I had purposely earned and used points from my affiliated credit card to book a stay at this Marriott hotel for an event on July 12,2014. We booked our room on April 22, 2014 using the rewards code we were given. A full page rewards certificate was mailed and we used this upon check in on 12Jul.
I should add that on 09Jul we were contacted by Maria via email and were asked to switch our reservation to a sister hotel, specifically the Hilton brand. After we confirmed that our reservation was redeeming a reward specific to Marriott she said never mind and we could keep our reservation. I thought that was odd.
Upon check in on 12Jul, the desk clerk was unsure about how to process the reward certificate. Maria was there and assisted her but they took my husband's credit card for incidentals. Okay we understood that and was assured his card would not be charged.
Our room was nicely decorated and clean. We had everything that we needed including a full kitchen. The bed was comfortable. Our breakfast the following morning was very good, and included eggs, sausage, potatoes, fruit and yogurt, juice and coffee.
Upon checking out 13Jul we were assisted by Laura and she confirmed what we were afraid of, the charge was on the account for the room, $150.29. She struggled with removing the charge authorization to my husband's credit card and finally printed out a receipt showing the charge against the card, still ensuring it would not go through. Laura took my husband's cell phone number and stated she would follow up with management and call back to confirm that everything was settled properly. We never heard back from her, but his card never showed the charge. However....
....I pulled up my credit card statement on 17July and found an authorization for this:
07/12/2014 RESIDENCE INNS ARU BWI, HANOVER. MD $310.00
Why on earth would they place an authorization on MY credit card that I never gave them? Even if it was the card I had earned the rewards on and redeemed the certificate for the stay, why would they need to do this and why for $310?
My husband called and spoke to Debra in management 17July and she assured the authorization would fall off in 5-7 business days. In anticipation of a large purchase, I needed the available credit to not be held up by an authorization that should have never been placed.
I contacted the credit card company 18Jul and was told to have the hotel manager fax a quick letter over to them stating they were not charging us the amount and they would remove the authorization freeing up the funds that day. We called the Residence Inn asking for a manager. Laura answered the phone and once she heard the matter, she didn't acknowledge or apologize for not following up as she had promised.
Debra came to the phone and stated she already talked to my husband yesterday about it. I explained that the credit card company could in fact release the funds if she would fax over the letter to their attention. Debra proceeded to tell me that she was busy with other people in the lobby, asking if I could hear them all in the background. I was stunned. What a way to let a customer know they are not important. She finally took the information and said she would try to get to it, if not it would be later on. Due to the non-committed response, I asked her to please call me back to let me know she was able to get the fax through. She took my number and I am sure you can guess that I never heard back from her.
We are Marriott rewards members and I am not going to go through all of the hotel affiliations that we have besides Marriott, but what I will say is that they have made it crystal clear from the start of this whole situation, we should be choosing someone else for our hotel stays. As of today, a whole week later, the authorization is still on my card.
While the room and food lived up to our expectations the most important part, customer service miserably failed. It was appalling and unacceptable that we were lied to twice during an experience like this and we will be sure to share this with everyone we know going forward.
Save yourself the trouble and frustration of incompetent people and poor customer service, go with Hilton or anyone else.