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Citi Prestige 4th Night Free Disaster Averted!
I thought I would share my recent dilemma and lessons learned: I am a Citi Prestige holder and back in July I booked a four night stay at the Punta Cana Now Larimar resort in the Dominican Republic to take advantage of Citi Prestige’s 4th Night Free benefit. To book my stay I followed the normal Prestige procedure, called up the Concierge line and booked through their travel agency, Aspire Lifestyles. Since the trip is coming up very soon I pulled up my reservation confirmation code, entered it into Now Larimar’s resort website and received an error that my reservation had been cancelled. Since booking the reservation back in July I had checked the reservation multiple times on their site and it showed up fine. Now it showed cancelled!? Uh-oh! I called up Now Larimar and they confirmed the reservation had been cancelled. They informed me that between 2/1 and 2/3 they had attempted to charge my Prestige card multiple times and sent emails to my “travel agent” (Aspire Lifestyles) informing me the charge was not processing and if not corrected the reservation would be cancelled. None of these emails were ever delivered or forwarded to me directly. On the call I began to have an inkling of what had happened. Since the original booking had been made I went through an experience of having very low amounts of fraudulent spending on my Citi Prestige. When I noticed, I reported the fraud to Citi and they delivered a new card to me with a new number and refunded the fraudulent amounts. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that there is a process set in place between Citi and Aspire Lifestyles to update the credit card information on existing reservations should a credit card number change occur. While on the phone with the resort my main concern was now regarding availability of rooms for the upcoming trip we had booked. Fortunately, a room that fit our needs was available and was placed on hold under my name. I then called up Citi Prestige Concierge and went through the process of booking the held room through them to ensure I still get the 4th Night Free benefit. I now have a confirmation number in hand and disaster has been avoided, but this could have turned out really bad! What if I had just assumed my reservation was intact when we boarded our flights, showed up to the resort and were left with no room! What if the resort had no availability? I’m more than willing to take some ownership of the mistake. I should have considered verifying held reservations on my Prestige when it was replaced, but it never crossed my mind. The main concern I have is that the resort emailed Aspire Lifestyles multiple times and never received a response from them. I wish I had been looped in during that time and would have corrected everything before the original reservation was cancelled. One funny thing, I know that my original reservation was cancelled outside of the no-fee cancellation window, so I’m sure there’s a $50 cancellation fee hitting my old card number somewhere out there!