Crown Plaza La Concha, Key West, FL, Escalation

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Dec 21, 2019
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Here are the facts of this case:
1) I booked a reservation at IHG.com for a room at Crowne Plaza - La Concha in Key West, FL for the night of Dec. 30, 2019
2) I attempted to modify that reservation online from Dec. 30 to Dec. 29 but was unable to complete the modification
3) I contacted the IHG reservations call center (Philippines?) who were also blocked. They suggested I call the hotel directly.
4) I contacted the hotel a few times and made no progress. The front desk staff mentioned some "deadline" of Dec. 16 that was not made apparent to me on the website when I made the booking. In fact, a message said "Points and points-and-cash bookings will be refunded in points only." This language is vague but indicates that of there is a cancellation, points will be refunded.
5) I finally contacted the hotel and said that I would give the manager a big cash "tip" if he were able to make the change from Dec. 30 to Dec. 29. I offered $100 cash. The woman I spoke to (Edina) said that she would present the offer and call me back.
6) When Edina called back, she said that Mike, the manager, "wanted more, like several hundred dollars, in cash". The reason, she said, is that there is some sort of reimbursement of cash directly to the hotel for guests who book on points. The busier the hotel, the lower the occupancy rate, the more cash is reimbursed to the hotel from IHG for the points paid by the IHG member. I sought to move from a busy night (Dec. 30) to a less-busy night (Dec 29) so that the hotel would receive less reimbursement from IHG for my stay on DEc. 29 "if" they were to move my reservation. That point made sense to me, but the "reimbursement in cash directly to Mike" did not make sense to me. So I clarified the request: "You want me to pay hundreds of dollars directly to Mike, in cash, to move me from Dec. 30 to Dec. 29, AND you want to keep my 60,000 points?". Edina responded "yes". I asked exactly how much I needed to pay, and Edina told me that I needed to speak directly with Mike. I was transferred and reached Mike's voicemail. I also called back and spoke to another front desk worker, Christine, where I complained about my irritation of having to pay cash to the manager for making a change but was willing to pay up to $100 cash "under the table" to make the change. CHristine said that she would pass my message on to Mike.
7) After I did not hear back from Mike after several attempts, I found the Elliott.org website and contacted by email the Customer Experience Manager for IHG and other executives.
8) Shortly after I contacted several IHG executives by email with no response, I received an email from "Mike", the La Concha manager, that said the following: "
Good evening Sir,

I'm sincerely sorry for any frustration you are having concerning your reservation. We can relate and often get frustrated as well with how IHG and other booking sites communicate the terms of a reservation. Please be assured we are always crystal clear from our end. You are also correct that I have authority though limited in modifying reservations. Even more limited with Reward night stay. However that authority comes with parameters. Restrictions and terms of a reservation are there for an objective reason and are typically modified due to verifiable circumstances (extreme weather, airport closures, extreme personal circumstances, etc). Unfortunately change of plans combined with season and specific reservation terms does not qualify for modification.

I/we truly have no desire to negatively impact your family vacation. We only adhere as required to the mutual terms of the reservation that you selected. Im sure you can imagine the mixed reaction if we contacted future guest and requested they change their reservation based on our subjective reasons though truly identifiable. As far as losing your points, I don't believe you will. You will simply be charged one night room and tax. Please verify this with IHG Rewards. We do not have any authority when it comes to point deduction on a rewards reservation.

We hope you will understand and make the decision that works best for you and yours. This concludes our decision.

Sincerely,

Mike Rice"

to which I replied:

"
It’s interesting that only after I contacted Kelly Wise and the executive team that I receive this email. What happened to the discussion of cash reimbursement directly to you to “cover the difference” of how much IHG was going to pay? I have records of when Edina called me and what she said.

I will still follow up with Elie and Chris and the rest of the executive team as I can. I am very angry about this.

Regards"

So, with much of the IHG executive team out on holiday leave until Jan 6, 2020, I have limited contacts to get justice.

Resolution and justice to me means that my reservation is modified from Dec. 30 to Dec. 29 for one night without any bribes, cash, tips, or whatever you want to call it. Furthermore, IHG needs to make it VERY CLEAR to anyone who books a night on points at Crowne Plaza La Concha that their ponts are non-refundable. Furthermore they risk losing a one night-deposit automatically charged to their card.

