument.

    As you reported, they had two and a half months between the Court verdict and the cutover date. And since this was a “lengthy court battle”, I assume the possibility of losing the lawsuit was a known risk for many months even prior to that.

    How many room-nights are normally reserved 2.5+ months in-advance? You reported that Hilton spent $60 million fighting the lawsuit. If they set aside 1% of that money to deal with potential guest relocations that would pay for about 2,500 [edited] room-nights at the new hotel’s publicly available non-refundable rate (which starts from 185 Euros).

  • TonyA_says

    They appealed the lower court ruling in August and apparently was not able to get an injunction. I DID NOT SAY it cost them 60€ million. I said they were being sued by the property owners who claimed they lost the huge amount in opportunity cost or lost profit due to Hilton’s inability to get the hotel’s maximum potential.

    Many reward stays are booked way in advance. You can read flyertalk for a firsthand view. Finally sympathy and reason are two different things. Some people could interpret Hilton’s not moving early as a hopeful thing. Some people may have little sympathy for those who book FREE rooms and expect to be treated the same as one who paid €350 a night. :-)

    I just do not believe it is reasonable to require Hilton to pay for BAR rates at other hotels for FREE REWARD stays under these circumstances. Any reasonable person can understand that reward points is Funny Money.

    BTW, the price you mentioned the current hotel owners are charging reflects both the effects of the Hilton pullout and the bad economy in Europe. That’s not what they were asking the HIlton Reward guests last Sept.

  • Starship Jeff

    Priority Club (Holiday Inn) has a feature that allows you to book at competitor’s hotels. It’s called “Hotels Anywhere”. Never used the feature and not sure if it is the best use of points, but the option has been there for some time.

  • Michael__K

    I’m sure Hilton has a competent legal department and they are ultimately responsible for managing their own legal risk. Especially when their customers are not privy to any of that risk.

    If Hilton felt the risk and potential relocation costs were too high, they could have stopped accepting (at least) rewards reservations at that location. But they didn’t. They gambled and they lost. Their customers had nothing to do with that gamble and shouldn’t shoulder the burden of that gamble. The so-called “Funny Money” was already collected by Hilton and converted to reservation commitments.

    BTW, if the current prices reflect a steep drop then Hilton should have been able to profit on their cash reservations…

  • bodega3

    I am not getting your argument. Hilton is protecting them at another Hilton hotel, not far from where they were orginally going to stay. They can take it or leave it and the rules that they agreed to when they signed up are pretty clear, as others have posted here. They are not being stranded without a place to stay.

  • Michael__K

    not far from where they were orginally going to stay.

    So if you have a reservation in midtown Manhattan, you signed up for the possibility of staying in Jersey City?

    If you have a reservation for the Fisherman’s Wharf area, you signed up for the possibility of staying in East Bay?

    Can you please quote the rules you claim that “they agreed to when they signed up” that you think are relevant?

    The only rules I’ve seen posted are the one’s that say the rewards perks are subject to change. A reservation is not one of those rewards perks.

  • TonyA_says

    You do not have your facts right. Hilton stopped accepting rewards for that property about 2 weeks after the court ruling around mid
    July. Their appeal or injunction plea was denied around August 10.
    The last day or turnover to the owners began 18 Sep. Since this was Hilton MANAGED hotel, it had to be run as a Hilton till the last day. On 18 Sep, that property was no longer a Hilton.

    The OP made a reward booking last June, before the July ruling.

  • TonyA_says

    I agree with Bodega. Michael, you need to show how Hilton breached the HHonors rewards program agreement. The way you sound, you equate the rights of Rewardees with the rights of Paid guests. I do not believe you are correct.

  • TonyA_says

    A long time ago, I was a paid guest at the Cairo (Conrad) Hilton. They packed my bags and sent me by taxi to a new hotel in Giza BECAUSE THEY HAD TO MAKE ROOM FOR HENRY KISSINGER’S ENTOURAGE.
    No refund, no compensation, nothing. The new hotel was freezing that night. Elliott must have been much younger at that time so I could not write anyone for help. Bear in mind that I was a paid guest. I wonder what they would have done to me if stayed there on a reward certificate? :-)

  • Michael__K

    Bodega asserted that customers agreed to this when they signed up. Show me.

    I can’t find anything in Hilton’s terms & conditions that allows them to refuse to honor any reservation. I can’t even find anything that so much as addresses the possibility that a guest could be walked to another hotel. Does that mean anything goes?

    Answer my question re: Manhattan/Jersey City , Fisherman’s Wharf/East Bay.

  • Michael__K

    What facts do I have wrong?

    Here is what I actually wrote:
    As you reported, they had two and a half months between the Court verdict and the cutover date. And since this was a “lengthy court battle”, I assume the possibility of losing the lawsuit was a known risk for many months even prior to that.

    You haven’t addressed anything in the post you were responding to or provided anything to support the assertion by Bodega that you said you agreed with.

