W Lakeshore Chicago Billing Issues

By | January 9, 2017

The W Lakeshore Chicago recently had a great sale on rooms starting at $67 per night.  I read reviews and it sounded like a decent hotel; not the best but not bad.  I decided I would book two weekends in February, one for my birthday and one for Presidents Day.  The rooms were a bit more than the $67 rate but still pretty good for a weekend in Chicago.

I booked directly through SPG and noted that the reservations were fully refundable.  I didn’t have anything to lose I thought.  When I received the confirmation emails, they also noted that the rate was fully refundable up until 1 day prior to the stay.

The first reservation was for two nights at $74/night for a total of $174.64 after taxes.

The second reservation was for three nights at $88/night for a total of $309.94 after taxes.

The full amount for both reservations was charged immediately to my SPG Amex card.  Seemed a bit strange, usually I am not charged the entire amount at booking, but didn’t think much of it.

I started looking for flights and they were all quite expensive.  The weekends away were not looking so inexpensive after all.

I decided to cancel my hotel reservations.  I did so online and received confirmation that they had been canceled.  It included a cancelation confirmation number. The email again showed the cancelation policy — fully refundable.

That was on December 2, 2016.  I checked my Amex statement and the charge was still there.  On 12/8/16, I contacted the hotel to find out what was going on; why I hadn’t received my refund.

I received a response from the Director of Operations.  It said:

Good afternoon –

I am following up on your questions regarding the cancellation of your stay.  I apologize for the error.  You are correct, there is a cancellation policy attached to your reservation.  I can confirm that your reservation has been cancelled and the funds released.

Feel free to reach out to me if you need anything else.

 

I figured that it was taken care of.

I waited a while and the charge wasn’t taken off so I filed a credit card dispute with Amex.

Well, this week I got a response from Amex saying that my dispute had been denied.  The W Lakeshore had provided a “bill” showing that I had a non-refundable reservation.  Here is one of the two documents the W sent to Amex as proof — the quality is as I received it (however I cut out a few of the personal info bits).  The second one is almost identical but for the other reservation.

I’m not even sure what these are that the W sent to Amex but apparently it was enough to convince Amex to deny my claim. Where would this document have come from?  Why would the W go to all this work to “prove” that the money was non-refundable after I received confirmation that it was?

Today I called the hotel and they said they are looking into it.  In the mean time, my credit card bill is due and I’m on the hook for $484.58 until the W gets their act together and refunds me my money.

What do you think?  What other steps can I take if the W decides not to refund me my money?  Has this happened to you?

UPDATE: Today the refund came through!  It is a miracle.  Now if I could only get the hours of my life back it took to fix this.  I won’t be staying at an SPG property any time soon I can promise you that.

UPDATE 2: SPG deposited 3,000 points into my account after I asked via Twitter if they would offer any sort of consolation for my trouble.

7 thoughts on “W Lakeshore Chicago Billing Issues

  1. Anonymous Coward

    Complain to them some more and then if they don’t comply, come to the realization that when you are charged the full price at booking, you booked a non refundable room.

    Reply
    1. Alan Post author

      Perhaps in their back end system.

      But the website, my confirmation email, cancelation confirmation, and the correspondence with the Director of Operations all said it was refundable. Not sure where I was supposed to believe it was non-refundable. Maybe they expect their customers to not believe their website and assume all rooms at their hotel are non-refundable?

      Reply
  2. solewalker

    Hot escapes are usually non-refundable, although the verbiage of what you booked does indicate refundable. Something in their system must have messed up.

    Reply

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