Booked a really expensive hotel on a really cheap corporate rate and now they don’t want to honor my reservation after confirming. Sent me an e-mail asking me to cancel. Do I have any choice?

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Depends on brand too, if it's a Marriott and you have any status, ignore the email and just show up, worst case they walk you to a comparable hotel and pay you a ton of points and money per ultimate reservation guarantee

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I’m Gold but going with a friend who’s Plat - ignoring the email for now but don’t wanna pay rack rate at some random hotel when I’m there

If they are asking you to cancel it sounds like it’s not up to them. Otherwise they would cancel themselves. They’re just hoping you cancel so they can have higher margins. I’d keep it

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lol sounds like someone got a little over zealous with that General Dynamics code

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Clearly a money grab. Contact Marriott in a public forum like Twitter and ask if such an email is legitimate or a scam of some sort. If legitimate, if that's consistent with their brand standards. This should pressure them to say "no, we will honor the confirmation we provided already".

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They can demand you provide proof (corporate email, etc.) that you are allowed to use that code. If you can't prove it, they can change your rate to the rack rate.

Regarding claiming you have an interview or meeting with someone from that company, be prepared to provide some sort of email. Once in Manhattan, I had to provide the email address and phone number of who I was meeting for that Marriott to honor the rate code.

Since they are questioning you before you arrive, I suspect you will probably be changing hotels or paying more.

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Did they give a reason they want you to cancel?

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Sounds like you used a code you’re not allowed to use. Bad actors on both sides here.

What should happen is you decline to cancel for them, show up, they ask you for confirmation your code applies, find that it doesn’t, and change your rate.

That’s how it’s supposed to work. Don’t lie next time.

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Is it your own corp rate?

It is not worth this stress. If it’s not your code then cancel and book elsewhere

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