Update: The hotel actually emailed me to confirm they’d be refunding me the difference while I was writing this post. All’s well that ends well (minus a couple hours of my life)!

I stayed at the Andaz West Hollywood for a few nights back on October 17. It’s one of my favorite hotels to redeem Gold Passport Diamond suite upgrades at, given that their paid rates are reasonable and the suites they confirm upgrades into are nice.

Andaz-West-Hollywood-Suite

So after making my reservation I called Gold Passport to apply one of my Diamond suite upgrades (given that I had three left that expire with this membership year), and everything seemed fine.

At domestic US properties I never actually check out, since 99% of the time the billing is correct, and when it’s not it usually just required a quick call to account. So when they emailed me the folio that evening I noticed that they charged me for a suite instead of the room I had booked. I figured it was an oversight, so the following morning (Tuesday) I called the Andaz’s in-house accounting department. No one answered so I left a message with them. By Friday they didn’t call back, so I called again, and this time was transferred to Hyatt’s central accounting department.

I spoke with Kesha and explained the issue to her. I figured she’d catch on pretty quickly, but she informed me that whenever a suite upgrade is applied the rate is recalculated. I was actually rather dumbfounded and figured I misunderstood her. So I asked her “so you’re saying that when I apply a Diamond upgrade I get charged for the suite?” “Yes sir.” I mean… seriously?

Obviously I wasn’t going to get anywhere with her, so I asked her if it would be okay if I also got Gold Passport on the line for a three way phone call. I’m not going to lie, secretly there’s nothing I love more than putting two phone agents up against one another. Gold Passport phone service is consistently phenomenal, in my experience, and I got Drew on the line. I explained the issue to her, and within 30 seconds she got it.

Then Drew and Kesha began a pretty interesting conversation. Kesha pulled the “you don’t understand what I’m trying to say” card, while Drew pulled the “can we please get this fixed, it’s not the guest’s fault” card. Basically what apparently happened is that when Gold Passport applied the suite upgrade they coded it incorrectly, so the hotel it just looked like I switched my rate (though they also pulled a Diamond suite upgrade from my account). Kesha continued with “well who’s going to pay for the suite then?” while Drew told her which code to put into the computer. After nearly an hour on the phone both Kesha and Drew seemed to be on the same page, and Kesha promised the refund would be processed.

Over a week later Kesha emails me the following:

Greeting,

I sincerely apologize for any inconveniences, However, we are unable to process the credit in differences the guest was requesting. Thank you for choosing Hyatt, we hope to see you again. Please feel free contact us if you have any further questions. 1-888-587-2877or /Na .customerservice@hyatt.com

Sincerely,

Hyatt Customers Services

First of all, for a US based agent that grammar is just atrocious. But more importantly, what kind of bull$&*% resolution is that? “Hey, I promised I’m going to credit you the refund, so let me just tell you by email that that’s not happening, but I won’t give you a reason why.”

So I phoned up Hyatt accounting again, and got a different agent that I had to get up to speed on the problem. After about 20 minutes on the phone she promised to talk to Kesha and call me back. So about 30 minutes later she called me back and said that apparently they “misunderstood” the situation, and would now get the refund processed.

Then today I receive the following email, which I think was intended to be emailed internally instead of to me:

Guest: Ben Schlappig

Regarding your suggestion to return the diamond suite upgrade, the guest was very upset and stated absolutely not that he was to be credited for the overbilling.

Thank you,

Hyatt Shared Service Center

Nearly a week later, is their solution really to return my Diamond suite upgrade rather than refunding me the difference in rate? Seriously?

Now to be clear, I’m giving Hyatt a hard time because I find usually there’s not a better brand out there for managing expectations and providing good phone service. Like I said above, Gold Passport customer service is consistently the most professional in the industry, so the stark contrast for the accounting department (which you’d think would be even more competent) is shocking.

Curious to see what they come back with next…

  1. November 8th, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    Geoff said,

    You have my sympathies, it took nine e-mails and two phone calls last year to fix with the Hyatt Newport.

    Accounting is incompetent at its best at Hyatt corporate

  2. November 8th, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    Kyle B said,

    Don’t you mean Ke$ha? ;)

  3. November 8th, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    Katie said,

    Ben, darling… Why not just call your private line agent in Omaha…? Why deal with hotel accounting and gold passport people?

