First off, I would like to thank everyone here for their tips and suggestions on how to use the Marriott Rewards Program. I'm fairly new - just over a year and a half, yet I have already accumulated 145k points and just recently received my gold status. I use Marriott for pleasure not business. So, it's really a challenge for me to stay 50 paid nights a year to accomplish my gold status, to be honest.
I work for a federal gov't entity, therefore, been lucky in getting good rates on most of the Marriott hotels we stayed at. I would like to know if anyone here use the federal gov't rate or any discounted rate such as AAA, senior or et al.
Since I first started using Marriott, I have been lucky - I have not felt any discrimination for using a federal gov't rates. Staffs have always been pleasant and never let us feel any less for paying such rates. I received my gold status just this Feb. (2013). I also have not seen any differential changes on Marriott's treatment towards us. In fact, we frequent, Marriott Irvine for weekend relaxation and have received room upgrades, as well as 2 adult and 1 child breakfast comp (on every stay since Gold status). However, few weeks ago, I encountered an issue with Courtyard Hotel - Riverside. They informed me that I will only get 1 comp breakfast because I paid a federal govt rate. That confused me. I called Marriott Cust. Service and the lady who answered confirmed that this is Courtyard Hotel Riverside Policy. In all seriousness, I don't care nor do I mind paying for 1 extra breakfast (or more). I just want to know the exact rules; a consistent answer - that way, I know what to expect on my stays. I have an impression that once you are gold member, you get 2 comp breakfast or an access to concierge lounge (if the hotel have one). Am I wrong?
is it safe to say that the members benefit changes or does not count at all, once you pay a discounted rate? Doesn't seem right to me.
Anyone here use govt rates, AAA or any discounted rates? Does your benefit (silver, gold, platinum) change when doing so? Any comments would be appreciated.
Welcome aboard. Whereas I use AAA rates for over 80% of my stays and fortunately haven't ever faced the diminishment of benefits situation you did (even when using points), I'm not shocked that some properties have their own set of rules. That's why the Insiders forum is of value, now we all now about the Courtyard Hotel - Riverside policy (which the corporate CS rep specifically named, as opposed to the Marriott Courtyard policy).
Other govt policy rate users will chime in and we'll see how far the one meal rule is applied (we just had a case of the Charleston Renaissance cutting back to one meal for platinums, so we may be seeing a new tightening trend), but as far as AAA, your current odds of securing every benefit as you would with a pay thru the nose 'rack rate' will be very high.
My company has a corporate contract (special corp code, and no, I will not share it) that gives preferred rates. I can use the corp code rate for personal travel (explicitly permitted by my company), and so when travelling for pleasure (which is a rarity), I run a few searches, 1) rack rate, including any advance purchase/specials/promotions, 2)AAA rate (I am a card carrying AAA member and have been for over 20 years) and 3)my corporate rate. Often the AAA rate is within 5% of my corp rate, but sometimes it is better and sometimes not. Some of the Marriott Reward rates are better than anyting else I can find. As a matter of personal preference, I do not stay at Courtyards, as I do not find them to be really great anywhere I go, and the elimination of the free coffee and never having complimentary breakfast (even for gold and Plat) drove me away from that brand years ago. I have never felt or seen any difference in treatment (with one exception, I will get to that in a second)based on rate paid, points stay vs paid stay, etc. The only time I have ever felt like I was not treated well was on a PAID stay for pleasure at the Carleton Hotel (autograph) in NYC (this past winter), when I had a special rate thru Marriott rewards, but still a paying rate, and getting an upgrade was like asking for your firstborn, I went and bought water from the local Duane Reed and the maid stole them from my room, and I just found the whole experience to be one of "we used to be independent, our owner sold us down the river to Marriott, so now we get all the riff raff staying here, and even though you are platinum and are paying us, we are too good for you" type of attitude. I guess that since I am not of Hollywood fame, nor am I of blue blood old money (I made my money the old fashined way, I work really hard for it!) then I am not the "type of person" who should be given anything special by this property, regardless of status and rate paid. So in response to your question, aside from the outlier experience,m I have not seen any differecne in treatment based on rate or stay type. Hope that helps
Problem is, you wont get a consistent answer.
Depending on the "independent" nature of the hotel, (albeit still flying the "Marriott Flag"), doest matter if it says Marriott, because other than the stated benefits of status (points/arrival gifts/night credits), each hotel gives you what they want, (if they want).
Because "thats this hotels policy" !
Unless it is expressly stated in policy or on their website, good luck with anyting extra.
Nothing you can do about it, if local management refuses to budge. (Independent operators do what they wish, and Marriott can do, and will do nothing about it) !
Sorry to burst your bubble, but that why a lot of us "old timers" / "lifers" have moved on
This is from the rate rules: Notice it says a breakfast for one person. CYs normally don't give breakfasts but on a fed gov rate they do. I would say that when they gave you extra, that was nice but they were doing more then needed. I don't was waiting for checkin behind a party trying to use the fed gov rate and they were told that was only for the employee and while on gov business. They would not give them the rate.
