How Did I Miss This? Marriott’s Terrible Blackout Date Policy

Filed Under: Hotels, Marriott

Members have been reporting a lot of issues with the new Marriott Bonvoy program. While I can mostly accept the program for what it is, I think a large part of the frustration has involved how poorly executed many things have been. There have just been so many IT issues, and so little official communication from the company, which has left people frustrated.

Maybe I’ve been living under a rock all this time, but there’s a terrible policy that I wasn’t fully aware of.

Hotel programs with “no blackout dates” policies

In my opinion one of the basics of a good hotel loyalty program is that it has no blackout dates on award stays. For me, no blackout dates means that as long as a standard room is available for sale, you can redeem points for it.

This is historically how Hilton Honors, Starwood Preferred Guest, and World of Hyatt have operated.

When the program merger was first announced, my understanding was that Marriott was maintaining the legacy SPG policy, and that as long as a standard room is available for sale, you can redeem points for it.

“We’re sorry. This property is not taking redemption bookings at this time.”

If you’ve been trying to make award bookings at various Marriott hotels the past few weeks, chances are you may have come across a situation where you receive the following message:

“We’re sorry. This property is not taking redemption bookings at this time. You can either book a cash reservation or search for another property.”

My assumption all along has been that this is an IT issue, and that some hotels just weren’t displaying availability correctly, or were trying to play games, in contradiction to Marriott’s policy.

As it turns out, that’s not the case at all. Marriott hotels are actually allowed to restrict award availability much more than I was aware.

Marriott’s “no blackout dates” policy

As it turns out, Marriott Bonvoy’s “no blackout dates” policy is as follows:

  • The company says they have “no blackout dates,” which means that every day there will be standard rooms available for award redemptions
  • However, legacy Marriott properties can limit the number of standard rooms available for redemptions

Here are the full terms & conditions regarding this:

The Company has a “No Blackout Dates” policy, which means that, subject to the limitations and exclusions below, Participating Properties have standard rooms available every day for Award Redemptions. These limitations and exclusions are:

i.     Participating Properties from the following Brands may limit the number of standard rooms available for redemption on a limited number of days: The Ritz-Carlton®, EDITION®, JW Marriott®, Marriott Hotels®, Delta Hotels®, Autograph Collection® Hotels, Renaissance® Hotels, Gaylord Hotels®, Courtyard®, SpringHill Suites®, Protea Hotels®, Fairfield by Marriott®, AC Hotels®, Moxy® Hotels, Residence Inn®, TownePlace Suites®

ii.     The following Participating Brands allow only for Points/Miles earnings and do not offer Points redemption: Marriott Executive Apartments® and ExecuStay®.

iii.     The following Participating Properties or Brands either do not participate in or do not fully participate in the No Blackout Dates benefit at this time:

  • Boscolo Exedra Nice, Autograph Collection
  • Carlo IV, The Dedica Anthology, Autograph Collection
  • JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn® Resort & Spa, Scottsdale, AZ
  • Marriott Vacation Club and Marriott Grand Residence Club – all properties
  • Participating Vistana properties
  • Rome Marriott Grand Hotel Flora, Rome, Italy
  • Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, Hawaii
  • Wailea Beach Resort – Marriott – Maui, Hawaii

What this means

At a Westin, if a hotel has 500 standard rooms, then all 500 of those can be booked with points. There are no blackout dates, and as long as a standard room is available, you can redeem points for it.

At a Marriott, if a hotel has 500 standard rooms, then they could elect to make just one of those 500 rooms available with points, and not be violating the terms & conditions.

Now, in a majority of instances they’ll make more rooms available than that, but that’s not because the program promises that. The hotel can “limit the number of standard rooms available for redemption on a limited number of days.” 360 days is a limited number of days, and 1% of rooms is a limited number of rooms. So the hotel can do that, and there’s nothing we can do about it.

Let me give an example at the Marriott in Newport, Rhode Island. July 13-14, 2019, you can book a stay here for either $569 per night or 50,000 points. That’s for a standard king room.

The previous weekend the exact same room is available at exactly the same price when paying cash, but it’s not available on points.

And with the Marriott Bonvoy program, the hotel is within their rights to do that.

