If you book a room with one bed, you should expect a room with one bed

Moinuddin Sayed booked a room on Priceline with one bed, which is exactly what the Sheraton Rockville gave him.

“I asked about changing to a room with two double beds, and was told it would cost $20 extra per night,” he says.

Sayed doesn’t want to pay the extra $20 and thinks we should help him get the fee waived. And you can probably guess our answer. But in this story, there’s an important truth about getting what you pay for: It cuts both ways.

Sayed’s circumstances are a little complicated. When he called Sheraton the second time, it told him his room did have two double beds.

“I asked about my room charges and was told my total amount would be what I had paid through Priceline,” he says. “After this call, I understood that the two double beds was a free upgrade.”

It wasn’t.

“At checkout, I was charged $60 extra for the double beds. I complained, but was told I had been informed about the charge. I had a flight to catch, so I had to leave,” he says.

So, to recap: First call, extra charge; second call, no extra charge; at check out — surprise! — an extra $60 on the bill.

“After returning home, I called the hotel and corporate customer care several times, but to no avail,” he says. “I don’t care as much about the $60 as I do the hotel being dishonest. Would you recommend that I initiate a chargeback on my credit card for the $60?”

When you book a hotel through Priceline, you’re paying a lower rate for the room. The reduced price often has restrictions disallowing changes and cancellations. That can include changes to the type of room booked. Priceline’s terms disclose that cheaper hotel rates “carry special restrictions and conditions, for example regarding cancellation and refund. Please check the room and rate details thoroughly for any such conditions prior to making your reservation.”

Related story:   Hawaiian Airlines

Although Sayed sent an email to Priceline’s customer care, he also could have tried to contact Priceline’s corporate executives for help. We list executive contact information for companies on our website company contacts page.

At the suggestion of our advocates, Sayed posted his question to our help forums.

Our forums are staffed by travel industry experts, and often read by company executives. Our forum advocates felt that he booked a restricted rate for the room and the hotel disclosed and rightfully charged the upgraded room cost. The forum advocates also felt that a credit card chargeback would be false because Sayed confirmed that he used both beds during his stay.

Although there appeared to be a misunderstanding about the upgrade rate, our advocates didn’t feel that this was a case that could be advocated.

Should Sheraton have honored its promise to not charge Sayed?

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Diane Perera

Diane and her family love to travel, and they do so as much as they can. Having experienced the downside of travel, and having learned so much from Elliott.org, led Diane to become an advocate and to help fight the good fight.

  • Mel65

    Sounds a little bit like the OP wanted to do sort of a rivers baked and switch here. It is perfectly reasonable to expect if you ask for an extra bed that there will be an extra charge.


    You always stress to get information in writing to prove what was said in a phone call. This is a classic example of why that written proof is important. We have only the OP’s word that he was promised 2 beds with no additional charge. And most hotels go over the rate you are being charged at check-in and guests often sign or initial a form acknowledging the rate. That form would have showed the higher rate. Every Sheraton I have stayed at in the past year does that. I doubt there was a promise and I do not think the OP is owed anything.

  • Lloyd Johnston

    I twice tried using Priceline and name your price. The first time, I did get a ridiculously cheap room on my first bid ($50), but I knew from the disclosures I was given, that it would only have 1 bed, which was fine, it was just going to be my wife and myself. I would not have tried it if we were bringing the kids. Nice hotel, only issue was the pool was closed for renovations — likely why I was able to get it so cheap, normally would have been about $175 per night.

    The second time I tried it (over a few days), none of my bids were accepted, and I got to the point where, for that price, for a few dollars more, I might as well just book direct and have the flexibility and ability to talk directly to the hotel and get exactly what I want.

    How many people have these kinds of issues when they book direct as compared to going through a third party? I don’t think you can save enough to justify the headaches with a third party. A previous job had me travelling a lot. I was responsible for booking my own accommodations, and I started with using 3rd party, but had 2 issues on two consecutive stays, and couldn’t deal with the hotel direct.

    Comes down to the fact that when you use a 3rd party, you really aren’t the hotel’s customer.

    So I quit using the 3rd party sites, and started booking direct and any issue since was quickly solved with a quick chat with the front desk clerk — at worst, once they had to get the hotel manager, but I think that was more a case of a new clerk not 100% sure of procedure. Since I was their customer, and was a member of their loyalty program, it was a very different, and much more productive relationship. And really, the price was pretty close, if not equal. And best of all, no non-refundable reservations, as long as I cancelled by 18h00 the day of arrival.

