I'm currently researching/planning a family trip to Hawaii, and hope to use points for at least part of the stay. Redeeming points typically gets you a standard room, but we would prefer a suite. One service rep I spoke to told me that we could do this by redeeming the appropriate number of points, and then upgrading to a suite by paying either a $100ish fee or an additional 5,000 points. Fabulous! Later when I called back to book it, other service reps said this was not possible. Did the first rep steer me wrong, or is this something that not all service reps are aware of? The specific hotel we were discussing was the Waikola Beach Marriott, if that matters.
Nine years ago (and several consecutive years as PP), I had no luck at this resort despite every effort and suggestion ever posted on the MRI site to "persuade" getting a suite upgrade for my loyalty. So of the key suggestions I tried:
Nope - no chance.
When using Marriott.com and searching for an award stay, the system SHOULD offer you the base room for straight points. Then you will see better rooms for more points. Better could mean better view or larger room size/features. The system should also offer you better rooms for base points plus a paid upgrade fee. There are times when better rooms are not available. That's why the flex date suggestion above will help.
Hey @jbs221, What I learned is that this is based upon availability. The upgrade may have been available when you first called, but not by the time you called again.
In general, many resorts will allow upgraded rooms to be booked on redemption stays for additional cash or points. This is usually only available at resort properties and dependent on availability, which can change at any time.
Hope that helps!
lindseyh With all due respect, the T&Cs for upgrades need revamping. I have been very vocal on MRI to grant (without question or hesitation) the BEST available upgrade to the guest who holds PP or LTP status. What you may say is true: The upgrade may have been available when you first called, but not by the time you called again. However, I have actually been denied a suite (I know - there we go again, Terms & Conditions) and when I get to my "upgrade" (better view or higher floor - whoopdee-do), I have checked with Marriott reservations for the days of my stay and suites are available for cash. But no - T&Cs do not include suites.
When will Marriott ever change their T&Cs to allow uber-customers the ability to get the best room available - even if that means SUITES? It's been 5, maybe 6 years ago I spoke with the VP-Marriott Rewards who claimed, "Marriott was looking into making this an option - logistical software and programming were the biggest roadblocks." Hilton does it (with additional points), Hyatt does it (with 4 suite upgrades when making Diamond), but Marriott?
Without a doubt, this is still the biggest reason I switched to Hilton - oh I have complained about removing free coffee from the lobby in Bistro CYs, but that is minor compared to this BIG GAPING HOLE in the program.
Eloquently put, as always pingreeman. Although I have little need for suites it seems incorogous to me that it's not possible to book these on points, I think this is due to the tiny number of sites at your typical Marriott, but these days hotels are built with greater numbers of suites and hopefully Marriott will following the SPG merger find a way to work this through.
I was thinking that there might be a benefit to both Marriott and their customers if they assigned categories to "room type within a hotel" and not to "a hotel" - so that one property could for instance have Cat 5, 6 and 7 rooms, where 5 is standard, 6 is the room with the view, and 7 is the suite. Another property might start at Cat 8 for standard and have a Cat 10 or 11 for suites if warranted. Some of the roadside properties like the Fairfields at interstate exchanges, where all the rooms may be the same, might not have anything other than the single category.
One offshoot of this could be categories changing between peak and off-peak times - so for instance rooms at an oceanfront hotel in VA might be Cat 8 in the spring and summer but Cat 4 in winter, or business-traveler oriented city hotels where the rooms change category for Fri/Sat stays (I can see some major city hotels that could be Cat 5 on non-holiday/convention weekends and Cat 8 on weekdays - which might make many of the complaints about redeeming the Cat 1-5 certificates disappear).
There seems to be a lot of properties where there isn't a perfect category that covers it all year or all days, so when the hotel category is based on the peak pricing of the entry level room, redemption stays that are off-peak are not a great value points-wise and redemptions for better rooms are often not possible. People might be willing to hand over additional points for premium rooms at certain properties so why not give them that option?
@jbs221 you should absolutely call back. I find that it all depends on the rep you speak to when you have an outside the normal request. I typically chat up the agents (and find that agents of the opposite sex are more friendly and willing to help, BTW) and play stupid to see if they can help. Remember they are people to and usually spend most of their day being complained AT! So nice helps.
Also, as many have mentioned here, points or cash to upgrade are almost always available, even on the website. I did a search today on the property you mentioned and it offered me both for random dates in September. So, try try again would be my suggestion.
Call back till you get an agent willing to help.
Finally, when at the property... forgo Roy's. Horribly overpriced food that is very poor quality!