Whine Wednesdays: Prepaid Voucher T&C Deception At The Renaissance Koh Samui Resort

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Our Whine Wednesday topic this week once again comes back to the issue of prepaid hotel vouchers that various hotels sell, in this case the Renaissance Koh Samui where I purchased one voucher with 50% bonus.

Vouchers always come with fine print that are the basis for the sale yet sometimes hotels like to change the rules retroactively and this is one such case I’d like to highlight.

I’ve been visiting several hotels in Koh Samui, Thailand this week because I have a few stay certificates expiring on my Marriott account and wasn’t looking forward to senselessly redeem them in Bangkok so a trip to the islands it was. Obviously I’m spending more time than just 3 nights here so I picked out good deals to supplement the free night certificates.

One such offer was the current Megatix special for the Renaissance Koh Samui.

Voucher options are available for limited time only, get bonus up to 70% when buy this exclusive gift voucher :
-Buy THB 3,000 voucher for a total value of THB 4,500
-Buy THB 5,000 voucher for a total value of THB 8,000
-Buy THB 10,000 voucher for a total value of THB 17,000

It lists the following Terms & Conditions:

Terms and Conditions
– The usage of gift certificates can be used for all managed facilities within a hotel : accommodation, spa, bar and restaurants
– Gift voucher is applicable for room accommodation book through Marriott.com or direct booking to the Reservation
– Gift voucher can be used only for accommodation on Standard rate on Marriott.com or directly with the hotel. It is not Applicable with pre-paid rate or any discounted rate.
– Bonvoy Points can be earned when book accommodation with eligible rate plan
– Credit voucher is not combinable with any other promotions and offers
– Credit need to be used per stay can not be split for future stay
– Credit will be applied to Guest folio at time of checkout
– Credit are not transferable, not redeemable for cash, void after checkout and cannot be applied toward future stays.
– A stay is defined as consecutive nights spent in the same hotel, regardless of check in/check out activities. Check out and check in can not be on the same day.

I decided to puchase the 3,000 Baht one as I was staying for a day. The standard rate for that night was 2,080++ Baht.

These vouchers can be used for the room rate as well as incidental expenses which based on the rate I had booked meant I had another 2,100 Baht to consume during my one day stay. After purchasing them a copy is delivered to the email promptly.

So far so good, I’ve used these vouchers now close to a hundred times since last year and rarely had any issues with them. The savings are usually great.

Renaissance gives you a letter at arrival outlining all the things you can’t use the voucher for which is highly unlikely compared to other hotels and so far none of them had that many exclusions:

What you can’t use it for especially hurts at:

  • Promotions at the hotel including Spa
  • Specialty Dining
  • Room Service
  • Minibar (always inflated prices)
  • Transportation (also inflated, usually third party though)

Right now hotels don’t sell any alcohol either, once again a Covid measure put in place by the government. So what is left to use it on?

I tried to eat at the restaurant but it closed at 9:30. After negotiating they would allow room service so I gave the front desk a list with my order totaling about 2000 Baht which included a Beef Steak that made up 1500 Baht with the rest being beverages and dessert. Unfortunately I was told the hotel has no meat, meaning rack of lamb or beef available despite being listed on the menu. As per the chef the hotel doesn’t have enough guests to buy it daily and keep it fresh.

At that point I said to them it’s pointless to keep the voucher as I can’t eat 2000 Baht worth of Sandwiches and Pizza within 12 hours. The Spa wasn’t an option either as the treatments were advertised with 990 Baht but the voucher can only be used on the standard price of 2,400 Baht.

After a long back and forth the hotel agreed to instruct the Megatix company to process a refund to me within 30 days. I did ask for a confirmation letter to keep something in hand just in case I need to initiate a chargeback:

Let’s see how long this refund takes. If it hasn’t arrived within a month I’ll ask Amex to charge it back and submit this letter as evidence.

While it’s understandable that a hotel that has 6 rooms occupied can’t stock their whole kitchen with perishables I think a public notice or stop sale of stored value instruments (vouchers etc) is the best way forward. Since this would totally dry up the revenue stream for the properties I doubt they’ll do that and continue putting customers at a disadvantage, violating the t&c they set themselves.

I do like this hotel and will definitely come back. It’s an older property but with lush gardens and a beautiful swimming pool. I won’t rely on their f&b for in house spending though.

Conclusion

The real issue here is the contrast between the T&C outlined on the website and voucher vs what the hotel presents you with. It makes the value almost unusable unless you book enough nights to apply it exclusively to the room rate. This case was crazy, first the incorrect information during the sale and then a dinner menu that turned out had several dishes not available because the hotel didn’t want to stock expensive meats.

After cancelling I decided to settle the room with another one of my 35k Amex certificates. The Renaissance usually requires 30k per night or ~ $80 all in. Again bad value for a certificate but in these times beggars can’t be choosers.

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