A LoyaltyLobby reader sent us an email about an award reservation at the Conrad Pezula in South Africa that left Hilton effective June 1, 2018.
You can access Hilton Honors here.
Here’s the email from the reader:
thanks always for this daily. After an extremely bad experience with Swiss in which 2 long-haul business class flights were lost (and more) with only a usd 400 compensation (and I’m a 2* Senator), where I didnt contact you to report, I now decided to contact you with the following matter.
As a Diamond-card holder in Switzerland I booked a week in Conrad Pezula in South Africa for our xmas holiday this year, on points. I then booked the rest of our trip which was long haul flights to South Africa for 3 people, a stay with another Hilton property and multiple domestic flights.
Then, earlier this week I get this message from Hilton:
Greetings from Hilton Worldwide,
We are sending you this email in regards to your upcoming reservation at the Conrad Pezula. We regret to inform you that this hotel has ceased to operate as a part of our portfolio of Hilton brands effective immediately. Please accept our sincerest apologies for this short notice and this sudden closure.
Regrettably we have no other Hilton portfolio of brands within the immediate area and the new management will be unable to honor any booking confirmed on points. If you wish to cancel this reservation, please let us know and we will return the honors points to your Honors account.
However, if you wish to travel to our hotels in Cape Town, please let us know and we would be glad to secure arrangements there for you.
We would like to apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused and we appreciate your loyalty. We value you as a guest and look forward to serving your lodging needs in the near future.
I then emailed them asking for alternatives of any kind or if there is a way for me to stay there (the property is still there), and all I got is this repeat “offer” in which I get my points back, but nothing else. I asked them now again, but no answer (yet).
So much for a multi-year Diamond card holder?
The property is still there, as they always are after reflagging, but couldn’t figure out the current name of the hotel. All the OTAs and even TripAdvisor still had their listings under the Conrad (without any availability) that is very bad planning from the hotel’s transition team.
Not sure what prevents the new management to honor the points bookings. Paid ones are surely kept (hotels usually try to hold on to them even when members try to get them canceled due to reflagging). It wouldn’t surprise me if the paid rates would actually dip unless they get higher brand than Conrad to take over the management.
Not sure why Hilton tries to suggests that the reader should stay in Cape Town instead that is 500 kilometers away? Perhaps the person should have consulted map before sending out these emails.
I would explore paid rates at this newly reflagged property (should be lower than when they were under Conrad unless it becomes something like Kempinski) or see if there are any other acceptable properties nearby.
Hilton should be able to give reader some points for the inconvenience OR perhaps even negotiate with the property for them to honor the award reservation.
It is unfortunate that Hilton is unable to sign better agreement with affiliates when it comes to exits. Paid reservations are honored even when some want to walk away but members with award reservations are often left in limbo if they would like to stay.
Reservations are always open until the day the property is reflagged and then it just disappears without a word from the website. You can still Google this hotel and it brings up links to Hilton’s Conrad Pezula pages that no longer exist.
I hope that the reader can find a solution with Hilton to get the new management to honor the Honors reservation or just book paid reservation with one of the nearby hotels.