Always keep those cancellation confirmations!

This one was a first for me. As I mentioned earlier, I was originally booked at the Crowne Plaza SFO for this past weekend, but decided to change to the Sofitel. Since I had booked a “flexible rate” at the Crowne Plaza, I could cancel up until the day before arrival at 6PM, but I cancelled over 30 hours before that deadline. I received the cancellation confirmation as I usually do, but was surprised to look at my credit card’s online account statement yesterday and see that I got charged for my stay anyway!

I called up the “Ambassador Desk” yesterday morning, and they called the hotel and promised they’d get back to me. Well, this morning at 7AM (I realize it was late afternoon where the “Ambassador Desk” is located), I get a call from the same agent informing me that my stay was never cancelled, but as a “one time exception” they will refund the room rate because of my status.

So in my case I was lucky since I had the cancellation confirmation, but sometimes it goes straight in the trash since I assume it’s something the hotel can’t screw up. So lesson learned. And don’t worry, I won’t even start my “one time exception” rant.

Filed Under: Advice, Hotels
  1. Same story at Marriott [Platinum status] a year or so ago. I called with the confirm number and they said it wasn’t in their system, but they’d do a “one-time” override.

    Doesn’t anyone know how to just say “we’re sorry, and we’ll fix it” rather than imply the customer is lying?

  2. Oh, go ahead with the “one-time exception” rant. Like many of your readers, I’m pretty tired of hearing that a$$-covering equivocation; it would be refreshing if companies could simply admit that they screwed up instead of relying on these mealy-mouthed scripts that imply the company is humoring the customer because it’s so gracious and accommodating.

    Just last week, I mailed a letter to the Amex CEO grousing about the “one-time courtesy” schtick (which I heard on my fourth telephone call about an overdue SPG/Amex bonus for which I’d satisfied all the terms).

  3. I always keep my cancellation emails so I have something I can easily email when needed. That is one thing I like about IHG – they do send a cancellation email. Back when I used to stay at Hiltons I got annoyed having to take screen shots of the cancellation for my records.

  4. I save all my confirmation emails… and usually don’t navigate away from the cancellation page without irst receiving the email… The one time I didn’t bother… No email came, and I needed it!

  5. Beauty of gmail and having 7.4 gigabytes of space means I never have to delete anything. Just archive it.

  6. Well maybe you don’t want to give us the “one-time exception” rant but I hope you at least gave it to the agent!

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