David J. Danto


Travel thoughts in my own, personal opinion




eMail: ddanto@IMCCA.org      Follow Industry News: @NJDavidD on all          


Everyone Is Letting Me Down – April 2024


  When things are great Every company can handle it.  But when things go wrong, the companies we use for travel and life show their true colors.  I’ve had a frustrating couple of weeks for a bunch of reasons that people should know about.

The first incident was an automobile accident that my wife was in recently.  She was driving our two-year-old Hyundai Tucson Hybrid when a police car (that did not have its lights or sirens on) blasted through a stop sign and hit her car and then another car.  Thankfully she was not physically hurt very badly – just a bruise or two from the seat belt.   However, it was then that the non-physical injuries began to pile-up on us.  Apparently, in New Jersey, the police are never financially responsible for an accident – even when they are in the wrong.  When a police car hits you, you have to collect from your own insurance. 

So then, let’s talk about that insurance.  When one is actually in an accident and covered by Progressive, the famous “Flo” (or anyone else that seemingly nice) never gets involved.  Progressive rapidly “totaled” our car, insisting the repairs would cost more than the value of the car.  Then, after they made that decision, they actually, gallingly send a second assessor to the towed hulk of a vehicle (well after it's already been assessed as totaled) to search for and list everything they can conceivably think of that would reduce the value of the car.  You have a stain on a seat?  That’s $600 off.  There is a tiny scratch on the bumper?  That’s another $600.  It’s this person’s sole and specific job to reduce the payment to policy holders.  They have no concern that they’re mistreating a customer.  At that point they gave the lienholder a payment that made them whole, and then gave us the remainder – which of course was not nearly enough to replace the car.  However, if that all wasn’t enough of an insult, they then do a bait and switch on the cost of the insurance.  We of course have an itemized annual bill for insurance that shows the amount to cover each of our three vehicles.  When we removed the one that was totaled through no fault of our own, the price to insure the remaining two vehicles went up.  That’s Progressive saying ‘pay us $1,500 to insure your Tucson, but when you remove it from your policy you only get $900 back.’   I’m sure Progressive isn’t the only nightmare of an insurance company to deal with, but they’ve certainly lost us as a customer. 

With that incident past us, we come to Hilton.  The Hilton team and the old HHonors program had no greater cheerleader than I for many years.  It has unfortunately become only a shadow of its prior self.  On my last business trip to Orlando – when my flight there didn’t have working WiFi – I landed at MCO to the following email:


---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Christie Mxxxxxx <Christie.Mxxxxxx@hilton.com>
Date: Sun, Mar 24, 2024 at 9:43 AM
Subject: YOUR STAY AT HAMPTON INN Kxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


Good Morning,  


        We are contacting you to inform you that we currently do not have hot water at our location and offering a free cancellation, if you choose not to cancel, we will take 25% off tonight's rate.




Christie xxxxxxxx

Front Office Manager


While still on the plane I called this Christie and asked her when the hot water would be repaired.  It wouldn’t be too inconvenient for the rest of the day, but I’d need it the following morning.  Her reply was “We don’t know.”

The Hilton I knew would have made alternate arrangements for another Hilton brand property to accept the rate and the reservation and give us the option to be ‘walked’ there.  There must be at least a hundred Hilton associated properties in the greater Orlando area.  Nope – none of that – not even for a Diamond VIP.  While I was walking off the airplane I had to call the Hilton Diamond Desk (or whatever contact center operators they now pretend are the old Diamond Desk) and have them find me a close-by property for four days – and be forced to pay the walk-up rate.  To their credit, they did so pretty quickly, but I was now paying something other than what I arranged for months, and was a 25-minute drive from my conference, not a 5-minute drive from my conference.   When I got home I sent an email to Diamond special services, but as of today I still have not heard back from them.  Even that lack of a reply alone is far worse than Hilton used to treat its Diamond VIP members.



Also, p






As I write this, we’ve just lived through the first decent sized (4.8) earthquake and aftershocks we’ve had in New Jersey for over a decade.  Either that or a police car hit my house…which of course I hope is not true, as I now know they aren’t financially responsible for the damage they’d cause, and I’ll have a hard time getting fair treatment from Hilton to find a property to stay at as any damage is repaired.   


This article was written by David Danto and contains solely his own, personal opinions.

All image and links provided above as reference under prevailing fair use statutes.

Copyright 2024 David Danto


As always, feel free to write and comment, question or disagree.  Hearing from the traveling community is always a highlight for me.  Thanks!