It appears that Marriott properties are starting to limit rewards redemptions and special rate availability again. My most recent experience is the Springhill Suite in Flagstaff, AZ. I was checking availability for two nights checking in on 3/4/16. No rooms were available for MR points, AAA or Senior rate. I entered 'dates flexible' and found that there was no availability for any Friday check in for 2 nights, or Saturday check in for 1 night. It appears they are blocking all weekend nights. What happened to the policy of 'no blackout' dates. I am a lifetime platinum member. I guess I will stay at the Drury Inn which is actually a nicer hotel and has discounted rates available.
I've seen certain rates unavailable on a weekend, but never points redemption. Part of the reason could be because the date is so far in the future. Hard to say.
You might consider booking at the regular rate now to secure the reservation and check back later to see if a discounted rate is available. Or book the room and then call the reservation line to switch to a rewards stay.That is if you want to stick with a Marriott property. I've had success with both options. Food for thought.
I never had a problem previously booking MR stays far in advance. If they are limiting stays in Flagstaff, AZ, how easy will it be to book reward trips in spring break beach locations. This is another major degradation in the MR program as far as I am concerned. Advance planning was always rewarded for the past 35 yrs., but now this has changed in order to maximize their Rev.
The residence inn in gainesville florida does this for the ENTIRE football season. No rates are available very far in advance. It shows the rooms as unavailable for fri-sun.
I had to book an entire week, and then change the reservation to be fri-sun, which caused my nightly rate to go up like $25.
the GM of the hotel even confirmed with me via email that they do this on purpose.
I received a voicemail from Marriott today offering help in making this reservation. However, I decided to keep my reservation with the Embassy Suites for the following reasons:
1. If the GM at the Springhill Suites blocks points reservations for weekends over an extended time period, do I really want to stay at that hotel?
2. I consider Embassy Suites to be an upgrade over SHS: nicer rooms, hot cooked to order breakfast, and evening reception. If I can stay for the same # of points, I should take advantage of it.
In this case, Marriott'l lack of availability caused me to consider a competitive property. This now also cause me to reconsider who I should try to earn future points with. As a long term 90% loyal Marriott customer, I am disappointed in their lack of concern for my future loyalty. I am curious regarding what other long-term insiders would do in this situation.
This property appears to be initiating their own blackout policy again. I thought I would check again for availability for our trip in March. There is no availability for 1 or 2 night stays for any weekend in March or April. Although rooms are available for std rates ($209 per night), there is also no availability for AAA or Senior rates.
I was already confirmed for an award stay at the Embassy Suites and was just able to confirm a two night award stay at the Hilton Garden Inn. If Marriott properties choose to limit award availability, I will shift more of my business to Hilton even though I prefer most Marriotts (except Courtyards). I now maintain Hilton Gold status through my Amex Platinum card.
If the owner of those properties chooses to price themselves out of the market competitively, then so be it.
We stayed in Flagstaff in June and encountered the same situation with the Marriott. I'm 99% loyal to Marriott. We decided to stay at the Hilton Garden Inn and enjoyed it just as much as we likely would have at a Marriott property. In fact, the HGI, was very nice and we'd likely stay there on our next trip, if the opportunity presented itself again.
Is the situation unfortunate? Yes.
Does it seem wrong? Yes.
Is it their right to manage their inventory as they see fit? Yes.
Is it their loss? Yes.
You booked your rooms with a similar outcome.
If it were me, I'd put my big boy pants on and move on.
AS I understand the no blackout policy means that all standard rooms are available for redemption all year round, except for a few dates each year when, with corporate permission, hotels can restrict the number of redemption rooms available. Some franchisees do play around with their inventory to game the system and especially for dates long into the future, Corperate seems to do very little.
I am curious whether this is an isolated incident or whether there are several properties who greatly limit their award availability. I can understand a few dates not being available during special events, but every weekend for two months is rather extreme. Has anyone else encountered this situation at other Marriott properties?