Bottom line

Maybe I’ve been living under a rock, but I didn’t realize that this was Marriott’s policy. While Marriott does have no blackout dates (meaning there will be at least one room available every night), they allow hotels to limit the number of standard rooms available for awards.

This policy only applies to legacy Marriott hotels. In those situations, when you see standard rooms available for sale but don’t see points availability, it’s likely not a tech glitch, but rather quite intentional.

Gosh I really do miss SPG. With SPG you knew what you were getting, and the program had good control over the properties. In the case of Marriott, it seems hotels can just do whatever they want.

This means that IHG Rewards Club and Marriott Bonvoy are in one league when it comes to redeem points (in restricting standard room availability), while Hilton Honors and World of Hyatt are in a different league (in making all standard rooms available on points).

What has your experience been with Marriott putting capacity controls on standard rooms?

Comments
  1. Nope, you weren’t living under a rock Lucky. Marriott just continues to destroy their point values. SPG used to reimburse hotels at two levels: if their hotel was under/over 90% occupancy. My guess is that for legacy SPG hotels that still stands, but Marriott didn’t bother to expand that to their legacy properties.

    I keep dreaming a bunch of SPG hotel groups will band together, leave Marriott and bring back something like legacy SPG….

  2. Marriott is catering to it’s independent owners and not guests. A fine plan in the short run but losing high value business clients in long run isn’t a great strategy. At some point this will hit the bottom line.

  3. LoyaltyLobby reported this previously. Once the legacy SPG policy was applied, but then now it has changed to what it is.

  4. Had reward redemption blackout for a Sheraton Mirage on the Gold Coast of QLD. Not sure, but think that they are a legacy SPG property.

  5. “…World of Hyatt are in a different league (in making all standard rooms available on points).:

    Nope, last Summer we had Hyatt points, and wanted to book a Hyatt property in the California Wine Country. Looked it up, and although the hotel had lots of standard rooms available for cash booking, got the message: “this property is not available for award bookings”.

    No, not just that night, but all Summer long. Pretty clear they hadn’t already booked that one room per night (the Marriott minimum) for the whole Summer either. Rather it was more ‘we don’t do award bookings’ ;(

  6. I think the wording means that all brands, including the legacy SPG brands, can limit award bookings.

    If you ignore the “limitations and exclusions”, what they’re promising is just that there will be rooms available for award redemption every day. 2 rooms are rooms.
    Nothing in the policy indicates that they will let you redeem points as long as long as a standard room is for sale.

  7. Agree with @Robert — isn’t points booking artificially limited at the Andaz Maui, too? I’d suspect there are others.

  8. I think a big of realism is needed. Business travellers rack up points in city centre hotels year round then want award stays either in resort hotels or at premium times of year like Christmas – or worse, resort hotels at premium times of year. It just doesn’t make sense for some hotels.

    Put another way, if something represents exceptional value for a traveller, there is a good chance it is a commercial disaster for the hotel.

    Quite frankly I am amazed that there is no blackout dates but if I owned a hotel there is zero chance I would sign a management contract with Marriott without some way to restrict award bookings at premium times.

  9. I think ihg has this as well, unfortunately. I agree with the comment about hotels.com looking better and better

  10. Good detective work, Lucky. Am trying to spend down my Marriott points this year, while there are still some benefits to be had.

    For those who’ve never seen it, Google the (Star Wars) parody “This Deal’s Getting Worse All The Time | Robot Chicken” to see how Marriott Bonvoy members are currently getting hosed.

  11. Yes, Andaz Maui artificially limits redemptions. But at least it’s within the general rules.

    They make a limited room type available for points. Then, they generally have a minimum stay requirement for that room type. So you can’t find that base/standard room on cash or on points easily.

    But at least that’s still following the rules, and fairly easy to work within (ie book a 4 night stay, call and have extra nights removed).

  12. Lucky, while I am all for piling on the disaster that is Marriott, I would like to note that some Hyatt properties are playing games as well. They’re circumventing the Standard policy by slightly altering room names to not have any “Standard” rooms available on popular dates.

  13. I’m really pissed off about this. AND, as if that isn’t enough, I am STILL waiting to hear something about the data breach. I sent more personal info to this 3rd party (actually reading about it on OMAAT) and I have yet to hear anything. 10+ years of SPG loyalty may be coming to an end…

  14. Even at Hilton, only a small subset of rooms may be branded “standard rooms.” And you can bet Hyatt hotels also have various loopholes to restrict points bookings during peak time periods. In practice, the only hotels or airlines with true “no blackout” policies are those with revenue based redemption models.

