A question on everyone's mind I am sure today, June 10th 2011.
Here's the situation, which I am in the middle of:
So, now the WWSSD* question:
If this happened to you, would you:
*Other Insiders can weigh in before I mention "What would Stepping Stones Do?"
The first thing Versel would do is check his MR account to see if they deducted 25,000 points for the second night. If so, I'd probably just let it slide (unless I was trying to bank points for a vacation) but keep and eye on my credit card to make sure someone didn't realize their mistake and end up charging both the room fee and not correcting the points balance.
I had the exactly same thing happen at the Melbourne (Australia) Marriott and I DID go to the Front Desk to try to straighten it out and was assured that no, both nights were award stays.
I argued that it wasn't possible, there had been no additional deductions from my account. I brought my laptop to the front desk and showed them the emailed confirmation which clearly showed one night was a Cat 1-5 certificate and one night was a paid reservation. They were positive that everything was taken care of correctly. So I dropped the issue. I did what I knew was the right thing and Marriott wasn't concerned, so why should I be, right?
Well five months later, the Melbourne Marriott popped a surprise charge on my credit card, not for the discounted rate which I had been confirmed but for the full rack rate of the upgraded room they had put me in!
After a long and tortured series of email exchanges which took a month, I at least got the rate reduced to the confirmed rate AND, since the exchange rate between the Australian and US Dollars had changed in their favor, I also got a credit for the difference between the amount I would have paid in USD if the charge had been billed in a timely manner.
Then, to rub salt in the wound, they refused to process the night's credit and MR points to my account for the (finally) paid night. Why? Because I was on a REWARD STAY! While the error is understandable, the follow up was deplorable and, after two stays a year for seven or eight years in a row at the Melbourne Marriott, I now stay at either the Westin, the Hyatt or the Hilton when I'm in town.
So get it fixed before you leave the hotel and if you are told what I was told, "get it in writing" that you definitely don't owe any money for the second night despite your thoughts that you do. Before any sane person will put something like that in writing, you can be sure they'll check things out.
The key takeaway from your situation and mine is that it's probably better to never book a reward stay and a paid stay in the same reservation. Marriott's computers obviously can't handle it. Always book the two separately and avoid the headaches!