This was the worst experience I have had with hotel reward programs. I joined the choice rewards program with Choice Hotels 2 years ago while working and traveling. All of the points I earned were deleted after I did not use their hotels for about 2 years. Recently, they ran a pay for 2 nights, get a 3rd night free. I made reservations at the desk of one of their hotels and tried to get credit for that night's stay. The person I talked with on the phone sounded like they were from Punjab or some 3rd world country.
It was like talking to a brick wall "The rules are..." "It stipulates blah blah blah..." OK, I thought, I'll play by their rules and go online to register. That didn't work. I called their 1-800 service center number and got another 3rd worlder on the phone. He asked to verify my info that I happen to know they have in their system, and was cut off or hung up on, I don't know which. Whatever. This is my last night at any of their hotels. I want to let as many people know about this as possible.
I signed up online for the stay 2 nights get 1 night free program. After 2 stays I called to check on my points and was told that I had not signed up for the program. I told the support person that I did and I wanted my points. He told me that I did not and could not have the points. He then proceeded to tell me that no one had ever had this problem before. From the reviews that I see online, it happens all the time. I think that Choice Hotels business model is to offer points and then find ways to not honor them.
I stayed 2 separate nights at a Quality Inn in West Virginia, 10/14/2012 and again on 10/18/2012. I made reservations online in advance for both stays using my Choice Rewards account. At this time, there was a "stay 2 nights and earn a bonus of 8000 points". This is the same program they are advertising right now. I didn't notice that the promised bonus points were never awarded.
Recently, I inquired why the bonus points weren't awarded. The reply I got from ** from India was that I should have received them, but I didn't ask for them. On March 30, 2013 I contacted Choice customer service via email and they cheerfully responded that I did receive points for my stay, but no bonus points.
SALLT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- I made reservations and wanted to put the reservations on my rewards points which I was told I had enough. They said I had to wait until less than 30 days to the reservation to use my points, but told me I could reserve the reservation and call back and switch it to my points. When I called back, they told me the points had doubled. And I no longer had enough points. They changed the required points but not the original amount if I paid. Seems like they just want your money and make excuses to not give you anything for free. I will never make another reservation or stay at any Choice hotel. Ever. They are money hungry with false advertising.
PORTLAND/SCARBOROUGH, MAINE -- I fell in hotel tub, which had no treads or a bath mat. I hit my left side and immediately had hip and chest pain. I went to desk and wanted a report to be filed on incident. I was told manager needed to do this the next AM. I went to see mgr and he avoided me leaving for the day. After sev days, I caught mgr and tried to talk with him about incident. He was rude and when I asked him to file a report, he refused, saying he would not file or sign anything.
I wrote a report and the day convinced the day mgr to sign it. I have contacted the hotel chain's customer service by phone and e-mailed a complaint and received replies that they would investigate and contact me within 72 hours. It has been 17 days from my first report to them and 8 days from 2nd report. I still have no response from them. How's that for customer service?
TRAVELERS REST, SOUTH CAROLINA -- We had to stop over and went to the Sleep Inn (part of Choice Hotels). Got in late and wanted to leave early. We were told that the breakfast started at 6:00am and was part of the rate we paid. We showed up for breakfast at 6:00am and there was NO breakfast. We went to the front desk and the clerk there was dead asleep. We woke the clerk up and asked about breakfast and was told he would get it started. Then the clerk got up, walked outside and made a ten minute phone call. When he got back, he then started to make coffee - but, was having trouble moving around in his flip flops.
Knowing that this was going to take time, we went back to our room, got our stuff and loaded it in the car, then went back in at 6:30am to see if breakfast was ready yet - only half was there, coffee and dry cereal. We then tried to get some apple juice while we waited - but, it was empty. We decided to leave. Later in the day, I tried to call the manager but found out she was on vacation. Then, I called customer support for Choice Hotels and was told we would hear from the management within 72 hours - still waiting! We should have stayed somewhere else.
BUFFALO, NEW YORK -- The morning of my reservation at the Quality Inn in Buffalo, NY, I called for driving directions. The off-ramp they told me to use did not exist! When I got to the Canadian border, I called the hotel again, and they told me to use another off-ramp which also did not exist. As it was pouring rain we drove to the first hotel we found and called the Quality Inn to cancel the reservation. I told the clerk NOT to charge my credit card but he said I'd have to talk to the manager in the morning.
I called the manager in the morning and left a message about my problem and asked him to call me. He never did (no surprise there huh?) and he did charge my credit card! I called Choice Hotels and they said that their hotels were independently owned and operated and that there was absolutely nothing they could do to help me!
Today, having nothing to do until to 500 race started, I checked my point total on Choice Hotels website. I had stayed the required 2 times during the previous promotion period and was checking how many points I have in total for free rooms. I found out I was missing the extra points so I called.
I was greeted by a pleasant young lady who checked and told me their computer had made a mistake and she immediately figured out how many point I was due and credited them to my account. All with a pleasant voice and sounding like she really enjoyed her job. What a nice call I had. I am also almost there for 3 free room nights in the future. I try to accumulate enough points to get us to our snowbird home in the winter.
KIRKLAND, WASHINGTON -- Choice Hotels rewards program is a notorious bait and switch. This is the third time I've been burned by their fine print, and I will never stay in another Choice hotel. A brief summary of my latest experience is as follows: Choice Hotels was heavily advertising a promotion whereby you stay twice and receive one free night. The fine print stated that it wasn't actually a free night, but that they would make up the difference in reward points necessary to get you to 8,000 points for both of those stays. The 8,000 points are only enough for a night's stay at their worst hotels. Because I had been burned before by their bait and switch advertising, I actually knew about this fine print.
So after making a second stay, I was not awarded the extra points, so I called customer service. They said I needed to make the reservations online. I didn't know about that fine print, but I figured it doesn't matter since I only make my hotel reservations online. However, in this case, I had called one of the hotels after making the reservation to ask if the room I wanted had a refrigeration and a microwave. The hotel must have changed my reservation after my call. I explained this to customer service, but they basically said, "Sucks to be you." Find another chains rewards program.
Warning: Choice Privileges is a scam. They take your points even though you cancel your reservation. They initiate programs like econo rewards which they cancel, leaving you with worthless certificates. The stay 2 get one free promotion is one of the most complained about programs in America. The individual properties vary widely and many have little no ability to solve programs.
I have stopped staying after last year when they took thousands of my points for a stay. I was assured by the hotel they would note as cancelled and reward the rate. Don't be taken in! Always get the lowest rate from whatever hotel when making a reservation. POINTS PROGRAMS LIKE CHOICE PRIVILEGES CANNOT BE DEPENDED ON to not steal your points.