Was that Uber/Hotels.com promo a bait & switch?

Uber sent out a promo in partnership with Hotels.com a couple weeks ago.

It said you could earn $30 off your next Hotels.com stay if you take an Uber ride between 12.19 and 12.26.


I use Hotels.com every once in a while and happened to need an Uber ride last week, so I thought it’d be an easy $30.

After all, the fine print in the email didn’t seem too restrictive:


Making a Hotels.com booking before 1.31 might’ve been a challenge, but it could still be a nice deal if used with one of Amazon’s lightning deals for a gift card or two:


Well today I got the promo code in my email as promised:


But when I went to browse hotel options for an upcoming trip to Seattle, I learned about a tiny little stipulation that Uber left out of the emails: the $175 minimum booking.

Before you call me a cheapy, I should say that I don’t use Hotels.com for staying at nice hotels.

I use Hotels.com when I need an affordable bed in a convenient location, and only when there aren’t free/nicer/better options using points (Here’s my post on that).

This is why I usually click the “See full terms and conditions” button when a deal seems too easy to be true. Here is the full fine print.

I did find a nice hotel in Seattle I could use the promo on:


But I still don’t think I’ll cancel the free night I have booked at a Hyatt right under the Space Needle.

Thoughts? Bait & switch? Or flawless marketing and I’m the stupid one for not checking out the full details page?

Here are some pros and cons of using Hotels.com.

Thanks for reading!

17 thoughts on “Was that Uber/Hotels.com promo a bait & switch?

  1. Pingback: The pros and cons of using Hotels.com | easyjourneys

  2. I never got my promo code even though I took two uber rides during the requested period, I even got an email saying “As promised, we’re gifting you $30 off your next booking at hotels.com, your email will arrive shortly.
    After not receiving the email with the promo code by December 31st (the date we were supposed to receive the promo code was December 29th) I contacted uber 6 times and they all keep responding and that I need to contact hotels.com to get my promo code… how does this make sense?? Bait and switch for sure, sick of the lies and promises not kept. Done with Uber!


      • As a usual reader of fine print I also had second thoughts once I saw how much they wanted me to spend. I took don’t use hotels.com for classier evenings away from home. These are the last couple emails from Uber regarding the situation…,
        “Hi Natalie – I understand your frustration regarding the email that was sent to you. I’d be happy to explain!

        I do understand that the email regarding the promotion came from Uber, however, the promotion for $30.00 is coming from Hotels.com as stated in the email, therefore, we encourage you to reach out to them directly regarding the time-frame of when you’ll receive this promotion. I’m terribly sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused.”

        I wrote back and included the picture of your “promo code email”….
        “Funny, no one else I know had to contact hotels.com for their promo code, they all got emails from Uber as seen below…(I have removed the email address and promo code) [image1.PNG] If you can’t send me what I earned, you have pulled a bait and switch and I no longer want to use your company since you can’t even deliver what you promised.”

        Then I received this last one…,
        “So sorry to hear about the trouble with this promotion, Natalie. Thank you for sending these screenshots.

        Kindly check your spam or junk folder for the promo code.

        Hope you’ll find the email and let us know.”

        These are the last three of the 11 messages back and forth to the company since 4pm on December 31. (Not to mention that the guy that drove me on December 24 ran over my cell phone and they dont have any insurance or coverage for anything of that nature), shady company, cheaper than a taxi but can you really trust them when you can’t even get a coupon for a hotel out of them??


  3. You aren’t alone, Natalie!
    I used Uber for three times between 12/19/16 and 12/26/16 and am still waiting the promo code. I wasn’t able to find the email address etc on Uber’s website to complain about it. I wanted to use the promo code for my stay last night at a hotel in Toronto.
    Please let me know how you sent the inquiry.


    • Hi Yoshi,

      I started by going into the Uber app, click on one of the rides that qualify for the promo code and click on “Report an issue with this trip.” Below the image of the trip there will be different information on problems you might have had, pick “I had an issue with my promo code” then “My promo code did not work for this trip.”

      Once you get to this point at the bottom of the page it will ask for promo code (I put “hotels.com”), value ($30) and then told them in the additional details that I qualified for this promo and they fought me for the code for a full week, then they finally relented and sent me the code, which was half of the code, that a couple days later they send the full code.


      • I submitted the inquiry choosing the first ride on 22nd ($16.68) which qualifies for the promo code. I received an updated receipt from Uber that Uber refunded the price of the ride.
        There is no apology. They did not explain how this incident happened. They did not ask me if I wanted to be refunded.


  4. And the email from Uber to Natalie saying “I do understand that the email regarding the promotion came from Uber, however, the promotion for $30.00 is coming from Hotels.com as stated in the email” sounds violation of privacy of Uber riders. Does Uber give privacy information of Uber riders to other companies?


    • Uber shouldn’t be giving out any information about you without your permission, but I am not sure if when you took the rides and qualified, that the company took that as authorization from you. If you don’t want to go through talk the crap with Uber, let me know and you can have my code, I won’t be using it, or any Ubers anymore. I rather pay a little more that deal with the crap that they are selling you on and treating you like crap if anything happens.


      • Just after the trip on 22nd, I received an email from Uber saying that “We’re glad you took a trip! As promised, we’re gifting you $30 off your next booking at Hotels.com. We’ll soon be sending a promo code to redeem your gift.” The sender of the promo code is supposed to be Uber.
        If Uber responds me with the same email as you have received, I’ll ask about their privacy policy.


  5. That is the same email I received and I took screen shots and sent them to Uber and that is where they fought me saying that the email code was coming from hotels.com not them, they only relented when I complained that no one else I knew had to contact hotels.com and used easyjourneys’ email showing that Uber was supposed to send the code.


  6. I wish I was refunded the money I spent, they must have had a ton of complaints and just thought it was easier to take the loss then fight with customers. I was informed yesterday (from Intact Insurance) that the driver who ran over my phone has only the basic coverage and that unless my phone was broken in a collision they would not be replacing/repairing my phone. Still not interested in using Uber anymore, gave them too many chances, deleted the app.


    • They must have had a ton of complaints for sure!

      If Uber was a normal company, they would have honestly explained us how they are preventing from the same incident . I am sending the last complaint with the Uber app before deleting it.


      • I did the same, waited for my response about my phone, since I at that point didn’t care about the promo, then deleted it.


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