Why I’m REALLY Glad I’m Obsessive About Checking Reservations

I mentioned before that I take my reservation checking to almost paranoid levels.  I say “almost” because things keep happening that make my obsession worth it.  And I just had a crazy hotel situation that I only discovered because I’m *that* neurotic.

Because the Zilaria never worked out for an upgrade, I decided to upgrade our final night at the Hyatt Regency Cancun (I never feel an all-inclusive is worth the last night, when you are jetting out the next morning).  I used points because of all the changes happening with Hyatt, and I wanted to keep my suite upgrades for reservations longer than a night.

I called up Hyatt.  The woman called the hotel to check for suite availability.  I was in luck (score!), she confirmed I wanted to use points, and I received a confirmation.

The suite upgrade confirmations have been weird lately.  They’ve been sent out in random formats, usually initially showing a rate increase on the room, then later releasing with your old rate.  So, I wasn’t worried when mine looked confusingly like this:


I pre-paid for my room.  It was refundable within 48, but for all intents and purposes, I had paid for my room already.  I still was checking rates and got excited when I saw the price drop by $35!   That’s huge.

Usually I would just cancel my reservation and rebook.  But since I used points, I was really worried something would go wrong in the translation.  Boy was that an understatement.

When I called up Hyatt, I explained the rate change and what I was interested in.  The agent was acting a little confused, and I was wondering if I should hang up and call back.  He finally said, “Look, I think something is wrong with your reservation.”  He said instead of applying the points to a suite upgrade, the agent just switched my reservation to points.

I explained that I had already paid for the room, and he thought that reservation might still exist too.  He suggested I book the $95 rate while he figured this out.  I sat on hold for over a half-hour.  During this half-hour, I ran through my head anything I could have said that would make the previous agent misunderstand what I want, but I knew I had been so clear.  Our conversation went:

1.  We looked for upgrades from Zilara, and she told me changes were really slim for the future.

2.  I expressed that I really wanted to do something nice for my husband, and asked if there was room in the second hotel for my final night.

3.  We talked about the change in policy to the points for next year.  I mentioned I’d like to use my points for my suite upgrade so I can save my suite upgrade for next year.

4. She called the hotel about the suite.

5.  She told me what kind of suite I got.  I thanked her and got off the phone.

My assumption through this whole conversation would be that I received a suite.   We discussed it being the “consolation prize” to not getting one at the Zilaria.  I wouldn’t have been crazy to assume all was okay.

After 30 minutes (which was just before a meeting started!), the agent told me that my old reservation was a ghost reservation.  I was charged $140 and it was just sitting there.  If I hadn’t called, I would have lost the gold points for my stay, but also lost the $140 PLUS I had no suite.

The phone agent had to call the hotel to initiate the refund process and upgraded my room.  He cancelled out the gold points reservation.  The only issue is, he didn’t use my points to process the upgrade.  After seeing that, I decided to just deal with it and eat the cost of the suite upgrade he used that I was saving for a longer reservation.  I just didn’t want to risk it at all at this point


About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

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  1. It seems like more often than not I have problems
    With Hyatt reservations

  2. What is a ghost reservation?

    • Jeanne Marie Hoffman

      It’s when a reservation is created that either isn’t attached to a person, or isn’t attached to a thing (or both!) For example, you had an airline ticket you bought, but their system doesn’t actually have you blocked into a seat. A hotel has a room reserved for three nights with no person’s name attached to it, etc. It happens when a system glitches or an agent processes something wrong.

  3. I’ve always felt the same way about paying the last night when you leave early the next morning – I just didn’t realize there was a Cat. 2 Hyatt only 5 minutes away! We’ve got a 4-night stay coming up in March, so because of the short length of stay, I wouldn’t want to switch our last night to the Regency unless we could stay at the Zilara fairly late, and then just go sleep at the Regency and take off early the next morning. Any idea how late you can hang out at the Zilara after you check out?

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