My Swedish Hotel Problem & Why I may think twice before booking through Chase again!

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chase hotel problem

When Hotel Bookings Go Wrong

In travel you never really know how good a company is until you have a problem. While I would say over 99% of the time I have no issues when traveling, there is that 1%. A good example of that was my stay earlier this year at Bellagio. It revealed true failure on many levels within the hotel. Today I ran into a much smaller issue, however it revealed that Chase probably isn’t a good company to book hotels through consistently.

Last week I shared the amazing deal I got in Gothenburg for the Hotel Arena. Today I’m not going to eat my words, however I will explain that it wasn’t quite what was promised or expected. The main reason for this post isn’t to trash the hotel, Chase or anything else, but to highlight a true weakness when you book through Chase, Citi or another company that uses a 3rd party travel provider. Here is what happened.

Trouble in Sweden

chase hotel problem
The train ride from Stockholm to Gothenberg was beautiful.

My son and I arrived in Gothenburg and made our way to the hotel directly from the train station. When checking in, I tried to confirm that we would have two beds, however I was told there was only 1 queen bed and that the hotel was full. The front desk agent said there wasn’t anything she could do. We went to the room and confirmed the bed just wouldn’t work.

Since I had booked through Chase, I gave them a call and explained the situation. Without even asking I was quickly escalated to a supervisor. She put me on hold and contacted their vendor who contacted the hotel. The front desk agent supposedly told the vendor that I had never inquired about wanting two beds. Chase finally said they couldn’t help, because the vendor says I received the correct room based on the “description”.

chase hotel problem
This is the room description directly from the Chase site.

Lets look at that description: “Cozy Queen – Twin Bed”. So they say it means I could get a queen or a twin bed. Except, when I booked there was also a “Cozy Queen – Double.” So I could either book a twin or a double and booked a twin. (For the record that couldn’t mean a single twin since I booked the room for 2 people.) Seems self explanatory, but they don’t agree.

I explained my dissatisfaction with the manager from Chase and she said she would escalate it and I would hear back in 24-48 hours. Yes, you heard that right! I’ll be long gone by then of course, so my only option was to go down to the front desk where the agent told me a different version of her conversation with the vendor. She then showed me her version of the confirmation that simply said, “Cozy Queen”.

The thing is that they don’t even have a room type called “Cozy Queen”. If you go to their website they have a queen room, a double room and a twin room. The only room mentioning the word twin has two twins beds in it. Anyway, I showed her my confirmation that showed the full description including the “twin bed” verbiage, but she didn’t budge. I had to pay 250 SEK (about $30) for an extra mattress.

chase hotel problem
My son’s bed for the night!

Without a choice, I paid the money and was brought a single mattress that now sits on the floor. I’m glad I am only staying here for one night, but am severely disappointed in Chase. The front desk agent says it isn’t their fault, however I don’t agree. The “vendor” is selling the rooms on their behalf and somehow had a bad description. I blame everyone, although I do it with no rage or real anger. Life is too short to dwell on such small things.

The most interesting thing I noticed is that when I go to the Ultimate Rewards site to search for the hotel, all of the room descriptions have changed and now match the hotel’s website. This is great news for anyone who books from now on, but I guess I am out of luck $30, at least for now.

Takeaways

So this is definitely a first world problems sort of thing and I am already over it as far as being angry. My hope is that Chase will reimburse me for the mattress and my son can certainly sleep on it. (God knows he has slept on worse.) The real takeaway here is that you have very limited recourse when you book through a company that uses an intermediary between them and the hotel.

In this case Chase had the contact the vendor who then contacted the hotel. The vendor then told Chase what the hotel said and they relayed that to me. Through that process no one claimed responsibility and the story changed several times. Basically, I lose out.

Did I Bring This On?

When I wrote my article about saving 50% on this hotel, I mentioned in a caption that I had confirmed the room description at other sites (that probably use the same vendor) and that it included two twin beds. (I wish I had screenshots.) In a caption of the Chase screenshot I said, “Lets hope we don’t get one tiny bed.” Perhaps I need to learn to shut my mouth. Maybe I brought this on myself just by merely thinking it! 🙂

Conclusion

Things go wrong when traveling. It just happens. The real value of companies like American Express is that they will stand behind their bookings. It doesn’t seem that Chase is quite within that camp. I am hoping for a reimbursement of my $30, but only time (24-48 hours) will tell. Either way with a 50% savings this was probably still worth it, but I would hesitate to use them again unless I was saving significant amounts of money.


