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.


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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  • The Apple Pan

    I had a similar problem at this hotel, but it was entirely my fault — I actually handed them the wrong card, which they processed, and I realized the mistake while I was still at the front desk. They took care of it immediately, and reversed the charge on the wrong card, and billed it to the card I meant to give them. They couldn’t have been nicer, especially considering that the fault was mine. I thought it was a great hotel by the way, with a great location and very comfortable rooms. I will be back.

  • Chris

    I also normally try and use up any leftover currency either at the hotel or at the airport and just pay the balance on plastic… no use for cash currency to be flying around with me and eventually accumulating at home because… I always forget I had some from last time anyways πŸ˜‰

  • Tim

    It’s actually a breach of their credit card agreement (with their bank) to require an email copy of the card!

  • Gary

    Wow- big surprise! Typical whiny post by little Sebastian. It’s always someone else’s fault no matter what.

    • Gaijinsan

      How is this a whiny post? His gripe with the hotel is perfectly valid and I would have made a similar request if I were in the situation. As he stated, there are several reasons for changing credit cards or payment methods on checkout and the hotel should know how to handle this.

      I personally get quite irritated when hotels pre-charge your chard before checkout (non-prepaid rates) to the card presented on check in without asking. They already have the card’s authorization, there is no reason to charge it until the guest actually checks out as there may be additional charges…. ok, so you say, big deal, right? Remember not all cards have free international transaction fees, so multiple transactions mean multiple fees when it should have been all in one transaction at the end of the stay.