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Old 08-23-2017, 10:11 PM
 
900 posts, read 795,187 times
Reputation: 624

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Earlier this year, I planned a trip to Charleston SC to view the Great American Eclipse, which was three days ago, and I'm still in Charleston. For reasons that seemed important at the time I booked the whole week at this one hotel. I used Expedia.

A few days before the trip I wanted to change my plans, thinking that would be a simple matter to let them know I wanted cut short my stay in Charleston so I could go see at least one additional city on the east coast, since I've never been here before. NYC seemed the most obvious choice But apparently you can't just "shorten" an existing booking; instead you have to cancel it completely, and then re-book from scratch. And this being the week of the eclipse, and truly a million extra people pouring into the area, there was no way I was going to get a new booking if I'd been foolish enough to give up the one I already had.

OK, I thought. I'll just wait until a day or two after the eclipse, and cancel the rest of my stay then. That was today, and I had actually started looking up flights from Charleston to NYC; a Sunday morning return flight would have dovetailed nicely with the flights I already have from Charleston back to San Diego, so I wouldn't have needed to change those.

As luck would have it, I can't check out early, unless I want to forfeit everything I paid for the remaining nights. Excuse me? How is that a thing now? Just because nowadays people usually pay for their hotels up front, when they book, instead of when they check out--the way it was traditionally done--that means the hotels can just glom onto your cash no matter what? Who made that happen--maybe the local tourist industries?

It's not a total loss; I'm finding enough to see and do right here. But I didn't realize that flexibility was a thing of the past.

And the eclipse? At the viewing party I attended we saw just the first tiny "nibble" into the sun's disc, and then the clouds blew in, thick and dark, and with thunder and lightning.

So nothing on the bucket list gets checked off on this trip...
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Old 08-23-2017, 11:50 PM
Status: "could've~would've~should've used 'have', not 'of'" (set 21 days ago)
 