There is more but I just copied enough for you to see about the breakfast.
cali, I also was always with the understanding that government rate was onloy for official use only, but somewhere I read on the Marriott site, maybe on Insiders also, that active duty can use that rate for leisure travel also. Although I don't even try to use that rate for my leisure travel (I am retired military), I often check it and find that weekend rates or even sometimes AAA are less than the government rate.
From what I read the rate is based on the per diem and that varies from state to state. By this, it appears that it is offered to those on official business. I would expect that it is not always the lowest rate.
The clerk mentioned above, commented that they have government employees bringing their families on vacation and expect to get the rate but they won't give it to them. Maybe, it is up to the hotel. I would expect that many would accommodate active military on leave with their families.
I know Seaworld gives free admission to active military with ID and 3 or 4 others with them once a year. The San Diego zoo will admit active military as many times as they want to come and will discount those family members who they bring with them.
I called an questioned this several years ago. I was told most hotels honor govt rate for business or travel although a few do not. You can always call the hotel directly in advance or look online in the rate section and see if it specifically states - must be on govt orders.
Gov't rates are sort of like the cheapest ticket on a plane, there is a very limited number of rooms. Having traveled on gov't rates for years I will tell you some hotels have more gov't rates than others and also have found when the rate isn't available online as you mention and you've stayed at the hotel often they are more than likely going to honor the rate. Also, most of the places I've stayed didn't require orders but you had to use either a gov't credit card or have a gov't ID with you when you check into the hotel. Many times I have used a gov't rate for leisure travel and never an issue.
I traveled on government rates for years and never ran into any of your issues Thor. That being said every gov't rate I had was either at FS Marriott or a Residence Inn and never had any issues with someone seeking to know who was I having breakfast with nor if it was free. Sounds to me like CY is the problem unless I'm missing something.
Thanks everyone for your comments and reply... I'm thinking, like dejamo said - I will never get a consistent answer. It will all depends on the hotel and the management. So, best thing to do is to just expect nothing and be utterly surprise in a good way when full status benefit is given
The discounted rates are indeed variable in terms of what you pay and what you get. Points rates (using points rather than paying) is another discount, and the hotel is reimbursed at a reduced rate for your stay.
I would guess that every Marriott hotel winces when someone checks in at a reduced rate, but some are more direct in letting you know than others. Full service Marriott's especially those where there are many USG travelers, will generally give a government traveler the best they can when they can. Others will decide based on occupancy.
I wish that it were this simple: anyone who is Silver paying whatever rate, full or not, gets the same treatment. Ditto for Platinum and Gold too. In the real world profit and loss (and discounts are a loss to the bottom line) invite less treatment.
If Marriott made a statement that they do not discriminate based on rate paid, I have never seen it. Maybe they will and also communicate this to the hotels they deal with.
Per diem rates are variable based on locales, not just states. Higher cost of living places have higher per diems. Some rates are show as above per diem, and from my past experience it takes a lot of finagling to get a higher rate approved on travel. But I wish Marriott could state directly that no matter what you pay you will always get the best treatment possible according to the elite level you hold.
It makes sense that the per diem is based on locations.
I also feel that the treatment should be based on status not price paid.
If you read the original, the comment was about a CY. I have platinum for a whole long time and have never been given a breakfast at a CY. GemPrincess has commented that sometimes contracts negotiate them. My clip shows that if one is on the federal government rate, they get one breakfast. This breakfast is not because of status but because of the rate and the negotiated rate says 1 breakfast.
The breakfast was often given to fed gov't rates yet always given to gov't contractors as well each place I have stayed. If they refused to give the gov't contracters the rates or breakfast our gang would never go back and the gang was some 20 person strong.
I've stayed at places with a gov't rate around $250 and also rates at $96 that produce and 2BR suite, so go figure.
If you're interested in how folks use the AAA rate, you might want to check this out: http://www.rewards-insiders.marriott.com/polls/1023 There are also some informative comments here, but it's pretty clear that a lot of Marriott customers use the AAA discount. I can't speak for others, but I always try the AAA rate when I'm booking.
There was a great show on CNBC about behind "closed doors" at the Marriott. I'm sure it will be on again.
But, in the mean time check out these smaller videos about pricing and policies: Hotel: Behind Closed Doors at Marriott
The best rates I've found, besides my professional rates, are the "old folks" rates.
The biggest thing to remember is that Marriott only own 18 hotels, all the other ones are managed.
I travel frequently using the federal government rate with no problem. i do always check the specific terms outlined for the rate. Usually the terms request photo ID only but some rates are specifically for travel on orders. I mostly use this for leisure and have never lied the total of two times I have ever been asked the nature of my visit. never had an issue, usually not asked for the ID but always have e it ready. Always receive the same courteous treatment. BTW I have been successful using the gov rate in the past at the Marriott resort in Aruba and a couple of other specific vacation resort properties.