  15. Nam Nghi Phu Quoc is another ‘World of Hyatt’ property (listed on their website) that appears to have just decided to pass on points redemptions. Not sure what’s worse, Marriott having a loose policy, or Hyatt failing to secure property compliance with a clear policy.

  16. What you wrote about Westin is not true. Westin is still selling standard room but not allowing award redemption in some case. For example Westin Grand cayman on 12/21-12/28 is selling standard room at cash price but does not allow award redemption.

  17. I had this issue last Spring. I wanted a room at a Residence Inn in Chattanooga to attend a wedding, and base level rooms were available for cash. None for points however. That being said, I’d always taken Marriott’s no blackout date policy as literal, so I wasn’t surprised. My understanding was there are no dates where no award rooms are available. However, the hotel is free to make as few available as they want, as long as at least one is available. If it gets booked, tough luck. SPG/Hyatt got around this in different ways, usually with low floor or poor view subcategory rooms comprising the “base” rooms, while identical rooms on higher floors or with better views were not considered “base” despite the interior of the rooms being identical.

  18. @Transportprof – Yes, those of us who know, we know ;-). Ben WILL catch up to this in a year or two ;-). I keep my Hyatt elite status since they are worth it….and I do some Hilton bookings.

    I love these Marriott posts, they are my new fav. I just wonder when everyone will wake up to the fact that IT IS OVER!!! SPG (my hotel chain love of 18 years) is gone, and Marriott who I refused to touch is just as bad as I knew them to be. Ok, I do some JW Marriott’s when I have to for work.

    Anyone that is still hoping for the best, well ummm good luck.

  19. This is a gripe I’ve had with Marriott for a number of years. I had my wedding in Newport, RI on July 4th weekend. My wedding guests made up a large percentage of the hotel gets that weekend. Despite the hotel still having standard rooms for sale at an insane rate, the hotel refused to make rooms available to my guests to book with points. I was Platinum at the time and the management refused to budge saying they were within their rights. That was in 2016 and I already saw the writing on the wall for how this merger would go…

  20. Don’t know what you are talking about with hyatt being in a different category. I have frequently come across issues with the tokyo andaz playing games with point redemptions. No award space for a month. Other times only allowing awards if you are booking 3 to 4 nights but not allowing single night awards

  21. This is a good method to destroy your customer base and as so, yesterday, I just got approved for my first Amx Hilton card. At the end of this month, I hit my 12 months with my Amx Bus Bonvoy card and I am cancelling it on the spot. When the Amx Luxary Bonvoy came out, I was tempted in getting it, but as DoC stated, it has a week sign up bonus (he expects it to go higher and so do I). So I decided to sign up for the Amx Hilton Aspire and got approved.

    the only worthwhile for the Marriott cards, is the ability to transfer to an airline. They also completely obliterated the airline packages!

    Just sit back and watch them self destruct!!

  22. To those of you making the point that other hotel groups play games, you’re absolutely right. Some hotels artificially limit base rooms, and other hotels outright don’t follow the rules. But what makes this different is that hotels don’t even have to play games to limit availability. That’s what puts this in a different league.

  23. Also the same at Westin’s. Had to search multiple weeks for Westin grand Caymans b4 devaluation date

  24. @ SEAguy — You actually can redeem points for it, it’s just not on the website yet (which is probably for the best right now, as I’ll share in my review next week).

  25. Still can’t believe the marketing geniuses didn’t see “you’ve been bonvoyed” coming. I think it’s catchier than Bonvoy!

  26. I’ve seen it worse. Have an Aloft reservation coming up, which per the policy does NOT have any blackouts, yet the Aloft in question is not allowing a booking on a standard double queen room and instead charging $569 a night for the room, yet exactly the same room and spec is available the prior evening on points. I’ve pushed back on Marriott that this isn’t allowed per their policy. That was 3 weeks ago… and still have not got a full resolution (though have at least managed to get a king room on points for the night in question)

  27. This is nothing new. Marriott (and SPG) have had capacity controlled award nights for years.

  28. blame marriott all you want, but it’s the worthless SPG putting themselves on the auction block, not Marriott coming in with a hostile takeover. On top of that, it’s a bunch of flyertalk losers cheering for Anbang consortium (which by the way, its chairman is in jail), all fed with a huge slice of humble pie, and thinking blaming all of the issues on Marriott.

    they can go move to Wyndham and la Quinta for all i care.

