I was looking into Umrah for March, simply so I can review the new Conrad property in Makkah. I really feel kind of jealous of all the people in Makkah now and I wanted to book my Umrah like asap. However as the sensible person that I am (!) I decided that going twice in 3 months was too much even by my standards.
I booked 3 nights in the Conrad back in October when the had opened reservations for the public with an opening day of the 1st of March. Few days ago while I was looking at Makkah properties I noticed that the Conrad which was supposed to open in March was delayed and scheduled for opening in June, four months later. I hadn’t received an email from them so I enquired with their Twitter customer service about this. I had booked other properties and flights so I was quite annoyed.
Hilton apologised and said they will be happy to accommodate me in a different property and cover the costs. I had to call their customer service line to be able to make an enquiry about which properties are available. And this is where it became a downhill experience. I spent 30 minutes with reservations to tell me they can’t help and that they have to transfer me to Guest Assistance. Another 30 minutes with Guest Assistance and they told me that they can book me in the Hilton Hotel. I wasn’t very keen on the Hilton property as I had already reviewed it and I wanted to try the Hilton Suites.
Hilton suites is 60,000 points per night or for my days £120 which is easily better value than the points. Hilton rejected the request about the property since it was way more expensive than the Conrad. Offering to give me one night there and I pay for the other two. I requested to think about it which they said it’s ok and they will make a note on my account.
The following day I receive an email saying that 60,000 points have been deposited into my account, after emailing they said this is because I chose points. Then I received an email removing the points and booking me for two nights into to Hilton Hotel. After 4 emails with them I decided to request 30,000 as compensation for all the emails, inconvenience of booking myself in different property etc. They rejected my request and then proceeded to book and cancel me from the Hilton Suites and the Hilton Hotel Makkah. (!)
For two days my account has so many cancelled bookings and emails that it’s crazy. Something so simple as re-booking me took them so long and so messy due to the fact that every time there is a new agent replying. Reading through the notes and deciding what to do on the spot.
After about 20 emails with them I gave up and requested to just deposit the 120,000 points for the two nights that they have booked at the Hilton Suites and I will deal with the stays and arrange it. Purely because I can’t cancel this reservation or change the dates and I already have bookings with Hyatt for the rest of the nights. Plus it makes more sense to pay for this stays in cash and keep the points for later, since they offered to cover it.
They did agree with my request saying the points are deposited into my account. 48 hours later I still can’t see them but I have patience. Someone emailed me after asking about the points deposit saying I should log in to my account (proceeding to tell me how to ) in order to find my points. Apparently they see them in their system as deposited and but I still see my reservation and only my Hilton points. I just wander what would happen if they didn’t inform us about the date change and I showed up in non finished property :).
Sadly I probably won’t be able to review the Conrad property until December 2016 since the hotel will open in July which is Ramadhan and after this it will be Hajj. So next Umrah opportunity will be in November/December when the visas open again, unless Conrad kindly decides to invite me for a review (please do!).
On the plus side however I managed to get my Hyatt Diamond status matched to Hilton for Diamond. I was already Gold but it will be nice to have free breakfast in Waldorf since I am planning on checking out the one in Ras Al Khaimah UAE. If you have a status with another hotel brand don’t forget today is the last day to status match it here.
p.s. Hilton finally deposited the points into my account, not bad after 20 emails. It was definitely a good compensation in my books