22 Replies Latest reply: Feb 20, 2013 11:40 AM by Sledchick RSS

Beware of Advance Purchase Rates

superchief1 Platinum
Currently Being Moderated

I was making several reservations for an upcoming move and accidently made an advanced purchase reservation for a Marriott Courtyard. I had been searching for a AAA rate and noticed a lower rate under the 'standard rate' tab. I booked the room not noticing that is was advance purchase. I would not expect to find an advance purchase rate under the 'standard rate' tab. Today I wanted to modify the reservation and only then realized the problem. Since the rate specified that it could be changed the next day, I called customer care to have it cancelled. It turns out that I was 1 hour over the 24 hr.limit (rate doesn't specify 24 hr, only next day). The platinum customer care supervisor indicated that since I was 1 hour over the time limit, only the hotel is able to cancel the reservation so I have to wait for the hotel's reply. In the past, Marriott customer care would have cancelled this for a lifetime platinum customer without a problem (unless it was a frequent occurrence). I suggest that advance purchase rates be listed under a special tab or for special rates rather than 'standard' rates, and am very disappointed in the lack of flexibility they have in situations where a loyal customer makes an honest mistake and tries to correct it. It is becoming more clear that they no longer care about their most loyal customers.

(For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: Beware of Advance Purchase Rates
    chrisf Alumni Steward Platinum 20 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated

    Hi Superchief, I have been caught by this once but in a different way.  I needed to be sure that we could get a room after a long flight on a potentially busy day in Chicago.  I took an advance purchase rate at an airport hotel as it looked the cheapest available.  One of my buddies subsequently booked shortly before arrival and got a much cheaper rate than my advance rate.  I am definitely convinced that these advance rates are not good deals.  I never use them and, as GemP does, I reserve on a regular rate and then check and rebook closer to arrival if a much cheaper rate becomes available.  The advance rates are generally only about $10 cheaper anyway.

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

    • Re: Beware of Advance Purchase Rates
      californian Platinum 27 Reviews
      Currently Being Moderated

      This is good information.  I don´t do it often.  I think one should be warned before confirming the reservation cannot be changed.

      (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

      • Re: Beware of Advance Purchase Rates
        superchief1 Platinum
        Currently Being Moderated

        I tried to replicate my reservation in order to determine whether I may have missed something during the reservation process. I searched for a AAA rate. I saw a lower rate listed on the 'standard rate' tab so I selected a room under that rate. When I selected a room at that rate, there was no warning that this was an advance purchase rate. The non-refundable message was in the fine print on the bottom of the page, where the cancellation policies are usually listed.

         

        My greater concern is how I was treated when I called the cancellation desk. When I had checked my reservation online to make a change to the date, I noticed a notation that the non-refundable reservation can be changed within a day (no mention of 24 hr. limit). I knew that I had made the reservation one day ago, so I called the platinum desk. The first person I spoke with indicated he could not change it but passed me on to his supervisor. The supervisor quickly told me that he could not cancel it because I was calling 25 hours after making the reservation. I asked if he could make an exception because I was a lifetime platinum and had made an honest mistake, he said only the hotel could cancel it. He was rude and obviously not empathetic to my situation, and never expressed any appreciation or acknowledgement of my lifetime loyalty. If this is the new Marriott, I will take my business elsewhere.

        (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

      • Re: Beware of Advance Purchase Rates
        kharada46 Alumni Steward Platinum 8 Reviews
        Currently Being Moderated

        Agreed

        (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

    • Re: Beware of Advance Purchase Rates
      kharada46 Alumni Steward Platinum 8 Reviews
      Currently Being Moderated

      Chrisf,

       

      That's what I've been hearing too.  However, the Berlin Marriott, the advance purchase rate is $50/night cheaper than the standard rate!  It's 195Euro advance purchase, versus 229Euro standard rate.  Current last minute rates are at 349Euro/night.  So, right now I have a reservation booked under the standard rate, debating whether or not it is indeed worth the risk of doing advanced purchase, but then again, I'm paranoid that the rate might drop later...

      (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: Beware of Advance Purchase Rates
    kharada46 Alumni Steward Platinum 8 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated

    Hi supercheif1,

     

    I fell for the same "trick" when making a reservation at the Renaissance LAX for an overnight layover in November.  I didn't realize that it was an advanced purchase rate until the charge showed up on my credit card statement!  Now I make it a point to read the rates VERY carefully when booking... unfortunately, should I decide to re-route my flight for better times, equipment, service, etc. then I'll lose out on that advance purchase rate...

