My friend and her boyfriend, I’ll call them Jessica and Dave, belong to a vacation club where they get a certain amount of points per year. They can either bank the points and roll them over to the next year, or cash them out in gift cards to use at hotels. Jessica is rolling in debt, but the whole vacation club is paid for by her boyfriend (which later turned out to be a big problem.)
I invited Jessica to go to a party with me in the city one evening earlier this month. She mentioned that she had all these gift cards left that were going to expire soon, so she decided to book us a hotel for the night so we could really have fun at the party. Personally, I thought it was kind of silly to book a hotel room for the evening when we live about 45 minutes away (I’ve done the sober up and drive home later in the night thing plenty of times) but she insisted that we might as well, since she had over $1500 in gift cards left that expire in February. So I said sure, why not.
She drove us to the city and wanted to get valet at the hotel for her car. That was $50 for the night. I suggested we put the car in a cheaper garage and she said it was no big deal because she would just pay for it with her points, so I said fine.
When we arrived to check in, I stood next to her and found out that she couldn’t use her gift card at check in because they need a credit card in case there are any damages to the room or other expenses that go beyond the gift card amount. So she gave them her credit card but it was denied. So I offered to put the room on my card for the time being. My friend assured me my card wouldn’t be charged and that she could use the gift card when she checked out. She had used the cards before with no problem at other hotels.
We went to the party and had a pretty good time. Drank a lot so it was nice to have a hotel room in the city. We didn’t stay at just any hotel, we stayed at the swanky hotel where the party was with a room that cost $270 a night after tax. But it was all going to be covered by Jessica’s gift card that she had to use up anyway. Or so I thought.
The next morning when we tried to check out, there was a problem. Because Jessica’s boyfriend’s name was on the gift cards, the woman at the front desk wouldn’t let us use the card. My friend begged and pleaded to no avail. Apparently she used the card without Dave around before and at another hotel they accepted it. But here, they wouldn’t. So after too long standing there and hoping the card would be accepted, we gave up. And the $330 charge went on my credit card.
My friend told me that she’d ask her boyfriend for the money and that he’d pay me back. The really awful part was that she couldn’t use the card to reimburse us because you have to use it at a hotel. I told her that it would be worth calling the vacation club right away and say the card was denied. She doesn’t have to tell them why, but if she can get her boyfriend on the phone maybe they would reimburse her. I kind of felt like an asshole trying to get her to do this since I also stayed in the hotel room for the night, but I didn’t think her boyfriend should have to pay an extra $330 for something he didn’t even get to experience. I know my friend Jessica isn’t the best with money and is so much in debt that she can’t afford the room either, so I offered to split the charge with her. So $175 down the drain for a night at a hotel that I didn’t need.
That was last week. I keep asking my friend to call the vacation club company but she hasn’t yet. Or she says she tries but they are busy. I don’t think she’s really trying. I’m sure her boyfriend will give her money for her half of the hotel room and eventually I’ll get that back, but I’m a little peeved.
Question is, do I have a right to be peeved? I accepted the hotel room offer even though I knew it would be expensive, as my friend said she needed to use up her vacation points and this was a small percentage of the ones she had left. She didn’t purposefully get the hotel and have the points not work, she didn’t realize that her boyfriend had to be there for the cards to be valid. On the other hand, why didn’t she realize that? And shouldn’t she make an effort to call her vacation card company right away to see if they would be willing to reimburse her from her gift card? What would you do?