  29. @Bill
    I’ve stayed at the Andaz Tokyo multiple times over the past two years, and while I have seen minimum stay requirements during Sakura season (and been able to get around them), I’ve never seen them completely block out rewards. I have seen them sold out multiple times. As far as I’m concerned, they’re an aspirational property that plays by the rules for the most part.

  30. This doesn’t seem to be just limited to legacy Marriott properties. I get the same message at Al Maha outside of Dubai in January and February next year and that is legacy SPG (Luxury Collection).

  31. This is a minor complaint in grand scheme of things, but the Marriott hotel search/filter function is totally screwy (presumably based on recent category changes).

    I’m searching for ideas to use 2 certificates for hotels below 35,000 points. I selected Cat 5 only (and filtered further by brand). I’m getting a mix of cat 5 and Cat 6 hotels (e.g. Ambassador hotel Kansas City, Autograph Collection)

  32. I disagree that there’s “nothing you can do about it”. Vote with your feet. FFS, what is it going to take for you to just say no to Marriott???

  33. Right now isn’t a good time for points & miles. Marriott is a mess. Many CCs are jacking up fees and removing useful benefits.

    I’m probably going to be canceling (or getting a no AF card) for at least 3 CCs that include the AA aviator (the 10% was the only useful thing to me), getting rid of one Chase business card, probably dump the BA card (should have done sooner), and one of the Hilton cards. I guess that makes 4. And the Platinum seems to only get worse with the GC restrictions and my limited Uber use.

  34. The Marriott website is also a cluster from a UX standpoint.

    When you do a search for a hotel on points, you enter the city, dates, and then you check the box on the landing page to look for stays on points.

    Next, the site displays all the hotels in that location, along with the points required. Okay, great.

    Then, only when you choose the property you want do you see the message saying “EFF YOU, NO STAYS ON POINTS FOR YOU!”

    Not helpful.

    When the search results are returned, they should show all the hotels, with a “EFF YOU, NO STAYS ON POINTS FOR YOU!” next to each property that is blocking award stays, so the user could elect to pay cash for the stay, or else choose a property that has point stays available, and not wast their time with the crapshoot of whether they will or won’t receive the EFF YOU message.

    Now, I completely understand why Marriott does it this way – they want to display search results faster, and the logic to retrieve all available properties would need to be enhanced to also search for properties that don’t make awards available, and then append the “EFF YOU” message for each one, meaning that the page load time would suck, but honestly Marriott? Figure it out, and stop wasting people’s time.

    I’ve been tippy top tier with Hilton, Marriott, SPG, and Hyatt, based on where my projects are and proximity to the client, and I have to say that the most rewarding/compelling programs were SPG and Hyatt. Now it’s just Hyatt, because Marriott so devalued SPG. Unfortunately Hyatt has the smallest number of properties in their portfolio.

  35. We’re saying no more to Marriott. Continuing with our hilton and hyatt stays.
    Reached platinum premier elite in 2018 in our first year with marriott. Applied two suite night awards to the luxury prince kioicho tokyo back in Nov 2018. 2 days after the new “Bonvoy” branding, hotel decides to cancel our suite night awards just days before our trip in Feb 2019 saying no availability. Did a dummy booking search and the suites were definitely available.
    Same with ritz carlton tokyo. As a newly renamed titanium elite, we were allowed to be upgraded to an available suite upon checkin according to their introductory letter at the checkin counter. They said sorry no availability. Did a dummy booking search and tons of suites were available.
    At least the conrad tokyo upgraded us as a diamond for a one night award stay.

  36. Not new forarriott. New for legacy SPG; there might have been ways to get around it by designating rooms as not basic because if high floor, but if the base rate room was available to book, it was available onnpoints. Villa Flora in Rome has always had only a few of the base rooms available for redemptions.

  37. Yeah it sucks Marriott is letting this happen but hotel loyalty is evolving. Just like airlines have certain fare buckets and blackout dates and no availability for redemptions, hotels will soon have something similar. Room buckets and a hierarchy of booking classes. And a daily upgrade list. This should be fun – at least decent hotel lobbies make for good DYKWIA viewing areas.