My thought is that if I would have paid hundreds of dollars, under the table and quietly, in what I consider to be extortion money, that I would have been able to switch from Dec. 30 to Dec. 29 successfully. I just would not have felt good about it.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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I'm sorry, but this is a most bizarro story. You offered the manager money to change your res when IHG's policy wasn't to your liking? I can't quite comprehend this one. First, IHG's policy on points/cash rooms is crystal clear. If you change or cancel a points/cash res, you are refunded in points only. If you study the information, you see that you are actually buying the extra points to make a rewards night booking. In other words, you pay $200 and 40K points (or 80K points for a reward night, or $300 cash). If you want a date change, you cancel that res and make a new one. You are refunded the 80K points only. This has been the way it works for several years. I think it's a very strange policy, but that's what IHG has chosen.

I think the issue arose because the hotel may have a cancellation policy different from the usual 24-48 hours that we are all used to. I suggest you review that policy and see how it relates to your stay. What you wanted to do was modify an existing res; I am an IHG person and I do this occasionally without an issue. But it is not the best way to use IHG points; the cost of "buying" those points is much higher than it would be if you purchased them during a bonus sale (there's one on offer right now until 12/31 I believe). You can compare the cost of the points and see what I mean. I believe your issue is not with IHG's points and cash policy, but the cancellation policy of the hotel itself.
 
Dec 21, 2019
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Were you using points for this reservation? What did your confirmation say about making changes or cancellations? That’s what matters- what you contracted for and what your confirmation says.
Thanks for your reply. Yes, I originally booked using 60,000 points only. Quite expensive in terms of points. The website said: "Points and 'Points-Plus-Cash' Bookings are refunded in points only." That language is vague but indicates to me that if I want to cancel then there is no cash refund but points are refunded. I originally sought to make a change from a busy night to a less-busy night so I offered a $100 tip (under the table) just to provide some motivation. Edina (staff member) responded that Mike (the manager) wanted several hundred dollars cash paid directly to him PLUS they would keep all my 60,000 points, which I found excessive and greedy. The negotiations broke down when I refused to pay more than $100 'under-the table' for such a change. The whole situation was really rotten, which is why I escalated to the IHG executive team. Only then did I receive an email from Mike back-pedaling out of the whole situation, and no resolution to my wish to move nights from a busy night to a less-busy night (from Dec. 30 to Dec. 29).
 
Dec 21, 2019
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I'm sorry, but this is a most bizarro story. You offered the manager money to change your res when IHG's policy wasn't to your liking? I can't quite comprehend this one. First, IHG's policy on points/cash rooms is crystal clear. If you change or cancel a points/cash res, you are refunded in points only. If you study the information, you see that you are actually buying the extra points to make a rewards night booking. In other words, you pay $200 and 40K points (or 80K points for a reward night, or $300 cash). If you want a date change, you cancel that res and make a new one. You are refunded the 80K points only. This has been the way it works for several years. I think it's a very strange policy, but that's what IHG has chosen.

I think the issue arose because the hotel may have a cancellation policy different from the usual 24-48 hours that we are all used to. I suggest you review that policy and see how it relates to your stay. What you wanted to do was modify an existing res; I am an IHG person and I do this occasionally without an issue. But it is not the best way to use IHG points; the cost of "buying" those points is much higher than it would be if you purchased them during a bonus sale (there's one on offer right now until 12/31 I believe). You can compare the cost of the points and see what I mean. I believe your issue is not with IHG's points and cash policy, but the cancellation policy of the hotel itself.
Actually, any IHG member EARNS points with each stay and has the option to add points with some stays. One does not always have to buy points, although one may have the option to do so. In this case, how I originally obtained the points is irrelevant and how I spend them is entirely up to me. The situation is quite clear: The hotel has a cancellation policy for those paying cash, namely there is a one night non-refundable deposit required. For those paying in points, the language reads as follows: "Point and 'Points-Plus-Cash' Bookings are refunded in points only.' I sought to make a change from a busy night (Dec 30) to a less-busy night (Dec 29), offered to pay $100 as a gratuity to make that happen, and was asked to pay more in cash gratuity (several hundred dollars) directly to the manager. All of this was negotiated through Edina. It is what it is. I refused to pay more cash, and the manager refused to make the change, so I escalated to the executive team for two reasons: 1) the manager should not be asking for a cash payment, and 2) they should honor my wish to move from Dec. 30 to Dec. 29 because of the vague wording on the website.
 
