First time visitor and poster to this forum, but I thought this would be the place to post a minor rant.
What's up with the Points + Cash option? Shouldn't the point levels cover this? I was looking to book a room at the Renaissance Paris Arc de Triomphe Hotel, which is a Category 7 hotel. Depending on room size, you pay an additional 70, 90 or 140 Euros per night.
Kinda takes the wind out of the sail, doesn't it?
I've written about this numerous times in the past, and I simply will not pay it. I only did so once at the Porte de Monaco, because you had a serious chance of getting a room facing away from the Riviera looking over a construction site. France seems to be the worst offender (where I go most often), and when I opted for the points only during a trip to the Rive Gauche last year, when I got there I was treated horribly and got a cubbyhole of a room despite being PP. Every prior trip to the RG I'd been given wonderful rooms and had excellent experiences.
It is a total rip-off and just another way Marriott is dollaring and hundred dollaring us to death for fewer and fewer services.
Maybe I have just been lucky, but I have always selected the "Upgrade", and when checking in they waived the up charge and still gave me the same room. Now, maybe this will change on my upcoming stays later this year. I guess there is the option to just say, I do not want to pay the extra charge and get a standard room.
jdyhoo and Professor,
I recently used 200,000 points at the Ren. AdT and it was wonderful with NO surcharge. Am going back soon and hope the situation is the same. I don't think you are going to get much of an apartment in Paris, in a decent location, for what the surcharge is, but I have never tried that either.
Actually it's very easy to get weekly/monthly or yearly apartment rentals in Paris and elsewhere. I've done it a number of times, usually using H-FRANCE, a historians site, but there are listings in the back of alumni magazines and other places like that. A google search turns up a lot as well, and my experience is that they're on the up and up. I never had a problem.
I agree with you profchiara,
I would check the box if I knew that I wouldn't be charged. Our last trip to the Marriott in PVR, they gave us an upgrade option to a suite, and when I asked if it wouldn't be complimentary for Platinum members, they told me that it was a reduced price from the published suite upgrade price and that I could pay the reduced price since I was Platinum. I statyed with the standard Ocean upgraded room because it had a much better view and was about $70 less per night.
This gets to the heart of the program--that rewards come with an aterisk--in some cases those hard earned points are not enough to make your stay as good as it can be. Coupled with the perception (on the part of the hotels) that points stayers are somehow less worthy than paying guests you have a perfect storm--in which you get drenched for extra fees!
I wish it were not so but it is.
It would be a pleasure for me to pay something extra to get a super room, even when I am redeeming points. When you only need a real special room a few times a year, I will gladly pay, just to know I don't have to hear, "We'll do the best we can do"!
When I really want and need that "Special experience", charge me, it's worth it to me.
I'm totally, totally, totally against these upcharge/surcharge policies. I feel the reward redemption should be no less than an "average" room. If available, I would expect to be upgraded, at no additional anything, to a nicer room. The idea that anyone, let alone a Platinum loyal guest, should get a "construction view" or a closet is insulting. These redemptions are used quite often to expose family members to a great stay and experience. Why in the world would anyone want to show their most loyal guests their worst rooms?
And since the initial case brought up was about Paris (and I had the awful experience at the RG), we're talking euro upgrade costs, not dollars. Even though it's way down from its high, it was still 1.28 x the dollar last time I checked, so 80 euros to upgrade would be over $100.
If Delta treated me this way, I would go elsewhere. Instead, once I reached Platinum then Platinum Elite Plus status, they keep showering me with more good things, including when using upgrades.
Over 260 views of this thread in one day. Seems to have created some interest among the MRI family. I am opposed to any 'points plus cash' scenario. First, one never really knows what the 'cash' portion of the transaction is going to get you. Corner room; oversized room; suite; etc?? One doesn't know what the outcome of the upgrade will be....and....there should NEVER be a cash charge just to get a standard room as jdyahoo has found. I wish Marriott would provide some clarity to the overall issue.
How about something like this.....there is a program that states the cost of a room for one night on points. How about when looking at the booking process there is a definitive schedule (by points) to get upgraded to a certain type room. For example 10,000 points a night for a room....but upgrade to a suite for 2500 more. Simple. I think everyone understands that the less the hotel provides for the most amount of points is the game. But, to play games with the most loyal customers (who are the ones who really use the points) just adds fuel to the aggravation fire.
Make it simple Marriott...give us a chance to pick the room we want for a fair amount of points and stop the 'gamesmanship' that provides the impetus for us to rant!
All this talk about Paris, made me recall a travel story to France that I heard one time:
Robert Whiting, an elderly gentleman of 83, arrived in Paris by plane.
At French Customs, he took a few minutes to locate his passport
in his carry on.
"You have been to France before, monsieur?" the customs officer asked
Mr. Whiting admitted that he had been to France previously.
"Then you should know enough to have your passport ready."
Mr. Whiting said,
"The last time I was here, I didn't have to show it."
"Impossible.. Americans always have to show their passports on arrival in France!"
Mr. Whiting gave the Frenchman a long hard look. Then he
quietly explained, ''Well, when I came ashore at Omaha Beach on D-Day in
1944 to help liberate this country, I couldn't find a single Frenchmen
to show a passport to."
You could have heard a pin drop.
I must just say a good word for France and French people. Since the 80s, I have probably lived in France for about 5 total years of my life if you add it all up. While when I first went there in 1985 it was still very Gaullist, but things have changed dramatically, and French people are very pro-American (and most under 45 speak American English these days). They might not always like our government or we theirs, but among the people it's different. And there is real remembrance of American sacrifice in the wars. I spend a lot of time researching in both Normandy and Champagne and I have never been treated better anywhere I've traveled. To give one example, when I was in Reims about ten years ago doing research I went to the municipal library to read some 15th and 16th C. manuscripts. Mme. le Président (the head librarian), usually a very intimidating figure in Paris, greeted me profusely and welcomed me to the library, giving me a personal tour and allowing me to work with precious old books in the main room during all opening hours. When I couldn't get all I want finished during the trip, she microfilmed the books for me and sent them to me in America -- for free. I've encountered the same kind of pro-Americanism in most places I've gone in France -- and they DO remember. Just one other anecdote -- I lived with a French family from 1985-87 (and owe to them the fact that I speak fluently, since they spoke no English) in Paris, but with origins in Brittany. Their family was part of the Breton resistance, and they could not stop speaking about what America did for France.
This has been my experience as well. Having taken 11 different people with me on over 60 trips, all have been amazed at the French and their friendliness. I do not know where the "Stereotype" comes from, but this is the most visited country in the world. Thanks for reporting on your experience as well.