Compensation Clinic: Wrong Credit Card Charged At Andaz Shanghai Xintiandi

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This week’s Compensation Clinic is provided to us from the Andaz Shanghai where I actually had a nice stay two weeks ago but the bill was charged to the wrong method of payment post departure.

During this particular stay, the stay was guaranteed with a different credit card than handed over at checkout for billing due to a small security issue upon arrival.

I haven’t had an issue with credit card processing for quite some time at the various hotels I stayed at during the past few months however someone must have fouled up or simply slept during the checkout process.

When I arrived at the Andaz Shanghai Xintiandi from the Airport I was naturally asked to provide a credit card for check-in as a room guarantee. My primary credit card which I always use didn’t work even though I just used it maybe 2 hours before to make a small purchase at Pudong Airport. I expected this to be a security issue due to using the cards at different countries in a short period of time including inflight internet and ended up giving the hotel associate a different (U.S. based AMEX) card just to guarantee the room. Obviously you can always change the method of payment at a later point.

I did just this upon checkout, handed them the card I originally wanted to use and even saw the associate swipe it. This should have been the end of it and the initial authorization dropped off after some time.

Fast forward 3 days I get an email out of the blue informing me that a charge just cleared to my (U.S. based) credit card and sure enough it was from the Andaz Shanghai. I don’t normally use this card at all and having to pay a U.S. bill is creating quite an inconvenience for me. This is the only U.S. card I still carry and usually it’s only for benefits such as lounge access and travel insurance.

I notified the hotel of their foulup and they were very apologetic. I lined out that wiring money to my U.S. account would create a certain (small) expense and provided some suggestions how to solve the issue.

  • They reverse the charge and change it to the card I presented to them at checkout
  • They send a hotel employee to the Park Hyatt with the amount in cash
  • I will cover the amount and the hotel will credit some Gold Passport points in lieu

Option one (the easiest) was quickly not an option anymore as they wanted a full copy of the card faxed or emailed which is an absolute no go for me.

Option two was considered impossible by the duty manager and he said he’d need 3 days to get in touch with the finance department as it was Chinese holiday until January 3rd.

That left pretty much only the points credit. After I haven’t heard from the F/D Manager after three days (mid day) as promised I emailed the General Manager of the property.

I was informed that 10,000 Gold Passport points have been added to my account which showed up about 24h later.

This is a generous and professional solution without the need for either party, them or me, to make this situation more of a problem than it actually is. Something went wrong during the check-out and that caused the card presented not being saved properly as FOP.

Changing credit cards or even switching to cash payment during the stay is a very common thing to do and guests can have multiple reasons such as promotions (Hilton VISA Promotion comes to mind), credit limits, foreign currency fees for a specific card or using last remaining local currency you don’t want to drag around after departure.

Conclusion

Bottom line of this case is that it’s a simple matter and it wasn’t handled properly. Since the property required such a risky thing such as providing them a complete scan of my card (front and back) it became pretty much impossible to do a simple card swap. I never provide someone with such information and neither should you.

The staff has been professional during my stay at the Andaz, and I find the outcome of this issue to be fair and even on the higher side of the compensation scale. As a result, I have no problem giving them additional bookings when I return to Shanghai, even though there are plenty of properties around that are a bit lower priced and maybe somewhat more conveniently located for business purposes.

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