READER QUESTIONS: China Eastern Cancellation, Holiday Inn Nice Award Availability, US Airways Cancellation, Compensation & What Program For Asia, Marriott Phone Reservations & Why No Points On 3rd Party Bookings

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Here are five seven reader questions from the past week (so many good questions coming in!) that I have decided to reply to publicly. You can always email me, leave a note or private message on Facebook, or Tweet me with your questions.

LoyaltyLobby Reader Question April 4 2015

Note that I can shorten the emails and edit them for clarity. I always remove the personal information of both the reader and front line employees. If there are managers involved, I may leave their names intact, however.

Luka’s Question About China Eastern Flight Cancellation

Today’s China eastern from shanghai pvg to Phnom Penh has been merged into tomorrow’s flight. Vague reason has been given (rain?!), but obviously airline didn’t sell enough tickets. Funny that 5 days ago I was informed of minor schedule change via Ctrip, but they only told me on the airport that flight is canceled.

Some accommodation shall be provided after couple hours.

Do I have any rights?

Is my sky team gold status of any help?

I guess answer to both questions is no, but I still thought I’d ask.

The problem is that the consumer rights are not strong in China (are there any at all?). Your SkyTeam Gold (Elite Plus?) status could help you getting a better hotel.

Did you try to get the China Eastern to reroute your to Phnom Penh on other airlines? That would have been my firs option, but again getting China Eastern to do that could have been an uphill battle.

READ MORE: READER QUESTIONS: Avis DCC Scam, Using Different Star Alliance FF Programs For Status & Miles, Etihad’s Customer Service (Or Lack Thereof), Hilton Gold Medal Rate (Gone), IHG Award Availability In San Francisco, Platinum Ambassador Club Access, “High” Speed Internet At HGI & Deciphering Which Airlines Stock The Ticket Is Issued

Alfredo’s Question About Holiday Inn Nice Award Availability

I just booked the HI nice for the 1st weekend of may on points and they were offering 2 beds rooms on points.

But on revenue the only rooms available were suites?

So how could they offer regular rooms on points?

The hotel has instituted minimum stay requirement for paid nights that, at least in this case, is not applicable for award nights.

Some hotel programs don’t allow hotels to have minimum stay requirements for award nights (Hyatt) or waive them for elites (Hilton) while others do (SPG)

Collin’s Question About US Flight Cancellation

I have a quick question regarding my recent experience with US Airways. I booked US Airways flight from LAX to YYZ through CLT. The CLT to YYZ leg was canceled due to mechanical failure.

Oh I was upgraded to first class due to platinum status. Anyway, they were able to rebook me for the next morning. CLT to ORD on first class and ORD to YYZ .

At airport they gave all of us hotel vouchers but the hotels were all sold out. I asked if I could book a hotel on my own and get reimbursed but told no. I along with many other passengers slept at the airport.

I contacted AA customer service, who offered USD 200 travel voucher, but also noted that if I got a hotel they would have reimbursed. I wrote back and said I didn’t get one only because I was told inaccurate information at the airport. I haven’t heard back yet.

Your thoughts on whether I should pursue this further? Much appreciated. Big fan of Loyaltylobby.

I hate to say thus but airline employees lie often and you must know what your rights as a consumer are.

Were there no other options from Charlotte to Toronto that the US Airways could have rebooked you to?

Airlines often have different policies in place whether they provide you an accommodation or not. I wouldn’t have “slept” at the airport but rather booked something and dealt with the issue later.

American Airlines has offered you $200 voucher for the inconvenience. I believe that it is best that you can get out from them.

READ MORE: READER QUESTIONS: Four Seasons Loyalty Program, Homewood Suites Won’t Be Open By The Time Of The Stay, Club Carlson & Le Club Accorhotels Status Matches, American Airlines Downgrade & Marriott Renewed Status

Vanda’s Question About Compensation For Hotel Stays & What Program To Choose In Asia

1. What kind of “unaccepted service flaws” from a hotel that need compensation?

2. What is a “normal or usual” compensation ? points? upgrade? free stay? or combination? I know its depend on personal basis and hotel policy and level of “flaw” But i just want to know in general, what the appropriate compensations are. I have red the compensation clinic chapte,. I am not the kind of person that look for a mistake or trying to make a big thing out of a small thing. For instance : its okay for me if No bottled water in the room, TV not working, Coffee machine not working, Key card not functioning etc.. I just can ask the hotel to replace but if they do not rectify ASAP then it become a different case!. I will be very disappointed if the room smell bad, AC stop working in the middle of the night, Dirty bathroom or Bed. Cockroach or rat playing in the room Rude staff (high voice, inappropriate word etc…), flooding in the bathroom (clogged drain), Toilet not properly function.

