A LoyaltyLobby reader sent me a rather bizarre case where hotel had requested the reader to wire the best flexible rate payment in advance and later banned the guest after he had opened a case with SPG Corporate Customer Care.
You can access Four Points Istanbul Batisehir here.
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Here’s the message from the reader (came via Facebook):
I have had this bad experience with Four Points by Sheraton Istanbul Batisehir.
On 02/06/17 I booked 18 nights at this hotel, I chose Flexiable-Rate, with payment on arrival at the hotel. On 05/06/17, the hotel’s Sales & Resevation Executive contacts me by phone and tells me to immediately leave a 100% deposit by bank transfer, or they will cancel the booking.
I’m a little skeptical about making my bank transfer, but choose to do it when I need the room on these nights.
After the bank transfer it is quite silent, I try to contact the hotel management every day and the person who called me to confirm that the money has been received. I get no response to my mails to the hotel’s accounting department, and when I call the front desk they say that the person i have to talking with is not at work and I should try to call again tomorrow. I’ll never answer my emails! Nor do the emails I send to the hotel’s general manager.
Therefore, I contact SPG Corporate Customer Service, which creates a case for this. SPG customer service also says that now that I have prepaid, the hotel should also give me prepaid rate and they write to the hotel that they must send a receipt for the transfer received and consider whether the hotel can offer me prepaid rate, the hotel will respond quickly to SPG that they Has sent me a receipt, which is a lie! Which they also later recognize in regards to SPG Corporate Customer Service!
SPG says I have to cancel this booking and then the hotel will refund the money I have paid by bank transfer and I will then make a new booking at the hotel and choose prepaid rate (To get the prepaid rate I deserve after prepaying via Bank transfer) and pay by credit card on SPG website. I do this immediately and believe I will get the money I have paid by bank transfer refunded (It is a free-cancel booking).
16 hours before my arrival at the hotel I receive a wretched mail from the hotel manager, it is the first time the hotel answers my emails, he is telling I am expelled/banned from the hotel and all active bookings have been canceled. I am not welcome at this hotel ever in the future because I have established a case with SPG corperate customer service.
I contact a supervisor at SPG who says unfortunately can not help finding another hotel since Four Points by Sheraton Istanbul Batisehir. Is the franchise owned and they can therefore reject who they want without SPG can do anything. They can not tell if the hotel will ever refund the prepaid money.
I’m here now with 2 prepaid canceled bookings, and have probably realized I’ll never get the money back for these bookings. SPG says they cant help further, thats how to treat SPG gold members…
Here’s the email from the property:
It is always funny when Starwood (or any other chain) says that there is nothing that they can do because they don’t own the hotel that happens to carry their flag because it is merely franchised (this is usually when something negative happens).
Not sure exactly what happened here? I would have never ever wired money to someone random in Turkey based on someone calling me. Who knows to whom the bank account even belonged to where the reader wired the cash? Why would the hotel suddenly demand prepayment for Best Flexible rate reservation? Just doesn’t make much sense.
The hotel decides to cancel readers reservation and ban him because he contacts SPG Corporate Customer Care when the hotel itself doesn’t response to emails? Yet they advertise themselves as the “2016 Best Select Service Hotels” on the emails going out. Just ridiculous.
I understand that the trading conditions in Turkey are very bad at the moment. Occupancy and average daily rates are both in the toilet. Hotel employees and management, however, shouldn’t let this affect how they interact with the paying guests. This is hospitality business after all and guests vote with their wallet.