I'm a teacher and was just looking at a web-site that posted different places that offer teacher discounts. One of them was Marriott and it said:
Marriott grants teachers a discount at a slew of hotels across the nation. Whether you book online or in-person, show your school ID at check-in to receive the special rate. Rules on this discount are a bit vague -- they mention government employees, which would imply only public school employees -- but most hotel employees don't bite. Feel free to ask.
I was wondering if anyone has ever used this or knows anything about this. I've never inquired about it so I'm a little curious!
I love the government rate.
As a Federal employee, I use it whenever I can. One thing I've sometimes found is that depending on the location, some full-service properties don't offer it (or if they do only have a limited number of rooms at that rate available). In such a case, usually there is a CY, SHS, RI, or FFI nearby that has the gov't rate. I do have to show my government ID, but these days, I don't leave home without without it (wait, I've heard that slogan before ). There are a few places where the AAA rate can be better (around Washington, DC for example) so it always pays to to a little research.
vaboywnder, how often are you asked to present your government id at check-in?
I would say that about 30% of the time I may get asked to show my ID when booking the Govt Rate. Most of the time when I am asked it is at a property where there is a substanial difference between the Govt Rate and the Best Available Rate. The only time I have ever had an issue with booking the Govt Rate was once in North Carolina where I booked the State Govt Rate which was about $40 less than the Federal Govt Rate. According to the Rate Rules the State Govt Rate was for "North Carolina State Employees" and I was a Virginia State Employee. The Desk Clerk then converted my Rate to the Federal Govt Rate.
My advice when booking Govt Rates is to check the Rate Rules at time of booking. The rules are usually pretty clear as to who is qualified for the rate. I've noticed sometimes the rules will state that University State employees are excluded or are included. When in doubt you can always call the property directly so there are no surprises at check in.
Thanks, vaboywnder. If I stumble upon a good govt rate and decide to try it sometime, I will confirm with the hotel. This is one of those rate (rules) that can sometimes be tricky, me thinks.
As I mentioned earlier I have only had one case in which I had encountered an issue with the Govt Rate I booked and that was because I booked a rate that was intended for North Carolina State Employees and I work in Virginia. Otherwise all of the other Govt Rates I've booked I have been eligible for so I haven't had the need to call the hotel. I do always check the rate rules just to make sure there are no specific restrictions like "University State Employees are excluded". But its very rare to see Govt Rates posted with that specific restriction. Since you work for a Public School System I don't think you will encounter any problems. Just make sure you take your employee ID along with you in the event you are asked to present it at check in.
Most Hotel Chains participate in the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) Program which sets the maximum allowances that Govt Employees are reimbursed for expenses incurred when on official travel. Here is a link to the GSA website which shows the Per Diem Hotel Rates for each locality in the USA. The website also shows the meals allowance for each locality.
I can speak to the Federal Government rate. That is set by the GSA and is based on location. That rate is the maximum amount a government employee on official business can be reimbursed for lodging. Here is a link to some good info on the GSA page about the FY2015 rates which take effect next Wednesday (Oct 1) - Per Diem Rates. There is even some detail as to how the rate is set. For the curious, clicking through the link to "Per Diem Files (archived)" will allow one to download an excel file of the maximum allowable rates across the country (that doesn't mean you'll always be able to find rooms at that rate).
Marriott does not have to offer the rate, but most hotel chains choose to do so in hopes of attracting travelers who work for the Federal Government. In many cases higher-end properties do not offer the rate, so hotel choices can be limited to brands like (FFI, SHS, CY, TPS, RI, and some FS Marriotts and Renaissance properties). They often also limit the number of rooms that are available at that rate.
In general the rate is for members of the military or federal employees (not contractors). Some properties require that the traveler be on official business, though most do not. Usually an ID is required. I always present mine when I check in as I expect to be asked for it anyway.
So, the short answer is that Marriott wants to encourage Government employees to stay at Marriott by offering a rate that can be fully reimbursed when on official travel. Otherwise, such travelers (who would not wish to pay the difference from their own pocket) would stay at competitors who do offer the GSA rate. It is not meant to discriminate against anyone.
Keep in mind, the daily GSA rate in the DC area (for example) ranges from $162 to $229 depending on the time of the year, which can be much higher than the regular rate.
The bottom line is that if you qualify for a discounted rate (gov't, senior, AAA, corporate) take advantage of it when it makes financial sense.
Hope that helps explain things a little.