I just learned that if we take a guided tour that uses Marriott hotels, we cannot get our usual elite benefits till we arrive. At this point, rooms have been assigned so there will be no upgrade. We can give out rewards number which will allow CL access. The nights don't count towards out count. I have lifetime benefits so the nights being counted does not matter to me but might to others. They also do not count towards any promotion. We don't get rewards points either.
Guilty of not reading. I wonder how many of us really read all the T&C. I will going on a tour which has 4 nights in a Starwood hotel and 2 nights in a Marriott amongst others. Starwood gives credit for the nights toward elite status but not the points. Sometimes they can enter our number in advance so we are recognized. This is why I thought Marriott might do the same.
I sympathise. This year I fell foul of a similar restriction. Marriott Vacation Club Asia Pacific runs a Timeshre points system that is/was the precursor of the points syustem now in the USA. The AP system allows owners/members to exchange their TS points for hotel stays which offers slightly better value than using MR points for stays. If I use these points to reserve a stay at an MVCI resort the stay qualifies for elite nights towards elite status and any spend at the resort counts for MR points. I assumed that it would be the same for a hotel stay using the same points. NOT SO said Marriott Rewards - read the T&Cs. Your hotel stay was booked by a third party agent and you did not pay the hotel for your stay, it was paid for by the agent - the agent being Marriott Vacation Club Asia Pacific was what I was told.
Indeed the T&Cs do say that stays booked through a third party where the third party pays the hotel and you do not pay the hotel directly for the stay do not count for elite nights credit. Eventually I did get my elite nights credited but I had to go back to Marriott Vacation Club and they directed Marriott Rewards to credit the nights to my account.
My position, which MVCI agreed with, was that the hotel was paid by Marriott which is not a third party and so I should get my nights credit. However it took several weeks for the error to be corrected. In the past this had never been an issue when I used the TS points to book hotel stays. Now I think that Marriott Rewards has begun to tighten up on their checks and procedures.
In your case, the tour operator will have booked the accommodation and paid for it with a group booking at a group booking rate. Your name would not have been on the reservation and rooms were assigned just before arrival and since you did not pay the hotel directly for the stay you would not have been eligible for elite night credits for the nights stayed. In the past this might have slipped through the net when your MR number was added to the folio for the stay by the front desk but essentially the room was booked and paid for by the tour operator.
Imjpressive. You do your homework. The same goes for MVCI. Marriott has its rules. Points that many of have been trying to make is Marriott is not competitive in many areas. As i pointed out, it doesn't matter to me because I have lifetime plat but it might for others. Marriott wants us to choose to stay at a Marriott but should realize that when I choose to take a tour I do look at the hotels that the tour will use and decide on the company that uses hotels that I would be comfortable in. As a result, if I see that a tour uses Marriotts I would be more likely to use them. Marriott makes money on them as well.
I find this all very interesting as Marriott was the first hotel chain to have a significant loyalty program. All the others were at best superficial, without any significant rewards, and some you even had to pay to join. Marriott for many years was the market leader on this, and everyone was trying to follow suit. Marriott Rewards may have started as J. Willard's committment to excellence and customers, but as the market followed suit, it was clear in the literature there is also a strong business base, when a very small percentage of customers represent the majority of sales and revenues. While other companies improve their programs to complete with Marriott Rewards the way it was, I am not certain what Marriott is doing by nickel and diming frequent travelers over breakfast, and upgrades to unoccupied better accomodations???
Is it a conscious decision on the part of corporate, or has decision making become decentralized with all the joint ventures, and properties are now making these decisions based on their own limited vision and experience?
Don't missunderstand me - I am still a great fan of the Marriott Rewards loyalty programme. I don't think there is a single hotel or airline loyalty programme that has not seen some degree of devaluation over recent years. It's a sad fact of life that the economy drives these things and times have been hard for all, both businesses and customers in all parts of the economy. In fact I try only to use my MR points for the 5 day package option of frequent flyer programme points plus a hotel certificate - usually the cat 6 or 7 level. In my view this gives the best value for points.
The MR programme is still very competitive and of course once you are sucked in it is very difficult to switch alliegence. As a Marriott Vacation Club TS weeks owner I am pretty much a captive market for Marriott.
As for issues like free breakfast or upgrades - I look upon these as a bonus - I don't arrive at a property expecting an upgrade nor do I ever ask for one. I believe if I want breakfast then I should be prepared to pay for it either stand-alone or buy the "stay for breakfast" rate for the room. If I want a suite then I expect to pay for a suite. If a standard room is fine and they upgrade me then it is a nice surprise. All I expect as a platinum elite is my arrival gift (I always take the points) and if there is a concierge or club lounge than access to the lounge when it is open.
Most of my hotel stays are in the UK and in Asia and most of the UK hotels outside central London are functional and usually offer up a room upgrade and a free breakfast since there are few with lounges outside London. Marriott hotels in Asia are probably the finest in the family and especially those in Bangkok, Hong Kong and Singapore - not to ignore Sydney. My last stay in Bangkok I got a suite upgrade and at the new Renaissance in Phuket and upgrade to a Pool Voilla as well as free breakfast - and this is a resort hotel.
I find that I have much better benefits when traveling outside the US, especially in Eastern Europe.
Even in the US its rare I do not receive my benefits, even without asking.
I am responding to many MI who are reporting that they are having problems receiving benefits even when they ask for them.
It is hard to say. Several factors are in play. Probably the front most, the economy. Revenue is probably down and they want to maintain a certain profit level so they look to cut costs. Many times the cost cutting is short sighted because they might save a penny and loose a dollar. Secondly, no longer is a Marriott family member active in running the company. When there is a change of this type, the next person might have a different vison.
Interesting comparison of hotel loyalty programs from the BBC
BBC Travel (international version)
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Strange that because we live in the UK and pay our TV licence feeto the BBC we are excluded from accessing a service operated by the BBC out of the UK. I've got used to not being allowed to access the BBC iPlayer when outside the UK but there are ways around that by using a VPN service and pretending that you are in the UK - thus the iPlayer sees a UK based IP address even if you are elsewhere in the world. I will try the VPN service in the opposite direction and see if it allows me to pretend to be in Spain or the USA and see hat happens.
Similiar thing happens when we travel. CNN international is much better than the CNN we get in the states. Not certain why, but the first thing I do overseas when I checkin is turn on CNN international. I think its cause internationally they need to compete with the BBC, and the BBC here in the states is competing with several different news options that we have stateside