Dec 21, 2019
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Were you using points for this reservation? What did your confirmation say about making changes or cancellations? That’s what matters- what you contracted for and what your confirmation says.
Neil, yes, I was using points. I originally booked using 60,000 points for one night: Dec. 30. The cancellation policy was worded as follows: "Points and Points-Plus-Cash bookings are refunded in points only." However, when I tried to cancel, they said I could not make changes. When I tried to move from a busy night (Dec. 30) to a less-busy night (Dec 29) they initially refused. When I offered to pay $100 as a gratuity to make the change happen. Edina responded that Mike (the manager) "wanted more" like, several hundred dollars. The reason she said had something to do with how things operated internally between the hotel and IHG regarding reimbursement for points guests. The request for several hundred dollars was a gratuity in addition to the 60,000 in points I had already committed, so I objected to this as excessive, and that is where things broke down. I escalated because 1) the manager should not be asking for a direct payment in cash gratuity, and 2) the wording at initial booking is ambiguous. Resolution for me means moving a reservation from Dec. 30 to Dec. 29 without losing 60,000 points and without losing a one-night deposit.
 
Apr 3, 2016
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Very interesting. Are you sure the several hundred dollars was really a bribe going directly into the managers pocket (because your offer of a $100 tip is really a bribe). I find it hard to believe that a hotel manager would be negotiating a bribe through another employee (unless they were splitting it). It could have been the money needed to change the reservation.
What exact cancellation policy is written on your specific reservation? It must say more than the “Points and Points-Plus-Cash bookings are refunded in points only." text. I tried to book a night at the hotel with points/cash for Dec 30 and the cancellation policy mentioned that a deposit would be charge for cancellation and that the deposit required was one night (See below). Later bookings in Jan gave a date by which the deposit would be charged for cancellation (about 1 week). I am guessing that with it being a holiday week, there is no free cancellation period.

for Dec 30 booking
Deposit Rules
A deposit of 1 night is due at time of booking.
Cancellation Policy
Canceling your reservation or failing to arrive will result in forfeiture of your deposit. Taxes may apply. Failing to call or show before check-out time after the first night of a reservation will result in cancellation of the remainder of your reservation. Points + Cash bookings are charged immediately in USD, and cancellations are refunded in points only.

for Jan 22 booking
Deposit Rules
A deposit of 1 night is due at time of booking.
Cancellation Policy
Canceling your reservation before 4:00 PM (local hotel time) on Wednesday, 15 January, 2020 will result in no charge. Canceling your reservation after 4:00 PM (local hotel time) on 15 January, 2020, or failing to arrive will result in forfeiture of your deposit. Taxes may apply. Failing to call or show before check-out time after the first night of a reservation will result in cancellation of the remainder of your reservation. Points + Cash bookings are charged immediately in USD, and cancellations are refunded in points only.
 
Dec 21, 2019
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Very interesting. Are you sure the several hundred dollars was really a bribe going directly into the managers pocket (because your offer of a $100 tip is really a bribe). I find it hard to believe that a hotel manager would be negotiating a bribe through another employee (unless they were splitting it). It could have been the money needed to change the reservation.
What exact cancellation policy is written on your specific reservation? It must say more than the “Points and Points-Plus-Cash bookings are refunded in points only." text. I tried to book a night at the hotel with points/cash for Dec 30 and the cancellation policy mentioned that a deposit would be charge for cancellation and that the deposit required was one night (See below). Later bookings in Jan gave a date by which the deposit would be charged for cancellation (about 1 week). I am guessing that with it being a holiday week, there is no free cancellation period.

for Dec 30 booking
Deposit Rules
A deposit of 1 night is due at time of booking.
Cancellation Policy
Canceling your reservation or failing to arrive will result in forfeiture of your deposit. Taxes may apply. Failing to call or show before check-out time after the first night of a reservation will result in cancellation of the remainder of your reservation. Points + Cash bookings are charged immediately in USD, and cancellations are refunded in points only.

