I want to protest the recent "policy change" resulting in a surcharge being added onto reward stays at "a small number" of Marriott resorts. I have reservations at both the Wailea Beach Resort on Maui and the Waikoloa Beach Resort on Hawaii that I made using rewards points. I have been notified that as of July 1, 2011, both these resorts will be adding a DAILY resort fee of $30 and $20, respectively for "ammenities" which were not named. Since I already have my reservations, these changes will not affect my stay at this time but on behalf of members planning to visit these resorts, I seriously protest! I highly value my Marriott reward points and I use them often to reserve lodgings. This change is a serious attack on the value of these points. Usually when I use reward points I can walk out of the hotel owing nothing! I accept that in Hawaii I have to pay room tax but an additional "surcharge" plus tax on that amount is just too much!
If you feel as I do want to protest against this "policy change" or more accurately, devaluation of your rewards points, please join me in protesting!
I, for one, am not surprised by this action and anticipate there will be more. There is no doubt IMO that Marriott, and others, are going to change the game to reduce the liability they have on their systems for the outstanding points there.
The signs are there: The dramatic change in the MVC system that now has points used or they expire in a two year time period; new guidelines for trading power of an owned week that MAKES one buy more points to trade their owned property for any other location in the system. Now, charges for points usage at resorts....and on it will go.
I offered in a previous post (one referencing the promotion of an accountant to the Pres. position at the new timeshare spinoff) that these things were coming. (no offense to accountants that are not bean counters, but true numbers analysts; offense meant to the bean counters; especially those I encountered during my turnaround career). The changes are here........and more are coming.
I do believe that Insiders (and hopefully others when staying) will profusely complain about this and any other changes coming down the road that we encounter.
I was looking for a mailing address to address my letter of protest in regard to this policy change. If you are interested in writing a letter of protest, here is the corporate headquarters address for Marriott International (I think the Rewards Program falls under their purvey):
Marriott International (J.W. Marriott, jr Chairman and CEO)
10400 Fernwood Rd
Bethesday, MD 20817
Before we jump off the cliff here, let's clarify what is going on.
Note that the rate rules for those resorts clearly state, "Please note that the daily resort fee is optional for guests booking this (marriott rewrds) rate code". To see this, try to make a MR resertaion with IN/OUT dates after July 1 and read "Reward Rules".
My experience at the Wailea Marriott as a paid guest has been that these amenities can be declined and the "resort fee" goes away. Unless the web site is not up to date, looks like the same is true for MR stays.
well, I for one, am more confused now than before. I understand that the fees are optional, but what I don't understand is this: were these benefits in the past free and now they fall into a "resort fee" category? If so, then it is a new charge any way you look at it. If not, then countryjim is correct. which is it?
Shoeman, I think you've asked the right question. "...were these benefits freee in the past...?" Specifically, regarding my recent expeerience with the JW Desert Springs, the newly instituted resort fee covers parking (not a new charge), golf club storage (likely comp'ed in the past), 2 bottles of water/day (probably only one in the past), internet (normally $9.95/day but free to platinum, thus the reduction in the resort fee I'll be charged from $24 down to $16), and access to "lawn games" at the SPA (not even sure what this means or if there was previously a charge but not something my wife and I are likely to partake in). So, essentially, it looks like they simply bundled some previously free and previously chargeable benefits and made them look like something special to the tune of a resort fee. Lastly, I was told I could decline the benefits and not pay the fee, but just the cost of parking and water would cost me $16.
Since I started this bruhaha, I think I should clarify exactly what the message I received conveyed about both the Wailea and the Waikoloa resorts. ...."beginning July1 2011, daily resort fees will be assessed on redemption stays at a small number of resorts. This means that your account will be charged a daily fee of $30 ($20 at Waikoloa) plus tax during your stay. Upon arrival, there are a few options you may select regarding your resort fee.
As I said before, there is no indication what amenities they are talking about. Do the Wailea and the Waikoloa ordinarily charge for parking? I am an owner at the Waiohai on Kauai and we have always been allowed free underground parking for up to two vehicles. I would expect parking charges at resorts in the big cities. I know there is a fee for parking at the Waikiki Beach Resort. But I would be surprised to hear that they routinely charge for parking for Wailea and Waikoloa. Or are we talking about valet parking? I seem to remember that there is plenty of outdoor parking there and you really need to have a car because of the locations of the resorts.
