It’s pretty well known that I’m a loyalty tart. Give me a discount, some points and a freebie and I enter some sort of erotic heaven. Utilising this firm tends to give me standard price, big cashback via TopCashback and a free night for every ten nights I stay, without the need to be loyal to a specific hotel brand.
That’s not to say I won’t book elsewhere if the price and perks are better. Utilising low value personal Holiday Inn Express bookings with work related stays last year direct with the IHG reward scheme and their “Accelerate” promotion has netted me a couple of free nights in Santiago, one in Milan and one in Helsinki later this year. Retail value nearing £500 for not having used my preferred boys.
But I digress. On the 18th March I received an email from Hotels.com telling me I now have their silver status. The main perks seemed rather limited but a one off voucher code offering “double free night” accrual caught my eye. With a seven night booking due to be made I joyously dived in and used the code provided, excitingly thinking about the extra 0.7 free nights I could spend elsewhere.
Then the red text appeared on the screen. “Your voucher is out of date”. I scrambled back to the happy email telling me how I’m going to receive spam earlier to discover an expiry date of 13th March on the relevant voucher. That’s five days before they sent me their email. Genius!
Never mind, I have exclusive silver status phone and email access. So I completed the booking without the code and fired off an email explaining what they’d done and asking them to apply the extra free night credits accordingly.
A reply a few hours later simply stating that they couldn’t do this as I hadn’t booked via their USA web site. Email number two was prepared. Phrases like “up yours” and “bastards” were typed and deleted. A more sedate sequence of events prose was constructed highlighting the difficulty a supposedly loyal customer has utilising out of date vouchers and querying why I would have to use a USA site when every previous booking had been via their UK presence. I avoided mentioning Trump, being a bit late for the Second World War and didn’t explain that their version of football has got it so wrong.
A day passed and their reply arrived. No mention of the USA v UK stuff but what seemed like a genuine apology and delivery of a new voucher code. But to apply it to my completed booking I’d have to cancel and start again. No availability at that destination!
I have my code. I just don’t have anything to book with it just yet and it’s unlikely I’ll get 0.7 free nights earned. A shorter stay probable for my next booking.
I won’t take it further. Their vouchers often block TopCashback earning which I’ve achieved. It’s just a good reminder to consider other options going forwards. Especially as my fancy new American Express card has just given me higher levels of status when booking direct with three or four other hotel groups.
They’re no good for a more rustic independent bed and breakfast offering though.