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

    • Re: Beware of Advance Purchase Rates
      kharada46 Alumni Steward Platinum 8 Reviews
      Currently Being Moderated

      Superchief,

       

      I did end up re-routing my flight and am now arriving in LAX a day later than when I had (stupidly and unknowingly) made an advanced purchase reservation.  I called the hotel to see if we could do anything about it and they said no, but connected me with Marriott customer service.  They did allow me to change the date without any problems.  Just can't cancel the stay...

      (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: Beware of Advance Purchase Rates
    tmallon Platinum 1 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated

    Superchief, I would absolutely call back again and y9ouu will most assuredly get another rep who may be having a better day and be more willing to put themselves out to be more helpful to you in this situation.  I often find that calling back and speaking to someone else can have amazingly different results.  Shouldn't be that way but it is.  Good luck...hope you can get this resolved to your satisfaction.

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: Beware of Advance Purchase Rates
    erc Platinum 1 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated
    Superchief
    I clearly empathize with you. I've written so many times about Marriott being too clever by half in 'tweaking' their pricing grid to their advantage, that I'm starting to feel like Chicken Little. At least I always felt that customer service had my back, so your post causes me concern.
    I won't vent further (oh, ok, once more with feeling). But I will mention that in the past few days alone;
    1) I've seen AAA rates that could not be secured with my home computer (the one with my Marriott account already on it - I already had a reservation and was follow up checking). I had to use one of my daughters' computer to 'squeeze' it in.
    2) Here's today's special - Marriott Aruba Stellaris and Casino (which since I'm going, I track weekly). Note the two different cancellation rules  in my bold-  the platinum cs rep can't say for sure; yeah, I'm interested in arguing in Aruba over what rule takes precedence. It makes me question what surprise they have in store for me on the $200 Bonus Bucks (may only be used in Afghanistan- the ol' participating properties line). I've cut it down to save space - but it's all there on their grid;
    Rate Rules
    Book now, 20 pct off, $200 Bonus Bucks, includes 20 percent  off reflected in rate, Book, change, or cancel only by February 28, 2013,  deposit required, 200 USD Bonus Bucks per stay, see Rate Rules

    Holding Your Reservation

    • We will need a credit card prepayment to reserve your room.
    • To ensure that you receive this special rate, we will charge your credit card a prepayment of 317.75 USD (your room charge plus tax  for your first night) on February 3, 2013.

    Canceling Your Reservation

    • You may cancel your reservation for no charge until April10, 2013 (7 day[s] before arrival).
    • Please note that we will assess a fee of 317.75 USD if  you must cancel after this deadline. If you have made a prepayment, we will retain all or part of your prepayment.  If not, we will charge your credit card. This fee equals 1 night of your room charge plus tax (for the first night of  your reservation).

     

     

    3) And just today January 28 - this is along the lines of what you were talking about - Residence Inn Manhattan: (my bold). Is one day 24 hours or all day next day?  Depends on who you ask, apparently.

    Rate Rules

    Advance Purchase rate, prepay in full, non-refundable if  cancelled more than 1 day after booking, no changes

    Holding Your Reservation

    • We will need a credit card prepayment to reserve your room.
    • To ensure that you receive this special advance purchase  rate, we will charge your credit card a prepayment of 322.51 USD (your full room  charge plus tax) when you make your reservation.

    Canceling Your Reservation

    • Changes to your reservation are not permitted. Please  note that you may cancel your reservation for no charge until January 29,  2013.
    • Please note that your prepayment for this special rate is  non-refundable.
    These types of pricing quirks found all throughout the Marriott pricing matrix at Marriott.com (of all places) combined with the trending "Omaha Steaks" type pricing (30% off Leisure Rate - but try to actually find the Leisure Rate to verify), and rapid timing out of sessions once you leave the screen, often give me the uneasy impression I'm unnecessarily leaving money on the table while booking rates.
    I agree with tmallon above, 'shop' another rep;  like they say on Flyertalk - Marriott is increasingly becoming consistently inconsistent.

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: Beware of Advance Purchase Rates
    superchief1 Platinum
    Currently Being Moderated

    It would make it clearer for all of us if Marriott would add a tab 'advance purchase' to its rates, or at least provide a noticeable caution during the reservation process. Of course, they would then miss revenue enhancement opportunities caused by mistakes like mine.

