Our son in law returned last December from his second tour of duty in Iraq. He is a captain in the United States Air Force and has plans to make the military his career.
My Question: While trying to plan a short vacation for him, our daughter, and our new grandson ( born while he was serving in Iraq ) soon after he returned, I went to the Marriott hotel web site. Some of the rates offered under the "government and military" rates were pretty good, while others were actually higher than the AAA rates. Why is this?
If there is such a discrepancy, I would love to see Marriott have lower rates for active duty military than what they offer for government personnel. I would also love to see Marriott lead the way in the hotel industry in offering lower point reward redemptions or extra bonus rewards for our active duty service men and women.
Does anyone have any suggestions on how to get the best rate for our service men and women? Any thoughts on this topic?
Marriott and other hospitality vendors who want government business always set the military/government rates based on a published data issued by the Federal government. These are are called Per Diem Rates. Per Diem rates are adjusted annually (normally October 1st) and vary by county, sometimes city, or region.
Here is a complete explanation: http://www.gsa.gov/Portal/gsa/ep/contentView.do?contentType=GSA_BASIC&contentId=17943
On a weekday in a high demand area these rates are about 60% less than the regular non-discounted rates. On weekends the government rates are often more than the other discounted rates. They are capacity controlled: not available when the hotel is nearly full, for example. If traveling on orders (and not leisure travel as in this case) some states allow the official traveler to have the tax waived.
The rate is divided into lodging and meals--so the total amount is the government rate. It varies widely from NYC to rural where ever and is supposed to be a guide for those personnel on travel orders who cannot find government (such as a BOQ or BEQ on base) accomodations.
I'd recommend you contact the hotel or resort directly, explain their situation, and see what they can do. While the government rate will be offered, it is not always the best deal. Your son-in-law's service to country should be enough to have him have a little family R&R at a great rate.
Please respond if you have other questions--thanks.
Recently, I wrote on the insider about this rate inconsistency.
At present, you just have to shop online, OR CALL the hotline. It really is confusing why rates are so varied. A lot of times rates are LESS when you do NOT have any preferred rates! Normally, rates are less online, but yesterday, the HOT Line was less than online for a hotel in CA?
Could not agree with you more on giving good rates to active military! Why not give them a savings, they could use it, and we sure owe them for what they are doing for us!
I will support any of your efforts to offer consistent rates for all!
Im a MSG in the Army. Overall, I am very happy with govt rates Marriott provides; however, I often find myself unable to stay in Marriott hotels due to the parking rates. 20 to 30 dollars a day on my travel voucher for parking just doesnt work for me so I usually stay at a Residence Inn. Another issue I have is that Marriot does not honor specials (such as Bonus Bucks) if using the govt rate. Cosidering I have 78 stays this year alone I do have an issue with this. Like I said, no real complaints although it would be nice to stay in downtown Marriot's every now and again.
I would suggest that you talk to the business travel/sales office at the Marriott property. I have found that with extended stays such as yours (78 nights), the hotel's sales staff will "reduce" the parking rate for extended stay guests. I'm not sure what "Bonus Bucks" are, but I have stayed for several months (years) at full service Marriott hotels (at the gov't rate), and I can tell you from experience that when you are a long term guest, the hotel will go out of their way to make you feel more comfortable. All you have to do is ask! Good luck!
As an Army Infantry 1LT in 1970 I spent my wedding night at the Crystal City Marriott hotel in Northern Virginia, giving them 35 dollars, military rate, for the room. Since I made less than 300 a month it was a big step, but then so was getting married to a wonderful and understanding woman nearly 39 years ago. Marriott made it special.
Over the years Marriott has given me and countless others in the service of their country a taste of luxury for a price we could afford by offering these rates.
This discount honors the best among us.
I am the spouse of an active duty CW4. Recently, I made a reservation and presented Military ID as I have done on numerous occasions and learned that family members of active duty soldiers, veterans or retirees are not entitled to the gov't/military rate! However, Marriott has made provision for the Canadian Gov't employee, the Canadian military and select Canadian provincial employees. I would like to see this policy reviewed to include this select group of people. It seems counterintuitive and unpatriotic to include Canadians and to exclude Americans who support our fighting force.
First of all, I want to thank-your spouse for the service to our country. Secondly, I do not understand why members of the military, and their families, are not afforded the best rates for Marriott properties? When I see rates lower for people who are not "Senior's", government, or AAA, "What's the point in saying these are discounted groups"?
When you look at the price variances, there is something wrong?
I'm sorry but I've NEVER found that to be the case. Whenever I make the reservation, the government rate is always offered to me, and my entire family. Granted, I always do the check-in at the hotel, but in the past, I have had as many as 5 rooms booked under my name (with additional people's name added to the reservation) at the same hotel at the same time, all at the government rate.
The rate rules for the government rate specifically say that rate is for US Federal Government or Active Duty Military Only. A valid federal government or military ID must be shown at check-in. And it also states that government employees are limited to 2 rooms per stay.
So not sure how you managed 5 rooms. And dejamo is right, military retirees don't qualify for the federal government rate.