I have been trying to use two of my certificates earned through my credit card and through a bonus, which are categories 1-5. First, since Marriott changed many of the categories in April of this year, many 5's going to 6's, it is increasingly hard to use these certificates. In NC, there are very few options, and very few in cities. In most cases (including Raleigh, NC, Asheville, NC, Charlottesville, VA)- a category 6 (which used to be a 5) was available for a lower price then the category 5, and Marriott would not honor the certificate at the category 6 hotel. I feel that Marriott needs to revisit their certificate policies. As it is, with the difficultly in using the certificates, I don't believe it will be advantageous for me to renew my credit card in July. Marriott has been very kind so far to extend my certificates another 6 months due to the recent difficulty, although I am sure this is a one time option. When asked how to register a complaint, I was told to post on Bill Marriott and Arne Sorenson's blog and at Marriott Customer Service. IF you are having the same issues, please post. Also try Facebook as well. I am being told if they receive enough complaints, they will consider revisiting the policy. Thanks....
Excellent observation, which as you'll see from the More Like This column over to the right, many of us Insiders agree with you. So far, our best strategy regarding the devaluation of certificates, has been to expend energy trying to find some worthwhile use for the certificate (at least it's a 5, 4's provide even less flexibility) at an airport to ease travel, or an extra night while on a road trip, or even a local stay at a SpringHill or below just for an enjoyable night out of dinner, movie, or whatever.
I'm fascinated by customer service advising you to write Arne's or Bill's blog; that seems not only to be a dead end, but also an unusual tactic of problem solving by a normally efficient customer service department. We had an (here it comes Insiders, erc's annual bugaboo about Tell Arne ) event last year virtually begging us to link in with Arne's LinkedIn blog and he would respond back on some issues - over 800 posts
(most of them serious, worthwhile insights) received one response (how do you pick your sites?), so I'm not convinced that's the route to take.
I appreciate your posting, but my belief in this current 'sellers market' with hotel chains setting the rules, that the "enough complaints" level mentioned above by customer service is seldom, if ever reached regarding changing direction of Marriott's current strategic direction (service at the property level is far more responsive).
The good news, Marriott still delivers excellent service at the property level, so I spend the energy I might invest on changing Marriott policy instead looking for deals at those properties, obtaining (again, just my opinion) a far better R.O.I.
Thanks for sharing. I agree with your frustration.
Hi - do you travel mainly in the US? If so, I completely agree with you. I recently was forced to stay at a cat 6 courtyard in downtown Portland. It was abysmal.
However, I travel frequently to Asia, and there are many great properties out there in the cat 2-4 range. For example I stay at a cat 2 renaissance in Shanghai and it is amazing. Lounge, full buffet, new building, big rooms, awesome service, great location. I always use my points and certificates for Asia stays.
I almost never stay in hotels I the US anymore. I go airbnb. Asia though is still completely worth it.