What to do when a hotel changes affiliation and won't honor your points reservation
TPG reader Ilan was looking forward to a stay at Atlantic City's Ocean Casino Resort in January 2020. He'd made a reservation for two rooms using World of Hyatt points back in October. But Hyatt recently reached out to tell him that the resort, currently part of The Unbound Collection, will exit its relationship with Hyatt effective Jan. 1, 2020 -- and his points reservation won't be honored.
Hyatt told Ilan he could rebook with the new owner with a paid rate, and offered 12,000 points -- the cost of one night at this Category 3 property -- as a goodwill gesture. TPG currently values World of Hyatt points at 1.7 cents each, so 12,000 points is worth $204. But Ilan didn't feel this was adequate compensation, as he still wants to visit Atlantic City in January.
Is there anything else Ilan can do other than rebook at Ocean Casino Resort at the paid rate, or look elsewhere for accommodations?
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Here's what a Hyatt spokesperson had to say when TPG reached out for comment:
"As of Jan. 1, 2020, at 12 a.m., Ocean Resort Casino will no longer be operated as part of The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand or affiliated with Hyatt in any other way. We are working with the hotel operator to ensure a smooth transition for guests. Our most important priorities are to care for our guests and to support our colleagues through the upcoming changes ...."
"Existing hotel reservations, except for World of Hyatt award stays, will not be affected due to this brand change. After Dec. 31, 2019, World of Hyatt members will not be eligible to receive World of Hyatt program benefits when staying at the hotel, including earning World of Hyatt points and redeeming World of Hyatt points or free night awards. Please know we are working with the hotel operator to minimize any disruption in service to guests, including moving World of Hyatt redemption reservations to paid rates if members wish. World of Hyatt members with free night redemptions stays scheduled at this hotel after Dec. 31, 2019 may contact Hyatt’s Global Reservations Center at 1-800-344-9288 or hyatt.com for assistance and booking options."
Hotels change owners and management companies from time to time. It doesn't happen often, but when it does, it can leave those holding points reservations in a bind. That's because, generally speaking, cash reservations are more apt to seamlessly transfer to the new hotel entity. The seller and buyer, however, may not have agreed on honoring points reservations -- and that's when travelers may receive the dreaded word that their reservation won't be honored.
That's not always the situation. Back in October 2018, the Oasis Collection that had been part of Hyatt's Unbound Collection left the brand after Oasis was purchased by Vacasa. But Hyatt was still able to honor points reservations.
In this case, if Hyatt had another hotel in Atlantic City, it could have offered to honor the points reservation at that property. Sadly, that isn't the case.
Related: What to do if a hotel cancels your stay because it won’t be open in time
So, what's the path to a resolution?
TPG suggests negotiating both with the exiting brand and incoming resort management. For Ilan, he should contact Hyatt one more time to see if it can do better on the amount of goodwill points originally offered -- especially since he did have two rooms booked, and this trip will now certainly cost him more out of pocket.
Then, he should reach out to Ocean Casino Resorts' management, explain the situation and ask for a discounted paid rate. This is the resort's opportunity to win big with a new customer, and chances are good that hotel occupancy in January in Atlantic City isn't at capacity. The reader may be able to score a more affordable paid stay with a phone call or two — or, at least, an upgrade.
Have you ever found yourself in this position? Were you able to negotiate an equitable solution with the hotel's new management? Let us know in the comments section below.