Holiday Inn's Online Reservations Are Non-Refundable?

Make sure you read everything you click, warns reader Jason:

Just a tip to pass along that I am finding out the hard way…

Make sure you read the fine print when it comes to making online reservations to a Holiday Inn through their website. I recently booked 4 days in a Washington, DC hotel late next month for a short vacation for my wife and I. Recent events in out life led us to have to cancel our vacation. When I called today to cancel my reservations, I was told that my purchase was “non-refundable” and they would be unable to return my payment. I then called the hotel i made my reservations with direct, and they too told me that they *could* cancel my reservation, but my payment was “non-refundable” since i booked online. Sure enough, when I went back to look at my online receipt, there at the bottom it tells me that if I cancel, my payment is non-refundable.

The worst part is that I am quite loyal to Holiday Inn and their other brands. I not only joined their Reward Club a few years back, but I *always* use them first when looking for a hotel, and rarely go anywhere else. Now, when I am in a jam, it turns out that brand loyalty does not mean much to them. Now, they are essentially charging me almost around $495 for canceling a reservation more than a month in advance.

I plan on calling them again on Monday to try to get someone to help me out of this, but at the moment, things are not looking good for me. I’ve sent an e-mail appealing my case to as many addresses I could find, so hopefully that will help. If any of your users can offer me any hints on how to swing this in my favor, it would be much appreciated. Oh, and if anyone has Stevan Porter’s contact or e-mail address that would be a huge bonus too.

We clicked around the Holiday Inn website and saw that Holiday Inn’s policy was to charge a cancellation fee of one night’s stay for all the hotels we chose. We looked at two hotels in New York and one in Washington D.C.

The warning read:

Canceling your reservation after 6:00 PM (local hotel time) on 22 June, 2007, or failing to show, will result in a charge equal to the first night’s stay per room to your credit card. Taxes may apply. Failing to call or show before check-out time after the first night of a reservation will result in cancellation of the remainder of your reservation.

We assume that since you paid in advance, the story is different. Do the readers have any suggestions for Jason? —MEGHANN MARCO

(Photo: Ben Popken)