A LoyaltyLobby reader dropped me an email yesterday about Park Inn hotel reflag and Club Carlson free night cert promotion that ends on September 30th.
Here’s the email from the reader:
I want to tell you about my bad experience with club Carlson.
Recently I registered for club Carlson “two stays to get one free Friday night offer”. I planned my stays much earlier booked prepaid rate a long time before my stay and finished first stay. The problem is second stay. Second stay was in park inn by radisson hotel apartments al Rigga Dubai. Checking in date was September 22 for one night.
I used google maps to drive to that hotel and found Googles maps said this hotel is permanently closed when I tried to navigate the driving. So when I checked in I curiously asked the front desk why Google maps said your hotel is permanently closed. Until that time I was shocked to be answered by the front desk “we changed our brand two or three days ago”! What!? I need to my stay to get the free Friday night. So I asked “ can I still get the points and stay?” The guy answered without any hesitation “yes. Because when you booked it , it was club carlson hotel.” I just relaxed and stayed the night.
Next day when I checked out, I tried to remind the front desk to credit my points and stay. However, because it was different reception staff, they told me I won’t get points and Stay as their hotel is no longer a club Carlson hotel any more. I argued that I got confirmed from your staff when I checked in last night that I will still get points and stay, but she refused. I requested to talk with manager. I argued for a long time with that manager. I questioned them why Nobody, either your hotel or club Carlson did not inform me anything about this change before. If I was informed I would have booked another real hotel. The manager said they already informed club carlson and club Carlson said they will inform me and he promised me to try his best to get my points and Stay. He also said he would call me later that day. However , after 3 days I did not get any infor from this hotel any more.
Last night I had to call club carlson about it. However, the customer service said I won’t get the stay but points only. I argued that why nobody , either from club carlson or hotel informed me. Customer service said it’s the hotel’s responsibility to inform me. They Ickes the ball back.
I continued arguing that I did nothing wrong in this process. It’s club Carlson and the hotel’s responsibility. However , I still did not get the stay. Club carlson customer service just said they will try their best to fix it but can’t promise .
I can’t accept this. I don’t have any plan to have another club carlson Stay before the deadline September 30, which is only 4 days away now.
What can I do now ?
I would say that the Club Carlson dropped the ball here. They should have informed the reader that the Park Inn hotel in Al Rigga had left the chain and given the reader alternate options.
Hotels always honor existing paid reservations in case of reflags unless they are close for ever or for extensive renovations (why wouldn’t they?). Any possible elite benefits or points and stay/night credits are not extended, however.
The reader, in retrospect, should have canceled his reservation on the sport and moved to another Club Carlson affiliated hotel in Dubai if he had wanted to get one of the free night certificates. I understand that it is easy to say this afterwards especially when the front desk agent was giving misinformation.
The reader should escalate this issue through Club Carlson and preferably call the US number during the US business hours.
Hotel chains usually do terrible job informing members about these hotel reflags that are becoming more common due to chains itself owning very few if any of the hotels that fly their flags.
Often the hotel just suddenly disappears from the website and that’s about it. Better programs do email their members about these changes and give alternate options where benefits apply and stay/nights credits can be earned.
Club Carlson completely dropped the ball here. It wouldn’t cost them more than few bucks to post the stay to reader’s account and to issue the free night cert. This would be the right thing to do.