  • Blamona

    Sounds like the one pulling a bait and switch was the guest. Booked a lowball room on an OTA and wanted a free upgrade. He’s right it’s not about the money- it’s about his booking 1 bed price and using 2

  • AJPeabody

    Promise? Prove it!

  • y_p_w

    I’m kind of confused. There are many ways to book on Priceline. They have their own bidding process and one where a set price is available without disclosing the hotel name. That comes with double occupancy standard but room type is up to the management. I have gotten two beds that way when the hotel said that was all they had.

    They also have traditional bookings where one can pick the hotel and the room type can be chosen, such as one queen, one king, two full, two queen, etc. Those prices may not necessarily be discounted or any discount is small.

    If they did tell him that he would be upgraded at no extra charge then yes he shouldn’t have been charged.

  • Lindabator

    since he booked thru Priceline, they may have a difference in fare the hotel does not normally charge – which is why you check with Priceline for any changes, or just expect extra fees

  • The Original Joe S

    Priceline? Another OTA? DUH??????????????????

  • The Original Joe S

    This shows why you should book directly, and not thru some dirtbag outfit. You pay a coupla bucks more; consider that insurance.

  • y_p_w

    If a rep says the customer isn’t going to be charged for it, then is it reasonable to charge for it later?

    I’ve gone to a hotel asking if I could get two beds, but with the caveat that I wasn’t going to pay extra for it. If someone there says the change is free, it’s a bait and switch if they charge for it later. Doesn’t matter that I asked for it; they need to inform me that it’s going to cost more. If it will, then the customer has the option to decline.

  • y_p_w

    Again, it depends on how you book. Priceline has non-opaque options where the bed type can be selected, although that’s typically a preference and not a guarantee. They don’t have an option for more than standard double occupancy, but I’ve been able to request more and never got anyone telling me I’d be charged extra. Right now I’m trying a hotel on Priceline near where I live and it’s saying double occupancy, but that all children (under 18) can stay for free with existing beds and that under 2 can stay with a cot/crib.

    I’ve actually done the opaque booking thing and requested two beds for a group of four. They had zero issue with it. I’ve even had two rooms with two kids, and they had no issue bringing in cribs. Many don’t make an issue of it because it’s often not worth arguing over small amounts.

    All sorts of travel agencies can sell hotel rooms. You’re still the customer, and any hotel that treats a guest like they’re unwelcome because of it has no business being in the customer service field.

  • pauletteb

    We only have the OP’s word that he was told there would be no upcharge, and his word doesn’t seem to be worth much.

  • pauletteb

    Just because he claims that’s what he was told doesn’t mean it’s true.

  • Attention All Passengers

    Actually when comparing third party travel websites versus direct hotel booking with hotel websites, I have found the prices are identical – without all the hassle of using a middleman to change/ fix/ lie to me.

  • y_p_w

    Do you assume that the LW is lying about it?

  • y_p_w

    Wow. That’s a lot to infer from so little information.

  • Bill___A

    I don’t see why this is even an issue Pay the extra $20 for the extra bed, it is not unreasonable all things considered. If people complain about things like that, it isn’t helping anyone.

  • Mel65

    Actually the OP was told that his room would be an extra charge of $20 per night if he asked for a second bed. Since he’d already been told that and additional bed would be an additional charge, I’m not sure why he called back a second time and then claims that in that second call he was told there would be no additional charge. When there’s a dispute about the communication then I think you have to go back to the original contract and in this case he originally contracted for and paid for a one-bed room

  • joycexyz

    He booked through Priceline. Perhaps if he had booked through the hotel there wouldn’t have been an additional charge. And the second rep wasn’t aware of the original booking.

  • joycexyz

    Sometimes they do. Or we don’t get the whole story.

  • joycexyz

    Very good points. I can’t understand why people persist in thinking with their wallets. And the savings are usually insignificant.

  • joycexyz

    That’s the problem–so little info. Happens a lot. We get only the OP’s side of the story.

  • joycexyz

    But it’s the principle! Ha, ha!

  • y_p_w

    Well – I’ve booked on Priceline before – including bids, Express Deals, and regular OTA bookings. The only rule is that it’s double-occupancy, and with the regular booking that may include a room type choice. Other than that it’s “run of the house” meaning anything can be assigned at the discretion of the management, and I’ve gotten everything from single beds to two room suites with a sofa bed.

    I certainly wouldn’t want to be in the situation where I’ve already paid for it, all they have available is two bed rooms, and I’m told I have to pay extra for it. Equally worse are the cases where they ask for if the guest wants an upgrade for an extra cost, and then when the guests says no they give it anyways because that’s all they have left.

  • y_p_w

    We’re not getting the whole story because they didn’t take the case.

