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Never Use Hilton Advance Purchase….

05/08/2012

I made a mistake when booking and clicked the wrong date — oops, my bad. But Hilton has such great customer service, they even refund your room fee if you don’t have a good experience (though previous experience also tells me you have to fight tooth and nail while Hilton corporate turns you over to the hotel manager who pretends you never addressed the issue while onsite)….

Anyway, I called the hotel first, to ask for a change to the next night. No problem! They exclaim, but then sorrowfully informed me that I have to call the Hilton customer care line to get the change because it’s an advance purchase.

While on the phone with Hilton, the rep (who can barely speak English, of course) is having a difficult time locating my reservation. She asked for my address, phone number, name, etc. before saying “oh it was here all along.” Oooookay….

She can’t help me, I need to call the number, do I have paper handy, number is…. (I’m still trying to find paper….)

She then hangs up abruptly. I have the first 3 numbers written down, having just managed to find paper.

I go online, find the number and call only to be told “sorry, we can’t modify reservations, and we can’t refund unless you call 3 days in advance of the reservation and it’s 2 1/2 days away now.”

Really? It’s 2012 and you can’t modify the reservation, and it takes THREE days to issue a refund so I can resubmit the reservation, which according to the hotel, is perfectly acceptable to do…if only I hadn’t used Advanced Purchase?

No, it’s different billing departments and it takes three days. Technically, I know it takes 24 hours, max, but that’s ok — they don’t want your business apparently.

Unfortunately, this being my second strike against my favorite brand of inns (Hampton/Hilton), I’m rethinking my loyalty. In a day where there are hundreds of articles and webinars on the danger of losing a loyal customer simply because you’re bound and determined to state “it’s policy,” you’d think Hilton would 1) have a better system that can allow changes and modifications, where refunds don’t require 3 days and 2) when the hotel is ok with changing the date of the reservation, you’d think that corporate would be, too and 3) they would state 4 times “it’s our policy” on a call.

Just saying, and just a warning: be overly careful when dealing with Hilton. I guess Paris needs a new purse…though I THINK she prefers those that cost more than my measly hotel stay would provide. I think I’ll try Holiday Inn next time.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. jerrybrewton permalink
    09/13/2012 5:29 pm

    Great comments. We are experiencing a similar circumstance at this very moment. A few days ago my wife did an online booking for three nights (beginning tonight) for the Knoxville, TN East (Strawberry Plains) location for us to see our youngest daughter and granddaughter. It was our first (and last) time using the Advance Purchase option. They wasted no time pulling the money from our debit card account. When we got to the hotel today we discovered that our reservation had been made for TWO WEEKS FROM TONIGHT. The hotel had available rooms but said we needed to go through reservations who then had has hang up and call a different number for the Advance Purchase Department.

    That person was courteous, but curt (if that description makes sense to you). Totally unyielding. The rules are the rules. Your mistake. And “no…I can’t transfer you to a supervisor.”
    At first we were going to have to bite the bullet and pay the $50 re-booking charge. Not happy…but okay. Then we discovered that would not be possible because we weren’t doing it fourteen days in advance. Needless to say…we have now checked in to the hotel and paid yet again for our stay. 

    We think we figured out what happened. There is absolutely no way we would have knowingly booked a room beginning Sept 27th. I’m confident we entered the 13th…and then their system automatically changed it to the 27th without us being perceptive enough to catch it.

    We stay at Hilton properties nearly every time we travel….and we travel many times throughout the year. You thnk they would have found a way to help us.

  2. Jerry Brewton permalink
    09/14/2012 9:02 am

    Okay.,…maybe I jumped the gun. Although they had to make a MAJOR exception….Hilton resolved the problem this morning to my satisfaction. Thank you Hilton!

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