The Jacksons’ family vacation to the nation’s capitol was a lot of fun, but it had more than its fair share of frustrations.
It started last January, when Maureen Jackson redeemed her Travis Credit Union card rewards points for a four-night hotel stay in at the Four Points by Sheraton New Carrollton Maryland.
But when they arrived with their bags, the hotel had no record of their reservation, and no rooms available.
“They’re telling me that they don’t have any rooms. They’re booked,” said Jackson, recalling her arrival.
She showed the hotel a printout with her confirmation, but the hotel wouldn’t budge.
“My first thought was, am I sleeping in the car?” she said. “What am I doing tonight?”
The family ended up paying more than $650 dollars for their four-night Washington, D.C. stay.
But Maureen still wonders what could have happened, any why her confirmation wasn’t proof enough of her booking.
“Isn’t this a receipt?,” she said. “I’m not a lawyer, but it seems to me.”
So how can you get a confirmation — confirming your reservation — when you’re not actually confirmed?
“Just the term confirmation number doesn’t tell the whole story,” said Ben Woolsey, a former manager of rewards for Chase, who now directs consumer research for CreditCards.com.
Woolsey said banks and credit unions often use third-party ompanies to run their rewards programs.
In the Jackson’s case, it was Travis Credit Union, which uses Fidelity ScoreCard Rewards.
Woolsey recommends calling the hotel or airline directly, even if you think you have an email that confirms everything.
“It shouldn’t have to be that way, but I think ultimately that’s really the only way you can protect yourself as a consumer,” Woolsey said.
The Jacksons wanted to either be reimbursed or get their reward points credited back.
“They didn’t seem interested in trying to resolve anything,” said Maureen.
After CBS Sacramento got involved, Fidelity ScoreCard Rewards admitted their mistake, and cut the Jacksons a check to cover their hotel stay.
“The reservation agent made a mistake in the processing of it,” Bob Legters of Fidelity told CBS Sacramento. “Whatever happened should not have happened to the consumer.”
Travis Credit Union told CBS Sacramento Fidelity “acknowledged that it should never have taken this long to resolve this issue and has assured us that they are taking measures to ensure this kind of problem does not happen again.”
And Maureen said she’s glad it’s over.
“Now I don’t have to think about it anymore,” she said.