  38. The Free Night Awards earned on the credit card anniversary dates are being limited at legacy-SPG properties. I’ve been trying to cash in my award at the Sheraton Stockholm for months, and I’ve been told they won’t accept it.

  39. @Tiffany Thanks for the head’s up. Looking forward to your trip reports. We go later this year.

  40. @ SEAguy — If you go much later this year, it will probably be fine, provided that you (to directly quote the GM) “please, for the love of G*d, don’t try and order anything that’s not on the menu.”

    It was a fun stay 😉

  41. @Cedric and @HC. I had no problem last week booking 5 nights at RC Kyoto at 240,000 points (60K + free night) for early December.

  42. It keeps getting worse…I am investing every available point earning opportunity in Hyatt. I have 12 million Marriott points. If they have another United Airlines conversion bonus like last fall, I’m going to transfer most of them to United.

  43. @Lucky sez: “For me, no blackout dates means that as long as a standard room is available for sale, you can redeem points for it.”

    I think the problem here is that the above definition of “no blackout dates” is much more EXPANSIVE than how any airline or hotel loyalty program would define it.

    Stating that “as long as a standard room is available for sale, you can redeem points for it” cannot possibly be what is meant by “no blackout dates” because in virtually every program, award availability is “capacity-controlled”, meaning that a limited number of rooms or airline seats are set aside for award booking. All “No blackout dates” means is that as long as those set-aside rooms or seats are available, they can be booked with points/miles, EVEN on dates that are generally popular with travelers. It is the “dates” that are not ‘blacked out’ not “award availability”, and that is true for most hotel ‘standard’ awards and for virtually all airline ‘saver’ awards.

    The only airline awards that are not capacity-controlled are so-called “anytime” awards, like United’s “standard” awards, which are more expensive but are available for booking with miles if there are seats that can be booked with cash.

    For hotel programs, Hilton’s “premium” awards are, in most cases, like “anytime” awards, but not always because they too can be pulled at a hotel’s discretion. What Hilton properties do so that the option to redeem points is almost always available (“no blackout dates”) is to designate standard rooms as ‘premium’, which effectively makes them available but too expensive to redeem with point, thereby leaving them available for cash booking.

    The claim here reminds me of the one that was simply made up by travel bloggers about about HGP DSUs, whereby DSUs were not “capacity-controlled”, so that if a suite was available for booking with cash, it was also available for upgrading with a DSU. Of course, things did work that way in practice because the claim was bogus. As a result, I remember seeing many posts and mountains of comments accusing Hyatt not honoring a policy that could be found nowhere in the program’s written T&C!

    Ditto with the claim that SPG Platinum elites were “guaranteed” or “entitled to” a suite upgrade when a suite was available. Hello! NOT if **availability** was at the **discretion** of each individual property!!!

    Please give Marriott a break on this. “No blackout dates” does not mean “unlimited availability.” Their “sin” here simply seems to be that they decided to be more transparent than Hyatt or Hilton and SAY IT LIKE IT IS, likely having seen and learned from what ambiguous or made-up policies did to SPG.

    Whatever happened to ‘transparency’ being the mark of a great program!

    G’day.

  44. As a former Starwood (now Marriott) employee, my job has become much more complicated and frustrating, too. Stuff that used to take 10 minutes last year, now takes 45. I don’t understand why, tech-wise, we’ve taken 3 steps backwards.

  45. Ahhh, most of you are a bunch of ex-SPG crybabies!

    Marriott’s policy doesn’t hurt you in the slightest as you either 1). never wanted to stay at a Legacy Marriott property, or 2) have no intention of staying at a legacy Marriott property, except perhaps occasionally, and 3). your precious SPG properties are unaffected by this rule.

    As a long time Marriott member, we existed and thrived under these rules, and we will do so again, once you crybabies exit the program!

    Good riddance and leave to us the gem of a program — for all the programs have strengths and weaknesses.

    Oh, and by the way, if I am not mistaken, the breach at SPG occurred BEFORE Marriott took over the company. What did heavenly SPG do to notify its guests when it was solely running things??????

  46. @Dusty oh well if YOU didn’t have an issue then they must be playing by the rules right? Give me a break.

