The hotel I never stayed at

On April 10th I received a mailing from the Wyndham Carmel Valley Ranch in California. It was a copy of a bill for recent two-night stay. However, I did not stay at this hotel. The bill was for a guest with the same name as I have. The person’s credit card number (not mine!) was printed on the bill in its entirety.

I emailed Wyndham through their website and received a call back from the hotel a few hours later. A nervous staffer said that someone with the same name as me stayed at the hotel and didn’t give them an address because the booking was done through a travel agent.

Since they never got the person’s address, they found a Wyndham ByRequest number matching the name and used the address in my profile to send the bill. They never thought that it would be another person with the same name.

They didn’t seem overly concerned that Wyndham had given me the American Express number of another person with my name. Naturally, I shredded the bill.


The nervous staffer hung up the phone abruptly, and I let the incident go until I received an email from Wyndham today asking me to take a survey about my recent stay — at the Carmel Valley Ranch Wyndham.

One data point isn’t enough for a diagnosis, but Wyndham may need to do something about their internal systems and privacy. I wonder if giving out credit card numbers and divulging stay information for their guests happens often.

But if, as the email I received today suggests, they still think I stayed at the hotel I darn well expect to get the frequent flyer points!

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community Milepoint.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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