Honest E-mail To Priceline Gets Executive Customer Service Attention

Mohamed made a mistake, forgetting to use his Priceline bonus cash on a transaction. He contacted Priceline through their online help interface and was stunned at the quick and helpful response he received. His request was forwarded straight to the executive customer service team, and taken care of immediately.

(If you came across this post looking for Priceline’s executive customer service number, it’s 1-866-966-7187.)

I had a much-better-than-expected experience with Priceline’s Customer Support and I thought it would be worth passing on, especially in light of the company’s bleak customer service as reported in previous Consumerist posts.

Basically, I forgot to use $50 in bonus cash I had waiting in an e-mail on a hotel reservation I made on Sunday night. I realized the snafu as I was falling asleep, and decided to call Priceline’s customer service department in the morning. I did just that, but the helpful rep on the other end of the phone let me know that he couldn’t do anything to help me over the phone, but that submitting a request through their online help would yield a response from their corporate HQ. Indeed it did. As I was drafting my request, I thought about fudging the truth to say that the bonus cash should have showed up but it hadn’t, but I remembered what I’ve read on your site (as well as what I learned in Sunday school!) that being truthful and honest is always the best course.

My web form submission was as follows:

Hi, my wife and I are planning to visit Washington, DC, for my birthday
this weekend and I made our hotel booking last night. Using your site’s
Name Your Own Price service, I secured a reservation at the Hyatt
Regency Bethesda (Itinerary #XXX-XXX-XXX-XX). I am a student and I was
in a hurry to book my reservation last night since I have class during
the weekdays, so I forgot to redeem the $50 bonus cash e-mail I received
on 4/30/09. I don’t know how to prove that I have the bonus cash, but
the date stamp on the e-mail is 04/30/2009 @ 09:06:19 a.m, I received it
at [omitted], and the numbers at the bottom of the e-mail are
[omitted]. Please, I was wondering if there is any way I can have the
$50 credited toward this stay or have the amount credited to my credit
card. I called your toll-free number and spoke with Fernando
(#[redacted]) and he said you might be able to cancel and re-book the
reservation with the bonus cash. I’ve been waiting to use this bonus
cash for months and I thought my birthday would be the perfect
opportunity. Please note that I do NOT want to cancel my reservation, I
only want to have the bonus cash credited to my booking/credit card.
I’m sorry I forgot and I hope you can help me out. Please let me know
if you have any questions. I can be reached at (XXX) XXX-XXXX or
[omitted]. Thank you.

Their response:

Thank you for contacting our corporate office in regards to your concern
and feedback with the Hyatt Regency Bethesda for Request Number
XXXXXXXXXXX.

We are writing to let you know that we have received your email in our
Executive Offices.

We do understand that you forgot to use your bonus cash for your
reservation and would like to have it added to your current reservation.
We do apologize; however, we are not able to add bonus cash once a
reservation has been purchased. If you bonus cash has not expired you
can use it for your next purchase. Since we are not able to apply your
bonus cash to your current reservation we are sending you a coupon for
$10.00 off of your next hotel stay that can be worth up to $50.00 for a
five nights stay.

If you have further questions please reply by e-mail or call
1-866-966-7187 Monday through Friday between the hours of 9:00am and
6:00pm EST.

Please note that the number provided above is a United States phone
number, and you may incur toll charges when calling from outside the
United States or Canada.

We are sorry we did not provide you the answers you were looking for and
we thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Scott Weaver
Executive Offices

I thought this was quite flattering since after my web form submission, I didn’t do anything to escalate my request, yet the response came from Priceline’s Executive Offices. Am I bonkers, or was this really a much-better-than-should-have-been-expected response? Either way, this time, my props to Priceline!

It’s an impressive response, even if the executive office staff were unable to undo Mohamed’s mistake. Other Consumerist readers have learned in the past that Priceline sometimes responds well to polite, well-crafted letters.

(Photo: therichbrooks)