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N E X T

Cut the Loopholes

November 5, 2009  

Knowing that Hilton Hotels offers a best-rate guarantee, Hilton HHonors member Randall Gellens booked a room in Rome at the lowest available rate of €168. When he found a better price—€139—for what appeared to be an identical reservation through a third-party travel site, he expected to receive the compensation Hilton offers to customers who discover a lower rate elsewhere. But his claim was denied with this brief statement: "The rooms are not the same."

Baffled, Gellens turned to Catherine Hamm, travel editor for the Los Angeles Times, and she used a post at the Daily Travel & Deal Blog to explain why Gellens and Hilton weren't seeing eye to eye.

Gellens booked rooms at both websites without requesting a room type. But because his Hilton HHonors profile specifies a preference for a king, non-smoking room on a high floor, that's the type of room he would have gotten when booking through the Hilton website. "The less expensive room would have been any old room, smoking or not, king or not, high floor or not. So naturally it was less," notes Hamm, adding sardonically: "Uh, yeah, of course."


She takes issue with absence of any such disclaimer at the Hilton website. "I see lots of restrictions but nothing that says your profile will govern your choice and nullify your chance to get a $50 credit and a $50 American Express Gift Cheque that is promised if you find a lower rate," she says.

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