Well I'm not confused. This is clearly another effort to de-value the points we have been earning through our loyalty to the Marriott Brand. I was just turned away from a Residence Inn on a FL beach, because they had 25% of their rooms filled with "rewards guests" Two weeks out they have vacancies, but will not accept rewards guests. Now were second class citizens. After being uber-Platinum for 12 years and being treated very well most of the time, these changes and efforts to de-value our points should be addressed. Is it Marriott's Managements desire to also de-value their ranking in the Freddie’s???
Just wanted you all to know that you've raised some excellent questions. I am working on getting some detailed answers for you, and will be back in touch soon. Your comments were forwarded to the appropriate management team... so please stay tuned for more info.
Frankies -- I'm not trying to answer for Marriott, but it's my understanding that you can do exactly what you asked...pay for the amenities you want. Problem I see with that is that by going ala carte, you end up paying a lot more than if you just go with the package deal. At least that's how it was explained to me by the folks at JW Desert Springs.
My experience with resort fees was in 2006 at the Waileau Marriott on the island of Maui. I was there for a family wedding. I booked three rooms at the Marriott, not because it was a beach resort, but because it was a Marriott and not too terribly far from where the wedding events were being held. These were paid stays, not reward stays.
I don't recall all of the "wonderful" benefits the fee covered, but I'm pretty sure parking was not one of them. I did include a discount at the Luau, discounts in the hotel dining rooms, kids eat free (the youngest "kid" in our party was 36!) a bottle of water daily and 500 Marriott Rewards points. There may have been more, but that's what I remember five years later.
I told the front desk that other than the 500 points and the bottle of water, none of the items covered by the resort fee would benefit me as all wedding activities - which included all meals - were not at the hotel.
I was told I couldn't avoid paying the fee. So I ended up paying $20 (times three - one for each room) a day for a bottle of water (again, times three) because when it was all said and done, I didn't even get the 500 MR points! To point out the obvious, I could have gotten a water twice the size of the one Marriott provided at the local grocery store for a dollar.
So my lesson was learned. Now, if I'm travelling for business, if there's a resort fee at a Marriott property and I am not likely to benefit from anything covered, I stay at a competitor which may not have a beach (which I'm not going to "use" anyway) but where there is also no fee that provides no benefit to me.
I wonder if it would do any good for me to send a photocopy of my folio at the competitor's hotel to the GM of the Marriott Resort and to Customer Care at Marriott with a note that "I would have paid more to stay at the Marriott but won't pay a fee for services I have no chance of using.
Seeing that these fees can now be refused, might cause me to re-think my position. But it left a pretty bad taste in my mouth and I have NO PROBLEM staying in a Motel Six or a Red Roof Inn if I feel that I'm being gouged by Marriott, where I have been Platinum Elite since 1995.
I received the same e-mail as Thinker for my upcoming rewards stay at the Waikaloa Marriott Resort. Per the resort website, here's what the resort fee includes:
Thank you for your patience while I researched some details on the new resort fees.
In a nutshell, the program change is that beginning July 1, 2011 a select number of our resort hotels (14 hotels) are now charging a resort fee for points redemption stays.
For any reward redemption stay you may choose whether or not you wish to pay the resort fees for the additional amenities, opt out entirely, or opt out and pay a la carte. If you decide to pay the resort fee you may pay with points using an “instant redemption award” (for properties that support instant redemption), or you may pay cash.
Here’s the tricky part. Each resort has different items included within their resort fee packages. If you were to decide to choose the resort fee package, they have a great value, and often provide a better deal then choosing the options a la carte. Examples of options that might be included in a resort fee package are daily coffee in the coffee shop, daily activities such as arts and crafts, bicycle usage, daily shuttles to local areas, beach equipment (kayaks, sailboats, etc.), and discounts on spa or in the restaurant. The specifics do vary by resort.
Should you have any questions regarding a specific resort or reservation, please call Marriott Rewards customer service directly at 801-468-4000 and they will be happy to assist you.
As I mentioned previously, all of your comments regarding the new fees have been passed on to the appropriate management team. I just wanted you to also know that you've been heard.
Thank you for looking into this matter and I appreciate your efforts to tease out the truth in all this. I have to say though, I'm not sure that Marriott has thought this through from the customer's perspective. BTW, the e-mail I received informing me of this "policy change" at both Wailea and Waikoloa was clear that if you had not made your reservation by 1 July, you would have to pay the resort fee or you could opt to pay ala carte. It did not say you would be able to opt out entirely after 1 July. Anyway....
