Why is the Grand Hyatt refusing to refund her Broadway tickets?

After Mary Quintal cancels her visit to New York, the hotel concierge at the Grand Hyatt promises to refund her Broadway tickets. But the refund never comes, and it looks like her hotel plans to keep her money. Now what?

Question

I’m a Hyatt Gold Passport Member and have always enjoyed staying at Hyatt hotels. I recently had to cancel a trip to the Grand Hyatt New York because my husband had a professional obligation to his clients.

When I made my reservation last July, I contacted the Grand Hyatt’s concierge and purchased tickets to Chicago and Beautiful, as well as admission to the Empire State Building. When I canceled, the concierge told me in an email that they could refund my Broadway tickets as well as the Empire State Building tickets. She promised that the Grand Hyatt would apply the refund to my American Express card.

The refund never showed up. I’ve called and emailed the Hyatt for six months, and they have given me a number of excuses, including that their computers were “down” and that they didn’t have my American Express number. I still have the mail from the concierge, showing a $568 refund is due for my Broadway tickets and the other prepaid admissions. I need help! — Mary Quintal, Lafayette, Calif.

Answer

I’m sorry you had to cancel your trip to New York. Visiting the Empire State Building and seeing a Broadway show are two bucket-list items. Normally, tickets like that are nonrefundable. In fact, the Empire State Building tickets can’t be refunded according to the terms of your purchase, no matter what your concierge says, so let’s take those off the table.

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It turns out you had an email from your concierge, promising that the ticket broker could refund two of the three tickets if — and only if — they could be resold. And you had another email saying that, indeed, they resold the tickets.

Great job on keeping your paper trail! Those emails were money in the bank. If the concierge had done this by phone, you might have been out of luck. Your case underscores the importance of doing everything in writing and preserving every email.

Will the Grand Hyatt finally refund her Broadway tickets?

It’s not clear why they delayed your refund for almost six months. Maybe the Hyatt’s computers were down, though I doubt they were offline for half a year. Maybe they didn’t have your card number, but it looks like you gave it to them and they still didn’t send the money. A brief, polite email to one of Hyatt’s executive contacts might have helped. I list their names, numbers and email addresses on my consumer advocacy site.

I contacted Hyatt on your behalf. John Schafer, the Grand Hyatt New York’s general manager, apologized to you “for any inconvenience” and offered a full refund, as promised.

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or check out his adventures on his family adventure travel site. Contact him at chris@elliott.org. Read more of Christopher's articles here.

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