My recent stay at the Andaz West Hollywood in Los Angeles was incredible in many ways. From the exceptional service standards and the grandeur of the property, the stay was close to perfect. Unfortunately, the checkout experience derailed the perfect ending to this story. Until I was compensated with 50,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points.

Backstory

I had booked a points+cash rate (10,000 + $125 USD/night) for 4 nights at the Andaz West Hollywood. A few weeks later, I jumped on an opportunity to buy discounted e-Gift Card (e-GC) via cardcash.com .  With a specific use in mind, at 17% discount, bought Hyatt e-GC worth $600 USD for my stay and planned to use it towards the cash portion of my booking. I promptly received the e-GC in email and verified the balance on the cards through the Hyatt system, multiple times before my stay. All checked out fine.

Hyatt e-Gift Card confirmation

Hyatt e-Gift Card confirmation

 

The issue

During check out my request to use Hyatt e-Gift card (e-GC) was denied by the staff quoting recent fraud activities. When I challenged that decision and asked to speak with the manager, the front line manager reiterated the recent fraud activities as the reason. He also said it would not be an issue if these were physical Hyatt gift cards but they were unable to accept any e-GC at this time. Manager’s dismissive attitude towards the e-GC was rather odd and felt condescending. When I pulled up the Hyatt e-Gift Card Terms and Conditions and shared that the property was listed as one that accepts e-GC, the manager deflected the onus on the General Manger and said he was instructed to not accept e-GC’s, especially ones issued by third parties (cardcash.com in my case). Realizing this conversation was not going anywhere, I settled the final bill with my credit card and decided to take it up with Hyatt Corporate.

Hyatt Corporate

I sent a detailed email of my experience to consumeraffairs@hyatt.com and requested that my money be refunded in full, back on my credit card in exchange for the e-GC. In a few days, received a call from a person claiming to be from Hyatt Relations and acknowledged receipt of my email. He mentioned that my case was being evaluated and wanted  the digits to my e-GC, to ascertain legitimacy and verify the balance. Obviously, did not give that up over a an incoming phone call, instead took down his details, a call back number and hung up. I called the Diamond line and was able to verify that the person was in fact a Hyatt staff member, and was transferred directly to him as well. Upon noting down the digits of my e-GC, he assured a call back with a resolution. After two days of nervous waiting, I heard back from Hyatt relations again. Balance on my  e-GC checked out as expected but they were unable to determine if it was issued by Hyatt to begin with. I was offered 40,000 gold passport points as compensation. My counter-offer was 50,000, for the charade this had turned out to be. I was put on a quick hold and the representative confirmed the 50,000 points being added to my Hyatt gold passport account. They confirmed my e-GC’s had active balance that I could use for my next stay, but each property was within their right to decline a gift card issued by a third party. Didn’t want to question that at the time. Said thank you and hung up.

Compensation posted - 50,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points

Compensation posted – 50,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points

 

Once bitten twice shy

I did not want to go though this ordeal again and decided to contact customer support for cardcash.com and requested a refund for the e-gift card transaction since Hyatt had declined to accept them. Expected a lot of back and forth but was pleasantly surprised with their prompt and professional customer support. I was contacted within 48 hours with specific instructions to process a refund.  Refund posted on my credit card within 3 business days 🙂

CardCash refund confirmation

CardCash refund confirmation

Takeaway

50,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points ofcourse! 🙂 On a serious note, Hyatt corporate and the twitter team have always come through with their incredible customer service, kudos to them! If you find yourself in a similar situation, keep calm, verify the terms of usage and contact the corporate office or customer relations for a resolution. Make sure your email is concise, stick to the issue at hand and state exactly what you expect as a solution. Be polite.

Have you experienced  issues with hotel e-gift card as a form of payment? Share with a comment below.