In the list of amenities included in this package at Waikoloa (provided here by IEStrike), listed were daily self parking (there is plenty of surface parking there - will everyone now be required to pay? just seems like a knee jerk reaction to looking for more revenue), unlimited high speed internet (pretty standard for all quality hotels now), free telephone service (big deal - everybody has cell phones), free coffee at the Coffe shoppe for 2 people, one glass bottom boat ride for 4 per stay (who cares?). And all for $25 a DAY. Puhlease! I appologize for sounding so cynical but, really, this is annoying. I miss the good old days when the brand Marriott stood for quality accomodations and service. Rates were higher than other brands but you knew what you were getting. I hate this nickel/dime stuff.
NUHUSKER - be careful of what you are willing to accept. IMO, this is just another point devaluation as others have stated. If we don't look at every nickel and dime increase in costs, it doesn't take long before it REALLY begins to add up. My phone bill starts at an even $40, but with all the different taxing bodies "only adding 2% to the bill" - as they argue it should be OK with average consumer, I end up at $60.
When things used to be free and no longer are, it is a decrease in benefits - pure and simple.
Hey Ping...if you don't trust the person you're doing business with and are paranoid they're gonna screw you, then why not find a new business partner. Life's too short. I'd rather enjoy, than dwell on the fact that I'm not playing bad mitton or croquet but being charged for it anyway.
It was also my understanding that reservations made after 1 July wouldnt have a choice.
For the couple times I've had rewards stays, I've been given the option of paying the resort fee. It's been awhile, but I seem to remember them being not too bad of deals, both at the Wailea Marriott in Maui and the JW Marriott in Palm Desert CA. Yea, I wasn't too impressed by what's offered by the Waikaloa Marriott. We'll see what's included when I go in a couple months. That being said, I don't have that big of an issue with it. After all, it's still Hawaii! Also, hoping they'll upgrade my room.
SHOEMAN 1 REMINDED US OF THE REWARD POINT TERMS. " we reserve the right to change or abolish this program at any time for any reason".
IiN 1986 MARRIOTT ADVERTISED ALL OVER ORLANDO 'TIMESHARE AS GOOD AS OUR NAME.' MY SALESMAN SAID THEY COULD UNDER THOSE TERMS ABOLISH REWARD POINTS, BUT HE DOUBTED THAT WOULD EVER HAPPEN. HE SAID IN HIS OPINION ANY CHANGES WOULD BE SMALL.
WELL THEY CERTAINLY CHANGED THE POINTS FOR MVCI MEMBERS. POINTS ARE NOW WORTH DIDLY SQUAT. TO EXCHANGE A WEEK OF TIMESHARE FOR POINTS AND THEN ADD ALL THE NEW FACILITIES AND ADMINISTRATION CHARGES JUST SHOW ONE THING.
MARRIOTT IS NOW THE MEANEST COMPANY IN THE WORLD.
AND THE SHAME IS THAT UNDER THE NEW OWNERSHIP COMPANY IT IS SET TO GET EVEN MEANER.
>>Inflated, devalued...what the H...you're going to Hawaii and other than a measley $25 a day your lodging is free!<<
No, not exactly. You have paid for the room by buying and/or paying for things that earn the points. The lodgings are not free, they simply cost you in other ways and methods. Adding the surcharge is equivalent to raising the cost on the previous stays, etc., you paid for to earn the points.
Just because the hotel is set in a vacation area does not change the fact that they are raising the prices.
My general view is I am fine with a resort fee, provided I can see an incremental benefit vs what I would typically get and/or expect at a similar hotel with no fee. If the amenities are the same as other hotels with no discerning difference, then I view it as a legal scam by a hotel trying to nickle and dime its guests needlessly. In return, I see to it that the hotel pays dearly for those fees it is earning by leaving my feedback at yelp, trip advisor, and the other travel sites. Social media has leveled the playing field in situations like this and guests need to make their views known to the masses.
Perhaps you have been lucky, or I'm the fool. I have been a MHR member for 25 yrs, and have always been charged for resort fees when applicable on redemption stays. I am sure most of the resorts are franchised and it is property by property with regard to how they handle this issue. I never thought twice about it. On the positive side I have almost always been upgraded on reward travel over the years. A smile goes a long way on check in.