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27 COMMENTS

  1. If you’ve been to Hawaii and tried to squeeze 4 people into a typical 2 bed room, you probably had 2 double beds in there. Anyway, this was my experience recently.

    I had to share that double bed with my 15 year old son…it worked out fine, AND it had the side-effect of him appreciating whatever other bed he would get at subsequent hotels (even if it was a fold out)! 🙂

    • Haha good point. Unfortunately he flops around in his sleep so I was likely to kill him! Plus, the bed was a small queen and thus would have made for an uncomfortable night!

  2. I’ve noticed this when trying to book many hotels via Chase. The descriptions seem to rarely match up with descriptions on the hotel website (or hotels.com) so it’s impossible to tell what room you’re actually getting.

  3. Sorry, but I must disagree with you there. The description to me reads a Queen or 2 Twins and quite frankly it was your responsibility to inquire what it actually meant, not what you interpreted it to mean.

    Moreover, I believe that you are an attorney — as there is a Shawn Coomer on the web listed as belonging to the CA Bar Association — and you definitely must be aware that you must be proactive as to what same can actually mean.

    Although your argument is bolstered by the fact that there was a Cozy Queen — Double — as that can only mean 1 bed in a room — you never should have expected that was to the exclusion to the other room type — I would have assumed, without more, that it clearly could have been a labeling issue, and that the room type that you chose, provided for a Queen or 2 Twins upon check-in, something that is commonly found in Europe, and moreover, something that is certainly not guaranteed unless you have status with the hotel/chain.

    I would chalk this up more to your inexperience traveling to Europe and the fact that you made an error and are seeking now to tarnish Chase with your misfortune.

    I never would have used points to make a hotel booking and instead used them for airfare redemption or even better, transfer them to a program where I could have realized greater value.

    Finally, I see that from AwardMapper, there are plenty of chain hotels where hotel point redemption was possible under the Choice or Radisson flag.

    Regardless of the deal that you had received, the points that could have been used there — and which I believe you even have blogged about with respect to each of these chains — could have been better spent there, especially given that Northern Europe empties out in August for the sunnier and warmer climes farther South.

    • I don’t really care to respond to much of this, however I will set a few things straight. The rate I got on this hotel was half of the next cheapest option, which made it a fantastic deal. Spending 50,000 Club Carlson points for the one night would not have made sense. I did use miles/points for airfare and the one thing I have learned through doing this for so long is that I can’t accurately tell someone what they should have done unless I am aware of how many points they have, etc. In this case I have quite a lot UR points so this redemption, at 50% less than other sites made a lot of sense. In other words, I wouldn’t be so quick to tell people how they should have used their points.

      I also verified this same exact description on other sites which elaborated and said that description meant two twin beds. I won’t dispute that contacting the hotel was probably prudent, however that doesn’t change things.

      A few other things. I am not an attorney and don’t live in California. (I also never tried to make any legal argument in this post.) I never slammed Chase in this post, but simply related a weakness when booking through them or ANYONE ELSE WHO USES A THIRD PARTY. As for chalking it up to inexperience, I have spent a total of 6 months in Europe since 2009 and have never had an issue with a room that says one room type or other. In fact, I have found Europe to be the exact opposite. They list the exact bed configuration. If you book a single it means one twin, a double is a double bed, a twin is twin beds and a queen is a queen bed. That is how it is for 95% of the hotels I have seen in Europe including this one by the way. My inexperience in this case comes with Chase and their incorrect description. The point of this post was to share that information in order to help people.

      After having read several of your posts over the months, I feel you live in a world of absolutes. I never say that I know everything or mine is the best way, but you seem to think you always have the right answer. My world view is the complete opposite. This post isn’t designed for people to say I am right or wrong, but to share what happened in order to help others in the future. In other words, I wasn’t 100% right and Chase wasn’t 100% wrong. (In my view.) As always thanks for your loyal readership.

