Hotel Cancels All Summer Reservations To Take More Lucrative Bookings, Hilton Shrugs

Last week I wrote about how your hotel award nights are never guaranteed, that when a hotel leaves a chain it may not honor future award bookings though it will almost always honor paid reservations.

You’ll hope that the chain whose points you used will make good to you, getting you booked into another hotel of equivalent of better quality at the same points cost. I’ve seen chains even pay cash for hotel stays at properties outside of their brand. But it doesn’t always work out that way.

What never occurred to me is that this can even happen when a hotel doesn’t even leave the chain as in the case of the DoubleTree Grand Naniloa Hotel Hilo. That hotel shows sold out from June 4 – August 19. Guests with existing reservations have had those cancelled. But despite claims to the contrary, the hotel isn’t closed. They just decided they were better off dishonoring existing bookings and selling out the entire hotel to an event. No cookies for you!

Credit: DobleTree Hilo

There turns out to be a smoking gun. The hotel ownership says on video they went ahead and rented out all rooms at the property under an event contract instead, of honoring bookings, redemption or paid, calling it a “windfall.”

One guest with a booking there reached out to me because, he complained, nothing is being done to help those who had reservations. Time has passed, rates at other properties have gone up, they have airline tickets but are now stuck.

Hilton responded letting me know that the hotel “is an independently owned and operated property” so they “cannot speak on the hotel’s behalf.” When pressed further they offered,

Hilton is committed to providing a high standard of service and will always do our best to accommodate all guests. In the rare event we are unable to accommodate a reservation, we will work with the guest(s) to provide alternate accommodations at one of our nearby properties. Hilton Honors Point redemptions will be refunded in full should the hotel be unable to accommodate the reservation.

I’ve had stays where the hotel preferred to rent out the room I’d booked to someone else. They contacted me and offered me a deal I couldn’t refuse, and were open to negotiation. On a points stay in Thailand a Sheraton there – which had the opportunity for a sell-out to host a wedding – paid to put me up in a premium suite at a Westin and cover meals as well.

I’ve now reached out to the hotel’s General Manager to see what can be done for the guest who contacted me.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. This is theft and should be treated as such. Refunding the cost of the hotel refund ignores all the other expenses to get to the hotel, the reason for the trip and the time invested.

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