"Did not get reasonable answer except this was a INC 4. When used in the past, Springhill has been a 3.'
Marriott announced hotel category changes in February 2010.* Most of the changes involved hotel sliding downwards a notch, but some properties moved up. Springhill Fort Lauderdale due to its popular location was likely one of them. Aside from the surprise with the points you had to fork over, how is that property? Did your stay meet expectations?
I responded to this yesterday but don't see it so will respond again. I noticed an increase in point requirements for several properties. Marriott did communicate a list of few properties whose categories ratings changed and several were rated lower. However, the caveat in that communication is that 95% of the changes affect the category 1-5 properties. Overall, the large majority of properties received a higher category rating now requiring more points. I was surprised (should not have been) that Marriott did this after such a serious devaluation of points last year.
I am just a small number of nights away from achieving Platinum Emeritus (earned it the old fashion way with 3 million points and more) but have basically moved on to Hilton. I see no reason to pursue it given how Marriott has diluted the program. Very unfortunate as Marriott over the years had always been one of the 2-3 companies I most admired. As with a few companies, at least I can remember what was.
My opinion is that they should go back and revisit their core principles and instead of offering new perks daily, focus on those we counted on and maintain the integrity of them. One example is the recent instant point redemption perk. What about that would be remotely a perk given the price tag. Just to name one example.
Very enlightening post! Based on comments form others, I was under the impression that properties that went up in category were few and far between. I should have known... Regarding 'Instant Redemption', It's my opinion this is simply a way for the company to reduce the liability of Reward Points by coming up with an impulsive way of using your points while attaching a premium to the expected cost of thew award. Same can be said for all the merchandise catalogs you receive offering products that can be purchased using points. Almost always you are paying far too much that way. I have seen this idea taken even further at Starwood properties where they actually have a store on-site where you can purchase stuff using points. While I don't agree with useage of the program, it is novel that these companies can take a liability (millions and millions of points) and turn them into a profit center by getting folks to overpay fro plasma tv's and the like.
TJC -- I stayed at the Ft. Lauderdale Springhill Suites nearly two years ago for one night. I arrived to the area a day earlier than the rest of my family at which point we were going to stay at the Harbor Beach Marriott for a while. Anyway, as I recall the accomodations met SHS standards and my expectations for that brand. One big concern was the clearly posted sign in the lobby warning of theft from vehicles in the parking lot and the front desk clerk asked me to sign acknowledging a similar warning from the GM. Well, I'd just rented a car from Hertz which had the Neverlost installed, and as you know those aren't the ones you can just take in and out...it is pretty much permanent. I threw some clothes over it as a disguise, like I expected a thief not to figure it out. Fortunately my room faced the parking lot and I must have looked out that window at least a dozen times during the night to make sure my cover-concealment-camaflouge attempt was not disturbed. Lessons learned....
Since the onset of the recession, many areas including South Florida, Central Florida, the Beltway and the northeast have been plagued with car burglaries. In Fort Lauderdale, car burglars are known to cruise the parking lots of beaches, hotels, motels and malls targeting personal valuables and electronics. A pattern has emerged specifically targeting anyone leaving a vehicle in swimwear or athletic gear. Their cars become easy targets because the tendency is to lock their purse or wallet in the car. In a hotel/motel parking lot it's GPS systems, electronic devices and toll passes.
Along most of the eastern seacoast interstate system from Virginia to Maine, EZ Pass is accepted at toll booths. Typically displayed to the right of the rear view mirror and mounted on the windshield in a holder, this electronic device is like a credit card. If left in the car, it can be an invitation for a burglary.
Whenever street parked to do shopping and certainly for all roadtrips that involve an overnight stay, I will try to park w/in viewing distance of my hotel room and remove anything including sunglasses, mobile phone adapter, coin holder, car registration, EZ pass, shopping bags, whatever from sight as a precaution. Plus, I'll make sure to attach the bright yellow steering wheel lock.
I've never been asked to sign a disclosure at check-in but signs at check-in notifying guests about the reality of parking lot theft are visible at many hotels. Better safe than sorry.
With occupancy tracking @ 55% or less, my expectation is that the front desk is multi-tasking and wearing multiple hats including loss prevention. Many properties tracked much lower than 55% unfortunately. The impact spirals. With reduced revenue, there's reduced tax liability. Unable to meet payroll because tax collection is down, communities are unable to sustain police services.
TJC -- I agree that the modus operandi employed by these sleazebags is pretty much as you described. I would only add that although increased crimes against property are often economy driven, we had way too many criminals before this current recession. And I suspect that many of them are here illegally.
"we had way too many criminals before this current recession. And I suspect that many of them are here illegally."
At the risk of high-jacking this discussion, agriculture and lodging in Florida, California and other states are among the biggest employers of immigrant workers and workers in the US under sponsored J1 Visas. There is a relationship between globalization, migration and crimilization of immigrants.*
As the largest hospitality provider in the USA, Marriott is probably the largest employer of immigrant housekeepers, engineers, front desk personnel, restaurant workers and more...