  • TonyA_says

    According to flyertalk, emails were eventually sent informing the Reward Guests that their reward bookings were cancelled for thst specific location and that they could get a booking in Hilton’s other four locations if they desire. Otherwise, the points will go back to their accounts.

    I read the Terms of the program and I could not find any provision that required Hilton to walk a reward guest. From what I can tell, you do not have much rights as a rewardee. Hence, my posts about the utter uselessness of trying to phenagel a stay in a non Hilton. It sucks but those are things one can expect with freebies. Even Elliott himself has questioned loyalty programs again and again.

    Look Michael, it only takes 40,000 points for a one night standard stay at a category six Hilton. They give away that many points if you apply for a Hilton credit card. There is even an artcle about how you can get 390,000 points by just going through several cards.
    It will cost a hotel participant about $180 in fees to “buy” 40,000 points but Hilton will pay or reimburse the hotel about 40 bucks per night unless the hotel is at least 96% full that night.

  • bodega3

    My option would be to take the offer or not. I may be highly disappointed, but it was a free stay and if the hotel is no longer a Hilton, there isn’t much I can do. Perhaps I look at this differently based on my involvement with the industry and know that change happens. All that has to be done is give you back your money or your award points if a reacommodation isn’t to your liking. Reward travel isn’t treated the same as a paid reservation when you are getting something for free. I have learned this personally myself.

  • TonyA_says

    Known risks for SHAREHOLDERS! Rewardees are third class actors.
    Why do they have to disclose the lawsuit to guests?
    They operated normally until they lost the lawsuit and then began the process of leaving after not getting the injunction. To do otherwise would be worse since this was a HILTON MANAGED hotel. They have to keep on going till the end. Note that they STOPPED accepting reward reservations immediately after they lost. It is obvious that they do not treat rewardees like paying customers. They assumed that they will simply substitute their other properties for rewards. That is the basic lesson here. If you want better treatment, then PAY WITH MONEY!

  • TonyA_says

    Again Michael you are misunderstanding the facts. The reservations are with the hotel. It is the new hotel management that is refusing to accept HHhonor certificates. They quit! It is that simple.

  • Michael__K

    Can you find any provision that requires Hilton to walk ANY guest under ANY circumstance?

    To the extent I’m following your argument, it strikes me as incoherent: it’s all about the rules, even though we can’t identify any rules that speak to this situation… and the loyalty program rules (which were written by Hilton) are too generous, so we can’t expect those rules to apply…

  • Michael__K

    Tony, please quote my exact words from any post where you claim i misunderstood any facts.

    I keep repeating that the new hotel management has nothing to do with this and you keep dodging my questions and changing the subject to come back to that red herring.

  • Michael__K

    They don’t have to disclose the lawsuit to guests but then they should be willing to absorb the legal risks rather than pass that risk on to unsuspecting guests.

    You keep asserting that guests who pay with money get better treatment. Possibly. I just keep asking you to SHOW ME THE WRITTEN POLICY which makes that precise distinction. Otherwise I’m not sure this “lesson” is grounded on anything reliable.

  • TonyA_says

    Hilton is essentially a Brand. A franchise. Each property has its own policies and rules. HHonors is a loyalty program. It is the hotel that determines whether they will walk you. Hilton also offers to manage hotels for their owners. Of the hundreds of Hilton named hotels, Hilton only owns about 20 of them.

    When an HHonor member redeems an award stay, he essentially does two things:
    1) Makes a reward reservation with the specific property that is participating with the program through the HHonors reservation system,
    2) Exchanges his points for a HHonors reward certificate that he will use to “pay” the hotel.
    Repeat, it is the management of the hotel that is responsible for your reservation and your stay. So unless Hilton itself owns or manages the property you are booked in, Hilton does not determine your stay’s terms and conditions.

  • Michael__K

    Customers do business with Hilton. There is no distinction between Brand and Franchise in their terms — and that is intentional. Are their customers dealing with one entity or two independent ones? They can’t have it both ways.

    Would you extend your logic to Hilton’s vendors? Can Hilton stiff their vendors for products and services purchased for this location before July 5th that the new management doesn’t want? Can they stiff travel agents on their commissions? I don’t think so.

    There was no bankruptcy here. There was no act of God. As I understand it, a court ruled that they failed to adhere to their own contractual commitments to their landlord under French law, and that would be 100% their fault.

  • Michael__K

    Change happens to people too. They unexpectedly lose lawsuits, they lose their jobs, they get sick and require hospitalization, etc. And the stock answer to that is usually: they should have gotten insurance.

    If the little guy is expected to get insurance to protect themselves from change, why would you hold large businesses to a lower standard?

    This case isn’t about an Act of God or a war or a coup detat. Those would be different discussions. If the French courts ruled that Hilton violated its contracts or French laws, that is a mistake that was entirely within their control.