  47. Nice to see DCS bringing in non sequitur lies into the mix again…somehow always praising Hilton and pillaging SPG (which everyone knows was best in class for a decade)

  48. We tried to book a number of places in Miami for Christmas/New Year using our crap un-upgradeable newly converted Cat 5 certificates and almost all hotels in Miami were blocking it. Some hotels actually removed availability from the website but you could book it directly with the hotel. The Marriott help desk didn’t even know there was a No Blackout policy. We ended up having to pay for rooms.

  49. I have experienced the same issue. That’s the reason merger is always the worst thing to have for customers. Marriott sucks drop them and move to other programs.

  50. @UA-NYC — Do you know how much credibility you have left here, to the extent that you might have had any because you were given the benefit of the doubt? NONE, due to your constant status as a troll and village idiot.

    I would wait with bated breath for you to point to anything in my comment that is a “lie”. However, because I know you won’t, I will preemptively ask you to please do us a huge favor and just take your tired trolling back to FT, where your kind belongs…

  51. BTW, it goes without saying that ‘existence’ MUST a key attribute of anything that’s claimed to be “best in class” or it’s a moot point.

    An all-powerful God that does not exist is a god, not God 😉

    G’day.

  52. With Marriott, you can always just get value transferring to an airline.
    With Hyatt, I have had to call Hyatt to get rooms at the Park Hyatt NYC when standard rooms were available.

  53. What about all-suites legacy SPG properties? Marriott told me on Twitter (I can’t express how much i miss @spgassist – it’s breaking my heart) that properties like the St. Regis Maldives are exempt from the rule since they don’t have “standard rooms”. Is that true? Or yet another misinformed Marriott representative? It really is a shame that even their social media team has zero training.

  54. @Bill, @CC

    If you want to give some example dates, and provide a link to where the hotel said they have blackout dates, by all means go ahead. Given that my personal experience contradicts what you’re claiming, I’ll be skeptical until then. Even checking now for random dates in March/April, if a Twin/King room is available for cash then there is a points option, with no minimum night requirement. The view bay view/park view rooms are not considered standard rooms and are not available for rewards, so everything I’m seeing in the near future in consistent with my past experiences. This is the Andaz Tokyo, not the Andaz Maui 🙂

  55. DCS – you are a troll. You can scream into the wind about Hilton being “dynamic” but as goes with quality generally, you get what you pay for, and Hilton gives away it’s top tier status for free (net) with a credit card. That says it all.

    The third bullet on the SPG Plat page was “upgrade to best available rooms including Standard Suites”. Not buried in the T&Cs like Hilton. There is a difference. Your suites on your Asian “tours” to Pattaya aren’t exactly comparable.

    Hilton is a big mediocre program that Marriott is trying to sink down to. Congrats.

  56. @Dusty — Your experiences do not have to be mutually exclusive. It could be that @Bill and @CC did try to book when the inventory of rooms set aside for award booking had run out, and that you were lucky and booked when the property had standard award rooms available. It happens all the time. The key is to try to book as far in advance as possible.

    Three years ago, I searched in April for December award availability at Hilton Pattaya and found plenty. I delayed booking until August, at which time I searched and all standard awards were gone. I ended up booking a 4-night revenue stay, instead of the 5-night award stay that I’d wanted to book. I learned my lesson: the next two years I was successful in booking 5-night award stays when I did it early (way back in May for December/January stays).

    The problem remains with the general the misunderstanding of “blackout dates.” Here’s wiki’s definition: “Blackout dates are dates when travel rewards and other special discounts/promotions are not available. These dates typically fall on or around major holidays or other peak travel seasons.”

    Thus, “no blackout dates” has little to do with “award availability” *per se*. Award availability is affected only because they naturally would be in higher demand during those dates; otherwise, it’s business as usual.

    All “no blackout dates” means is this: *normal* award booking activities will not be interrupted during “blackout dates”, i.e., during “dates that typically fall on or around major holidays or other peak travel seasons.”

  57. @UA-NYC — To be still trying to prove SPG’s greatness when the program is no more is why you are not just a troll, but an unhinged one to boot.

    SPG is “dead*. Got that? My reference to the defunct program was *contextual*, in order to make the point about an issue that affected Marriott Rewards after it swallowed SPG and contracted a several case of indigestion on its way to becoming BONVoY.

