I've tried booking 3 different sets of dates at 2 different properties... all blacked out and no Stay Anytime option. I thought there were no longer any blackouts with very rare exception. Is it a coincidence that every date I choose is blacked out yet still availavbkle for purchase meaning they are holding rooms back from their top customers. The new program was simply a ploy to raise their redemption levels. The honest truth is the new program is harder to redeem under. I'd NEVER EVER had a problem redeeming points at any property prior to the changes. Ever. Now, 3 trips... all with no availability. This is bait and switch.
Stay Anytime points were eliminated. Although many brands participate in No Blackout Dates, not all are on-board. Making it worst, Marriott ceded inventory control to franchisees. Without surprise, whether paid or points, stays cost more. Bait-and-switch requires anti-sham strategy, here's a gameplan:
Call Platinum Elite 1-800-399-4229 to request assistance. They may be able to view inventory available for points that has not been 'loaded' online. If that fails ask Platinum to call the hotel(s).
Call the Executive Office directly. Many markets are over-saturated and vacancy rates are through-the-roof. Go armed with a reservation at a competitor, this will alert the Executive Office that your loyalty is at risk.
Write Customer.Care@marriott.com. Compliment the associates who facilitate your reservation, or report any less than satisfactiory experience, especially if a hotel fails to honor the No Blackout Dates policy.*