for Jan 22 booking
Deposit Rules
A deposit of 1 night is due at time of booking.
Cancellation Policy
Canceling your reservation before 4:00 PM (local hotel time) on Wednesday, 15 January, 2020 will result in no charge. Canceling your reservation after 4:00 PM (local hotel time) on 15 January, 2020, or failing to arrive will result in forfeiture of your deposit. Taxes may apply. Failing to call or show before check-out time after the first night of a reservation will result in cancellation of the remainder of your reservation. Points + Cash bookings are charged immediately in USD, and cancellations are refunded in points only.
Yes, for Dec. 30 booking you are correct about the deposit rules and have quoted what they said precisely. In my case, when I booked on points, I was not asked to enter a credit card number. You might try to book only on points yourself and see what happens. Here is the phrase that continues to stand out to me: "cancellations are refunded in points only. When I tried to cancel, the online system would not allow it. When I called the reservations call center, that agent could not make changes and suggested I call the hotel directly. My first few calls to the hotel resulted in front desk staff saying there was nothing they could do, nor would they escalate the call to the hotel general manager, Mike Rice. On 12/20, as a last resort, I told Edina (Crowne Plaza staff) that I would be willing to offer the manager a $100 gratuity if he would make the change from Dec. 30 to Dec. 29. Edina replied that she would extend my offer to Mike. Edina called me back (I have the call log record to back me up) and told me that Mike "wanted more". When I asked how much more, she said "hundreds of dollars". She also told me that the amount IHG reimburses the hotel for points varies with occupancy rate. Since I was requesting a switch from a high-occupancy night (Dec.30) to a lower-occupancy night (Dec. 29) the hotel would be reimbursed less (in dollars) for my Dec. 29 stay, even though the point value was the same at 60,000 points. So I clarified by saying exactly these words: "So you want me to pay hundreds of dollars, in cash, directly to Mike, in addition to the 60,000 points I've already paid." Edina said "Yes". I have the time and date of the call and a subsequent email from Edina that will back up what I am saying. I asked Edina how much exactly that Mike wanted. She said that I would have to speak directly with Mike about it. I said ok and Edina immediately sent to me by email Mike's contact info (I have kept that email). I sent off an email and left a message on Mike's voicemail asking how much money was needed, waited a few hours and did not get a response. I called back and was told that Mike was dealing with another customer issue, so I spoke to a different hotel employee, Christine, to whom I related the issue and my irritation that I was having to pay cash to Mike plus 60,000 points to switch from a busy night (Dec. 30) to a less-busy night (Dec 29). She said she would relay my message to Mike. These are the facts: 1) switching nights was not considered until I offered a cash gratuity of $100, 2) I was told that Mike needed "more cash", like hundreds of dollars, in order to make the switch 3) there was room availability at that time for the slower night (Dec 29). These are the facts. Interpret them as you will. The main point is that any conversation of a date adjustment happened only after I offered a cash gratuity, and then negotiations stalled as I began to make noise about it to other staff members and escalated to upper management. I have email records and phone records on my end. I hope they have phone call records on their end that the Crowne Plaza executive team can review. I have given to you the facts. I suggest that you talk to Edina directly at Crowne Plaza La Concha and judge for yourself.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
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Dec 27, 2014
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You are not simply moving the night from one to another- you are actually canceling and rebooking.

If you are unable to cancel the res. to get the points returned - use our company contacts and tell them you are unable to cancel the reservation and rebook for the night you sent.

I don’t think I’d mention your attempt to “pay” a manager to change your reservation to outwit the cancellation- you told find yourself suspended from the entire program and using any IHG hotels going forward.
 
Dec 21, 2019
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You are not simply moving the night from one to another- you are actually canceling and rebooking.

If you are unable to cancel the res. to get the points returned - use our company contacts and tell them you are unable to cancel the reservation and rebook for the night you sent.

I don’t think I’d mention your attempt to “pay” a manager to change your reservation to outwit the cancellation- you told find yourself suspended from the entire program and using any IHG hotels going forward.
You could be correct. At the time, I was not thinking of $100 as a bribe, but something similar as one might give the Maitre D'hotel at a restaurant, a nice tip for a nice table or for preferable service. Cancellation and re-booking was fine with me (there was no credit card asked from me or authorization of credit card at the time I booked, nor has any of my credit cards been charged anything). Because I was not asked to provide or authorize a credit card, I believed that a points-only booking did not require a credit card deposit, and -- as the website says -- refunds would be made in points only. Therefore, I believed the rules that applied to credit card bookings were different than point-only bookings. You might try this points-only for yourself to see. But in terms of "bribe", I did not think along that line before and I will consider that in the future. After all, the night I wanted, Dec. 29, was a slower night for the hotel than Dec. 30. Maybe if it were reversed, and I was trying to bribe my way into a fully-occupied hotel, but I was not trying to do that. It was the reverse: the 29th was less booked than the 30th according to whom I spoke with, Edina (staff member). But you make a good point that provides me with a different data point and perspective. Before this I had positive experiences with many IHG hotels as a Spire ELite member and years before that. I have never encountered a manager that took such a hard inflexible stance and asked for cash money to make a change (all this according to staffer Edina).
 
