Complaint / review text:
My wife was traveling in S. Dakota to see Mt Rushmore, etc., and a storm moved in. She called to have me get her a room nearby while they broke down the camp site. I checked on Google, found a hotel that had room on the dates I wanted (I selected dates on Google), then filled out form on Choice Hotels site since it offered a discount if I signed up to be a member. I didn't notice that the dates had changed when I then got to the Choice Hotel website, so when my wife went to check in there was no reservation for that night. Now - I accept responsibility for not paying more attention, but after numerous calls (8) with both the hotel and Choice, neither would budge on the reservation so we ended up eating it.
Evidently Choice hotels is not really so much a member service as it is a booking service that acts to lock in reservations, kind of like Priceline with airfare which I have also learned the hard way never to use. The thing that really stings is that Choice informed me that once the reservation was paid for, Comfort Inns owned the reservation and they could do anything they wanted to with it. Comfort Inn said it was non-refundable and only Choice could change it. And around it went.
My wife made a reservation at 2 hotels in Chicago for a conference, not sure which one she wanted to stay at. Six weeks before the reservation date, she decides to cancel the Choice Hotel reservation option. But, she is informed that it is non-refundable, and in fact they had already billed the credit card company. My wife had worked really hard initially to get someone at Choice to help her, finally got someone who barely spoke English but did help here. It was agreed that she wanted only a reservation that was fully refundable, or so she thought. The hotel did agree to refund the money after some 'choice' words were exchanged, but they would keep one night's stay as a fee for cancelling.
So my wife decided to stay with that hotel (since the other hotel allowed the reservation to be cancelled) but has, like me, vowed to never, ever use Choice again. Beware, they are only interested in selling rooms and not helping 'members' get good deals or be treated fairly. Now, my first step in making hotel reservations is to check and see if a hotel is a Choice Hotel member, then keep looking if it is. Never, ever again will I use Choice Hotels and cannot imagine how they could ever come up with the type of business model they use, especially in this day and age.