An Update On My Choice Hotels Points Robbery Saga

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An Update On My Choice Hotels Points Robbery Saga
Choice isn’t all bad, Shawn had an amazing stay at the Clarion Hotel Copenhagen Airport

An Update On My Choice Hotels Points Robbery Saga

Last week I shared my recent run in with the Choice Hotels customer service team. I won’t go into a ton of detail since you can check out last week’s article for the specifics. It essentially boils down to me being charged for a room we never stayed in because it was too dirty. Then I cataloged the hoops I jumped through in an effort to get my stolen points back. An effort that was pretty much in vain. Reader Teresa commented on the post, “Mark you cant give up, this cant be how the story ends”. I have good & bad news for Teresa, but one thing is for sure, this isn’t how the story ends.

Choice Hotels Reaches Out

A few hours after the article was published I received an email from Choice Hotel’s customer care administrator. (This is me paraphrasing the emails back and forth going forward)

He reached out to apologize for the entire ordeal and said that the experience was being shared with leadership to address and improve any knowledge gaps. He also said he wanted to make sure my points were refunded and to add some extra points as an apology. Lastly, he said that he knows this will likely not change my perception of the program but that he hopes I would be willing to give them another chance.

I was impressed with how quickly he tracked me down and responded to the issue. It was also impressive that he found the email that is on my Choice account versus the email I use on this website. I also thought the email was worded about as well as it could be.

In my response I thanked him for reaching out and for the points offer. I told him I don’t need the additional points but just the 25,000 points that were owed to me. I also said that I hope this does lead to some training and improvements in the customer service area but that I was skeptical. The reason I was so skeptical is because Citi said something very similar and I still get weekly reports that the issue hasn’t been corrected more than a year later. I understand that corporate wheels turn slowly, but you can’t help but think this is just corporate speak when you get emails like this after an issue arises.

An Update On My Choice Hotels Points Robbery Saga
Choice isn’t all bad, Shawn had an amazing stay at the Clarion Hotel Copenhagen Airport

Why This Is Good & Bad

This is good because it shows that there are some people in the company that can step in and correct an issue. The speed at which it was done, from the time my article was published at least, was impressive. The points were in my account the very next day.

The bad side of this is that it should have never taken this long, or this much effort, to get the issue corrected. Most people don’t write for a travel site, or have the reach to get something like this situation fixed. That is the sad reality of this situation.

We did have some people chime in over in the Facebook Group, and in the comments of the article, with some tips if you run into a similar situation. They had success when sending a certified letter to the CEO’s office and another started emailing higher ups in the company every day until one finally responded. The CEO trick seems to work for most companies, when everything else has failed, but you should never need to actually use it.

Contact Email

I reached out to the contact at Choice and asked what is a good email address to reach out to should someone have service issues. He said this is the email that goes to his team that he works closely with – CHSM@choicehotels.com. So give that a try if you are not getting anywhere via the normal routes.

Final Thoughts

Long hold times, untrained agents and front line workers with no power, or autonomy, is the world we live in these days, unfortunately. Some companies have realized that empowering their front line workers stops problems from getting bigger than they need to be. While others want to reserve the power for higher ups to try to curb being too generous. Or, maybe they just use it as a barrier to entry so people give up before getting the compensation they are rightly owed? Either way it leads to a frustrating experience and a loss of customers. I judge companies on how they respond when something goes wrong, that is a true test of their mettle. I wish more realized that is where the judgement happens and it only takes one time to lose a loyal customer forever.

Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann is a father, husband and miles/points fanatic. He left the corporate world after starting a family in order to be a stay at home dad. Mark is constantly looking at ways to save money and stay within budget while also taking awesome vacations with his family. When he isn't caring for his family or taking a weekend trip, Mark is working towards his goal of visiting every Major League Baseball ballpark.

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31 COMMENTS

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31 COMMENTS

  1. Clarion Hotel Sign in Stockholm was great when I was there pre-pandemic.

    As was the Comfort Hotel Tokyo Kanda – though you’ll want to get a twin room.

    I also had a pretty good experience with a Comfort Inn that was just outside of the south end of Paris (Hotel Sixteen or something like that). Rooms were fine but the service was just excellent.