Apr 3, 2016
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The cash quote he is given you might be the amount of the one night deposit penalty for cancelling. The reality is that you will probably never find out at this point (Mike could just say this if you push it with corporate.).

For the issue of changing nights, I think there are 2 choices. Give a credit card to cancel and pay the one night penalty or just leave it and lose/pay the points when you do not show.
 
Dec 21, 2019
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Um, I'm pretty sure that bribery is illegal. I don't know if I'd want a phone call recording and/or email floating around for others to hear/see. If there are no legal repercussions, I would imagine that this could possibly get you banned from IHG properties.

Just MHO......
Neil, true, I can kind of see your point with some exceptions. A nice tip to the Maitre D'at a nice restaurant in order to secure a nice table, is that a bribe? I think it crossed the line from a tip to possibly requesting a "bribe" when I was asked to pay more in cash money directly to the manager than what I was comfortable with, just to make a change from a busier night (Dec 30, high occupancy) to a less-busy night (Dec 29, lower occupancy). It might be possible that an empathetic, caring manager when faced with the same request would have considered doing such an adjustment for free, quickly and with no hassle, for a loyal IHG customer. That did not happen in this case and I encountered an inflexible stance. I started off with deference and respect. Remember that I initially tried to cancel and re-book online, assuming from the statement on the website that I could get ALL my points refunded. It turns out that this was not possible either on the website nor via the call center, that is why I had to contact the hotel directly. Then, to make things easier, I offered to switch nights from a busy night (Dec 30) to a less-busy night (Dec. 29, info provided by Edina a staffer) thinking this would be a straightforward request. Keep in mind that a one-night deposit at this hotel is about $700.00! No one wants to lose either $700 nor 60,000 points. I did not want any penalties, and I would not have booked the hotel in the first place if it were made very clear up front that I risked losing a one-night deposit ($700) or risked losing 60,000 points. Instead, I understood that any refunds would be made in points (as is stated on the website). This is not the case here. Maybe I should not have offered $100 as a gratuity to start with, I agree and will reconsider when doing anything like that in the future. But can you see things from my perspective in anything that has happened here? I was shecked when I was asked to pony up more cash to be paid directly to the manager, and that is where I drew the line and escalated to upper management, following the contacts that Eliott Advocacy recommended. I wish to stick to the facts. That said, my offering $100 might be seen in a different light than offering $100 to the Maitre D' at a fancy restaurant. Point taken.

In any case, I believe I have said all I can say at this point about my perspective and the timeline I've recorded. I am out of things to say. Thank you for the opportunity to voice my perspective, and thank you for the opportunity to see the perspectives of others. This gives me valuable feedback.
 
Dec 21, 2019
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The cash quote he is given you might be the amount of the one night deposit penalty for cancelling. The reality is that you will probably never find out at this point (Mike could just say this if you push it with corporate.).

For the issue of changing nights, I think there are 2 choices. Give a credit card to cancel and pay the one night penalty or just leave it and lose/pay the points when you do not show.
Thank you for your reply. I am kind of a risk-averse person and would not have booked if it were very clear to me that I risked losing $700 (equivalent to a one-night deposit on Dec. 30). My plans were still coming together at the point I made the booking. The website's phrase "refunds are provided in points only" also encouraged me to book, thinking I faced no penalty. Granted, I may have completely misinterpreted that phrase! And I see how others interpret the same thing I read completely differently. Since I was not asked for a credit card number nor was I asked to authorize charges on a previously-used card number in order to book, that also provided to me some reassurance, so I booked! I may have incorrectly assumed that points-only bookings had different rules, I am still unclear about that. In any case, I think it should be made very clear by IHG to all IHG members exactly what happens to those who have made points-only bookings if they are to cancel or modify dates for certain hotels. I am just a data point, but I am representing to IHG and everyone else that this was very ambiguous to me when I made the booking. I have learned some big lessons here and have learned some fresh perspectives. The old expression "measure twice, cut once" applies here, and I will certainly check and re-check language and policy statements in the future with much greater care. This is the first time something like this has happened to me. Thanks again.
 