Location: A Yankee in northeast TN
10,498 posts, read 14,325,180 times
Reputation: 23317
I'm no expert but I believe the trade off for getting a lower rate thru using expedia and the like is that you forfeit your flexibility. I've used similar type companies and it usually states in the fine print exactly what the policies concerning refunds/cancellations are.
~~~ and yes looking at their website it has 'non-refundable' reservations for a lower price than the regular reservations. I assume that's probably the type of reservation you chose when you booked.
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Old 08-23-2017, 11:57 PM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
18,100 posts, read 22,968,690 times
Reputation: 35282
That's so sad that you went there and didn't even get to see the eclipse!

I had a couple bad experiences with Hotels.com many years ago, and have written off those travel websites for good. I just go straight to the source now. Don't want to mess with a middleman.
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Old 08-24-2017, 01:01 AM
 
Location: Phoenix, AZ > Raleigh, NC
15,077 posts, read 19,019,086 times
Reputation: 24187
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoMoreSnowForMe View Post
That's so sad that you went there and didn't even get to see the eclipse!

I had a couple bad experiences with Hotels.com many years ago, and have written off those travel websites for good. I just go straight to the source now. Don't want to mess with a middleman.
With one single exception. I agree with no more snow- book directly with the hotel chain.

The single exception is last minute travel. Especially if you are a LMT club member, the prices are often less than the source websites - even with AAA discounts. I've never had trouble with their bookings.
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Old 08-24-2017, 01:32 AM
 
1,179 posts, read 479,141 times
Reputation: 1932
This is actually quite common nowadays. Most hotels offer a cheaper, though non-refundable rate and one you can cancel for free until the day before at a higher price.

Regardless, most hotels won't let you cut a stay short and refund the balance once you've arrived. With trip insurance, you can do so with reimbursement for the unused days if you have a medical emergency or similar covered occurrence.
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Old 08-24-2017, 03:06 AM
 
Location: San Antonio/Houston/Tricity
38,002 posts, read 55,785,174 times
Reputation: 89768
Nothing weird about the rules. When you book your room, that room is sold to you for the amount of time. When you decide to shorten your stay, they might or might not be able to sell that room to someone else, and on specific event dates they most likely are booked out and turn potential clients away. So, when you cancel - they are losing money.
Some lower end hotels allow to cancel before 6PM, but hotels at hot locations don't, and you have to cancel in advance of sometimes 2-3 days, or pay fine.
I am sure if you were a hotel owner, you would want to make such rules to assure you business is profitable.
Elite-level membership in a hotel’s loyalty program can get the policy waived, and polite request sometimes goes a long way.
Just recently I cancelled one night in a resort hotel and got refund....
You can try to dispute the charge on your credit card, as long as you present adequate evidence that the policy wasn’t properly disclosed, or get a travel insurance.
Always read the restrictive cancellation policy before making the reservation, and then book somewhere else.
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Old 08-24-2017, 07:00 AM
 
Location: Savannah GA/Lk Hopatcong NJ
13,106 posts, read 24,892,675 times
Reputation: 11146
Hotels and airline booking I never use a middle man like expedia or hotels.com and as far as hotels never had an issue cutting short my stay. I also never take the cheaper non refundable rate as life can throw curves at you at any given moment.

If you are still in Charleston and have a rental car do a day trip to Savannah, it's not that far.
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Old 08-24-2017, 07:07 AM
 
9,807 posts, read 5,016,856 times
Reputation: 33910
Quote:
Originally Posted by Those Who Squirm View Post
How is that a thing now? Just because nowadays people usually pay for their hotels up front, when they book, instead of when they check out--the way it was traditionally done--that means the hotels can just glom onto your cash no matter what? Who made that happen--maybe the local tourist industries?
Now, nowadays people DON'T usually pay for their hotels up front when they book, UNLESS they are taking advantage of a lower rate, which usually comes with a non-refundable clause.

Sounds like you didn't read the fine print when you booked. I've never booked a hotel reservation without knowing what the cancellation policy is.


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Old 08-24-2017, 08:38 AM
 
9,668 posts, read 4,560,597 times
Reputation: 12566
Quote:
Originally Posted by njkate View Post
Hotels and airline booking I never use a middle man like expedia or hotels.com and as far as hotels never had an issue cutting short my stay. I also never take the cheaper non refundable rate as life can throw curves at you at any given moment.

If you are still in Charleston and have a rental car do a day trip to Savannah, it's not that far.
The big booking sites can be very useful in getting an overview of hotel options and information in an area as opposed to locating and visiting a dozen separate hotel sites. I would also tend to trust customer reviews on a 3rd party site more than reviews on the hotel's own site. Sometimes you can get a lower rate directly from hotel site but typically it seems to be the same. Sometimes the big booking sites will have rewards or promo codes that get you a lower price than if you booked direct.

I almost always take the lower non-refundable rate as I'm pretty good at fouling off the curves. If the difference is more than $10/day you might be able to get the lower rate plus trip insurance which covers much more.
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Old 08-24-2017, 08:44 AM
 
Location: Savannah GA/Lk Hopatcong NJ
13,106 posts, read 24,892,675 times
Reputation: 11146
Quote:
Originally Posted by oceangaia View Post
The big booking sites can be very useful in getting an overview of hotel options and information in an area as opposed to locating and visiting a dozen separate hotel sites. I would also tend to trust customer reviews on a 3rd party site more than reviews on the hotel's own site. Sometimes you can get a lower rate directly from hotel site but typically it seems to be the same. Sometimes the big booking sites will have rewards or promo codes that get you a lower price than if you booked direct.

I almost always take the lower non-refundable rate as I'm pretty good at fouling off the curves. If the difference is more than $10/day you might be able to get the lower rate plus trip insurance which covers much more.
I look up hotels on trip advisor for reviews and go from there booking directly with the hotel
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