Always Check the Details of Your Hotel Bill!

I recently stayed again at the Hyatt Regency Coral Gables. I’ve written about the property here, here, and here.

While ‘just’ a city Hyatt Regency the staff is friendly, the rooms large (or at least I always get nice enough complimentary upgrades), and Hyatt Diamond free breakfast can be taken through room service. It’s a good hotel for the price in a location I frequently seem to find myself.

On my most recent visit I was paying out of pocket. Several area hotels were sold out. And rather than finding a sub-$150 rate, the hotel was getting ~ $289. Gulp.

Fortunately Hyatt Gold Passport has added cash and points awards that accrue stay credit and count towards promotional bonuses.

That meant, as a category 3 property, I’d be paying $75 and 6000 points for the night, a better deal and pretty good value for Gold Passport points.

Here’s a portion of my folio, though, from when I checked it in the morning (figuring I would do online check-out rather than stopping by the desk to ensure I got a copy of the bill).

You’ll see the $75 charge I was expecting, labeled “Package” .. but you’ll also see two $50 charges labeled “HGP Points + Cash Award” which isn’t correct.

So I stopped by the front desk on the way out, and they immediately realized they were billing me instead of Gold Passport and needed to move the charges over to another screen.

I was surprised though to see these charges.

  • Hyatt Gold Passport pays their hotels a deeply discounted rate then reward nights are redeemed, unless the hotel winds up full in which case the hotel gets its prevailing room rate.

  • Cash and points awards are capacity-controlled by each hotel, the hotel itself decides when to offer the award space rather than having to make all standard awards available on points.

  • As a result, I assumed that these awards — like with Starwood — would be less to the hotel than standard awards or at least the hotel wouldn’t get a premium for them. Since I was paying $75 for the room night, it struck me as surprising that the hotel would get any extra revenue at all… let alone $50.

  • And the hotel was billing Gold Passport $50 twice on a one-night stay, which was doubly strange unless it was another billing mistake.

It’s another reminder at least to always check your folio. I don’t recall ever not being charged by a hotel for something I should have owed. But it’s amazing how frequently I’m charged for something I shouldn’t be. (In fact, I’m still trying to get the W Union Square to even answer me for mistakenly billing me for internet.)


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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Comments

  1. I’ve had this happen to me twice on recent Hyatt C&P stays — presumably can chalk it up to hotels still getting used to the new program, but a good reminder to keep an eye on these stays.

    In my case, at a Category 1 hotel, which is $50 + 2500, the erroneous charge on my invoice for the points was $15.40 (plus tax).

  2. I’ve had this happen to me twice on recent Hyatt C&P stays — presumably can chalk it up to hotels still getting used to the new program, but a good reminder to keep an eye on these stays.

    In my case, at a Category 1 hotel, which is $50 + 2500, the erroneous charge on my invoice for the points was $15.40 (plus tax).

  3. This also recently happened to me on a Hyatt credit card award night. Noticed it while viewing the bill on Hyatt.com (nice feature) the day after leaving the hotel.

  4. Had this happen to me at checkout a Kimpton in Boston. They tried to charge me for two nights of parking for my two night stay, at $47 per night. I don’t even own (and did not rent) a car.

  5. Every time I stay at a Hyatt Place, the $17.89 tax ends up on my credit card bill when it should not !!

  6. This happened to me at the Hilton Times Square in 2004. They charged me for parking for every day of my stay. Didn’t notice it until I was checking out, either! I mean, who in their right mind would drive in NYC?

  7. I stayed at a Weston last week with points. They told me on arrival about the $25 parking. Upon leaving, I asked what my bill was and they said nothing. Checked my credit card a few days later and still no charge.

    Funny because Gary says it never happens to him and I bet he has hundreds of nights to my one.

  8. I always check the bill. I have been overbilled many times, but never under billed. I wonder why that is :-)
    Mini bar charges and some other things that I quickly dispute as I never use those things unless they are free!

  9. @Brian There are plenty of people who drive into NY for various reasons. Its beyond nuts because parking at that hotel even in 2004 was probably 35-50.00 a night.

  10. @robertw – IIRC, it was $40 per night. I was there 7 nights, so that would’ve been $280!

  11. Anaheim Sheraton charged for toll free calls from my room – when questioned I was told only calls to numbers with “1-800″ are actually toll free. Had to school the property that the rules changed 20 years ago.

    They claimed they would fix it, but I’m highly skeptical. The calls to an 855 number amounted to nearly $40 for a grand total of about 10 minutes. They did remove the charges, but think of how many people have been charged all these years for calls to free numbers that shouldn’t have been billed??

  12. Perhaps your title should read “Always Check your HYATT Bill’! I have had more issues with Hyatt when it comes to billing than the rest of the chains I stay with, bar none. Double charged for nights, booked award nights missing (in the middle of the stay), points not posting correctly. You name it… it happens with Hyatt. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love the brand… and I really loved staying with Hyatt as a Diamond member. But, please, come on Hyatt – get your billing/Gold Passport records departments in order!

  13. Ment to say :

    Evert time I stay at a Hyatt Place ON A FREE POINTS STAY , a $17.89 charge appears on my credit card bill for tax when it should NOT ! and this even after i dispute the charge on check out and they tell me it was removed !!!
    I think they just try to sneak this stuff in for people who do not check there credit card bills ! as the charges always show up Later !
    Also have had mini bar charges show up 2 months later on credit card bill !!!

  14. Stayed at the Hyatt Coral Gables in late Feb and had similar billing irregularities. They gave me a folio that looked fine but then my card got charged an extra $55 for my Diamond breakfast and the $75 hold they had put on my account was somehow charged to my card and never reversed so I was overbilled covertly by nearly $130.

    I wonder if this isn’t some type of systemic “error” to increase profits. Gary–Have you thought about some type of reader survey to see if this is much more prevalent among certain hotel chains?

  15. You should ALWAYS scrutinize your hotel folio BEFORE you check out, whether it be Hyatt, Starwood, or otherwise.

    + human error
    + unscrupulous billing practice
    + computer error
    + outright fraud
    =================================
    = higher bill

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