In searching for hotel rates on Marriott.com domestically and internationally, I've noticed a frustrating trend... the rate displayed is "from $*** per night" which turns out to be really vague. I've often noticed, for example, that it'll display "from $190 per night, when clicking "view rates" yields a rate of $250 for nearly all the nights except for 1 or 2 (of 6). Competing chains don't this... which almost seems like a bate and switch. Granted you aren't being conned into booking the rate, but it makes searching much more difficult & frustrating, seeing as the difference between the two rates can be quite significant. If the rate must be varied from day to day, what should be displayed is the average daily rate.
Then there's the issue that we've been discussing a little in the Aviation Geeks Unite thread... AAA rates, and others like it are often more expensive than the Standard Rates now days. Even worst, Elite Rates are either the same as the Standard Rate or higher with no discernible benefit. I'm not sure how everyone else feels about this, but to me, this further cheapens Elite membership.
It does make planning a trip a bit harder. Add to that the fact that some rates aren't available on certain nights. I find this often with the government rate (which sometimes isn't the cheapest rate). In an area with multiple Marriott property choices it can be downright daunting to find the best rate given all the parameters.
I remember making a table of all the room choices and rate options for one hotel trying to figure out the best deal. It shouldn't be that hard.
You're not alone, but some observations.
That's great advice! I usually book as soon as I can and cancel if I see a lower rate appear, though that almost never happens whenever I do that. As for AAA, I had membership, but never renewed it. Been thinking about picking it up again, but we'll see! I don't think I travel nearly enough for it to be worth it.