I tried tonight to get into the Vail Resort in Vail, Colorado in March using points. No Deal! Point use is blacked out. Then I tried to get into the Inn at Bay Harbor in Bay Harbor, Michigan for a June stay. Also No Deal! This is another of the lies that Marriot is telling us about the improved program. I am sick of fighting for the "perks" that are supposed to be given to Platinum Guests.
Marriott needs to learn that in this economy, they can't take away. They need to start giving which is what the deception of "No Blackout Dates" lead us to believe. I have nearly 1,000,000 points. Just where am I supposed to use these points, maybe the Fairfied Inn in Timbuktoo would have availability. I travel exclusively for pleasure and spend a lot of money at the Marriott. I wonder why I am accumulating all of these point???
I've been trying to get a week at the Newport Coast resort for anytime this summer...nothing! Our "dream tracker" says that we are ready to go! We have over 500,000 points...but, have not been able to find any place on the west coast available.
Marriott's "no black out dates" pledge is costing them a heck of a lot credibility in this household.
Same for me. I just tried to book a room at the Ottawa Marriott in May. No rooms available but plenty for sale on the website.
Perhaps there are no blackout dates but only 1 free room per hotel per night?
As others have stated in these difficult times I would have assumed Marriott would be trying to keep their loyal clients happy rather than the treatment we're getting.
On Thursday I participated in an on-line Rewards "overview" that was presented by MVCI. I had made a statement to the host that the No Blackout date policy was a sham because Marriott was still imposing capacity controls. Here is her response, verbatim:
"From Advisor Kimberly - Marriott Owner Services
If a general room is available at a Marriott hotel, it is available for redemption using Marriott Reward Points. The point rate increase was implemented in order to allow all hotels to offer general rooms in exchange for points"
What this tells me is that if a room is available for revenue, it can be assigned for redemption. This obviously has not been the case in the real world. Was Kimberly towing the company line or just misinformed?
I was told by someone at Marriott that most of the properties were not still blocking rooms. She said some of the properties would not go along with the new "no blackout" policy; from all the posts here, it seems there are many not going along with it. As all of you probably know, the individual properties receive a certain amount of money from Marriott when we stay with points. Apparently those properties not cooperating feel they will be able to book the rooms for paying customers and that will mean more money than the points provide. You would think, given the low occupancy rate in these economic times, that properties would be glad to book us since we would be incurring some expenses while there. Some revenue is better than no revenue on a vacant room.
This makes one wonder if Marriott raised the point requirements for many of the nicer properties so that the property would then garner greater revenues from Marriott as most likely certain dollar amounts are assigned to each point. Perhaps Marriott felt this would then allow more rooms to be released for points but apparently it's not working. And, again, that was a price most of us seem uncomfortable paying and I don't know any member who was asked for input.
The NEW policy of No Blackout dates has been turned into an opportunity for individual hotels to effectively play a type of "bait & switch". By allowing the individual hotels to classify what rooms are eligble for point usage they have eliminated the supposed advantage that Marriott was trying to create.
Solution: Very simple --1)Marriott needs to control its hotel properties. This has hurt the Marriott BRAND and continues to turn prior customer goodwill into anger.2) Having Ed French drop off of the face of the earth and to have stopped responding to customers is a terrible corporate move. He BOSS should manage this problem or replace him.
8 months in advance can not get room on points at Renaissance River View Plaza hotel, Mobile, Alabama. Discount paid room is available, so lack of inventory is obviously not the root cause for no rooms on points!
Make it universal and absolute or do not advertize "No Blackout Dates". Anything else is false advertising.
There may be no 'black out' dates but they do limit the number of rooms available at each property. I've been trying to get into the Grand Flora in Rome since November 2008 for a stay in October 2009! Almost one year before my intended stay!!!! No rooms available for redemption points! One of the CSRs told me that each property limits their available rooms to less than 10% and once these are taken you are out of luck (in reality, it is probably less than 10%).
This is directly from Marriott's website:
What does it mean to have “No Blackout Dates”?
