After nearly 400 nights of hotel stays since we decided to become Marriott Bonvoy members, my wife and I have had mostly good stays.
This past weekend though, we had a comedy of errors, starting with us getting
“walked” from the hotel that we’d reserved. I don’t like that term. It makes it sound like we were escorted from the promises. I didn’t even realize that was something that could happen.
I reserved a room more than a month ago, but when we were about an hour away, we got a call from the manager of the hotel to let us know that they overbooked and we had no room for the night. She said that they’d already booked and paid for a room for us at the Doubletree in town instead, and I just needed to show up at the Doubletree and everything would be taken care of. I found it strange that she would send us to another hotel chain instead of another Marriott branded property. She also gave me 10,000 Marriott points as an apology. It kind of threw a wrench in our plans (especially since we don’t stay at Hilton owned hotels as a general rule), but fine, we had a place to sleep for the night.
Imagine my surprise when we got to the Doubletree and I was told that they had no idea who I was, the room had not been paid for and that I needed to pay for a room. There’s only one Doubletree in the whole city, so I was sure that I was at the right one. So then I called the hotel, hoping that the manager could resolve the issue but she’d already left for the night. I talked to someone else there, and he said although he saw the reservation in the system, he had no knowledge of us being walked and I should call the next day when someone who could help me would be around. Not his fault, but that was completely unhelpful because I needed a room that night.
So now I’m sitting in the lobby of the Doubletree, watching groups of people check in and being worried that we might end up with no room at all. I go back to the front desk and decide to pay for a room myself and sort it out with Marriott later, since the hotel was the one that completely left me in the lurch.
We’re proceeding through the reservation process and I hand my card to the kind lady behind the desk. It comes back declined. I crack a joke about how maybe it isn’t working because it’s a Marriott branded Amex that I’m trying to use at a Hilton property. It declines 3 more times, on 2 different machines.
Apparently between my arrival and trying to purchase a room myself, their credit card system completely went down. All 4 terminals stopped working and no one could get a room. Meanwhile I’m still watching people check in who had booked their rooms 3rd party, using Kayak or the like.
So I decide to try booking on a third party website, since those websites would probably take my card. Those websites (and the hotel website) all say that the hotel is fully booked. I try to book a room at other Marriott properties in town, and they all say that they are fully booked too. So the Doubletree seems to be our only option. I head back into the hotel.
The lady behind the desk tells me that the only thing she can do is cancel the reservation, because in the past they’ve let people stay at the hotel with declined cards and weren’t able to collect the payment later, and the manager had told them not to do that anymore. I ask if they take cash, and if she could hold the room while I go back to my car and see if I can find enough cash to pay for the room. I was told that the room cost $165. I could only find $100 in my car.
So as a last ditch effort, I decide to go back in and see if they can use the $100 as a down payment and I can settle up in the morning. By that time, she had talked to her manager and they made an exception to the rule so that I was able to stay at the Doubletree that night, and they would try to charge my card the next morning.
So we finally got a room. And, I heard back from the original hotel that we booked. Among other things (including reimbursing me for the stay, giving me $100 and 80,000 more points because of the Marriott Reservation Guarantee), they have flagged my Bonvoy account as “Previously Walked” which will guarantee my reservations going forward.
Pretty good ending, I’d say!