Since this discussion was never addressed by the community manager or Marriott in recent posts, I'd like to bring it up again.
The 48-Hour Guaranteed Availability benefit for the 3 levels of platinum (platinum, premier, and lifetime) is ambiguous at best. So far this year I've been denied a room with weeks of advance notice three times. That's three times even with calls to our special line and calls directly to the property to plead my case. Then, just today, it happened again. Really?!
This time was different though, a call to the property manager via the platinum line revealed a new twist. The platinum line representative relayed to me that the property manager would absolutely guarantee me a King room for 169$+tax. Mind you, the posted rate when I had checked a few days earlier was 139$ (this is for a reservation in two weeks). When asked why the price was higher the platinum line representative placed me on hold to ask the property manager. She returned with this answer,
"The price is higher for a platinum override when the hotel is sold out."
I was stunned. That seem more like a penalty than a benefit. Granted, I realize the property manager made it happen... but I', taken aback with the increased price for overriding.
Here is a recap of the rules and a brief observation of that rule I made in an earlier post:
Here is the rule as written on this website:
"48-Hour Guaranteed Availability
Traveling on short notice? We guarantee you'll always have a room for any paid stay. Just make a reservation at least 48 hours before arrival at any of our 3,600 participating hotels (Excluding Marriott Vacation Club. At Residence Inn and TownePlace Suites, applies to Studios only.) Thisoffer may not be available during certain limited dates or special events, so be sure to check on this when you book."
If I am reading that correctly, Marriott guarantees me a room, then immediately following that guarantee, states in a disclaimer that in case Marriott can't guarantee me a room, it is because the "offer" may not be available. Can they be any more ambiguous? Is it a guarantee, or is it an offer? There is a difference.
From merriam-webster.com: Guarantee - an assurance for the fulfillment of a condition.
To Marriott, if you're going to guarantee something, then do it! If you can't do it, don't guarantee it! My suggestion is to remove the '48-Hour Guaranteed Availability' as a benefit to MR members unless you can make this a meaningful benefit.
I have purposely left out the name of the property, and MR representative because my intent is not to throw them under the bus, rather, to highlight what appears to be the dwindling value of being a loyal MR member.
I posted about this about a year ago. I completely agree with you in that it should be removed as in my experience, it is never available. I too have been denied this benefit no less than 10x in the last 3 years. In addition to the information you posted above, I was told by the Rewards team that each hotel gets to decide when it is available at their specific hotel. They can do this by designating what are "special events." Now I could understand the Super Bowl or certain high profile events like this that the Chain should designate, but I found that anytime the hotel was sold out it was a special event.
"Special events" need to be authorized by Marriott HQ. A hotel cannot just arbitrarily say some dates are 'special events'.
Re: the room rate changing, it's pretty much been understood by most Marriott Plats that the override will get you a room & the rate can be rack rate. Isn't always, but it can be.
I believe I received a room as a Platinum member that a non-platinum would not. I was trying to book a four-night stay using points at the Courtyard Tokyo Ginza and could get three of the four nights, but not one in the middle. I called the Platinum line and the agent said that the hotel was sold out but as a Platinum member she could book me a paid room which she did. I was able to use two points night, a paid night and another points night using points for a three-night stay. I was very pleased and happy with the benefit!
I think they should have to list the "special event" dates on their web site or guarantee the room.
I also wish I could get two rooms for my family. One room does not do me a lot of good at times. I used to have a friend who would help me out and reserve the other room........ but they are no longer platinum. I need a second room in Portland in July and I can't seem to get one.........
My guess is that the 'special events' (which aren't that common) aren't listed due to competitive reasons, but that's just a guess.
I understand why 'you wish' you could get two rooms for your family, but I understand why it's limited to one room & don't have a problem w/ the policy. The benefit is for the elite only, and when used will result in someone else being displaced if the property is sold out, with possible walk financial consequences. Why should the hotel double that?
THe only time I was denied a room as a platinum was in Vancouver the week of the Winter Olympics . Yes I actually had to go there that week for business. Ended up staying about 30 miles out of town. I'll give them that one. I guess the Olympics qualify as a special event.
now that being said ....
The guarantee only states availability. It doesn't state rate. Other than Vancouver I have always been able to invoke the 48 hour guarantee BUT. At a substantially higher rate. and they know this as the only times I need rooms on shirt notice is when the company says "be there on Monday".
I have only used the guarantee twice, both times in 2013. In both instances, no reservations for any rate were available via the website. Both times I called the Platinum desk and was able to complete my reservation which included unnavailable night(s) and available night(s). Also in both of these instances the rate for the unavailable night was the same as the rate for the available nights.
Let me venture a guess as to a possible scenario. Hotel is full, due to major event of some sort. You book a room and claim the "Guarantee". Day comes and no one has moved out of their room. Marriott might turn down someone with a reservation in order to honor your guarantee, but there's no way they're going to kick someone out. So in that case they wouldn't be able to honor the guarantee.
Same thing could happen, I guess, if you showed up late and didn't notify them. As of 6:00 PM or something they might give your room to someone else. You then show up at 11:00 PM and there's a problem.
OOooh, ooooh, can I play?
whats going on with Toronto Oakville FFI? Doesn't matter whether you're a plat or not, no booking allowed 10th to 28th July, and it's not been possible since last year. Shoutouts to NathalieF and others have availed no reply.
ON the other side of the fence I have definitely used the Plat over-ride for full hotels, but because I'm not told, I wouldn't know how often. I sometimes find out accidentally when attempting to book a hotel without logging in and the hotel I want isn't on the list, but when I login, it's there.
the 48 hour facility is useful, and pretty comprehensive, which I suspect means we more readily notice the occasional "hold-out"
Still NOT a guarantee, or a benefit of being a loyal MR member.
Don't get me wrong, I'm still a loyal MR rewards member (at nearly 3,500 nights), but my question remains.
What is the benefit of remaining a loyal MR member once Lifetime Platinum is achieved?
To Marriott: What is your retention plan for this category of customer?