I am becoming increasingly disenchanted with Marriott, especially in Europe (but not Athens). Apparently, it is fine to book a stay at a 6, 7 or 8 hotel as long as you use the required points THEN pay a large amount in addition just to get the room. I booked (though I may change it) at the Paris Vendôme for July using points -- and am being charged not only 40,000 pts per night but 90 euros (= $139).
This does not amount to free stays and I think we need to make a stand on this. I even checked my favorite (and easiest to and from the airport), the Rive Gauche. The points would have been less and the extra euros would have been less, but they're doing it too.
If this goes on regularly in Europe in the future, I, like some others, will switch brand hotels.
BTW, unlike some others, there was no choice about paying the extra. Sometimes it used to be done with the idea that you'd get a seaside room or some such thing. All it said was that I would get a bigger room. I don't need a bigger room. I wanted a free room.
Totally agree with you, Professor. This points plus cash for Reward members is completely ridiculous! Overrides the complete purpose of the "REWARDS" program!
Keep it up, Marriott, and you are going to lose a lot of your most loyal customers. Other Reward programs are much better.
I got increasingly annoyed with myself at the idea of paying 40,000 points (the equivalent of $400 spending at a Marriott) AND 90 euros for a room at the Renaissance Vendôme Paris. So I cancelled and spent 30,000 points at my usual, the Rive Gauche. While they offered upgrades for money (which I almost always get anyway), they at least had the option of a free room. So I went for it, mostly on principle.
I fully agree, Prof. This almost always happens to us in Paris, so now we have started renting a flat when we go, because we can get more bang and room for our buck(and traveling with children, it is important). It is frustrating, as a Platinum member, to have such limited options. Yes, booking at a Marriott in Paris, especially during the summer, or even over Christmas, can be costly, both with points, and with Euros. It always leaves me with a feeling of being taken advantage of, when paying with both points and Euros is the only option. Why do the properties in Paris seem to be this way more often than not? We never had this problem staying at Marriotts in other countries. In fact, the opposite is usually true. If only all Marriotts could treat their guests like the Grand Flora in Rome does!
I am glad to see, though, that something opened up for you at Rive Gauche for points alone. If I recall from a previous trip you had there, you were upgraded to a suite with a sweet view! Enjoy!
Hi TEF6178 and others,
First I cancelled the reservation at the Vendôme (and will never stay there as a result of this policy), then checked the other hotels that allowed reward redemption. The Rive Gauche did, though they clearly try to point you in the direction of upgrading with money. But still, I ended simply checking the rewards room category, 30,000 pts, and no money. (I was there in March and got upgraded to a suite anyway.) And since I love the hotel , it was not a huge disappointment -- but I'm glad it brought up this subject.
I was first faced with it over a year ago at the Riviera's Porte de Monaco, where unless you almost guarantee yourself a view facing away from the Riviera and over a stadium loudly being rebuilt, you have to pay euros or points in addition to base pts. I didn't take a chance in that case, but when I got there, I found they tried to charge me money as well as all the extra points I had used. It took some time at the desk to get it all straightened out.
Anyway, I simply will not stay on points where I have to pay as well. I think we need to send Marriott a message on this one.
Yes, indeed -- and I shared the photos from my suite (and its phenomenal view) on that previous trip. Since I was in Paris for a whole week, I didn't use rewards, but it's not especially expensive in late winter/early spring, especially if you use AAA. Besides the upgrade, I got the kind of service I always have had at the Rive Gauche.
It's funny the cool feeling you get when you decide to JUST SAY NO to something that is just plain wrong, as I did after cancelling the Vendôme reservation.
PS -- I don't know if they still do it as well, but the London County Hall did this to me a few years ago when I tried to use points only and was more naive. At the time it was so novel that I called Marriott and said I'm paying with Rewards and I'm a platinum member. They promptly noted that I wanted just rewards. It might have worked at the Vendôme, but I didn't even feel like trying.