Why is it so difficult to use a Marriott gift card at check out? I have tried three different times to use a gift card for paying my hotel bill and the front desk associates do not know how to apply gift cards to my bill. It should be as easy as using a credit card. Is it an IT problem (which I find it hard to believe) or are associates just not trained? I would think it would be part of the training process to learn how to redeem your own Comapny's gift card! The gift cards should have a barcode on the back and be able to swipe at the terminal. Anyone else have this problem? It's very frustrating when it takes 45min or longer just to check out and you are in a hurry to catch a plane.
I appreciate your post. That is a very good question, as many of us do use gift cards. I just purchased a gift card earlier this year for the first time, and plan to use it in the next couple of months. Maybe I should plan on extra time at check out? I'll let you know how it turns out for me. As an IT person myself, if it appears to be a problem, I will be asking the associate questions about it (troubleshooting)! I hope others with gift card redemption experience can weigh in here and give you more insight than I.
Thanks again for your post, and welcome to "Insiders." Btw, which property, may I ask?
I used one at the Philadelphia Marriott. Front desk associate didn't know how to handle. Went in the office and came back all done. 5 minutes extra at checkout..not too bad. I've read on here that experienced gift card users mention both at checkin and the night before that they will be using gift cards. These little heads ups seem to help.
Bottom line is it should be seamless, but it's not.
I've been using gift cards we got during the winter promotion for stays in several different locations and never had any problem until a recent stay in Mesa, AZ. The clerk didn't know how to process the card and apparently there was no one there to help her. I left the card (it would have had only a small balance left) somewhat reluctantly, but she assured me it would be taken care and the card with the remaining balance would be mailed to me. It was....but my credit card has also been charged! I've made a phone call and also left a message, but the problem has not been solved yet. I have not wriiten my review of the hotel yet, pending the outcome of this problem. I will let you know what happens.
Gift cards have also been a problem for me at certain hotels and why this is I don't know, but I have tried this approach:
I go to the front desk the night before checkout (when it's not busy) and ask for them to charge an amount to the gift card that brings it close to what the final bill will be and let them charge the final amount remaining ($20 or so) to the Marriott Visa on file. Makes it easy and painless because they have to deal with the gift card issue at that time when I'm not pressed to get out of there. I'm going to use the gift card in full anyway so this just takes the hassle of them 'not knowing what to do with the gift card' out of the game.
Ran into it tonight,
Tried to pay for my incedentals with my $2500 gift card before I left tomorrow, and the front desk person said, "It's all or nothing". I know that's wrong, but I just put in on my cc and did not use the gift card.
I am not going to put myself thru this again.
Ooh, that sort of makes the hair on the back of my neck. Last month on a stay, I accidentally left my gift card at home. It's starting to sound like trying to use a gift card is about as effective as leaving it at home! I sure hope I don't have any problems at Ren LD next month. If I do, I won't politely let it go like you did. I will be politely persistent.
I think it's important to update this thread with a comment that the gift card application has gotten much better since this post began last April. I used gift cards at all my stays on the west coast last month and this month and had no problems other than an associate who thought I was bothering her when I asked her to apply the gift card to my folio and charge the remainder to the CC on file. But, that'a another issue.
Apparently some education for associates has been done on how to apply them over the months since this thread began. The process is better now.
Not that this is going to make your experiences any "easier" BUT, sometimes understanding helps. First, it's a problem that exists because of the various gift cards out there. Even within the Marriott system they have a "Legacy" (older) gift card and a newer card. There's different ways to handle them. The next thing is that the hotel computer system is DOS-based, so there's a lot of button pushing going on to know where the right things are located. Finally, yes, it is a matter of training BUT that's difficult because of the numerous variables that come up in Front Desk operations and it could be possible that the associate may have been trained on it. and then never saw ti again until literally 1,000 key strokes later with multiple other transactions had occurred! So  be patient with them, and  as a previous poster suggested - if you're planning on using a gift card, deal with it right up front at check-in or ASAP thereafter so, if there is an "issue" it may be addressed and resolved long before check-out! Doing this during day time hours and during the business week is your best chance of success since a manager will be around. That's thebest way to do it. Hope that this just adds some perspective to it - not that it fixed "the problem"!
Message was edited by: StanleyZimblatt