A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post entitled “I Can’t Keep Up With All The Marriott Hotels Playing Games.” I think the title is mostly self explanatory.
Ever since Marriott integrated their three loyalty programs, it sure seems like more hotels are playing “games” than ever before, in violation of the terms and conditions of Marriott’s loyalty program. This ranges from hotels putting notices on their website saying they don’t have to upgrade Platinum members, to hotels just not making rooms available on points, to all kinds of other things.
Marriott is now the world’s largest hotel group, with over 6,500 hotels around the world. So there’s no doubt that there will always be some “bad apple” hotels, though it sure seems to me that the number of hotels doing whatever the heck they want is increasing significantly.
Reader Lulu brought to my attention what on the surface appears to be a pretty gutsy move from a hotel.
The Ritz-Carlton Tokyo appears to be charging a 23,200JPY service charge per night when redeeming points. So in addition to the 60,000 points required per night, you also have to pay a total of 25,246JPY including tax, which is about 230USD.
There aren’t supposed to be service charges on points stays, since they’re almost always charged as a percent of the room rate, and in the case of points stays that rate is zero.
While I was ready to point fingers at the hotel as another example of a hotel doing whatever the heck they want, I then followed up with the hotel directly. They made it clear that this was a glitch they were aware of and that they’re working on getting fixed.
I’m obviously not here to make any excuses for Marriott, and I’ve been (fairly) tough on them, in my opinion. A lot of hotels feel they can do whatever they want, and when they put a message on their website saying they don’t upgrade Platinum members, that’s obviously not a glitch.
However, it is also important to keep in mind that Marriott has thousands of hotels around the world, and collectively we’re more skeptical of the brand than ever before. In those cases I’ll continue to do what I can to follow up and figure out exactly what’s going on.
Some hotels are playing games, though with so many hotels there are also bound to be some glitches. I’m writing this post to say that maybe in some cases it makes sense to step back for a moment and assume something may be a glitch, rather than assume everything individual Marriott hotels do has nefarious intentions.