      • Loved that last paragraph. Yep, too many people live in that “world of absolutes” that you talk about. I never want to travel with them because I find them closed to new ideas, too cocksure of themselves, and too free with their political and religious opinions.

        P.S. Scandinavia is a great place to take your boy. I’m sure the cultural differences will be the basis for a lot of good conversations!

      • Actually, I do not live in a world of absolutes — quite the opposite — I live and work in an area where there is grey such as where a room description that is provided says two things — that either a Queen can be provided or a Twin Bed room is provided. That is not only what you were presented that is exactly what you contracted for.

        You write that the room description reads:

        “Cozy Queen – Twin Bed”.

        and you relate that that “means I could get a queen or a twin bed.”

        The operative word here is COULD — it does not guarantee you a twin bed, it means that you COULD get a Queen bed or you COULD get a twin bed — it makes no promises as to what bed type you actually will get until you check-in.

        The fact that other websites may have provided more detailed descriptions does nothing to alleviate the fact that neither they nor Chase confirmed that the bed would be of one and only type — That is the world of absolutes that you seem to inhabit. I do not.

        I have traveled frequently enough in Europe — or elsewhere — to know that when two (2) different room types are given in the room description, that neither room type is confirmed, UNLESS, your room reservation states that it will be of only one (1) type and/or in addition, you have taken the time to actually speak to someone and confirmed in writing — like you do with your SMS messages to Citi about the specifics of a promotional offer — that the agreement is what you both believe it to be.

        As you have gotten the time to read up on my posts, the likewise has been true, and I do know that you do take the time to dot your “i’s” and cross your “t’s” in most instances — however, with this instance you did not — and you assumed that your interpretation was the correct one.

        Although I had indicated that you do have some support if your claim of another room description reads Queen — Double, the better reasoned argument is that the description was an “either” – “or” room type, with the type assigned left to check-in, regardless of your 6 months of traveling in Europe — I have been traveling to Europe for over 20 years, if that has any bearing on the matter.

        I’m sorry but the true weakness is not that you booked thru Chase, or anyone else, rather, the true weakness is that it was you — and no one else — who was and still seems to be absolutist in thinking that your interpretation of the room description is the only that can or is correct.

        Unfortunately, I call them as I see them and I see an entirely different room description — and no undertaking of any promise, whatsoever, with respect to your bed type choice — and no doubt so did the hotel, notwithstanding the fact that the hotel clerk appears not to have been honest with Chase or you with the real reason that you did not get your room choice — that they were out of twin bed rooms when you arrived and your confirmation makes no mention of a reservation confirming same.

        Consequently, the true weakness was not having booked through a 3rd party provider but because you in your absolutist way of thinking, concluded that there was no doubt that you would be presented with the bed type of your choice upon arrival — when no such confirmation of this was provided and when quite another interpretation of the room type could be offered — indeed, you hint at this other type of interpretation when you write that you checked other web sites and their description of the room, and yet, you seem to have taken no further action with respect to guaranteeing your sleeping accommodations.

        You continue with this statement: “The front desk agent says it isn’t their fault, however I don’t agree. The “vendor” is selling the rooms on their behalf and somehow had a bad description. I blame everyone, although I do it with no rage or real anger.”

        Actually, as should be clear by now, the only individual who certainly to blame for this apparent mis-communication you fail to hold accountable — yourself, for thinking in absolutist terms that the room type would be the type that you wished for without confirming same and the failure to hold yourself accountable for this mix-up is what is truly disheartening.

        As for my mistaking you for an attorney, that is my responsibility, and I am glad that you are not one for if you were, this would be a pitiable mistake on your part with such legal training and critical thinking under your belt.

        I do not fault your choice not to spend 50,000 Club Carlson points for 1 night’s accommodations, but you are doing your readers a disservice if you lead them to believe that was their only option — as you well know, CC also offers a cash and points alternative that also provides them with room and stay and elite credit, for further points earning opportunities.

        Finally, you are completely silent with respect to the redemption opportunities provided by Choice hotels. As you well know, they have a number of low priced points offerings in Gothenburg. Not only are they a transfer partner of Amtrak Guest Rewards, wherein I believe you have spent a great deal of ink extolling the benefits of such transfer opportunities from AGR to Choice, but they also are a transfer partner of AMEX’s Membership Rewards, which I feel is a far less valuable currency than Chase UR points.