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

    • Re: Beware of Advance Purchase Rates
      klaus29 Platinum
      Currently Being Moderated

      superchief1 

       

      i make the same  mistake, i dont see  i make a  advanced  purcharge..  Only 2  days later  anderstand my  mistake..

       

      but  i dont phone to Marriott,  not  for a upgrate  for nathing. . i phone direct to the hotel, and withaout  any problem

       

      the  renaissance  kuala lumpur change  me  my advanced  booking.  this wars 2  months ago. not 1 penny penality.

       

      i repeat  for all dont use  marriott  customer care  or ather service.  Help, you can get only direct from the hotel..

      (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: Beware of Advance Purchase Rates
    tef6178 Platinum 5 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated

    I have a general rule that I never purchase an Advance Rate reservation.....with ONE exception. Years ago, I was looking at a hotel in San Francisco and they had an 'Advance Rate' for $149. Same rules with the 24 hour cancellation. I booked a $249 rate with the idea that rates would continue to adjust as the date got closer. They did. I cancelled my reservation with the $249 rate and reserved the $110 rate just after the advance rates were taken off the website. I've never booked an advance rate since that experience. It told me that they were offering advance rates at a lower price because their occupancy scheme (whatever that may be and is so hard to figure as Erc points out) didn't have them at the level of fullness they wanted to achieve at the time they created the rate. If they don't get the level they desire, they either keep the rate or make a better one, as they did in my case.

     

    Look at NYC. They are obviously having issues with bookings after 'Sandy' and other weather issues. There have been 'Advance Rates' everywhere. I held off and have now booked the Marriott Eastside at a Senior rate the end of Feb that was better than their advance rate they were still offering. Go figure.

     

    My 'exception' to the rule is that if I want to stay at the JW Marriott in Indianapolis for the Indy 500 (this year will be my 33rd Indy 500), they keep advance rates until the day before the race...and usually sell out their rooms....as do all hotels in the city during race weekend. So, I book the Advance Rate for the Indy 500 so I can be assured of the room....especially since they never change it. But, it does come with a cancellation availability up to 14 days prior to the race.

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

    • Re: Beware of Advance Purchase Rates
      erc Platinum 1 Reviews
      Currently Being Moderated

      I concur, I usually avoid advanced purchase unless I am already locked into airfare (meaning, I'm committed to going) and I've seen enough of the rates to know that it's truly a 'special' price. As a follow up to my post above, for today's giggle, in order for the new Aruba price to be better than my current deal, I needed to know more about the Bonus Bucks eligibility (because I didn't want to force myself to use them just to avoid the Nov. expiration). In checking my London Heathrow Renaissance (it qualified - so the new Aruba rate wins) the Plat rep told me, "hey there's even a better rate - Breakfast for Two package (which was also eligible for Bonus Bucks) at 95 GBP (yes, supposedly the concierge lounge is open on weekends - but I didn't want to gamble). When she looked up the rate she said, "oops that rate is good only for one person, for you and your wife it's 105 GBP". I'm not kidding, you can look it up. I guess Marriott meant Breakfast for Two hands! When it comes to Marriott "deals", I'm starting to feel like Henry Kissinger when he said, "just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you".

      (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: Beware of Advance Purchase Rates
    curiousone Platinum
    Currently Being Moderated

    I just got caught with this earlier today. I wish Marriott would use a different color text to highlight the "ADVANCED PURCHASE" option. Fortunately, I noticed it right away and called the hotel to explain it was a mistake and that I actually wanted to pay them MORE MONEY for the room. This is also a hotel that I have stayed at several times before and I mentioned that to them. They made the change to a cancelable reservation for me.

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

    • Re: Beware of Advance Purchase Rates
      californian Platinum 27 Reviews
      Currently Being Moderated

      I think there is a law requiring them to refund for 24 hours after made for airlines and hotels.  You were in that period.

