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I was cleaning out old emails and came across a string of communication from Hyatt, which reminded me why World of Hyatt customer service is regarded as the best in the business. My stay at the Andaz West Hollywood in Los Angeles was nearly perfect thanks to the exceptional service standards. Unfortunately, the checkout experience derailed the ideal ending to our visit, until Hyatt compensated me with 50,000 points.
I had booked a points+cash rate (10,000 + USD 125/night) for four nights at Andaz West Hollywood. A few weeks later, I jumped on an opportunity to buy discounted e-Gift Card (e-GC) via cardcash.com. With a specific use in mind, and a 17% discount, I purchased Hyatt e-GC worth USD 600 for my stay and planned to use it towards the cash portion of my booking. I promptly received the e-GC in email and verified the balance on the cards through Hyatt multiple times before my stay. All checked out fine.
During checkout, my request to use Hyatt e-GC was denied by the staff quoting recent fraud activities. When I challenged that decision and asked to speak with the manager, the front-line manager reiterated the recent fraud activities as the reason. He also said it would not be an issue if these were physical Hyatt gift cards, but they could not accept any e-GC. The manager’s dismissive attitude towards the e-GC was odd and condescending. When I pulled up the Hyatt e-Gift Card Terms and Conditions, the manager deflected the onus on the General Manager and said he was instructed not to accept e-GCs, especially ones issued by third parties (cardcash.com, in my case). Realizing this conversation was not going anywhere, I settled the final bill with my credit card and decided to take it up with Hyatt Corporate.
I sent a detailed email of my experience to firstname.lastname@example.org and requested that my money be refunded in full, back on my credit card, in exchange for the e-GC. In a few days, I received a call from Hyatt Relations that my case was being evaluated and the rep wanted the digits of my e-GC to ascertain legitimacy and verify the balance. Obviously I did not give that up over an incoming phone call, instead I took down his details, the case number, and hung up. I called the Hyatt customer support line and verified that the person was in fact a Hyatt staff member. Upon noting down the digits of my e-GC, the agent assured a call back with a resolution. After two days of nervous waiting, I heard back from Hyatt Relations who confirmed that my e-GC were valid, and balance intact, but that they were unable to trace the original purchase. The agent offered 40,000 points as compensation for my inconvenience. My counter-offer was 50,000 for the saga this had turned out to be. A quick hold and the agent confirmed the 50,000 points compensation. Hyatt also confirmed that individual properties could decline a gift card issued by a third party (due to concerns with fraud).
Once bitten twice shy
I was hesitant to try the e-GC’s again, so I contacted the customer support for cardcash.com and requested a refund since Hyatt had declined to accept them. I expected a lot of back and forth but was pleasantly surprised with the prompt support and received specific instructions to process a refund. The refund appeared on my credit card within three business days.
Buying gift cards from resellers online is a tricky proposition, one I shay away from since this experience. World of Hyatt support team have always come through for me, and I was glad this one worked out in my favour. Not only was I able to get Hyatt compensation, I was successful in getting a refund of the unused e-GC from Cardcash.
Hyatt gift cards can only be redeemed at participating Hyatt properties in North America, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean, Central America, and South America. And If you plan to try your luck outside of that, it’s best to call in advance and confirm. And of course, buying and using gift cards in different local currencies will erode the value due to the exchange rates.
Have you experienced issues with a hotel e-gift card as a form of payment? Share with a comment below.
Title Image: Andaz Costa Rica Resort