Feb 21, 2018
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Thank you for your reply. I am kind of a risk-averse person and would not have booked if it were very clear to me that I risked losing $700 (equivalent to a one-night deposit on Dec. 30). My plans were still coming together at the point I made the booking. The website's phrase "refunds are provided in points only" also encouraged me to book, thinking I faced no penalty. Granted, I may have completely misinterpreted that phrase! And I see how others interpret the same thing I read completely differently. Since I was not asked for a credit card number nor was I asked to authorize charges on a previously-used card number in order to book, that also provided to me some reassurance, so I booked! I may have incorrectly assumed that points-only bookings had different rules, I am still unclear about that. In any case, I think it should be made very clear by IHG to all IHG members exactly what happens to those who have made points-only bookings if they are to cancel or modify dates for certain hotels. I am just a data point, but I am representing to IHG and everyone else that this was very ambiguous to me when I made the booking. I have learned some big lessons here and have learned some fresh perspectives. The old expression "measure twice, cut once" applies here, and I will certainly check and re-check language and policy statements in the future with much greater care. This is the first time something like this has happened to me. Thanks again.
You correctly interpreted the phrase, but unfortunately I don't think you looked closely enough at the Rate Rules at the time of booking. Clicking on the link would have revealed that there is a forfeiture of the deposit that is required...which is one night's stay. It's pretty clear in the terms, but only if you click on the link to view them all.

Since you were only booking for one night, whatever you paid in 'points' was your deposit and became non-refundable at the time of booking. This requirement appears to be there for booking on either the 29th or the 30th (and maybe is a hotel requirement for any stay - not sure).
 
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Neil Maley

Moderator
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Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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How do you know Dec. 29 is a slower night? It's Key West and every night near New Years is a party night there.

I have to agree with my colleagues - you didn't read carefully or understand what you were booking - that isn't IHG's or the Managers fault. It is how the booking works when using points or booking special dates. There are usually links to click on to read the details.

Do not bring up the "payment" or the Manager. Take it as a lesson learned about ensuring you understand what you are booking before you book and you may not have clicked on the link. Or just plan on staying the original night you booked so you don't lose anything.
 
Dec 19, 2014
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There is a lot irrelevant material in the original post.

What were the terms and conditions of your original reservation? There is a cancellation deadline. This is also the modification deadline. For a destination like Key West in peak season it can be up to 30 days prior to arrival.

When you ask for a modification from December 30th to December 29th, you must meet the cancellation/modification deadline? Did you do so?
Then the hotel must have availability for award reservations on December 29th.

Otherwise, you will not be able to do a modification. Whether you can do the change is SOLELY dependent on the terms and conditions of your reservation AND whether there is availability. It has nothing to do with anything else.

Of course a manager can override the rules at his/her discretion, but this is asking for an exception and should not be treated as an expectation.
 
Dec 21, 2019
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You correctly interpreted the phrase, but unfortunately I don't think you looked closely enough at the Rate Rules at the time of booking. Clicking on the link would have revealed that there is a forfeiture of the deposit that is required...which is one night's stay. It's pretty clear in the terms, but only if you click on the link to view them all.

Since you were only booking for one night, whatever you paid in 'points' was your deposit and became non-refundable at the time of booking. This requirement appears to be there for booking on either the 29th or the 30th (and maybe is a hotel requirement for any stay - not sure).
Thank you for that. I will look for that link in the future ("measure twice, cut once").
 
Dec 19, 2014
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To the OP, if you want to provide additional information, please include a screen shot of the TERMS of your original reservation, including the cancellation policy.
 
Dec 21, 2019
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There is a lot irrelevant material in the original post.

What were the terms and conditions of your original reservation? There is a cancellation deadline. This is also the modification deadline. For a destination like Key West in peak season it can be up to 30 days prior to arrival.

When you ask for a modification from December 30th to December 29th, you must meet the cancellation/modification deadline? Did you do so?
Then the hotel must have availability for award reservations on December 29th.

Otherwise, you will not be able to do a modification. Whether you can do the change is SOLELY dependent on the terms and conditions of your reservation AND whether there is availability. It has nothing to do with anything else.

Of course a manager can override the rules at his/her discretion, but this is asking for an exception and should not be treated as an expectation.
I can see that now but at the time I believed I could get all points refunded based on a phrase on the website "refunded in points". That is not the entire issue, but represents some of it. Certainly I am culpable for many mistakes here.
 
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