      (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: Beware of Advance Purchase Rates
    Sledchick Gold 9 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated

    Hello superchief1-

     

    I just recently had this happen to me as well.  I was changing a reservation at a TownePlace Suites for an event from one weekend to another and the location had changed as well.  I went online and changed my original reservation to at least keep a room handy until I found out if we would be able to attend.  I did not see Advanced Purchse under the Residence Inn I chose; my selection was under standard rates.  I did not realize this "mistake" until my Marriott credit card bill arrived.  As it turns out, we cannot participate in the event.  I called Marriott customer service and the rep was very nice but did state she could do nothing about it except to place a call to the Residence Inn on my behalf.  I held the line while she contacted the property and since she was unable to get a live person she left a voice mail.  She told me I should hear back from a Ms. So-and-So within the next day.  I did not get a call back, but an e-mail from Ms. So-and-So several days later stating they will credit my card in full.  I replied back with a very effusive thank you since I had not stayed at the property before.  I have Gold status so they really didn't owe me any favors.  But I kept wondering how I missed the Advance Purchase thing because I did peruse the terms and conditions before confirming.  And I'm usually super-careful when booking and wondered how this happened.  Only after reading what erc wrote above did it hit me that my session timed out before I finished the change.  I was irritated at the time because my session didn't take long at all and I wondered why I got booted.

     

    Thanks for sharing your story -- now I don't feel so bad about the experience because I'm not the only one who had this happen!

     

    -Sledchick

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: Beware of Advance Purchase Rates
    superchief1 Platinum
    Currently Being Moderated

    I was told that the property would contact me regarding whether they would be able to cancel the reservation. I never heard from the property, but noticed the reservation disappeared from my account and I didn't have a charge on my credit card.

     

    My concerns are:

    1. The advance reservation rates should be clearly identified on the Marriott website and not be included in the 'general rate' section.

    2. The platinum desk customer service rep was very rude, not helpful, and inflexible. I called 30 minutes after their 24 hr. rule, although the rate's T&C state you can cancel the next day, not within 24 hr.

    3. I was never contacted as promised.

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

    • Re: Beware of Advance Purchase Rates
      californian Platinum 27 Reviews
      Currently Being Moderated

      I agree that the advance purchase rate should be clearly flagged.  I suspect that once purchased, the hotel is in control.  That is their revenue and they like to hang on.  I had one a while back and tried to change it, as opposed to canceling it and was not able to do so.

      (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

      • Re: Beware of Advance Purchase Rates
        kharada46 Alumni Steward Platinum 8 Reviews
        Currently Being Moderated

        I agree as well.  While the argument may be made that one (including myself) should read carefully when making any booking/purchasing online, but Marriott shouldn't use that as an excuse.    I'm sure many Insiders have booked reservations on the fly, causing us to not read the booking details as carefully as we should.  It would be very wrong for Marriott to take advantage of such a situation by making it difficult to differentiate advance purchase rates and regular rates.  Hopefully the current presentation is a simple oversight and not intentional.  Either way, I would like to see advance purchase rates made more conspicuous and easier to identify. 

        (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

    • Re: Beware of Advance Purchase Rates
      erc Platinum 1 Reviews
      Currently Being Moderated

      Superchief, kharada, californian et al. - we're all in agreement, but here's the thing; Marriott is signalling that Advance Purchase rates are more and more, becoming the Standard (similar to Marriott Rewards Offers are now Offers and should not be confused with Deals) .  Marriott.com users are especially susceptible to this risk when using variable dates of standard rates and then after checking two or three dates of 5 or 6 properties, swooping to the eye catching lowest (Standard) rate. There's probably some consumer behavior/psychological study on this, but once in the flow, the booking 'momentum' can be difficult to redirect and catch the switch from Standard to Advance Purchase (as demonstrated by the worthwhile number of incidences already reported in this forum by experienced travelers).  I, who have the good fortune of time and bad sense of judgement to 'live' in the Marriott pricing matrix have experienced numerous tweaks and pricing quirks and nuances along this line of pricing behavior (and have written above and for months about how they have been increasing) - so add this to another list of things to watch out for as we move more toward an arms length relationship with our ol' pal Marriott. Side note: I realize that most of you travel so much you don't have time for the antics I dally with, so in a way I'm somewhat like the canary in the coalmine, I often see these 'quirks' (almost always to the company's advantage) first. Many of you are like wxguy from Flyertalk when he said, "he knows he's been on the road too much when he returns home and asks for the 500 point arrival gift."

       

      On the other note about Platinum customer service reps - I think we've all observed the broad range of skill/attitude set of the associates answering the Platinum line, ranging from neophyte to superbly competent. I've gotten to where if I sense any type of ambiguity on the reps part about knowing the answer, I just politely say something like, "oops, I've got a call coming in, I'll get back to you" and start all over with a new rep, confident that not only does this save me time, but headaches.   Hey, who knows, we just might grow to like that annoying roomkey.com afterall .

      (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

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