I slept with my companion and I want a refund

Jarrett Wilson’s Hotwire rooms have “guaranteed” single beds. Oh wait, no they don’t. What now?

Question: I booked two rooms with Hotwire at the InterContinental Milwaukee that were “guaranteed room type” according to the itinerary and website. When I got to the hotel, they said there is no way for Hotwire to guarantee room type because Hotwire doesn’t have access to the hotel system.

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The hotel only had two rooms available that had separate beds. I called Hotwire to try to resolve the issue and was told they would call the hotel. They never did. I was humiliated because my traveling companions were not happy with the accommodations and were not comfortable sleeping in the same bed together.

At this point it was close to midnight and we had no other options but to try and make it work. Long story short, I would not have booked that hotel or with Hotwire if the room type could not be guaranteed.

They lie about the guarantee and I feel it is false advertising. When I sent an email to Hotwire, they felt that reasonable compensation was a $50 Hotdollar credit I could use on my next stay. I declined, telling them that was not reasonable and asked for a refund. They said the $50 Hotdollars was their final offer.

I would like a refund of my stay as they falsely advertised and didn’t deliver on their guarantee. — Jarrett Wilson, Garland, Texas

Answer: If Hotwire promised you rooms with separate beds, then it should have delivered rooms with separate beds. While Hotwire doesn’t have direct access to your hotel’s inventory, it can request — and because it’s a Hotwire, it can also receive — the room it wants. That didn’t happen.

Our advocacy team checked with Hotwire, and its records show that it requested the room, but the hotel wouldn’t give it to you.

“Unfortunately, this is not uncommon when guests do not book directly,” an InterContinental representative told us. “In nearly every case, despite what the online travel agency has offered, the reservation is booked as a standard room.”

InterContinental says a representative from the corporate office spoke with the property and verified that the room you would have received through Hotwire would have been a “standard” room like the one you ended up in.

“Of course, the hotel would always do its best to accommodate requests at check-in based upon availability,” the representative added.

Let’s get this out of the way. Contacts for Hotwire and InterContinental. You could have appealed to them, of course. I’m not sure it would have changed the answer.

How about Hotwire?

“In this instance, Mr. Wilson booked a room with two beds through our Hot Rate offering,” a representative agreed. “But when he arrived the hotel offered him a room with one bed. The hotel should have honored his original booking.”

There’s an awful lot of finger-pointing going on here, and you seem to be stuck in between. Is a full refund in order? Maybe, maybe not. You didn’t receive the rooms you wanted. Then again, you and your traveling companions did have rooms for the night.

Hey, I’ve been there. I remember checking into a hotel in Brussels several years ago with a colleague. We were attending a conference. We’d confirmed a room with two beds but they only had a room with one. Oh, and did I mention that my colleague’s girlfriend joined us? True story. (I know what you’re thinking. Nothing unsavory happened on my side of the bed, I promise.)

After reviewing your complaint, Hotwire disabled the feature that allows you to choose a room type for the InterContinental Milwaukee. It also refunded the $377 you spent on your accommodations.

14 thoughts on “I slept with my companion and I want a refund

  1. Except for researching hotel properties, I have long ago stopped booking through any of the on-line travel agencies and go directly to the hotel’s website. The rates are almost always the same and you will get exactly the kind of room you have requested.

    1. You are right. Hotels are on a mission to get rid of the OTAs. They deny it, but anyone not booking directly with the hotel is treated shabbily.

  2. What shocks me is this was an Intercontinental! High end, they “usually” will do almost anything to make guests comfortable. In this case, at a minimum they should have brought in a rollaway bed (which they definitely would have) OR if that one bed was a king, they should have been able to split it.

    1. standard rooms do not have space for a rollaway – and a standard king is not one that can be split, and most hotels do NOT have a California king, which can be.

      1. I don’t know about the splitability of the standard kings, but most standard rooms at Intercons and others do seem to have sufficient space, even if they would have to move out an easy chair and small table.

  3. Of course book direct, but if Hotwire makes a promise for a specific room on the website, they are responsible for it. It was absurd for them to try and pass the buck.

  4. The headline is funny! This is definitely at Hotwire for presenting the useless bed selection option. Any reasonable person would assume that feature actually did something.

  5. This is was a good resolution. It should also be a lesson that when you really need something specific no matter what an OTA claims, your success rate improves greatly the more direct contact you have with a property. You wouldn’t have been able to save the couple of dollars you did, but in my opinion its worth it.

  6. We had an issue with rooms my brother booked through hotels.com. It took about two hours on the phone back and forth between the hotel and hotels.com to fix the error (which thankfully, my brother had kept all of his emails to prove he had indeed changed the reservation and it was verified by hotels.com). I rarely use Expedia any more for this very reason, unless they are significantly cheaper, and sometimes they are.

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