Has this ever happened to you? Ever hear of this policy? Using my MR ID, I logged online to book two more weeks at the CY in Troy, MI (week of stays 13 & 14) since Jan 1. Even as a Platinum Premier, I received "no rooms available" and could not complete my reservations. (I thought as Platinum, we are guaranteed room reservations.) I stopped by the front desk to inquire about room availability and the sales manager told me that NCAA bigwigs had booked all the rooms for the Final Four series in Detroit and consequently, the CY "blacked out" all internet reservations for the two weeks surrounding the tournament. He further explained that all Marriott hotels can elect to make a once-a-year blackout period for up to two weeks while still honoring "guaranteed room availability to elites." As for the front desk “overriding” their blackout to fill my request – the sales manager had to seek approval to release a room to me, but it would take 48 hours to confirm (but he was 98% sure he could get me my room). After 12 weeks and having told the sales manager several times since 1/1 that I would probably end up through August, I was surprised he still needed to seek permission (or hadn't remembered my long-term commitment).
While I have never been blacked out by a tournament, I have definitely experienced 'cash' blackout due to large wedding parties, proms and family reunions where the party takes a whole floor out - sometimes Concierge. About 99.9% of the time, the Front Desk does a work around to my satisfaction.
The most humorous blackout experience was a Square Dance Competition where couples dressed in very charming, colorful and absolutely vivid country garb descended upon the hotel taking over every single ballroom and meeting room to do their thing. They really didn't care which rooms they were in, it was the whole social phenomenon.
To prevent being blocked out cash or points, I plan and reserve months in advance via Platinum Elite. It might seem double the effort, because I check the options and availability online first, then call. But I've discovered that there are lower cash rates or advanced book rates not shown online. The Platinum associates are always enthusiastic, courteous and professional and I enjoy the conversation - so its a win-win.