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.
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.
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.
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.