Our Hotel Was Closed, Permanently — Reader Mistake Story

Jul 29, 2019

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Today, I want to share a story from TPG reader Daniel, who got an unwelcome surprise upon arrival during a family vacation:

Earlier this summer, my family and I (including three young kids) traveled to Rapid City, South Dakota. We had a week-long stay planned there to visit several attractions in the area, including Mt. Rushmore. I redeemed Ultimate Rewards points through the Chase travel portal to book our flights, hotels and rental car. We called ahead to confirm the flight and the rental car, but ran out of time and didn’t call the hotel. That turned out to be a huge mistake.

We arrived without a hitch; our travel there was wonderful, and the United Airlines staff exceeded our expectations. The rental car agency smoothed the process of getting to our car, and the six of us piled in for the drive to our hotel. I was a little creeped out when we arrived to find no other cars in the parking lot. As I approached the front door, I noticed piles of unopened packages blocking the way, and weeds as tall as I am. To my horror, I realized that the hotel was closed permanently.

I took my family to a local restaurant to regroup, where I was informed by a waitress that the hotel had been closed for a month. Despite the hotel being operated by a well-known national chain, I received no notice that my reservation had been canceled. Thankfully, I had more Ultimate Rewards points banked, and I immediately booked another nearby hotel. Because Rapid City is popular and I was booking at the last minute, it cost me 105,000 more points to replace the two rooms I had booked previously.

Chase did refund the points from my original reservation, and I’m going to pursue some compensation from the hotel chain that let me down, leaving me in a horrible situation with young and tired children. However, I learned that it actually is important to call to confirm hotel reservations. Not doing so cost me 105,000 points.

You might think travel plans are secure once you receive confirmation, but a sea of potential pitfalls await from when you book to when your trip begins. Some arise during the booking itself, like if you pay with an expiring credit card or schedule a rental pickup outside of business hours. Others don’t show up until later: for example, your airfare might be confirmed but never actually ticketed, changes might be made to your itinerary without proper notice, or as Daniel experienced, your hotel might simply not be there. The best way to protect yourself from these mishaps is to be proactive.

TPG recommends checking your reservations about a week in advance — early enough that you’ll have time to clean up any mistakes, but late enough to minimize the odds of something else going awry. I prefer to contact hotels by email so I have a response in writing, but calling works fine if you just want to make sure the property is still in business and has a room in your name. In either case, it’s best to engage with someone at the actual hotel rather than at a national call center. In particular, avoid talking to a third-party rep (if you booked through an online travel agency, for example), since they might not know about closures, changes in ownership or other complications.

Related: No One Had Ever Heard of My Hotel — Reader Mistake Story

I appreciate this story, and I hope it can help other readers avoid making the same mistake. In appreciation for sharing this experience (and for allowing us to post it online), I’m sending Daniel a gift card to enjoy on future travels, and I’d like to do the same for you. Please email your own travel mistake stories to info@thepointsguy.com, and put “Reader Mistake Story” in the subject line. Tell us how things went wrong, and (where applicable) how you made them right. Offer any wisdom you gained from the experience, and explain what the rest of us can do to avoid the same pitfalls.

Feel free to also submit your best travel success stories. If your story is published in either case, I’ll send you a gift to jump-start your next adventure. Due to the volume of submissions, we can’t respond to each story individually, but we’ll be in touch if yours is selected. I look forward to hearing from you, and until then, I wish you a safe and mistake-free journey!

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first three months of card membership.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.