    Necrophilia is no allowed here, so go get your “fix” at FT, where such weirdness is practiced.

    Just like your con padre ‘Mikey’, you’re getting the ‘silent treatment’ as of now.

    Le chien aboie la caravane passe…

  58. @DCS
    With one exception, my bookings were done within a month of the actual stay. I’m aware it’s possible they had different experiences, but as I said. I’ll believe that when I actually see it first hand, instead of taking an internet strangers word that there were totally base level rooms available for cash but not for points. I made mistakes like that too when I first started earning and burning, and there’s no shame in making those mistakes and learning from them. In Hyatt’s case, per T&C, when those base level rooms are available for points they should be available for cash. At the Andaz Tokyo, I’ve never seen an instance where this was not the case. It’s not like Marriott where a limited number of rooms in the base room pool are available for points on any given day, regardless if they’re being sold for cash or not.

  59. @DCS: “Just like your con padre ‘Mikey’, you’re getting the ‘silent treatment’ as of now.”

    I’ve lost count of the number of times you’ve said that in the past. Given that you’ve never kept your word up until now on that, why should anyone believe that this time will be different?

  60. @Dusty — I must have missed in the Hyatt T &C were it specifically says: “when base level rooms are available for points they should be available for cash.”

    Actually I think you meant it the other way around: “…when those base level rooms are available for CASH they should be available for POINTS”, but it remains that I did not see it spelled out that way.

    There is a rather standard blurb about “no blackout dates”:

    — Award Reservations. In order to make a reservation using a Free Night Award, Room Upgrade Award, or Points + Cash Award (each, an “Award Reservation”), Members must make the reservation in advance directly with Hyatt. A credit card guarantee is required when making the Award Reservation. *Award Reservations are subject to the reservation requirements of the individual hotel or resort* at which Member is redeeming an award, such as a minimum length of stay.

    — Standard-Room Free Night Awards: Standard-room Free Night Awards may be redeemed only when *standard rooms are available* at the Standard Rate at the selected hotel or resort. Standard-room Free Night Awards are not subject to *blackout dates* at Hyatt hotels and resorts. (Redemption of Standard-room Free Night Awards at participating M life Rewards destinations may be subject to blackout dates.)
    ________________________

    “No blackout dates” applies, as I argued above, to the “dates” and not to “award availability”, which is at the discretion of each property. It does not say explicitly anywhere that base level rooms that are available for CASH are also automatically available for booking with POINTS.

  61. @DCS
    Pardon me, I wrote that out backwards. What I meant is spelled out in that post is spelled out in the part you quoted:
    “Standard-Room Free Night Awards: Standard-room Free Night Awards may be redeemed only when *standard rooms are available* at the Standard Rate”

    There is a tab on Hyatt’s website called Standard Rate. When standard rooms are available under that tab, they are available for points as well. Technically the hotel may have leeway to only put them in a package or prepaid rate only, but that’d be something I haven’t seen at the Tokyo Andaz or any Hyatt for that matter. Hyatt’s definition and Bill/CC’s may differ on what a standard room is, which is where I think the actual argument is based, but that’s always been up to the hotel to define and nearly every aspirational hotel in every chain differentiates between a basic room and a basic room with a desirable view anyways.

    I agree with your definition of blackout dates btw, so I’m not sure why you keep repeating that when you are agreeing with me on the definition, or why you think it somehow ties into the “room is available for cash, so it is also available for points” clause. I was responding to, as far as I can tell, unsupported claims that the Andaz Tokyo plays games with availability. My experience is that they play by the rules.

  62. I have gotten this same message with Hilton, Hyatt, & Wyndham at one time or another. The Ritz Carlton’s show the worst with Marriott.

  63. @Dusty — It is simply not true that whenever the tab for standard rooms shows cash availability, it means that the same rooms are automatically available for booking with points. Often that is the case, but not always. That’s where a hotel’s discretion comes in.

    I keep repeating ‘blackout dates’ because I assumed that that was your basis for saying that a room that’s available for cash is also available for points. Since that is not it, then it could simply be that you have not experienced what @CC, @Bill and I have. The only rooms that come close to being bookable with points whenever they are available for booking with cash are Hilton’s ‘premium’ room rewards, but booking these is usually not a good way to use points because, like ‘any-time’ airline awards, they are usually quite expensive…on purpose, to discourage redemptions when a hotel/airline would prefer to leave the rooms/seats open for cash booking. To achieve what Hilton achieves with their ‘premium’ room rewards, programs that have no ‘premium’ awards simply show no award availability, even when there are standard rooms for booking with cash.

