After several years of securing award rooms at the Marriott Stellaris, Aruba,I reserved several rooms for this year's holiday season. I was startled to find that each reservation for a "standard room" now includes a $25/night/room surcharge.
I contacted the property, and they informed me that you will be positioned in one of the subset of standard rooms that faces the construction of the new Ritz-Carlton. While you are not buying an "upgrade," you are paying to avoide a downgrade from the standard room.
I contacted the MR Platinum Premier hotline about my concerns, and they quickly directed me to Customer Care. I then contacted Customer Care, and "Ozel" quickly dismissed me, stating that they hotel can charge what it wants for "upgrades."
The family continues to love the property and the staff, and we will likely bite the bullet and pay the fee to avoid the construction. However, I am very disappointed about the lack of concern and dismissive attitude shown by corporate staff.
This is my first post to the forum, and I apologize if this issue has been addressed before.
The same thing is true at the Marriott Porte de Monaco, where I stayed last year. I stayed on points, but a large number of extra points were charged to stay in the side facing the Riviera. Especially for Platinum and Gold members, I agree that this is a downgrade.
This all goes back to using our points is essentially being treated as 3rd or 4th class citizens. We work hard and spend a good deal of money to amass the points and then to use them with properties instead of other things, makes you wonder sometimes. Maybe we need to look at converting points into gift cards and just using them to pay the cash rate/deals for better rooms?
Hopefully this is not a trend and Marriott will step in and do something. Perhaps we need to start a thread for properties engaging in such practices so members can book their vacations with point friendly properties.
I fear that with the constant movement up and down of hotel categories (not just by Marriott) and the failure (as of now) to list all properties that have moved up or down, the program is being tinkered with and not necessarily for our MR member benefit. I see a trend in what I'll call "rate hardening," which like any other medical condition that involves becoming less flexible, rates are set and no amount of questioning will change them.
Sure hope that I am wrong on this, but you never know.