Jul112013

Making, canceling and changing hotel reservations on the road

Tuesday, July 9 I sat in a casino in Ely, Nevada changing my hotel reservations over the internet. I had a reservation at Super 8 in Wells, Nevada 124 miles north of Ely.

Super 8 Wells is a Wyndham Rewards property at 8,000 points per night. I booked a cash stay and planned to change to points before arrival. I thought there was a good chance I would cancel and I figured it would be easier to cancel a cash stay.

The reservation cancellation policy stated 6pm day of arrival. At 4:30pm Pacific Time, the Wyndham Rewards website stated it was too late to cancel. I called the Super 8 in Wells directly, but nobody answered in several calls. A message machine came on and stated the message memory was full.

Finally I tried the Wyndham Rewards toll free number and eventually got a live person, in India?, who proceeded to cancel my reservation without any issue.

I have had this problem before with cancellation periods based on west coast time and website based on east coast time.

Three Nights, Three States and Three IHG PointBreaks Hotels

 

More difficult than reaching India by phone was getting internet speed in remote Ely, Nevada. A sign north of town stated the local golf course is the most remote golf course in the country. I was remembering the days of dial-up internet as I clicked the IHG Rewards Club links and five minutes later the page would finally load. I carry my own Verizon hotspot for internet access and we have three connected devices through our Verizon phone plan.

It took over 20 minutes to book the Holiday Inn Express Tooele, Utah using 5,000 IHG Rewards Club points with the slow internet speed.

The drive from Monterey was about 300 miles to Carson City, Nevada Holiday Inn Express, 530 miles to Tooele, Utah Holiday Inn Express and 300 miles to Craig, Colorado Candlewood Suites. Denver is 200 miles from Craig.

Three nights, three states and three IHG hotel stays on 15,000 points. I can buy another 15,000 points right now for $90 through U.S. Travel Association’s Daily Getaways with an American Express card or $100 with a different credit card brand.

Missing the Cancellation Deadline

Yesterday was the third time ever that I missed a hotel cancellation deadline. The other two times in the past ten years were hotels I forgot I had booked and then booked a different hotel for the same night.

Yesterday I planned to cancel my hotel reservation for Candlewood Suites in Craig, Colorado for Thursday night and rebook for Wednesday night. I thought I had a day of arrival cancellation policy and I was surprised to see at 6:20pm yesterday that the policy was 6:00pm day before arrival. I was too late to cancel.

We arrived at the Candlewood Suites in Craig at 9:00pm and I asked if I could change the reservation. The desk clerk told me the change has to be done through IHG Rewards Club.

Getting through to IHG Rewards Club was a real hassle. I spent 15 minutes on the phone listening to an 80 second recorded message about IHG Rewards Club followed by the message “All our agents are busy. Your estimated wait time is one minute.”

Each recorded message cycle took 90 seconds and I heard that message 9 times until the tenth time the message repeated and the wait time had increased to 8 minutes.

I hung up the phone.

Turning on my computer to retrieve my IHG Rewards Club number might have helped since I was connected within three minutes on the second call after entering my IHG Rewards Club number at the prompt.

The automated system asked me if I would like to set up my account so my phone number is recognized and I will not need to enter my IHG Rewards Club number in the future when calling.

I said ‘Yes’.

The system warned me that anyone who uses my phone can access my IHG Rewards Club account.

I still said ‘Yes’.

Eventually I was on the line with a live agent.

Thank you IHG Rewards Club.

My Pointbreaks reservation for Candlewood Suites Craig, Colorado was changed to last night instead of tonight with no problem.

Some people do not see much value with hotel loyalty programs.

I am not one of those people.

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Holiday Inn Express Carson City, NV

 

Ric Garrido, writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler, shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests.

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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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