Good night, sleep tight, don’t let the … ouch! What was that?

Bedbugs.

Just the mention of these tiny, bloodsucking insects is enough to send a veteran road warrior packing. But what does a hotel owe you if you’ve been ravaged by a swarm of Cimex lectularius during your stay?

No, that’s not an academic question.

I wish it was. So does Hilton. So does Diane Lapin, who claims she had visitors during her recent two-night stay at the Hampton Inn & Suites in Burlingame, Calif. Hers was room 323, but for hundreds of bedbugs, it was more like a dining room, she says.
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Is Hilton HHonors’ “No Blackout Dates” pledge a lie?

Nate Bear has been a Hilton frequent guest for more than a decade, having earned Gold VIP status during hundreds of hotel stays. One of the benefits he likes the most is Hilton’s No Blackout Dates rule that seems pretty straightforward: “If there’s a standard room available at any Hilton Family hotel or resort worldwide, you can redeem points for it. No exceptions, no fine print. It’s that simple.”

But is it really?

“Apparently there are exceptions and fine print,” he told me. “In other words, it’s not that simple, despite the clear wording.”
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A quiet weekend in Pensacola Beach, Fla.

Here’s the view that greeted us when we checked into the Hilton Pensacola Beach Gulf Front yesterday afternoon.

Beautiful? Yes. But it’s also 40 degrees, not counting the wind chill factor.

Maybe that’s why there’s no one here. But you know us — we’re contrarian travelers. We go where no one else does. And when no one else does.
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Hilton exec overrules “customer service” department, helps guest

vbGot a problem with Hilton? You might get help. Then again, you might not.

Ever since the Blackstone Group’s $26 billion buyout of Hilton in 2007, getting good customer service has been a hit-or-miss proposition. Some cases are resolved to the customer’s satisfaction. Others aren’t.

I used to know most of Hilton’s executives, thanks to a first-rate corporate communications team. They made sure the channels of communication were always open between Hilton and any potential customer-service problems, much to their credit. Today, I have a queue of unsolved cases.

Is Hilton a lost cause?
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Lost HHonors: “Life” member stripped of Hilton elite status

card hhonorsIn 1991, Robert Annenberg paid $150 for life membership in Senior HHonors Gold VIP program. Last year, Hilton terminated his membership without warning. Is Annenberg’s elite status gone?

My initial response — and one I’ve repeated to several Hilton guests with the identical problem — is that he’s probably lost his HHonors status for good. The lawyerly terms and conditions for Hilton’s loyalty program is crystal clear that it can basically change its contract any time, for any reason.

But the more I thought about it, the more I thought how wrong that was. The terms are irrelevant — lifetime means for the rest of my life.

Right?
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Double trouble with my hotel points

hiltonQuestion: I have been a loyal Hilton customer for the past three years, staying about 200 nights a year in its hotels. I have always been happy with the service that I received from Hilton — until recently.

A few months ago, I booked four rooms at a promotional rate that offered double points. After each stay, I did not get credited with any of the points. I have called Hilton to try to fix this problem. Each time, I also advised them that I had additional reservations under the same promotion and that I wanted to get the problem fixed so that I didn’t have to keep calling after each stay.

The answer that I received from various Hilton reps has always been the same: I did, indeed, book the promotional rate and that they don’t know why I’m not getting my points. They’ve opened up various trouble tickets and said that my account would be credited within a few days. I have never received any credits so far and it has been weeks since my initial contact with them.

I finally talked with a supervisor yesterday, who informed me that there was nothing he could do and that the only thing he could offer me was 5,000 Hilton points for my troubles. By my calculation, I am out 39,291 Hilton points and 3,927 United Airlines miles for my first three stays in January.

This whole situation has left a bad taste in my mouth. It amazes me that Hilton is treating one of its best customers so poorly. In the past three years, I have spent more than $200,000 at Hilton properties and have amassed more than 3 million Hilton points through hotel stays alone. Please help. — Nicholas Czapor, Philadelphia

Answer: Hilton should credit you the double points — on the double. Dragging this out for weeks and then offering only a fraction of the award points is completely unacceptable.
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