Since I became Platinum, I have been scouring the T&C for every little detail. I know we are supposed to receive a guaranteed arrival gift (at participating hotels). I also know that if it is not offered or doesn't show up in the account, the T&C covers a monetary compensation for this lack of service.
My question is this: How many of you encounter front desk agents who have never heard of the Platinum Arrival Gift? It keeps happening to me - more especially at say a Courtyard when my first act is to grab a soda and check in, expecting the soda to be free in addition to points given (per the T&C). I point out the Arrival Gift when they try to charge for the soda, and I get a confused look. Further discussion, and I find they have no idea what the Platinum Arrival Gift is.
What do you do in these situations? How do you typically go about tracking down the points or the monetary compensation with Marriott?
Perhaps I have been fortunate, but I've never had a problem. I am always asked if I prefer the points (which I do) as my arrival gift. At CY, I am offered points PLUS an item from the Marketplace (per the T&C). That question usually comes right after the thank you for being a Platinum Elite member.
Were I to encounter someone at the desk that did not know about the Platinum arrival gift, I would ask for a manager. If that failed, I'd be on the CS line just as you mentioned.
This issue has rolled around Insiders for years and seems to be a dying breed of an issue. The guarantee was meant to assure that Marriott hotels followed the policy, as your case indicates, it's no longer that much of a hot button and the burden of collection is placed heavily on the consumer, often putting them in a he said/he said headache. Your case would seem to be the exact prototype of what Marriott was trying to avoid (I don't know how they could say they offered you your welcome gift when their defense was that it wasn't a policy).
Of course the knockout punch is, we must claim our compensation while still a guest, prior to check out. So, if you observe after your visit that points weren't credited (as I have several times), you can't collect the appropriate guest compensation . If you claim that they didn't offer you while you are there (usually it's not a claim, it's just a statement by you at the very end of checking in, "hey don't forget to include my points"), often times the response will be oh yeah, they're there .
I don't mess with the game, since the only way to collect, is to make it an issue at check in (which could impact your stay). In the cases where they say they are posting and don't (5 times in 2014) I just call CS and have them post.
In one case similar to yours, about a year ago at a Residence Inn, the guy wasn't aware of the guaranteed bonus. I said, well, let's chat with someone who is and he got a manager who proclaimed the same ignorance. Ok, no sweat I said, now here's what I'm gonna do, I'm gonna call the Plat Service line, I'm going to have them explain the policy to you and after they do, instead of the $50 I'm entitled to, all I want is my 200 points and three of those chilled looking Heinekens you have in the cooler; if I'm wrong, I'll buy the three Heinekens and treat you each - deal? Deal they said. The call was made, the policy was stated, and off I went to my room with three tasty Heinekens and we were all happy (and I didn't 'accidentally' get a 4 am wake up call ).
While I don't encounter it very often, when I do I ask for the manager on duty or the GM and (nicely) explain that I wasn't offered the PAG & that I was surprised the FDC didn't know about it. If the MOD or GM doesn't know of the PAG, it's not surprising a FDC wouldn't know. I gently explain the policy & offer to pull up the T&Cs for them to review. If the MOD or GM does know, they normally explain it to the FDC & it gets offered then/I let it slide.
If there is any pushback at all/arguing (or lying, oh you took the points when I wasn't offered the option), then I invoke the $$ guarantee. If there's any pushback I get the Plat line on the phone & have them go to bat for me with the staff/management in front of me. It's pretty rare for me to invoke the guarantee (usually only if the staff or management are pissy about it), but Marriott created the policy for a reason so I have no problem asking for the payout. Goodness knows Marriott doesn't cut any slack on T&Cs that work in their favor.
I've only encountered an issue once. The agent was very aware of the policy but insisted "that doesn't apply at our property." It was late so no manager on duty to appeal to. I asked her three times "Are you sure you are not going to honor the policy?" She held firm, offered to sell me items from the market. I told her absolutely not, if I were going to buy items (and I did), the profit surely would not go to that property (I went to the nearby convenience store).You better believe I sent a tweet to Marriott. They offered to have the property give me a bottle of water a day later, I asked that they follow their own policy and sure enough the $$ was taken off my bill.
I understand that there's turnover and a new associate may not be aware of the policy but this property clearly was trying to dodge the policy and rely on travelers being too busy/tired/ignorant to complain. Terrible. Not sure how the 50 cents they saved on water offsets the $ they paid me and losing all my future business but evidently they view that as a win.
BTW - just to clarify something, the $$ owed is not meant to be taken off one's bill but paid in cash or by check per T&Cs. If you were ok w/ it being taken off your bill that's one thing, but you didn't have to accept it. It also means less points you earn when it's taken off your bill (and in some cases, screws up one's expense report).