I have been a Marriott customers for many years, and have always assumed that I will get the guaranteed best rate when making booking from the website.I discovered recently that the hotel I made a reservation has reduced the rate, but the lower rate was not automatically passed on to me. I contacted the Marriott rewards team about this (btw, the lady rudely hung up the call when I complained her) and was informed that the so called "best" rate only applies at the time of the booking, but subsequent rate reduction is not passed on to us automatically. She advised that if I were to find out a lower rate, I could contact Marriott and they will change the rate to the lower rate at no cost to me This is obviously not the way that I had expected the rate to work. Has anyone encountered this and complained to Marriott about making a change, or know of a way to automatically to track rate changes. Thanks.
It's been my experience that once you make a reservation with Marriott that the room rate does not change on your reservation. At the time you book online you should see the "best rate" at that particular time. When I'm traveling for leisure (at my own expense) I've gotten into the habit of checking the hotel rates again 5-7 days before travel to see if the rates have dropped. Sometimes they have and I'm able to save a few more bucks. Sometimes the rates have increased and then I'm thankful I booked ahead of time. I also do this with car rentals as well.
I agree with vaboywnder, rates sometimes do decrease after a booking but will not change on your reservation.I also do what he does and check again a week or two before my stay to check the rates. I can tell you airport locations in my experience often times have lower rates close to by stay date than the rate I originally booked.
Thanks for the responses and tips. I beg to differ in that I feel Marriott should pass on the rate reduction to us automatically rather than relying on us to check and contact them. In a way, I feel people who book in advance may be penalized, and these are the people without which the rate reduction could have been more, since there would have been less occupancy. Yes, the rate could also go up, but that's the benefit we should be entitled to by choosing Marriott in advance, allowing them to plan resource etc. I also feel the details about "best rate" mentioned in the website is more of clever marketing - true only at the time of booking, but there's no intent in ensuring we loyal customers who book early gets the best rate. Anyway, I have asked the rewards team to consider changing the system to automatically allow us to enjoy rate reduction. She said she will forward this request to their "Executive leadership team". I hope they are genuine in their intent, and use this feature as another differentiartor from other hotels.
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I am sorry, but I disagree with you. I belive that the Marriott booking system is excellent. Except for prepaid reservations, reservations may be cancelled and booked without penalty. Wouldn't it be nice if the airlines did this. The cancellation policy for each rate/hotel is clearly stated when making a reservation. My own experience is that the rates on the Marriott website are the best. Again, comparing to airlines this is not always the case. (I was able to book Delta tickets throgh Travelocity for about 5% less than diretly on the Delta website for same flights.). I personally think Marriott's booking system is excellent.
My experience these days is that most companies do have very good reservation systems, most with no penalties on booking (e.g. SPG/Westin, Avis, Expedia), or clearly stated otherwise.
Some like Expedia also offer price guarantee in that they will offer $50 coupon if a cheaper site is found within 24 hrs.
So, I found the "Best price guarantee" by Marriott (i.e. best price at the time of booking only) is a bit rmeaningless/redundant, as it is something that I would assume these days, given there are so many hotels and players in the market (expedia, hotel.com, priceline, kayak etc) and also the level of competition.
Some sites like SPG also offers cheaper rates than their brokers when booked in advance. For example, I recently booked to stay at the Westin Hotel at New Orleans as they gave additional discount not given by their brokers (this booking did have condition attached - no cancellation allowed, which was not an issue for me as my travel was firmed).
Btw, thanks to the tips from some of you. Since posting this message, I have been checking the rates regularly, and sure enough, the Marriott hotel that I made the booking has dropped the price a 2nd time. It's now down from $249 to $179, which is a significant savings, but still a pain having to call them to make the changes.
It does make me wonder how much extra I might have been paying for some of my past bookings.
Anyway, buyers beware!
If you book the reservations on the Marriott website you can edit the reservation later when you notice the price has decreased. That way you don't have to call and speak with an agent. When editing a reservation you can see the price changes before you confirm the changes.