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Expedia Disaster: Why I don’t use OTAs

expedia disaster

This is the story of my Expedia disaster.  I always try to book my travel directly through the airline/hotel/rental car company.  This way I know that if there are any issues, they will be the one to fix it.  Also, many companies offer you added benefits when booking direct (best fare guaranteed, loyalty points, etc).

However, every once in a while I find a deal that makes going through a booking site like Expedia or Orbitz worthwhile.

A friend and I (okay, confession time, I don’t always travel alone) are planning a free cruise that we got through mLife on Royal Caribbean.  As the cruise leaves from Florida, we thought we would spend a few days at Disney World to compliment the time on the cruise.  Plus, Disney World!

In many of the blogs and deal sites I check out I found a code for $100 off a three night hotel stay if booked through Expedia.  So I found the hotel, entered my credit card info and the coupon code, and voila!  My room was booked!

No error message, no “coupon is not valid”.  It just worked.  Credit card accepted.  Room booked.  Or so I thought…

Good to go, right?

Five days later…

I receive an email from Expedia saying that my “purchase was made in violation of one or more of the restrictions in the coupon terms and conditions” and that the booking had been canceled.

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Now, Expedia was started and is run by ex-Microsoft employees, so customer service is not their main priority.  I understand (now) that this coupon was meant for people using Discovery cards for payment.

However, how hard would it have been for them to deny my booking at the time?  Why let me go through the process and then nearly a week later cancel my booking?  What if I had been leaving today on my trip?

This is bad business and terrible customer service.  If you only want to limit it to Discovery card users, fine.  Then make it so you have to check out WITH A DISCOVERY CARD.  I am pretty sure an entry level coder could figure out how to do that.

Or, if you don’t want people sharing their discount code, then make it a one time use code.  Alaska Airlines does this all the time.  I imagine Expedia could figure out a way to do this.

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Finally, in their email they do not take responsibility for this Expedia disaster.  They blame the customer.  This is the unforgivable sin in a customer focused business.  If all else fails, they should issue a mea culpa when they cancel my booking.  So sorry!  We messed up and allowed you to book with a coupon code that isn’t valid.  Here is 10% off your next booking.  How hard would that have been?

I don’t want to lump all booking sites into the same category.  Travelocity or Orbitz may have better service than Expedia.  However, this was a good reminder to me of why I always book direct.  I won’t be making this mistake in the future.

Thanks for nothing Expedia.
Sincerely, Single Flyer


Unfortunately not only was my hotel canceled, but they also did NOT refund my credit card for the $600+ that they charged.  After reading other comments on MilesToMemories, I decided to call in to Expedia customer service.  After being on the phone for 30+ minutes and talking to three different representatives, they were yet to either refund my credit card OR rebook my hotel stay.  If they can’t figure it out, I guess my next step will be to call my credit card company and say that it was an incorrect charge.  Stay tuned…


My issue is still unresolved…  I called a fourth time and was on hold for 37 minutes before I was disconnected.  At this point, I don’t want the $100 discount.  I just want my money back and never have to deal with Expedia again.


While I was never able to get the booking back; I did get a refund to my credit card.  At this point, I am happy with that and will book elsewhere.  Although the Expedia disaster didn’t end up costing me too much, still no more Expedia for me.


Astute reader Greg reminded me that Expedia may have actually changed their Terms & Conditions after many of us booked in order to then cancel these hotel reservations.  Other people have gone into this in much more detail than I care to at this time; if you would like to read more about possible fraudulent practices by Expedia, please check out this post by Miles to Memories or see the Google cached original terms & conditions.

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