Effective January 15, 2009, hotels have standard rooms available for redemptions every day. Blackout dates traditionally refer to a limited number of dates on which a hotel could choose not to accept redemptions. With our new “No Blackout Dates” policy, hotels will no longer have blackout dates for redemptions. Hotels may limit the number of standard rooms available for redemption on a limited number of days.
Since January 1, I've moved to Hilton... and have made Gold status in only 20 nights! Too bad, I really did like Marriott but if they are no longer loyal to me, then I'm gone.... Hilton likes my money, too. Three nights a week, 50 weeks per year adds up!
Marriott could do a better job distinguishing "Availability", but the No Blackout Dates policy stands up to the test. Here are 4 examples that stand up and 1 that FAILS:
1. Vail Marriott Mountain Resort & Spa has rooms available for points in March and April:
Vail hosts the popular American Ski Classic from March 20 -22. The week following Easter, April 12 is popular because so many schools are on break. Where's the blackout?
2. The Bay Harbor Renaissance located at the northern tip of Michiganhttp://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/plnbr-the-inn-at-bay-harbor-a-renaissance-golf-resort/ has rooms available for points 25 out of 30 nights in June:
June is the peak season for wedding receptions, proms and graduations. A Category 5 golf resort & spa is uncontestably the ideal venue. Yet, 25 nights are available for point redemption. Is it conceivable that the 5 nights that are not available for points are pre-booked for large wedding parties or corporate retreats? Where's the blackout?
3. The Marriott Grand Hotel Flora* in the Eternal City is so hot that only Friday, October 30 -31 is available for 40,000 points. The Flora is one of two Category 8 hotels in the entire Mediterrean region and multiple groups attending 6 annual events in October 2009 have advance reservations:
* The Grand Flora is one of five hotels NOT participating in the No Blackout Dates policy. The list is buried under paragraph 13 of Marriott Hotel Rewards. Marriott could be more upfront in listing exclusions on the No Blackout Dates promotion page. Postscript (3/26): See NewHiltonMembr's follow-up Re: No Blackout Dates is not true
4. The Marriott Courtyard Lake Placid is only 1 mile from the venue where the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics was held. I'm anticipating the many athletes, figure skating fans, ESPN and media personalities from all over the world that will assemble for the Skate America, one of six in the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series. Scheduled for mid-November 2009, I am planning to attend and already booked a suite using points. Where's the blackout?
For Insiders who now use HHonors, it will be tough getting a room. The former and very elegant Hilton Lake Placid is now the High Peaks Resort. The closest Hiltons, a Hampton Inn and a Doubletree are about 45 miles away in Burlington, Vermont near the Courtyard Burlington Harbor on Lake Champlain. Nights are available there too using points. Again, no blackout.
5. At Marriott's Newport Coast Villas several factors contribute to a "perceived" blackout during the summer:
Just in case, the Insider meant the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel and Spa, they have just completed a $70 million renovation and rooms are available for points throughout June. Where's the blackout?
In my opinion, the No Blackout Dates policy is definitely an enhancement over Stay Anytime Points. So, a big "Thank you, Marriott" for implementing a No Blackout Dates policy that stands up to the test in so many popular destinations. Thank you Stepping Stones, the comments are appreciated.
** The brands listed as participating in Marriott's No Blackout Dates policy include Marriott® Hotels & Resorts, JW Marriott® Hotels & Resorts, Renaissance® Hotels & Resorts, Courtyard by Marriott®, Residence Inn by Marriott®, Fairfield Inn by Marriott®, TownePlace Suites by Marriott®, and SpringHill Suites by Marriott
I could use another million points if you are giving them away..
Not sure WHY marriott is not fulfilling the "no blackout" dates policy, but the legalize should read something simple: No blackouts ANYWHERE at ANYTIME. PERIOD. End of story. There shouldn't be ANY exceptions.
I would call corporate and/or email them a long letter explaining WHY No blackouts AT ANY Marriott property should TRUMP anything else, especially from us travelers of Platinum or higher status.
Feel free to float your points my way anytime. ;-)
Regrets - the Grand Flora is one of five hotels NOT participating in the No Blackout Dates policy. I found the information by accident. The list is buried under paragraph 13, see Hotel Rewards.
