A lifetime Platinum member of Starwood Preferred Guest walked into the Westin St. Francis in San Francisco and at check-in asked about an upgrade. There wasn’t one available for their full stay, they were told, but the front desk agreed to upgrade them for two nights.
- To be entitled to an upgrade, the upgraded room must be available for the full stay.
- And they’re only entitled to a standard suite. In this case they were given the hotel’s 1900 square foot Windsor Suite with “panoramic city and bay views.”
Westin St. Francis Windsor Suite, credit: Starwood
On checkout the guest had a $300 per night ‘upgrade charge’ added to their folio for a total of $600. The front desk agent handling the checkout said “that they never upgrade to the Windsor suite” and only the manager who handled the upgrade could resolve this but he was not on property.
The guest says that they weren’t told about the upgrade fee, didn’t sign anything with a different rate (signing “only the signature box on the credit card machine upon check-in) and that their key card holder had their original rate on it and nothing else.
They followed up through Starwood and were told that the hotel determined no refund would be allowed “because [they] requested the upgrade.”
It seems to me that if no price for the upgrade was ever mentioned, then no rate was agreed to, and the customer cannot be charged.
As long as the guest’s story is true they will prevail here as long as they don’t simply acquiesce (and really they should even be compensated for having to go through this trouble but that’s another matter).
When you’re given an upgrade, with no money discussed, do you assume it’s free? Should you proactively have to ask, or is it the hotel’s responsibility to mention a price if they do want to charge more for an upgrade — as in this case they were offering something they weren’t required to by the program?
(HT: Jason H.)