  2. I was hurt on 8/3/2021 at econo lodge in Gastonia North Carolina when the broken sink handle fell on top of my foot and broke 2 toes I had been in the same room for almost a month and complained more than once they didn’t change my room or fix sink I had to go to the emergency room and I was out if work 5 days. The manager laughed at me and said the sink handle didn’t hurt my foot. I am in the process of speaking to an attorney. I called choice hotels and they have done nothing

  3. I am a Diamond guest with Choice. So yes, I do stay in any of the Choice Hotels in a year a lot for business travel. It has been an extremely rare circumstance that I have had a problem that could not be “fixed” by direct contact with the hotel, with a good attitude and a pleasant manner, since Choice is a franchise model. When I have no solution, climbing the corporate ladder has been the solution. I really do appreciate your recording youur tials and tribulations and your experience. Especially that email address. Thank you.

  4. Just a side note. Why is every chains’ hotel in Europe so much nicer that the ones here?
    Is it because we believe in the lowest bidder to do a great job, while they use the most qualified? IDK the answer.

  5. Hello Choice I mean the new Radisson combined ?
    absolutely never for me
    It’s bad enough their hotels in the US are dodgy but bad customer assistance / brand assurance? I’ll pass
    Can’t think of why I would leave Hilton Marriott Hyatt IHg for choice
    As bad as the legacy chains can sometimes be they are heroes by comparison

  6. You have a forum that regular travelers do not have. a widely read travel report. i have quite a few Choice points to use at a specific property in San Antonio, the Eilan hotel. I stopped staying there because there was seldom any points redemption available, then a 10am checkout policy.

    • Check out Hotel Emma using the Preferred Hotels/Choice booking portal. 55k points buys you a stay at a fantastic, unique, boutique property. Noon check-out, too!

  7. In the recent past, I frequently stayed in Choice properties. My experience was generally good. It’s important to have reasonable expectations and, in my case, these were almost always met or exceeded. Cleanliness is a reasonable expectations, however, whether you are staying in a budget property or an upscale hotel.

    I only encountered very few problems with my Choice stays. Emailing customer service was largely a waste of time. I found their foreign customer service reps to be helpful once they grasped the nature of the problem. I rarely had to resort to asking for a supervisor. Things always got resolved.

    I find your characterization that your points were “stolen” to be unfair and somewhat inflammatory. It suggests that Choice purposely took your points and offered nothing in return. Granted the refund process should have been faster and easier, but sometimes these matters require more patience and persistence. Fair to criticize a flawed process but theft…

    • When a hotel tells you they will cancel the room because it was so dirty you left after 2 minutes but doesn’t and goes on to check you out and charge you for it that is theft in my book.

  8. I had a positive interaction with Choice corporate about a year ago. I made a points reservation at roDEwAY iNN in a similar circumstance when other options were full. On the day of the reservation I received a cryptic call from the property that I could only check in before 7 or 8 p.m. – after that, they were closed. After receiving verbal abuse from the property, I called Choice customer service and they sorted things out for my 10 p.m. arrival.

  9. I find the photo of Clarion Copenhagen Airport in your article misleading considering your headline since they were in no way related to your story about a dirty room and stolen points.

    Choice Hotels in Europe and especially Scandinavia tend to be much more highly rated than Choice Hotels in USA.

    • It was one of the few Choice hotel stock photos we had. I added in a link to Shawn’s write up on the property and how he enjoyed it.

  10. “He reached out to apologize for the entire ordeal and said that the experience was being shared with leadership to address and improve any knowledge gaps. ”

    That seems like a fundamental misunderstanding of the entire problem. He appears to be saying they executed the process badly, but reality seems to be that they have a bad process.

    • It does seem like the process is the problem. But maybe the reps do have more autonomy than they think and that is where the training issues come in? Not sure, could just be a weird choice of words.

    • No we did not – my sister didn’t think any would be needed since she went downstairs and told them she wouldn’t be staying.

  11. Will you please share the email address that contacted you so we can respond with our own issues without having to resort to the CEO letter route?

    • I asked if he was okay with that. Will update it if he says yes or gives me another good email etc. to use.

      • Appreciate this. They got right back with me & offered up some points. Mainly I finally felt heard as they are making a “permanent record” about the property in their own files. “We hope you can see this as an isolated case and use the points in the future to give us a second opportunity.” Thanks again

  12. They only reached out because of your article. The average person would not have received such special treatment. What BS. They are still crooks.

    • Yup, as stated in the article. People have had success sending letters to the CEO or contacting higher ups in the company via email but a customer should never need to jump through those hoops.

  13. Unfortunately, just like IHG, Choice seems to have their customer service offshore in the Philippines, with agents being just call-takers who read from a script and are often poorly-trained and otherwise powerless to do anything.

    • I kind of got the feeling that they weren’t able to do much of anything. That is why she kept insisting the hotel had to okay everything.

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