“It’s a Christmas miracle”

If you live in the Midwest, I don’t need to tell you that you’re having a white Christmas. A very white Christmas.

But for Christopher Clauson, it was almost a blue Christmas (cue Elvis, please). He’d booked a room on Dec. 24 at the Allerton Hotel in Chicago through Hotwire. As many of you know, Hotwire’s rooms are discounted, but they’re also completely nonrefundable — no exceptions.

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When Clauson and his partner could not make it to Chicago because of the blizzard, they thought they’d lose their hotel room. He wasn’t expecting what he calls a “Christmas miracle.”

I am fully aware that bookings are non-refundable — but while $236 and some change isn’t a lot to some people, it’s a substantial amount for me as I’m a full-time student with a lot of medical bills I’m paying due to an illness last year.

Long story short, I called Hotwire in the hopes that perhaps they’d allow me to modify the dates for the booking so that we could travel at a later date. I was civil and respectful and stated that I understood the policy, but wanted to see if there was anything they could do.

Marshall from Hotwire put me on hold for a few minutes, and when he came back he told me that he’d checked the weather and traffic reports for our route, confirmed that travel to Chicago would not be advisable, and promised me a full refund. I’ve already received a receipt for said refund from PayPal.

I’m in a state of happy shock right now. I figured that since you hear day in and day out about so many negative experiences people have with the travel industry, I thought I’d share my story since it has a happy ending.

Indeed, Hotwire’s terms seem ironclad. “All bookings are final and cannot be changed, refunded, exchanged, cancelled, or transferred to another party,” it says.

Except on Christmas Eve. During a blizzard.

(Photo: Pink Sherbet Photography/Flickr Creative Commons)

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