Given the angst and frustration you experienced trying to reserve at the Grand Flora and Marriott's failure to provide this exclusion upfront* do consider filing a complaint directly with Customer.Care@Marriott.com My hunch is that you will get the reservation for the dates you desire.
Keep us posted. Good luck
I agree that taking the complaint to the next level with Marriott is the answer. Issues can be resolved, sometimes quickly, when you patiently explain them to someone over the phone, then follow up with written explanations as necessary.
I recently (last year) had someone steal my Marriott Rewards account (if you are reading this you know who you are and how I fixed the problem). With only one phone call to the Bearcat Drive Service Center the wheels were in motion to fix the problem. Yvonne (who works as the Platinum Supervisor) immediately closed my account, and issued a new one. In addition, she asked for and I provided a Notarized letter detailing what happened. That I did. Seemed reasonable to ensure that I was in fact not making this all up.
So, my recommendation would be to pursue any issue to a level where it can be dealt with. Marriott is customer oriented, and the right person can solve most if not all your problems.
Thanks very much for this info!!!! I will send an email today and keep you posted on the outcome.
And to think I stayed up until midnight on the day the new program rules went into effect....so that at 12:01am I could book the Grand Flora with 'no blackout dates'! What a waste of sleep that was, eh?
I received a reply today regarding my complaint of the Grand Flora in Rome 'No blackout dates'. Another great Marriott disappointment! Here is the reply:
Thank you for contacting Marriott Customer Care. We apologize for any inconvenience.
The Marriott Rewards Terms & Conditions do state that five properties, including the Rome Marriott Grand Hotel Flora do not fully participate in "No Blackout Dates" at this time. (http://www.marriott.com/rewards/terms/usetrms.mi) We are sorry that the Platinum Reservation agent did not make you aware of this. Operational considerations for some properties do, in fact, limit the abilities of these hotels to participate in specific provisions of this initiative. Careful consideration to limit such exclusions was a key component of the development process that allowed us to introduce this significant benefit for our most loyal guests.
If you have further questions, please contact our dedicated Marriott Rewards department at (800) 321-7396 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
if we can be of further assistance, we invite you to reply to this email.
Thank you for choosing Marriott, and we look forward to meeting your future lodging needs.
Good. The note reconfirms the Flora's position and clearly establishes that the influence needed resides at a level higher than consulted so far. I wouldn't give up. There are four options that merit exploring:
Candidly, leave no stone unturned.
Un milione ringraziamenti!!!!! If you had not encouraged me to be persistent and escalate this, I would still be booked at the Rome Central Park Courtyard!
As you suggested, I emailed my great disappointment, etc. to the reply that I received and asked for the contact info of someone to whom I could escalate my complaint.
Today, I received an email from the GM at the Grand Hotel Flora stating that he had booked my redemption stay and had even upgraded me to a junior suite with a view of the Via Veneto! How wonderful!!! I am very excited!!! I immediately replied with my utmost thanks and appreciation.
But, none of this would have come true without you! Many, many thanks to you!!!
With the rollout of the 2009 changes, the Rules of Engagement changed. Don't be discouraged:
"As an amateur sleuth and wanna be secret shopper (Marriott turned me down)"
I saw this on Flyertalk and could not resist:
Casting call: Marriott Hotels & Resorts brand wants travelers "driven" 2 be the best 2 star on new website. Is it u? http://budurl.com/recm (goes to yourmarriottstory.com)
"Wow, did anyone notice that Ed French's No Blackout Dates blog was removed from this site?"
Although highly controversial, Marriott recognizes that content and community go hand-in-hand. In response to discussion here, the entire thread including 636 posts (several of which were contributed by you) was restored August 4th. In fact, you have the distinction of posting message #636* before the thread was 'hidden.'
See Andrew's introductory note about Marriott Insiders newest feature, the Insider's Lobby. He provides the link to the No Blackout Dates Forum aka 'Ed French's blog.' Or, on the Insiders Home page, click the tab, 'Most Viewed.'
Have fun exploring!