Let me see my calendar. Yes, it is open! But wait! I have to read the fine print that tells me I cannot redeem my points for a room because not every available room is bookable with points.
Why take a gain step forward to enhance the Marriott Reward program then take two gain step backwards?? It is a good thing that the people that run the Marriott Reward program are listening to loyal Marriott customer.
I am sure various Marriott members have expressed their frustration with Marriot Reward redemption when they see other hotel programs that do not have any gimmicks or fine prints. Take it for example, the Hilton Honour’s reward system; “If there’s a standard room available at any Hilton Family hotel or resort worldwide, you can redeem points for it—no exceptions, no fine print. It’s that simple”.
I hope we, Marriott reward's team and loyal customers, can work together to pioneer something far better than what other hotel brands provide.
Since the 'No Blackout Dates' policy went into effect, availability using points proved to be an issue two times. And, the only reason there was an issue was due to the failure of the property to honor a request for a complimentary upgrade which is the benefit for Platinum Elite. Both times, the property wanted to upgrade for a cash fee! This happened at the Courtyard in Wallingford, CT and the Courtyard in Middlebury, VT.
I have found that most Marriott properties are Platinum Elite friendly. This means that the Front Desk will typically honor a request from the Platinum Elite reservation line and will be very engaging when contacting the Front Desk directly to reconfirm.
In the instance of the Courtyard Wallingford and Courtyard Middlebury, the Front Desk was 'chilly'. In both instances, I cancelled my reservations and found properties close by and in the case of Vermont, in a better location which offered a complimentary upgrade to a 1 bedroom king spa suite overlooking Lake Champlain and the Burlington Harbor Marina. Again, using points. Kudos to the Courtyard Burlington Harbor. They even had a jazz band for the evening reception in the Cafe!
View overlooking Lake Champlain @ Courtyard Burlington Harbor
In April, during the peak of Spring break, I used points at the Courtyard Miami Beach Oceanfront. I requested and received a complimentary upgrade to a 1 bedroom king with an ocean view. What's so memorable about this is the comment from the Front Desk, "With the No Blackout Dates policy we're pleased to use a Platinum Overide and honor your request. We look forward to your stay with us.''
In May, I used points at the Residence Inn Treasure Island, Florida. Thanks to Platinum Elite, I requested and received an upgrade to a 1 bedroom corner suite with a humongous living/dining area and a full kitchen overlooking the beach.
1 bedroom king suite @ Residence Inn Treasure Island
Given my experience, Marriott delivers a calendar that ~is~ wide open. Kudos to Marriott! Keep it up!
TJCNewYork, I am glad you did not have issues and the Marriott team has done outstanding job to make your stay enjoyable.
The point of this post was in regards to how the 'No Blackout' is designed. For example, if you try to book Marriott Niagara Falls View in Ontario, Canada this weekend with points, you will not be able to do it. Even though there are plenty of rooms available at the property.
Like KennyL said in the preceding post, there many Marriott hotels that have rooms available at a normal price, but you cannot book with points because of the fine prints! Which begs the question, “Blackouts or no Blackouts that is the question??”. In my humble opinion, I do not see any progress in creating “No Blackout”.
The Niagara Falls View hotel is a GREAT property, stayed there 2x. I just tried to book a room for 7/17 using points and there is availability for 30,000 points. First, I tried for paid and selected the hotel. Then I clicked, 'View using points' and the room came up. Try doing it 1 night at a time or call Platinum Elite for assistance. I cancelled the online reservation to free up the room for you.