The beauty of the system is that you can book both rates on separate reservations and as the date approaches, cancel the one you won't need. Typically, the "cancel without cost" option is either the day before or the day of the actual stay. The exception, of course, is when the rate being used is a prepaid rate.
This is one of the big advantages of Marriott brand properties. I'm not sure how this impacts individual properties, but from a customer service standpoint this allows the ultimate in flexibility and I've used in when weighing options between different properties until I found the one I wanted to stay at.
The Marriott Friends and Family program is a great one but is also heavily audited and very controlled. Here's why:
Thus, making, and then not using a Friends and Family discount when reserving seems to me to be clogging up the system for those who actually can use it. Just my opinion.
This reminds me of the *I guess) real Marriott associate card for sale on e-Bay a couple years ago, which was both a stupid thing to sell and an even more dumb thing to buy!
I know from talking with GM's that discounts are in fact audited as Michelle's comment states, and the misuse of a discount might fall into that black hole in the terms and conditions about losing your MR account privileges. I guess it's not worth saving a few bucks to lose your points, and your honored guests at the same time
At the end of last year I was traveling with a group of friends in two cars, going to see some bands in different cities. So that we didn't need to worry about what car got to a property first, I put 2 names on the reservations, one from each car. Check ins were fine no issues.
Two months later, I got a letter from Marriott asking for contact about some issues with billing and points. I sent an email with a guess that it was the issue, and an explanation, detailed, about what happened. They kept open communication, always polite and cheerful, but I could tell, if I hadn't had the right answers, there was going to be hell for both my rewards account and my associate/relative. I always stop and drop off my form at the desk, but now I make sure they change the check-in name to mine every time.
I also admit that on most trips that I use a mmf on, I don't fuss about points and upgrades, the property is already taking a rev hit for me to be there, and I'm glad for it.
This is a discount that comes with a lot of requirements as you know. In essence you are telling the hotel that you will be a prudent traveler and that you will get both yourself and the person authorizing the certificate in trouble if you do not. In some cases it is a steep discount, and though the stays and points are credited to your account, the certificates must match your name and cannot be more that sixty days old. They must also be originals, not copies. So with all that, if you have them and can follow all the rules, then you've got it nailed.
I'm wondering about this statement. I use F&F for about 25% of my travel and always get credit for the stay of at least one room and points for both rooms. Now I know when traveling with an associate and not just as a family member, there are no points and no credit, not even supposed to have an MR# on the reservation. Understand that there is a BIG difference in Rate. A Residence stay normally 158$, Family 79$, Assoc. 39$ So I get why there is no credit for the Associate.