I usually do not frequent the Choice Hotels but have a family gathering Christmas in Covington, LA. While we usually stay at the Hilton or Hyatt, the Clarion Inn and Convention Center accommodations (a two bedroom suite for my wife and two teenage sons) for the week seemed the best choice.
I went to their website and was readily able to find that the awards rate was 20K points/night. I then transferred the points needed from my AE Platinum card and went to book the room. Although my account has and now shows 142K points, every time I would click to reserve with pts, I received an error message indicating I had less than 20K points.
I contacted member services; spoke to Joe who informed me that I could not book with/use the reward points until 30 days prior to our intended stay. Nowhere on their website is this information readily available. After 30 minutes on the phone with Joe, I was transferred to a supervisor who for the next 15 minutes, explained to me that she could do nothing.
AE does not let you transfer the points back. Being Xmas week and that their site showed only two of this type room available for my dates, waiting an additional 5 weeks will mean that someone else books this room.
So Clarion left me high and dry. I cannot use the points at their hotel; cannot use them somewhere else; and cannot get them refunded back to AE. Great Customer Service, huh?
So I reserved the room on my card and even though the supervisor said that it most likely cannot be done, will try and switch to points within the 30 day period. From a business point of view, regardless of the ridiculously poor customer service and questionable legality of their actions, if I cannot use the points, the hotel will not be able to sell the room anyway.
My reservation can be cancelled 22 December and I will wait until the last minute to do so hoping that they will do the right thing and honor their commitment. By the 22nd, no one will be looking to book the entire Xmas week – everyone will already have finalized their plans. So Clarion ends up with an empty room, the loss of a potential loyal customer (loyalty after all is based on service) and the publicity from me on Yelp, Hotels.com and Tripadvisor.
So be forewarned that the Clarion – and I would imagine all of the inns/lodges under their “Choice Privileges” banner – is not only far from the quality of other hotels but uses deception (which I am fairly sure is illegal – even in Louisiana) to swindle customers out of their privilege – and money.
I will update this posting if something changes but if I do not...
- Also Known As:
- Clarion Inn & Hotel Covington
- Clarion Inn & Hotel
- Clarion Inn And Suites Conference Center
- Holiday Inn Covington
- Covington Holiday Inn
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Gold Award-Winning (Top 10% in Service for Choice Hotels 2014) Gated Full Service Hotel with Restaurant on Site Large Indoor/Outdoor Heated Swimming Pool Over 8,500 square feet of Meeting Space for Conferences, Conventions, Banquets, Receptions, and much more Located Conveniently near I-12 (just off of Exit 63B) and less than 30 miles from New Orleans via the Causeway Bridge ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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