3. Can you give me advise on what is the best Hotel loyalty program for a person that live in Asia (exclude China) and travel mainly in Asian country (exclude China). Some of the loyalty program that considered as a good may not be for an Asian live in asia and do most of the traveling in asia. For instance Marriot have a very limited presence in Asia, Hilton only have two hotel outside bali, Double tree in Jakarta, and Hilton in Bandung. IHG only have 2 InterCon hotel in Indonesia, one in Jakarta and a resort in Bali. Club Carlsson not even heard in Indonesia, Accor have a plenty of hotel across asia but mainly Ibis, Mercure and Novotel class.

That’s three questions!

I believe that whether one should request or not compensation really depends on multiple factors. I have had stays where I have had number of issues. Each by itself would not be worth requesting compensation but when there are five/six of them…

Hotels often try to offer you an upgrade on a future stay or free dinner. These really don’t cost them anything. I prefer asking compensation in form of points and usually look at how many points would be needed for a free night at the same category property. If the issue is serious enough (rat – never seen one in hotel – many times cockroaches), I would ask enough points for a free night.

You are asking about a best hotel loyalty program for Asia, but then all the hotels that you mention are in Indonesia.

If you prefer upscale properties, I would go with Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott and/or Starwood. Accor and IHG both have number of lower end properties in Asia (Holiday Inn/Holiday Inn Express and ibis/Mercure/Novotel).

I don’t believe that there is single best program. It really depends what is important for you. Do you care about possible elite treatment at hotels or are you mainly after free night award?

Kent’s Question About Marriott Phone Reservations

We have tried over the last 6 months to use the Marriott platinum reservations desk.

Each time we made a reservation over the phone, the prices quoted on the call were lower than those that came with the email confirmation.

Calling back it was impossible to get the same operator, and the only proof we had was the phone call, and despite writing down all the prices for each and every nite, not recording the call, we didn’t have a physical proof.

The next operator always said they could not help.

Finally we contacted Marriott customer services and they contacted the hotel and asked them to honour those prices.   We had to settle with a compromise, not satisfactory.

This is Outrageous from Marriott.  But wait, maybe there is more.

Each time we made a reservation with a Marriott platinum operator (some work from their homes apparently), they did the same thing, the prices on the email were always higher over $200.00 and it was not because they made the booking for one person instead of two, as in Europe that can make a difference on the room price. And it is not every night showing differences, only a few nites. Hmmm.

This happened again and again till recently where we kept the operator on the phone and waited for the email to arrive. We told her and she went round and round, said she could not understand it and did not know how to fix it.  Unbelievably she authoritatively told us to accept it.

We made a complaint again to the customer services, that was useless

Maybe its a simple way for Marriott to get higher prices, normally we trust what we receive over the phone, the confirmation comes in and we see the confirmation number and we don’t catch all the prices or total amounts and end up paying a higher price at Marriott than quoted.  Certainly when some nights match the price quoted on the phone, the confirmation looks ok, only with deeper investigation into each and every nite, does one find the discrepancies.

We could bring this to Marriott with phone recordings, but actually we do not feel safe and comfortable with their organisation’s reasonableness.  There were times over the years they came across very hard and unreasonable, and we thought it may affect our account status with them.   We have heard of this type of dealing from people getting their accounts marked Red from Starwood.

Have you ever personally experienced this reservation situation with Marriott? We wonder if other members are experiencing this deceptive overcharge.

Or is there anyway that you can bring this publicly, hopefully it gets the attention of Marriott Cooperation to stop its deception to its guests?

I have not heard anything like this before with Marriott or any other hotel chain. Is there a reason why you prefer doing your Marriott bookings by phone rather than on the website?

Seems that there could be rate changes during your stay that explains why the rates on some of the nights are higher than on others. Hotels (business ones) often have higher rates during week versus weekends while other hotels have the exact opposite (leisure hotels).

Difficult to believe that the phone agents would deliberately lie during the call to get the reservation done.

Vivian’s Question About Loyalty Programs In General – Why No Points On 3rd Party Bookings

I am a member of at least 3 different hotel loyalty programs but…the problem is, we never get points acknowledged when booking via a third party website. Meaning…it is basically pointless to join their loyalty program…which defeats the purpose of having it because there is no incentive to go to their brand hotel if there are no added benefits!

Hotels pay anywhere from 10% to 25% of their room revenue when you make a booking using 3rd party site such as Expedia or Booking.com. In the past, you were often able to get a stay credit and or points for these bookings, but the programs have wisened up. You rarely if ever do. Some programs do extend the elite status benefits on 3rd party stays too.

Is there a reason why you prefer booking using 3rd party site versus the hotel directly? Many hotels do offer lower prices on these 3rd party sites but also have price guarantees in place for further discounts.

Conclusion

Keep the emails and messages coming. I will have these READER QUESTION pieces at least once a week (sometimes more often) and try to cover issues that would help LoyaltyLobby readers.

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