I experienced the same thing. I reserved Hilton in Altamonte Springs, Florida since July 17, 2017, bought with advance purchase rate because it's lower than the Best Available Rate. The reservation was made for October 15, 2017 for 3 nights. On October 9, 2017 I called to change the reservation to other type of rooms or to Embassy Suites by Hilton. The Customer service, Octavia, was not courteous at all. She spoke far away from the phone mic, I could hardly hear or understand what she said. She was impatience, seems like she assumed that I understand what advanced purchase is, she just said, NO CHANGES, NO REFUND.
She didn't explain to what is Advance Purchase and what is the implications or if there is a way to work it out. When I asked for a supervisor, she said that she is the supervisor. When I asked for her manager, she said no manager. She is the highest point to make decision. I was amused. After I was so angry, then she said that I could cancel it as long as I made another booking with Advanced Purchase and pay $50 booking fee. I didn't quite understand what she meant. She was not helpful as trying to find a solution for my problem and confusion.
So I called the hotel directly to cancel it, the hotel front desk was very nice. He helped me to cancel it only to found out that the rate was a non-refundable. So he suggested I called to the customer service for Advance Purchase, it's not the same with Hilton Honors customer service. It's a different department, their phone number is +1-800-236-7113.
I called the 1-800-236-7113 again and spoke with other customer service personal, Stefanie. At first she was okay but then she also became not impatience and told me to just decide which hotel to book. Rebooking fee is $50. But she didn't see an 'advance purchase' rate either. I thought, so what? Just make a booking an apply the money that I have paid since July, right? She said, no. You have to pay with 'advance purchase' rate pay immediately after you made the rebooking, then your money that was charged previously will be refunded and will be deducted by $50 for the rebooking fee. I was like a bit relieved, thinking that it's not that bad. So she said just book and she'll be able to see the new booking.
So I made the new booking, at the same hotel, on the same reservation date, with an executive rate, higher than the 'advance purchase' rate.
Then I called that +1-800-236-7113 again to tell them that I have rebooked the hotel. The other lady, Susie answered and she said that doesn't count. I was confused and mad. What again?? She said that I have to book the same condition, I have to book ADVANCE RATE again. Then I told her that the rate is not available, how can I book it, please tell me how. She said, find other dates, other hotel, other location as long as they have the ADVANCE RATE. And I have to book it today until midnight is the latest, because changes has to be made at the latest 3 days before the check in date. I may book any day as long as it's within one year of the day I cancelled. If I fail to rebook before midnight, the $300 that I have paid will not be refunded. Susie was rude, she is not a customer care, she does not care about the Hilton customer. When I talked, she also talked at the same time. When I yell, she also yelled and talking without listening to what I said, she didn't care with my frustration. She doesn't offer any solution or help. She didn't event say SORRY for her attitude.
How come Hilton hire such customer 'CARE'? 3 ladies that I talked to were very very rude!!!
Please check this department, how you train your customer care and check again your policy about ADVANCE PURCHASE RATE, it's ridiculous and trapping people. Creating a bad name for Hilton!!! The hotel and HHonor customer service were apologizing for these people, how they treated me but the couldn't do anything.
I want to tell every one, please beware, don't buy ADVANCE PURCHASE rate. Anything could happen. Your flight can be cancelled, changed to other date, but you may not be able to change your hotel, your money will be forfeited, especially if your hotel is not in United Sates, Mexico and the Caribbean. Be Careful.
What is the purpose of making this rate anyway? Is it to secure the booking with the hotel or to secure the money with Hilton Group? At the end the clients are the one that were taken advantage and being unfairly treated.
When I read the Rules and Restrictions, all of the statement are to secure Hilton Group. Not the hotel, not the clients. One of the fine line said: Advance Purchase Non-Refundable Rate discounts vary by hotel and commonly range from five (5) to twenty (20) percents off Best Available Rate. Charges cannot be applied to other stays, services or merchandise. No prices or hotel availability are guaranteed until full payment is received. Even after full payment has been received, we reserve the right to cancel a reservation without notice if we become aware of or are notified of any fraud or illegal activity associated with the payment for this reservation.
It's not worth it. 5% to 20% discount and then you have to lose 100% of your money if there is unforeseen things happen. Do you agree with me?
Dear Hilton Directors, managers, policy makers, please let the Hilton Group to go over this policy and take action to change it immediately. I have checked complaints from people that were shocked when something happened to their vacation plan, their flight etc. they end up losing their money, it's not necessary to create such a bad review. I hope there will be a class-suit action someday towards this policy.