  4. November 8th, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    Steve said,

    I think you went wrong was when you tried the “fix” the problem one accounting gave you what was obviously an incorrect answer. You should have simply hung up after taking the agent’s name and called the general manager of the hotel. Not only would he have almost certainly taken care of the problem, he probably would have given the agent much needed retraining.

    You violated your own rule. When the agent doesn’t know what they are doing, hang up. Unlike an airline however, you don’t call back, you call someone in authority. Every hotel has one.

  5. November 8th, 2013 at 5:55 pm

    Susan said,

    I think I would have called the Diamond line from the get go and let them work it all out for me…..hopefully.

    However, that is quite a round robin you’ve been going through. And the fact that they sent you an ‘internal’ email ‘about’ you is just deplorable.

  6. November 8th, 2013 at 6:01 pm

    oleg said,

    Kudos on the patience – after one hour I would’ve just done a chargeback with my bank.

  7. November 8th, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    Raf said,

    I stayed at the andaz west Hollywood. The building is nice but the staff is not particularly good. On arrival at 11:30pm after a transcon they simply said they had given out room away and had to accommodate us at the Mondrian, promising only to “take care of us” when we came back even though we tried to get concrete compensation. Recouperaction was inconsistent and we had to actually ask the checkout guy to make sure certain meals were credited.

    I’m a plat in gold passport. I assumed my status would help keep my room from being given away, but nope. Now I don’t really want to go back and risk not having a room.

  8. November 8th, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    Singapore Flyer said,

    Yes, they do have more than their share of accounting errors. It is a very stark difference between gold passport and their accounting. I was double charged for a stay on two different credit cards. I emailed them and didn’t hear back. So I tweeted hyatt concierge. Took care of it in less than 1 hour. After hours.

  9. November 8th, 2013 at 10:29 pm

    carl said,

    i don’t think grammar is a skill for the Keshas of the world.

    By the way, i stopped assuming a while back after getting incorrect bills. I always get my bill before checking out.

  10. November 8th, 2013 at 11:09 pm

    Ben Hughes said,

    You should send them a professional invoice for the two hours of your time wasted at $100/hr. If the accounting department is that incompetent, they might just pay it!

  11. November 9th, 2013 at 5:07 am

    roadwarrior365 said,

    haha yeah that’s happens with Hyatt. I actually had a hotel to forget to charge me once for a stay. When I brought it to their attention they were like you stayed here?

  12. November 9th, 2013 at 7:49 am

    Hobo13 said,

    Surprised you haven’t gotten about 15000 bonus points as comp. that’s usually what they throw at me when they screw up. And it works. I can be bought.

  13. November 9th, 2013 at 8:22 am

    steve64 said,

    I always check-out when I leave. Or at a very minimum drop off the key, so it’s not just about verifying my folio. I consider it common courtesy.

    I appreciate the times I have an early arrival that the hotel is able to accommodate an early check-in. I realize that many times an early check-in is possible because my room wasn’t used the night before. But I’m there’s plenty of times because by “coincidence” my room happened to be cleaned already. The chances of that coincidence increases if the property has the chance to get started on cleaning the room asap. Pay it forward.

  14. November 9th, 2013 at 8:31 am

    JohnnieD said,

    I have found when dealing with an issue during a Hyatt stay that the GM fixes it ASAP with me wanting to return to Hyatt properties-making me feel they value my business.

    I have found when email/phone methods of dealing with an issue after a stay, the result has been the same with wasting at least a couple of hours of my time and my thinking that Hyatt is just another hotel chain-that Hyatt doesnt value me as a customer.

  15. November 9th, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    Alan said,

    Stayed there a couple of years ago and was incorrectly billed AFTER CHECKOUT(!) for room service that I’d never ordered. Took about three weeks to sort out.

    I’d definitely escalate the appalling handling of this complaint – to make the mistake in the first place is one thing but to take this long to sort out us unacceptable.

  16. November 11th, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    Andy said,

    @Lucky,
    Your story depicts an extremely negative image on hyatt. I had a similiar terrible story with hilton (that made me determined to give up hilton diamond status). My experience with marriott and starwood has never been so bad. So, hyatt is no exception when you came across careless staffs.

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