“This Hotel Is Being Sold” Scam When The Hotel Wants To Raise Your Room Rate

On February 12, the Kansas City Chiefs will face off against the Philadelphia Eagles at State Farm Stadium in the Phoenix area.

Events like this drive up hotel room rates. But if you book a year in advance you can often reserve a room at normal pricing, or book nights on points. In either case, the hotel won’t make as much as they would charging several multiples of their normal room rate because of the Big Game.

The Hyatt Place Phoenix North took an unusual tack in getting rid of these guests. One customer reports booking a year in advance at a government rate for $165 – and receiving a phone call that ‘the hotel was being sold’.

Mitchell says the caller stated they were a third-party operator working for Hyatt. The caller told her the hotel was being sold and Mitchell would need to cancel her reservation.

“I said, ‘Well, is Hyatt going to be doing something? I don’t understand we have a reservation.’ She said, ‘Again, I work for a third party. I can’t help you, you need to cancel your room,'” Mitchell said.

The hotel is still selling rooms. The ‘standard rate’ for a base room is $999++.

However since a standard room is available for sale it is also available on points, a great deal for the night of the Super Bowl at 9500 points.

The hotel is not being sold or leaving Hyatt. According to a spokesperson,

Upon being notified of this claim, we immediately investigated with the third-party operator and understand this cancellation notice was made in error. We regret this confusion and understand the hotel is honoring this individual’s reservation and will be in touch with this guest accordingly.

The “third-party operator working for Hyatt” was, presumably, the hotel itself.

Several years ago the Durham Hilton near Duke University took reservations at its regular rates failing to update its systems to charge more money during Duke graduation. When they realized they’d sold rooms at regular price, they unilaterally cancelled the bookings.

These weren’t mistake rates. These were regular price rooms. The hotel just realized they could make more money. The Hilton chain did nothing about it.

Similarly there were numerous stories of hotels cancelling rooms all over Central Oregon for a solar eclipse, when travelers flocked there to experience the event.

While hotels usually honor their room rates, and honor bookings more often than Airbnb owners do, this isn’t an entirely uncommon situation. Shame on the Hyatt Place Phoenix North, but kudos to Hyatt for stepping up to ensure they honored the booking.

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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. For those wondering, this Hyatt Place appears to operated by Pacific Hospitality Group and owned by Mortenson.

  2. FWIW, I had the (unfortunate) experience of staying at this hotel in December 2021. They had a fire alarm that, for the two nights we stayed there, went off at the *exact same time* – 2am. At checkout I spoke w/ the front desk to complain and they said, “Yes, we’re very sorry – it’s a known issue that management hasn’t been willing to fix. It goes off at the same time so the front desk attendant is standing by to disable/reset the system as soon as it goes off at 2am.” It blew my mind. You can actually search their reviews on Google and see it mentioned over and over.

    I complained to Hyatt Corporate and received all of my points back, but, hearing that this same hotel is doing other underhanded/shady actions isn’t surprising based on my previous experiences with them.

  3. It’s called ”bait & switch”. I can’t believe that they can get away with this when it was/is clearly their fault. What is the point in booking well in advance if the hotel can switch prices for their own profit? These places are getting outrageous!

  4. Concidering what I have read about when someone pays for a discounted room on a pre-paid basis only to need to cancel the room for various reasons…the hotel will keep the money. Its funny how it works one way when the customer needs to cancel, but another when the hotel wants to cancel to book for more money.

    I once showed up with a prepaid reservation only to find they didn’t have any rooms. Interesting I thought, I’ve already paid for the room, and had I not shown up, I would not have gotten a refund. Which I pointed out to the clerk at the desk. I wasn’t mad, or upset. You get more flies with honey than with vinegar. I just pulled up the contract and pointed out that since the room was already paid for, they owed me a room of equivalent or higher standard. I got “walked” to a much nicer (and more expensive) hotel. You have to know your rights under the contracts. All of these contracts are written to favor the hotels.

    So, if you booked a room a year ago in the area of the stadium in Pheonix for a good rate, and it is pre-paid (which I generally don’t do unless it is just too good of a deal to pass up) good luck getting ahold of me! I’ll be showing up late that evening expecting my room as I reserved. If you don’t have the one I paid for, you better start looking for something as good, or nicer, and arranged if I need it, as well as give me a voucher if it is a ways away.

  5. It seems to me that as people learn about this scam, and if they cancelled at the behest of this 3rd party, they will be calling up Hyatt to “uncancel” their rooms expecting the rate they originally booked at.

    I have to wonder, will these practices ever end up in a court of law, or is the contract that vague.? I mean, if you can prove that the 3rd party misled you, isn’t that a misrepresentation of the facts, and possibly a violation of the contract, as well as a violation of the hotel’s agreement with Hyatt? When are these chains going to hold their hotels accountable for things like this? But I found the last paragraph interesting.:

    “The Let Joe Know team asked Hyatt if other people received cancellation notifications and if Hyatt is still using the same third-party operator. Hyatt has not responded.”