        Your failure to even address this points is telling.

        I hope that you do get reimbursed by Chase for the extra $$ spent on the futon you bought, but you should lay the blame for this matter truly where it rightfully belongs — not with a 3rd party supplier transmitting a somewhat ambiguous room description to its readership; rather it rests firmly on the shoulders of someone who was a bit too eager to secure what they believed to be a great deal — when rates were showing far higher for the same room by other providers — and he acted without confirming the necessary aspects that would have made his stay enjoyable.

        • Not one thing you said here is correct, but I won’t spend the night fighting with you. I could write two pages worth of words disputing every one of your points, but it doesn’t matter. Life is too short for small issues at hotels (which I acknowledged) and it is too short to sit here and refute every incorrect point you make. Every time I post something you will find fault in it and that is fine. You can continue to post your opinions as long as you are respectful and continue to use the same name, however I most likely will choose not to respond in the future.

          I hope you have an excellent night!

          • No, I don’t think you could fill a jot of even one page — and that is why you will not try.

            You are silent about the use of Choice hotel points, even though you often advocate their great cost per basis use. I think that silence is telling in this circumstance.

      • Yes this same person has commented here as Cassandra, Oswald, Harold and Horace (which I can confirm) and I believe others have said they commented at DoC as Colin. I did ask that they stop changing names and so far this person has stuck with Oswald for a few weeks.

        • He is also on DOC being a D-Bag as Horace…if he is Colin on there as well it explains a lot…just a troll living in his mom’s basement with nothing better to do.

  4. I like your blog, but I’m starting to wonder if you are one of those high maintenance guests who is hard to please.

    The Las Vegas story was somewhat strange too that you would change rooms 3 times and waste so much of your time because of a hair; tell them there is a hair and see if they can change the sheets while you are out and about. They gave you the look, because they deal with guests all day and can spot a troublemaker.

    As far as the Sweden experience; they have rooms with queens and twins, but that doesn’t mean all of them are available at any time. Unless you make your selection in advance, they will check people in as they arrive. It’s like saying, your website says the hotel has 3 floors, why isn’t there a room available at floor 2?

    Embrace the new culture and understand that not everything works like in the U.S., isn’t that why you are traveling?

    What’s the big deal of sharing a queen bed with your son for a couple of nights anyway?
    It’s stuff like that gives us Americans a bed rep in Europe.

    • Thanks Tom. The thing is I did book a room with an exact type of bed. As for the rate of my complaints, I stay in a lot of hotels. You are talking about 2 of the over 100 hotels I have stayed at in the past 18 months. I have written positive reviews of many of them, but I don’t write about a fraction of the properties I stay in.

      The room in Vegas was disgusting. Just in Vegas alone I have stayed at Aria, Palazzo, Riviera, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, the D and the Golden Nugget over the past year and have had no problems. Additionally, over the past few years I have stayed in a dozen more Vegas hotels and have never run into such an issue.

      You also completely misunderstood the point of my post. I wasn’t trying to condemn anyone and I used very tame words as a result. The fact is that Chase’s ability to resolve issues is hampered since they use another agent to actually book the reservations. As for judging me for not sleeping in the bed with my son? You have obviously never seen him sleep. He flops around and it isn’t pretty. 🙂

      Thanks for your opinions and for your readership.

      • There you go again — “The thing is I did book a room with an exact type of bed.”

        No, you did not.

        “Lets look at that description: ‘Cozy Queen – Twin Bed’.”

        A Queen Bed is 1 bed of a certain dimension an a Twin Bed is a bed of even smaller dimensions.

        Generally, when mentioning twin beds, it is the understanding that the room has two twin beds, but your description leave for no ambiguity — I am sorry I did not see this before — you booked sleeping accommodations with exactly ONE (1) Bed — a “Cozy Queen” or a Twin Bed.

        You did not book, as I commonly thought above — and when mention is often made on such websites — of a Queen Bed or TWO (2) Twin Beds.

        But you did not, you booked either a Queen Bed room or a Twin Bed in a room, and that’s it.

