Feb232012

“Why would I have my daughter’s credit card?”

I just got off the phone with my mother. She celebrated her birthday this week at the Wynn in Las Vegas. Mom needed to vent her frustrations.

So why does my Mom say she will boycott the Wynn hotel now?

My sisters prepaid her hotel stay. Turns out that when my mother checked into the Wynn she was asked for the credit card used to prepay the hotel room. She told the desk agent that the room was a birthday gift from her daughters, and then the desk agent asked if her daughter had given her the credit card for check-in.

“Why would I have my daughter’s credit card?” was my mother’s reply.

The Wynn hotel said they could not register her for the room if she didn’t have the credit card used to book the room and she would need to pay for the room with her own credit card (even though the room had been prepaid and the reservation was in my mother’s name).

This kind of set my mother off. If you think I sometimes go on rants here on Loyalty Traveler, all I can say is I am my mother’s son.

Take this resort fee and shove it

My mother provided her own credit card for check-in and then she noticed the room rate included a $20 resort fee. My mother hates resort fees.

I told my mom I had just paid a $40 per night resort fee for the Sheraton Nassau in the Bahamas and that is the way of hotels in resort locations.

My primary complaint about resort fees is there are no loyalty points applied to the resort fee. I don’t see the resort fee as similar to imposed government taxes and to me there seems to be no reason a resort fee should not earn loyalty points. But that doesn’t really matter for a non-chain hotel like the Wynn.

What really set my mother off about the Wynn’s resort fee is the computer screen stated a $20 per day resort fee and the desk agent was telling her the resort fee had increased to $25 per day as of February 1, 2012. Mom wanted to know why the computer screen at the Wynn reception desk and the agent were not feeding her the same line.

After all this hassle to check-in my mother decided to just cancel the hotel stay and go back home. My parents live about 15 miles from the Wynn.

After walking away from reception, she realized that the room was already prepaid, so after a respite to vent, she went back to the desk to attempt check-in for the second time.

She asked about an upgrade for her birthday. The receptionist told her they were a 2,000 room hotel and they couldn’t possibly offer complimentary upgrades for everyone staying for their birthday.

Now if she was willing to fork over another $40 they might have something a little better.

The frustration of check-in kind of spoiled her birthday celebratory mood. She got a room on a high floor overlooking the parking lot.

Hey Wynn! Do you want to help me help my mom end her boycott?

Seriously though. I am not trying to get my mom a free room at Wynn. Although, I think she would be happy if that were the result of this blog post.

A Lesson to Remember

My main point in writing this post is to make people aware of the issues that may arise when you pay for someone else’s hotel room on your credit card, like your daughter or son or parents, and you are not one of the guests checking in.

My parents have never had this problem before and I have used my credit card many times to book and pay for my parents’ hotel stays.

I guess Las Vegas is a city of scammers and Wynn must have been burned on enough occasions to set up their credit card policy.

My father’s birthday is the week after next. I think I’ll drive down to Los Angeles to be there with them at hotel check-in.

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I would appreciate comments from people who have run into similar credit card issues at hotels. And if you want to bitch about hotel resort fees, then feel free to comment.

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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Comments

  1. Requiring the card used to pre-pay the room is much more common outside the USA, and in places like Vegas where big crowds of tourists mean easy pickings for thieves; when I book in someone else’s name, I always email the hotel and ask what their policy is, so my guest (usually my sister) can have in writing what they need to check in. Usually just calling in advance is sufficient but occasionally I need to give her a photocopy of the card.

    Some hotels that have a high rate of charge disputes won’t budge, as the card companies may tell them they won’t be protected in the case of a dispute unless they have an imprint of the card. I’d imagine Wynn, like any other Vegas hotel, would fit that profile, due to the high rate of card thefts in Vegas plus the people who go home mad after the hotel doesn’t comp them, even though they lost a ton at the tables, and dispute the charge. I seem to recall MGM properties always taking an imprint.

