Marriott Points Advance Booking Issues Point to a Much Larger Issue

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Dealing Marriott Points Advance Bookings Issues

Dealing Marriott Points Advance Bookings Issues

Yesterday I read a really interesting (and entertaining) post by Tiffany at OMAAT recounting her experience booking a points advance reservation prior to the category changes. As she suspected, the reservation amount reflected the current rates as opposed to the price she booked for the reservation. The kicker here and (to me) the shocking part is that when she called Marriott, they told her the rate needed to be booked prior to March 5th in the hotels timezone! After calling and spending nearly 2 hours trying to get this fixed, they created a case number for her and said to expect a few+ days for them to resolve things.

Related: Why Marriott Is Dead To Me Along With Most Hotel Programs

The Disturbing Details

For me the most disturbing detail here is that Marriott basically said you can’t trust the rate we give you when you book because we can change it tomorrow and then retroactively increase the price. Whether you’re booking an award or a cash night, this is very disturbing especially when a credit card is required to book. If you can’t rely on the published rate when booking something how can you feel secure that the hotel is going to honor your rate at anytime? Many of us used these advanced point bookings to book expensive hotels in remote locations like the Maldives, Fiji and Asia- am I supposed to be comfortable booking flights to the Maldives 9 months in advance knowing that Marriott is making retroactive denials of published rates based on timezones?

At some point I assume Marriott will come out and say, this was a mistake and your reservation will be honored at the stated price, but I’m not sure the required effort is worth the reward here especially in light of the fact that we have no idea what else will go wrong.

Related: How to Combine your Marriott and SPG Accounts and Why I’m Waiting to Do So.

What to Do

If you are going to attempt to correct your problem reservations, there are a few things you can do to make it a bit easier on yourself.

  • Wait until you have to deal with it to call. As more people call with this same issue they should hopefully have a better way to deal with it and more educated agents.
  • Have your information handy when you call, I’ve found that being better prepared than the customer service reps has worked in my favor on past calls.
  • HUCA- when you don’t get the answer or help you need, try and try again. Sometimes it’s the luck of the draw.
  • Learn from others, check out the facebook and other online communities to see how others have fared in the same situation. Knowledge is power.

Conclusion

I’ve made plenty of these bookings and I’m not getting my hopes up. Either way, I will be following my own advice but also moving away from Marriott altogether over the next year. I definitely don’t plan on earning anymore points than the ones needed to complete the booking I have already made.

 

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4 COMMENTS

  1. I used to stay in mostly SPG properties pre-merger. Since the merger it’s just been horrific. Their CEO seems totally out of touch with how bad things are. Now I rarely stay in Marriott properties as it’s just a nightmare dealing with them or getting points to post correctly, etc. Calling in sometimes takes forever.

    I moved almost all my business over to Hyatt and Hilton. Previously in the past decade I almost NEVER stayed at Hilton but now with the Aspire card and getting Diamond it’s been a surprising breath of fresh air. I have so far been upgraded every single stay even in the USA. I also love staying in Hyatt properties and really great. I still wish they had a bigger global footprint but they are making good partnerships. It seems like Hyatt realized some mistakes they made with the World of Hyatt program and got better and improved a few things.

    If Marriott doesn’t quickly improve they are going to really go down the toilet.

  2. This clearly stems from a coding error; that’s to be expected every once in a while at most companies, and (unfortunately) pretty often at Marriott. A customer service representative twisting it into an excuse to force a higher rate shows just how deep their disdain for their most loyal customers runs, and that it reaches every level of the organization.

    At the moment, they seem more than happy to lose us in exchange for newcomers. I really hope the frustrations bouncing around this somewhat obscure corner of the internet eventually break out and make people think twice before joining – maybe then, as they lose potential enrollees to other brands, Marriott will start to take customer service seriously again.

  3. So I have the similar issue as I booked many hotel using the Point Advance method. Spoke w a rep today and she said that what I needed to do is call back 15 days prior to the trip unless I wanted them to deduct the points today for a June booking. That being said, I asked her what if I get someone else on the phone who is not as knowledgeable and she said either hang up or let her know of Marriott Article #6115 that states as long as the reservation was made by the 5th they will honor the lower points amount. Hope this will be helpful.

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