What does the following statement mean to everyone else?
"No blackout dates"
(This is advertised as one of the MANY benefits included with Marriott Rewards members...click on this link and see for yourself Marriott Rewards Member Benefits )
According to the Marriott representatives that I've spoken with, "No blackout dates" actually means that there can be blackouts when there is a special event or all of the rooms that were earmarked for reward redemptions are no longer available.
Yeah, there has been a lot of discussion here about "no blackouts". They really should change the wording. It's not worth a divorce though. Such a long drawing out costly process. Best to just forgive...at least over this! ;D
Taken from Marriott's website
Hotels have standard rooms available for redemptions every day. Blackout dates traditionally refer to a limited number of dates on which a hotel could choose not to accept redemptions. With our “No Blackout Dates” policy, hotels will no longer have blackout dates for redemptions. Hotels may limit the number of standard rooms available for redemption on a limited number of days.
I agree SeaTexan - Perhaps a trial separation is as far as I'd go. Hang out with HH for a few nights and then realize the grass was not really greener at all. That's been my experience in the last few years at least.
There's no blackout dates policies and, well, erm, no blackout dates policies.
At Hilton and SPG the words No Blackout Dates mean that all standard rooms are available every day throughout the year. Only when the last standard room is sold will there be no redemption availability. You may still see rooms available to buy but these will be non-standard (ie corner, concierge, Exec, suites etc).
At Marriott and IHG however the words No Blackout Dates mean something more restrictive. At Marriott No Blackout Dates mean that every hotel must offer their entire standard room inventory for redemption other than on dates for which they obtain special permission from corporate. On those dates the hotel must still offer redemption rooms, but a far smaller number. Once that minimum number is reached for the date no more need be offered. At IHG the rule is even more restrictive meaning each hotel must offer a minimum number of standard rooms for redemption every day throughout the year. Once those are redeemed the property has no obligation to offer more. So as you can see with these 2 there will be properties where redemptions are not offered but standard rooms are still available for cash.
Note therefore that all 4 of the big boys offer a no blackout dates scheme which does indeed mean they offer redemptions for every hotel on every date. But true "last standard room availability" is only offered at Hilton and SPG.
It will be interesting to see what version of no blackout dates applies to the combined Marriott/SPG scheme in 2018...
When a term like "blackout dates" needs explaining in 2016, you know it's time to rewrite the policy or just drop the benefit. This type of thing just leads to disappointment and confusion, neither of which were the the corporate goals in mind when creating such a marketing feature I'm pretty sure.
I have noticed something new (to me) with HH recently when I tried to use points for HGI in Flagstaff. Although there was availability, it was considered a 'premium' redemption and required a higher category level than what the hotel was classified. Last year, I was unable to use MR points at the Flagstaff Springhill Suites because they were effectively blacked out for every weekend in March. It appears that all of the rewards programs are playing games with us. Therefore, I now choose hotels by value (quality/cost), location, and amenities.
superchief1 If you notice the trend not only in the travel industry, but even at sporting events for example, many more companies are moving to demand-based pricing. A large part of this move is the availability of much more real-time data making it possible for them to realize when demand is moving lower or higher, and adjust pricing/points accordingly to ensure more overall occupancy on any given night.
Thanks for the response SeaTexan. I would agree with what you've said if that was the only issue I have with the way Marriott is handling the rewards program but it's not. I didn't mention the 3-1/2 hour ordeal over multiple calls and 2 days it took for them to get my reservations straight or the 45 min it took for them to provide an invoice that didn't state that I was billed $0. I only listed the no black out issue because I didn't want my post to be deleted by a moderator. The fact is that the Marriott of today simply doesn't compare to the Marriott of 5 years ago.
I actually have been taking a break from Marriott the past month or so as I maxed out on all of the promotions this year and will come back for the fall bonus once I find out more details. I've gone back to Hilton for my past 5 stays and have to say am greatly impressed with the double points they currently offer. The majority of my hotel business is in the metropolitan NY/NJ area and I have to say that the Hilton properties that I have been staying at are far superior than the similar Marriott properties in the same area. The Marriott properties are all outdated and in serious needs of upgrades.
I am at a Homewood Suites right now collecting double points and have been offered triple points (not sure if it will work with govt rate) and that goes through many months. I think it's an oversimplification to say that ALL Marriotts are outdated and need updates, but this particular Homewood is brand new and has things from the 21st century like USB outlets on both sides of the bed as well as a more modern AC/Heat, wired/wireless Cisco router in room, and larger TVs with easy connectivity. I can still say overall I prefer Marriott branding and # of points it takes to get a nice room anywhere in the country. I always max out on all bonuses, but I only moved due to upgrade situation being impossible at my usual spot and Hilton re-doing my Instant Diamond match and the double/triple points. We'll see where I end up. As an LTP and PP, I'm not likely to move over permanently, but may alternate when I know I can max out bonuses and it's always easy to move down the block for 2nd week of 2 week stay.
Depends on your location. Many nice Marriotts in mid-town and near WA.
That is a great promotion at HH-- but there is always a price to pay for huge blowouts in points, and redemption/inflation at HH is an entirely separate issue.
Are you already booked in September in NYC? Always fun when UN Week and Fashion Week hit.
Not yet as normally only book about a week in advance...your are right about the nicer Marriotts in mid-town...one of my favorites is the CY mid-town east. Just stayed there last night and was upgraded to an executive corner room on the 31st floor...absolutely loved it. I'm not sure if I've ever been there during fashion week and UN week. I was there for 3 nights when the Pope visited and the UN General Assembly was in session during the same time. That was definitely an experience...
Glad you were able to try out that CY. There is a RI near there as well if you are staying for a longer period, with stainless appointments etc. and very nicely done.
As someone who has had the misfortune/privilege of being in NYC many times during those weeks, and possibly an attendee of said UNGA, the city will be sold out in an enormous radius, and prices are through the roof (the latter is not a complaint-- it is just business). I'd check your calendar, and if at all possible, try to reserve soon if you have overlap with those large events, or you could be hurting, Platinum status or not. Many of the delegations--and their enormous retinues--come early and stay late, traffic is excruciating due to both security and volume, and it can be an unwelcome surprise to someone who is there for entirely separate reasons.
Know exactly where that RI is and plan to stay there at some point. Our office in NYC is on 51st and 3rd and having the RI and the CY as well as the Marriott on Lex makes it very convenient. The added bonus is that I can park at our company parking garage and don't have any parking fees. Thanks so much for the tip about booking early...good luck with your plans as well.
That is such a great location. All things are relative, of course, in NYC, but for me that is a great spot.
The rooms are Manhattan-sized, of course, but the hotel is very nicely done. Like the RI in Sacramento, and some others, it is a very different piece of the brand pie. And a lovely place to stay. The traffic gets very snarled during UNGA week in that spot, though; however, with POTUS no longer staying at the WA around the corner, it might have slightly less security drama.
There is a great seafood restaurant a couple of doors down on the same side of the street. Across the street from the entry is a good Levantine restaurant we had a lazy and lengthy brunch in one weekend and a dinner another time. S&W is walkable (unless a lady in the party is wearing Jimmy Choos or similar). So is the WA for dinner or drinks. I could go on, but I'm getting hungry.
I've been to that seafood restaurant a couple of times, I think your talking about the Sea Fire Grill. Very good. I also found a great small Italian place on 53rd between 3rd and 2nd, Angelo Bellini Italian Restaurant. Love to just go sit at the bar and enjoy a great Italian meal and a couple of glasses of wine and unwind for the night. S&W is great as well but have never been to the WA. Will have to try it sometime. Thanks for the suggestion.