  2. Did your mom try asking for the front desk manager when all of these complications began? Maybe it was just a case of by-the-book (or not so aware of it) employee.

  3. @applezz – my mother gave Wynn her credit card and was charged the full rate of the room for a room that had already been prepaid a month before by one of my sisters. Supposedly my sister will receive a credit card refund.

    @CodeAdam10 – my mom said she wanted to escalate the matter to a manager, but she didn’t want to be embarrassed asking for a hotel manager. Fortunately it is not a situation where she did not have a credit card to pay the room rate herself.

    This could be an issue for other people which is why I thought I should share the story. I can imagine someone else’s mother arriving from an airplane trip to Las Vegas on a prepaid room stay and learning they needed a credit card in their own name with an available credit limit to stay at the Wynn Hotel.

    People with credit don’t consider these things about needing a card available with $500 to a couple thousand dollars available credit line. I was in the Bahamas with a media guest for the Carlson global conference at Atlantis Resort. He said he was receiving several daily phone calls and text messages from his USA bank stating the hotel credit hold for his three night stay at Atlantis Resort being paid by Carlson Hotels was a couple thousand dollars over his credit limit.

    I was thankful Diners Club recently raised my card charge limit. My debit card wouldn’t have been able to accommodate that size of hotel credit hold.

    Hotel stays can be a troublesome transaction when you don’t have a credit card with a $1,000 or more available credit.

  4. I have always received points including base points for the resort fees payed at the la quinta resort and spa (hilton). everyone always is bad mouthing hilton but they do give pts on these fees

  5. My fiancee paid for my dad’s business trip to India on her Sapphire card to meet the minimum. Needless to say, the fact that they didn’t have the same last name and he was traveling to a foreign country worried me even more he would be denied check-in. This time that didn’t happen, but I still offered to drive to the local Emirates office and confirm in advance that the card wouldn’t be required.

  6. Do they have a twitter feed, I have found that query’s/complaints on twitter work in some situations faster than other types of query’s

  7. This just happened to me!

    I reserved a room at Great Wolf Lodge for a friend who was taking her kids and my kids. I was paying for the room in return for the kid-free night.

    GWL asked me to fax them an authorization so they could put the charge on my card when my friend checked out. I filled out & faxed.

    When my friend checked out, she was unable to put in on my card because they did not have a copy of my photo id.

  8. Why would anyone want to pay the inflated prices at the Wynn? The sad truth is that the higher price the casino, the more they favor high rollers, and the more they will treat the ordinary person like dirt. As your mother just discovered. Plus the Wynn is at the low end of the strip, involving a long trip in heavy traffic to get to the casinos at the good end. Which may very well be where the restaurant or show you want to go to is located.

    If you are willing to stay at that end of the strip, the LV Hilton, less than 2 blocks away, will have rooms for 25% of the cost of the Wynn, especially if you pick slow dates, and will treat you far better. Sign up for emails and get offers of $50 a night for really nice rooms. And no absurd “resort fee”.

    Or impress your friends by telling them you stayed at the “hot” property, the Wynn, and omit the part about how they treated you…..

  9. You say that your “primary complaint about resort fees is there are no loyalty points applied to the resort fee.” But the story you tell exposes a much bigger issue than sometimes missing out on a few hotel points.

    Resort fees can change, as your Mom’s did, and guests with prior reservations have little recourse. How livid would you be if you had a reservation for $150/nt, and when you checked in, you were told that the rate had changed to $170? Because the hotel calls it a “fee”, we’re more accepting, but the net effect is the same.

    This is especially problematic for opaque bookings like Priceline and Hotwire, where since the hotels are unknown at booking time, the resort fees aren’t disclosed, and once the hotel is known, the booking is already prepaid and not cancelable.

  10. You might book a prepaid room months in advance and then after paying off the card charges cancel it as part of a churn. Could the hotel deny you the room and keep the money?