    I get that there are certain situations where the LW admits to a lot of things that make it hard to advocate on their behalf. This sounds to me like something that could be advocated.

  • y_p_w

    Again, way too little information, such as whether or not the price was an Express Deal, a Name Your Own Price bid, or the standard process like one would book a room through Hotels.com, Expedia, Booking.com, etc. They also have prepaid discounted rates for non-opaque.

    I’m just checking out what happens with a specific hotel in my area booking on Priceline. It’s giving a bunch of options. The lowest price is actually a room with two double beds, which matches the price for a single queen bed. One king bed sells for a premium.

    If it’s their opaque options, it’s never really “one bed”. Their standard is double occupancy and it’s “run of the house” meaning they assign whatever they have, which may even be two doubles. This is what it says:

    All rooms will accommodate up to 2 people. Any Special requests should be requested through your confirmed hotel and cannot be guaranteed by Priceline.

    And for Name Your Own Price:

    All rooms will accommodate up to 2 adults. Requests for bed types (King, Queen, 2 Doubles, etc.) or other special needs (including preferences for smoking or non-smoking rooms) should be requested through your confirmed hotel and cannot be guaranteed.

    Personally I think his biggest mistake was asking for any kind of “pre check-in”. Go ahead and ask the question, but anything with a credit card should be handled on site in front of a person.

  • Mel65

    We went through Expedia for Hotel in Las Vegas last week I booked and had confirmation for for king-size rooms all on the same floor I called the hotel 2 days in advance was told oh sorry we only have two kings and two double Queens but will put you on the same floor. The day we got there we all checked in we had four double Queens all on different floors. Not a huge big deal but it was irritating after being asked out family block wouldn’t be split up. They haf given away all the king size rooms to other customers–who probably booked directly with the hotel rather than through Expedia–U suppose. And I don’t know but I assume that in the hotel world perhaps anything bigger than a twin size bed is considered worthy of double occupancy? I don’t know…

  • jsn55

    Seems reasonable to confirm the rate when you check in. Knowing that you’ve been quoted two different rates on the phone and not asking about it at checkin seems a little squirrely to me.

  • y_p_w

    Assigning rooms is really more like herding cats. Sometimes I don’t know how nearly full (or full) hotels manage to handle various room types, special requests, overlapping dates, etc without issues. It’s like trying to fit everything into a puzzle. However, I’ve

    The most I requested is one time was adjoining rooms linking two separate reservations, but I was told that the best they could do was rooms across from each other. I actually bid on Priceline for one room and then tried again for the second room hoping I’d get the same hotel. I didn’t try to link them together until I got there.

    I’ve certainly tried it all, including the time my wife bid on a resort hotel in Maui for myself and my in-laws. She basically just asked for two double beds and got it at no extra charge although we never told them it was for two more guests. Most hotels never seemed to care even if we told them we had more than two adults per room.

  • PsyGuy

    Sheraton didn’t promise anything to the LW. They made a simple communication error, and the LW wants to take advantage of it.

  • Barry

    Usually when I book rooms (admittedly directly with Starwood) the rates are the same for a room with one bed or two.

  • Michael__K

    It sounds that way only because the article mis-characterizes the linked forum thread…..

  • Michael__K

    This article mis-characterizes the forum thread that is linked and omits crucial information….

    1) The OP explicitly asked for the upgrade offer to be emailed before deciding. She never received the promised email and when she followed-up to ask about the missing email was when she was told she already was assigned two double beds and was promised there was no additional charge.

    2) One advocate who misunderstood the OP’s question expressed that a credit chargeback was against Priceline (which is not what the OP was suggesting or asking about) would not be warranted.

    At least three other advocates agreed that a dispute of just the $60 additional fee levied by the hotel was entirely appropriate.

  • Michael__K

    She doesn’t need to prove it. To prevail in a chargeback, the hotel needs to prove that she consented to the additional upgrade charge.

  • y_p_w

    That’s for a direct booking. I looked up Priceline for this very hotel (Sheraton Rockville) in a few weeks, and non-opaque they have several options including prepaid non-refundable and free cancellation. The free cancellation rates are much higher (about $26). They have several double double rates, and the cheapest non-refundable rate is $5 more than single king.

    This sounds like it was a prepaid bid or possibly an Express Deal. Even the prepaid rates have bed-type choices. The opaque bookings are “run of the house”.

  • Michael__K

    If you check the referenced forum thread, the OP did in fact ask for the upgrade offer in writing…. And the OP was asked to sign a blank authorization form for incidentals before arrival– they did not consent to the additional fee and ought to prevail in a chargeback.

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