  64. @DCS
    You seem to be completely missing the point and attempting to compare apples to oranges (Hyatt to Hilton). If no standard rooms are available for the standard rate at a Hyatt, there is no award availability because all of the inventory that could be used for awards is sold out, full stop. As I said, there is leeway for hotels to game it by putting a standard room in a package or other special rate, but not the standard rate, or by simply witholding all standard rooms from both cash and points purchases. I’ve never seen this myself, but wouldn’t be surprised if gamier properties like Andaz Maui or PHNY did. I’ve never seen this with the actual subject of the discussion, the Andaz Tokyo, and unless you or @Bill or @CC actually provide evidence to back up your statements showing standard rooms available for any rate in the system but not available for points, I’m disregarding your claims as the result of being uninformed. If this actually happens to the extent you claim it does, evidence should not be difficult for you to provide.

  65. @Dusty — So be it. I was not referring to Hilton. I was referring to Hyatt. I’ve been booking award stays every year for Hyatt properties the past 6-7 years. There have been cases when one sees standard rooms for booking with cash but the same not being available for booking with points. May people have reported such instances, which have been blamed on individual properties ‘playing games with awards’, like you just did. It is not something that one can predict like clockwork, but, in my case, I usually book during one of the busiest times of the year so chances of encountering the situation, especially at properties that are in high demand, are higher…

    My sense is that we have beaten this one to death. When individual hotels have full discretion on availability, expect the unexpected…

    G’day.

  66. Was looking at The Residence Inn in Bangor, Maine for the summer for 4 persons.
    Availability all days until July 17th and nothing from July 18th to August 31st, then all days starting September 1st.

    Can’t be a coincidence…

  67. @Dusty said: “There is a tab on Hyatt’s website called Standard Rate. When standard rooms are available under that tab, they are available for points as well…. I’m disregarding your claims as the result of being uninformed. If this actually happens to the extent you claim it does, evidence should not be difficult for you to provide.”

    Your wish is my command. This thread is now ‘old’. However, if you happen to come by and are still interested in seeing a violation of your claim that “When standard rooms are available under that tab, they are available for points as well”, I have the goods that prove conclusively that everything I stated above and more was not “the result of being uninformed.” To be clear,
    it is pertinent to Hyatt and not Hilton, although I have the goods on the latter too.

    Let me know…

  68. So of course the Wailea Marriott is allowed to not participate in the “No Blackout Policy”. They are being true to form and I can’t book a room for the time that I and my family have been going to Maui every year for the past 15 years…Over the Christmas and New Years Holiday….I can of course book with Point and Cash if I would like OR I can reserve the exact same room and pay all cash.

  69. Do you know how many times I’ve had to check the fine print at SPG? 0. Since Marriott has acquired SPG loyalty members, it has been on a mission remove the value which made it a favorite. From inflated point redemption rates, deflated earning rates and BLACKOUT DATES, many a traveler long for the purple SPG icon to come back…and come consumer first thinking.

  70. OK so Marriott Bonvoy is not a reasonable replacement for Starwood Preferred Guest. What are our options? We have been Gold/Platinum SPG members since the mid 90s but there’s no value in it anymore, even with the BonVoy brilliant card. I’m ready to take all my business elsewhere. Where am I wanted?

  71. I’m Titanium Elite…all local Harrisburg, PA hotels refusing to allow Bonvoy points. I called the Titanium line and was told “there are no blackout dates…but hotels can set the number of points rooms they will accept. As few as one per night.” This included a brand new – 2 month old – hotel.

  72. Westin hotels no longer honor the no blackout policy either. Bonvoy doesn’t come close to the value of the former SPG program. It’s a total mess every time we go somewhere now. What a sham- oops shame.

  73. I am 0 for 5 in trying to use my points the first week in January. Unfortunately I have accumulated over one million of these seemingly worthless points.

  74. Just ran into this problem of late. Bonvoy program is short for Bon Voyage, as in I will look elsewhere. This program has become a joke…

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