Capital One, Hurricane Irma, and unethical cancellation fees

We were planning on going to Myrtle Beach for a week starting this Saturday. With Hurricane Irma bearing down towards the Southeast United States, we realized we needed to postpone our vacation.

We booked our week at Myrtle Beach Resort through Capital One. We used the points we earn paying for things on our Capital One Venture card to pay for the reservation. We use the Capital One Venture card to pay for everything. Since we pay our balance off every month, the points we accumulate (two points for every $1 we spend) are very much like free money.

After checking out the latest developments with Hurricane Irma this morning, I came to the sad realization that I needed to postpone our Myrtle Beach vacation. I called Capital One and told the representative because of Hurricane Irma, I needed to modify our reservation.  I needed to change check-in from September 9th to the following Saturday, September 16. I was told by the representative that I would need to cancel the current reservation and then book a whole new trip. I was also told I would need to pay a cancellation fee.

I questioned why I had to pay a cancellation fee when the reason I had to cancel was because of a category five hurricane. The representative transferred me to a supervisor. After being placed on hold twice, I was told by the supervisor that there was nothing he could do. He referenced the official rules and policies of our reservation. It states that changes or cancellations within three days of check-in are subject to cancellation fee.

I pointed out that since check-in wasn’t until 4:00 PM September 6, it wasn’t within three days of check-in. Since three days is 72 hours, our check-in wasn’t for another 76 hours, four hours more than three days. I also pointed out that the reason I needed to cancel the reservation was because of a category five hurricane, not because of some personal whim.

The Capital One supervisor would not budge. According to him, it was within three days of check-in and it didn’t matter why I was cancelling the reservation. I still had to pay the cancellation fee.

What’s in your wallet?

Capital One charges a $132 cancellation fee because of a category five hurricane. I learned a valuable lesson for my $132:

  • Do not use a Capital One credit card.
  • Do not book travel through Capital One.
  • Capital One will take advantage of a natural disaster to make money.

I will be looking for another credit card to use for all my transactions. Seeing how Capital One truly is, I don’t want to do business with them. Capital One’s spirit animal is a syphilis laden, puss dripping crypt rat. Do rats get syphilis?

Show me a company that will use the threat of a hurricane to make a profit, I’ll show you a company I want no part of.

Update

On September 6, the same day I canceled our reservation, the governor of South Carolina declared a state of emergency. Because of that, Capital One refunded the $132 cancellation fee. As it turned out, Hurricane Irma didn’t even hit South Carolina, but took a more westerly route. Better safe than sorry. We book a week at the same resort for September 16-23 and ended up paying $300 less than we were going to pay through Capital One. We took all our existing points and just applied it to our balance. That was something I didn’t even know we could do.

I'm originally from southern California, but western Maryland is my home now. This is my blog. It's where I write about whatever I feel like writing about, when I feel like writing.

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2 thoughts on “Capital One, Hurricane Irma, and unethical cancellation fees”

  1. I am glad that you played it safe and it worked out better for you in the end. Capital One should be ashamed of their ethics. I am in South Florida.

  2. I have worked in the hotel industry for over 10 years, and worked with all types of booking agencies like capital one. To be fare, if capital one cancels the reservation within 72hr they will get hit with the cancel fee and that’s why they charged you the fee. The moment state of emergency is declared all cancel fees are waived.

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