Can anyone shed some light on why Marriott would be decreasing their Marriott Platinum privileges like having the ability to cash a personal check at the front desk is now not an option? I would think that Marriott would be adding privileges to make thier Platinum guests more comfortable and not taking them away.
Signed- Confused Platinum Guy
Quick addendum on this topic.
According to several articles, check fraud related to identity theft accounted for 12% of the financial crimes in 2007 and rose to 17% in 2008. That has a significant impact on operating cost.
In Marriott's case, the decision to discontinue check-cashing privileges is to eliminate the risk of incurring financial loss by identify theft related check fraud.
Marriott Rewards points are also subject to fraud. I recall that a year ago, Marriott hotels started requiring a photo ID in addition to a credit card at check-in to ensure that the person redeeming the points is actually the person who earned them.
"I think this has nothing to do with check fraud"
That could be. Considering Marriott's "Spirit to Serve" mantra, guest experience prevails and convenience easily trumps over cost containment. With ATMs more prevalent than Walmart, the global traveller need only ask, "Where is the nearest ATM?". With banks eager to rent space in supermarkets, pharmacies and gas stations, why not hotel lobbies?
From the guest view, it's convenient and safe.
-- Edited by TJCNewYork at 11/30/2009 10:12 AM EST to reflect 'Spirit to Serve' thinking.
Marriott confirmed the discontinuation of Elite check cashing privileges, effective April 1st due to the increased incidence of activity involving check fraud combined with limited cash availability at the Front Desk particularly in the evening. Further, given increased usage of electronic banking/ATM facilities, the check-cashing benefit was rarely used.
"The change was was made at the request of hotels and guest services as there was an increase in fraud. Additionally, the volume of check-cashing/perceived member value of the benefit is minimal."
Under the applicable Commercial Code in most US states, the vendor or corporation (Marriott) who accepts a check is responsible for those checks unless they (the vendor) can provide full documentation on the person cashing the check: the ability to identify the person, the notation of the type of ID presented, and the person who accepted the check. With the prevalence of manufactured IDs, this is not reasonable to expect.
This is also post-facto: the check casher has received the funds before the check is found to be fradulent in most cases. I have never seen a Marriott associate run a check through a check verification system, the kind at most retail operations. Perhaps this is done later, but I have never seen it done at the Front Desk.
That being said, it is highly unlikey that all these conditions that would absolve Marriott of having been taken will be met when (in the past) a person cashed a check using their room key and associated information as proof of their identity. So, Marriott has had to suffer with a lot of bad checks I would guess.
As stated earlier in this discussion, Marriott implemented new photo ID procedures at check-in about a year ago. Prompted by this discussion, I did a search to find an ATM Locator and stumbled across this article recently published by the FBI: HIGH-TECH HEIST
The take-away for me is a realization about the responsiveness of Marriott to prevent the potential of credit card fraud and guest identity theft at check-in. Incidental expenses involving thousands of dollars at a full-service hotel could be easily executed and billed to a room falsely w/o the Marriott Rewards member not even being aware.
Prevention is worth a pound of cure, Marriott's responsiveness makes that very evident. To some, the discontinuation of Elite Check Cashing may be a lost perk, to me Marriott's responsiveness is the perk and underscores how much the company values my business and loyalty. Thanks, Marriott.
I too was disappointed that Marriott eliminated the privilege of cashing checks at the front desk. Although I rarely took advantage of this perk, it was reassuring that it was available as a last resort if needed. I avoid ATMs because I don't like the fees. It seems like Marriott could develop a secure way of accommodating platinum level members with this service.