  11. I became aware of this issue when paying for a stay for my daughter and son-in-law. They were allowed to check in, but my daughter called saying the hotel wanted to talk to me. When I phoned them, they asked me to fax (I scanned and emailed) the front and back of my credit card. That satisfied them.
    So when I booked several rooms recently for a family group, I made sure I was first on the scene and provided my card for all the reservations.

  12. This just happened to me at the Wynn 2 weeks ago. Same exact situation – prepaid reservation by someone else, resort fee, no free upgrade (they asked for $20 per night instead). I am so mad at the Wynn I will never stay there again!

    I feel better, though, knowing it wasn’t just me. Their idiotic policies, poorly trained front desk, and archaic billing system are to blame.

    Apart from that, I was really disappointed with the Wynn. Everyone always told me it was the best on the Strip, but I found the service to be just awful. I received better service from the cashier at Jack in the Box In Barstow than I did from the Wynn!

  13. “I received better service from the cashier at Jack in the Box In Barstow than I did from the Wynn!”

    I can’t decide if this is funny, sad, or both. I’ll probably wind up with hilariously pathetic….

  14. I stayed at the Wynn for two nights at the beginning of February. I pre-paid for the first night months ago. At the time, the resort fee was $20. At checkin, I was caught off guard when they asked me if I had the original credit card with me. I did not, and they told me they had to give me a full refund back to that credit card, and I’d have to put the charges on a credit card that was physically with me. The effect was that my original card (which I keep in a drawer) had a negative balance on it, while my primary card now had the full 2 nights on it. It was inconvenient, but didn’t cause a major problem with me.

    However, I was also surprised to find out that the $20 resort fee that was originally displayed to me when I booked the room had gone up to $25. I am strongly against resort fees, though I understand that they exist, and I typically suck it up and deal with them. My opinion has always been that if a hotel is providing a list of specific services as a part of the resort fee, I should have the option of not accepting the services or the resort fee. Or, if the services are mandatory, they should just build the resort fee into the room cost.

    The Wynn was nice, but I doubt I’ll stay there again in the future due to some of this oddness.

  15. I have had this experience when booking a room for my teenage son when he attended an out of town summer course. He does not have a credit card so he called me from the lobby for help, since he ws being refused admittance to the room I had booked for him. The desk clerk patronizingly explained that they could never ever ever make a charge to a credit card that they had not personally verified on checkin.
    When I asked her what they would have done if he had not shown up to use the room, she was forced to admit that they would have…… charged the card that the room was booked with, as a no-show. I asked her to pretend he had not shown up, process the room charge to the credit card, and then give him a key to the room I had just paid for. (Didn’t work, but it sure felt good.) In the end she coughed up the fax option, so I left the dinner party to track down a kinkos and send the info.
    FYI I have never had this issue with Marriott; they have instructed me to make sure I add the person’s name to the reservation so they can check in, and I usually call ahead to explain the situation – have never had an issue booking a room for a family member. So I was unprepared for the experience above – which was at a Hilton.

  16. While I understand the credit card Rule I do no understand Vegas and its ridiculous resort fees. My last visit last summer will likely be my last. Vegas is not a good deal any more. It’s extremely expensive and it feels like the hotels don’t give a damm about you. So sorry people aren’t gambling in a bad economy. But remember, when the economy gets better, Ill remember where I was not treated well and will spend my Money elsewhere.

  17. For the Wynn reservations, did you book the reservations directly or through a site like hotels.com/Orbitz? I would assume if it was through a hotel booking site that they would not know your credit card information and so could not ask for it. I think this would be safest. For example hotels.com charges my credit card when I make a booking but doesn’t pass that information to the hotel.

  18. @Kasey – thanks for the detailed story. I figured there were others with similar situations where the no credit card denial was even more serious.

    @gary and PointsSummary – my sister who made the reservation is more of an activist than I am. I’ll see what response she receives from Wynn.

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