        No doubt, the room was deemed “Cozy” because it was quite small — or could have been quite small at the hotel’s discretion — and the room just did not support the presence of TWO (2) twin beds in the floor plan.

        Again, the fault lay not with the hotel, nor with the vendor, but in your belief that the description entitled YOU the CHOICE upon check-in to whatever room type you thought you were entitled to receive.

        You made the mistake — as did I– that your choice was TWO (2) Twin Beds — but it was not — it was a Cozy Room with with either ONE Queen Bed or ONE Twin Bed == you were promised and you were given a room with ONE BED, as you had contracted.

          • Unfortunately, apparently you did not.

            Re-read what you booked — a room with ONE bed, the plural “s” is not after the word bed, and even if it were, twin beds were nowhere guaranteed in your reservation.

            Sorry, but you have been foisted upon your own petard by searching for the great deal.

  5. Horace, why don’t you leave the guy alone? He is on vacation with his son and you are just proving to be….wait, what exactly are you proving? That you can get the last word in? That you can upset him while he is trying to enjoy himself?

    What possible joy or satisfaction could you get from your actions?

  6. “foisted upon your own petard”? The last time that happened to me I had to call a Whaambulance. I believe Horace was driving.

  7. Horace, you’re an asshole. The fact that you took the time to cyberstalk Shawn to see (incorrectly) what he does for a living, and then check award availability and chide him for making what you judged to be a bad use of award points further shows that you’re just here to be right and prove others wrong. If you want to share your experience, I think we all would welcome any blogger with experience and recommendation to share – in a positive and supportive way. However, judging by the tone of your responses above, and the fact that you’ve changed your profile name several times, I would prefer instead that Boarding Area BLOCK you from any further comments. Perhaps Shawn can help us with that.

  8. Great post. I am very sorry that you had this experience. But I have to say that, having just spent 2.5 months in Europe, this is not unexpected. When it comes to beds, Europe is not like the U.S. Queen beds are often not really queen-sized, etc. (I realize this is not your exact issue, but my point is that expectations not being met is a familiar theme.) Once outside the major international chains, there is always a significant risk that the beds will be less than you expect in every sense possible. Also, the customer is less frequently right, and out-of-the-box thinking is in somewhat scarcer. Your experience is a good reminder. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Really appreciate your blog and find a lot of value in your posts. I am trying to absorb as much knowledge as possible and posts like this are very helpful to me. BTW, I have three “floppy” boys myself so I can especially relate to that part of the problem that you had! Looking forward to hearing more about your trip – thanks!

  10. Chase just plain sucks. I don’t know why anyone would do business with them except for getting bonus points.
    As for giving US travelers a bad name. Europe is a full of poor socialist dip shits so who cares.
    Horace acts like one of them.

  11. I realize this is a tangent, but I once booked an IHG hotel (candlewood suites) in New Jersey, on the ihg site itself. Room type was two double beds. When my 6’5″ husband, two kids and I arrived, I was informed that the hotel “no longer” had rooms with two beds, they now only had one queen. I was dumbfounded. The clerk then explained that they would offer us a one bedroom (vs studio) but there were none available. She went on to suggest my kids sleep on the floor! At no time did she acknowledge that the “discrepancy” was a real problem. I just stood there until she reluctantly gave us a handicapped suite that she was supposed to keep open. When I reported this experience on the post-stay survey, I was rewarded with the standard “thanks for your loyal patronage” response.
    Just saying, even here, even with direct booking, nutsy things occur, SO it does seem like it may generally be preferable to keep the middlemen to a minimum.
    And kudos to you on your tempered response to the above comments. Good for you.

  12. I learned this lesson about potential issues booking international hotels thru third parties. I used USAA travel to book a villa in Thailand. The USAA website room category was “Double Pool Villa”. This was for adjoining & connected pool villas to obtain two queen side beds for family of four. When I get to Thailand, the resort had no record of my reservation for a the two adjoining villas. They would only give me one villa with one queen bed. They offered to bring in roll away beds for the two children. I had no way of communicating with 3rd party booking company as they were contracted by USAA. I learned that if using a 3rd party booking company, to always contact the hotel directly before arrival to understand the bed type I will be receiving.

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