    You have to wonder why Hyatt hasn’t responded? Maybe the media needs to start reporting on things like this more, such as investigative reporting. Maybe a little shaming and scandal for these brands is needed.

  6. Amateurs.
    Pros hire Indian or Nigerian call centers to be the “third party” and tell them “it’s already been canceled. Sign here if you want your money back”.

    Many shady “small business” operators who are the loudest against any kind of regulation or.oversight..because…um….small business! Freedom! America! The children!

  7. You would think the hotel would know 5 years in advance of super bowl since it’s PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE where future super bowls are gonna be.

  8. This seems to happen more often with the Hyatt portfolio. Not too long ago, I had a confirmed booking on points at the Talbott in Chicago (moved to being a Marriott-flagged property) and Hyatt would only offer to “guarantee” my reservation for a cash surcharge demanded by the hotel on top of the points cost. While I understand properties do get de- and re-flagged, and I have had this happen to me before with an IHG portfolio property, the hotel honored all existing confirmed reservations. In this case, Hyatt didn’t offer any other alternatives beyond cancelling and rebooking to the next closest Hyatt albeit at a higher points cost, or move to a comparably inferior property at their normal redemption rate. I am surprised the Hyatt contract allows properties to pull this bait and switch.

  9. I stayed at this hotel november 2022. This is a dirty run down hotel and the management group is doing nothing to clean it up. I wouldn’t stay here at any price. Hyatt corporate needs to step in and take action against operator. It is tarnishing hyatt brand.

  10. The Super Bowl location is announced years in advance.
    You’d think the hotel would be paying attention…..

  11. The fact is they wanted him to cancel. Same scam some uber drivers do when they don’t like the ride (eg 10 blocks in Manhattan), they simply park out
    or just don’t move so after waiting a long time you cancel and pay them the cancel fare. If he prepaid he would just lose the money and have his complaints ignored.

  12. “Honor bookings more often than Airbnb owners do”.
    Would you have statistics to back this up or did you just pull this out of your, umm, rear entrance?

  13. “Upon being notified of this claim, we immediately investigated with the third-party operator and understand this cancellation notice was made in error.”

    What an absolute crock of ****. How exactly does a 3rd party get contracted in to call customers about a property sale which doesn’t exist.

    Agree this was likely the hotel. Shame y’all don’t have something like GDPR as we do in blighty. I’d be calling corporate/ HO & be reminding them that passing my data to a 3rd party without explicit, singular, consent carries a fine that starts at £50k & goes upwards real quick along with them having to submit to a full data audit at their expense before inviting them to have a think about those before they talked to me about the status award level and free nights they might find appropriate.

    Said hotel wouldn’t be pulling that stunt again I reckon.

    Tbh the “you need to cancel your reservation” was a massive red flag. & I’d just refuse to do so telling them to break the contract if they want and I’ll bill them my costs.

  14. Many years ago, hotels in Las Vegas used to triple their rates for the Comdex show which brought 150000 visitors to town.
    So one year I decided to reserve a whole motel and then resell it at triple the price. After we made the reservation, I get a call from the hotel saying they didn’t realize it was Comdex week and they are cancelling my reservation. I wanted to fight it in court if needed. My partner said we shouldn’t argue with them, this is Vegas and who knows maybe they are connected to the Mafia… So we cancelled ;-(

  15. I mean, if it really were a GSA rate booked by a fed on travel orders, it’d be quite bad not to honor the reservation. There are a lot of federal offices in KC and surely it’d be penny-wise/pound-foolish kill that golden goose.

  16. We had a similar experience after we booked rooms 6 months in advance in Steamboat Springs Colorado. We received a call and email saying Hilton was selling the property before our booking date and the reservation was cancelled with no recourse. Had to last minute book accomodations at double the price elsewhere. When we got to Steamboat the hotel was still open

  17. Selling a hotel doesn’t relieve owners of their legal obligations, including honoring existing bookings.

    If they don’t your only recourse is to sue, preferably in small claims court where the cost of doing so is minimal.

  18. Ssme issue with the Marriott Chandler. I booked a room the day the window opnened one year prior. Last December, someone from Prymaid Hotel Group called to say Marriott had faulty rates and he would have to cancel the reservation or increase the rate. The rate on the reservation was still being sold on the web at that time. After serious pushback, he relented. After reading reviews on the hotel it seems the hotel GM Brent Menzel did this to others.

  19. Same issue with the Marriott Chandler. I booked a room the day the window opened one year prior. Last December, someone from Prymaid Hotel Group called to say Marriott had faulty rates and he would have to cancel the reservation or increase the rate. The rate on the reservation was still being sold on the web at that time. After serious pushback, he relented. After reading reviews on the hotel it seems the hotel GM Brent Menzel did this to others.

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