First, I willtryto keep this short, inhopes that it won't be deleted, like it was last week when I tried to post...We are trying to plan a trip to Paris with our young boys. They are 10, 8, and 2. The 2year old still sleeps in a crib, so we just need 2beds. So, I put 2properties on hold with points, and it is for 15 nights, so not a small amount of points. Ordinarily, there is a space to comment when making the reservation, and I always add that we are traveling with the kids... And request an upgrade. Well, There was not a comment box for either reservation, so I called the Platinum line and asked if they would request(not demand) an upgrade on our reservation(i usually do this too when imake a reservation)The gal said, no she wouldn't because the rooms in Paris only accommodate 2-3people depending on room type. I explained that it has never been aroblem before, and I just wanted her to add the request. She said no, and she would connect me to her supervisor. I was transferred to customer service, who had no idea what our situation was...definitely not her supervisor. Frustrating. Eventually she did put in the request. I will finish This in a response to this post, as I do not want to loose it again. It will address the points plus euros situation...
Yay! It posted!
Anyway, I got emails back from the two Paris properties, stating that they would love to have us, but they would have to charge us between 80 and 140 EUROS per night...15nights, in addition to the 480,000 points we are forking out. I am so frustrated! So, here is my question....if we are expected to pay mucho points plus mucho dollars , since we are paying in dollars more than the average Marriott costs in the US, shouldn't the nights count as paid nights? 80-140Euros per night is no small fee!
We will most likely rent a flat, it is just frustrating that we cannot use our hard earned points on a family trip. One does not feel like a valued platinum "elite"guest when hard earned points aren't enough. And, there are plenty of rooms available...all types. It is not that nothing is available...it is just that they won't accept our reservation as is. why is Paris this way? We have been all over Europe with the kids, and this is never a problem elsewhere...even At other category 8 hotels. I love Paris, but I don't love thir Marriotts!
Rent an apartment -- there are wonderful apartments in the Marais and other arondissements which will really give you the inside feel of Paris. If you have any trouble finding them look online or in alumni magazines. You will pay much, much less and have much greater space.
This is one of my strongest pet peeves (except it's a whole lot bigger than a peeve, whatever that is). These 'fees' after rewards make the concept of rewards ridiculous. I just checked the current exchange rate, and the euro is down lately, and that 140 euros a night would be $179. Nice free nights, huh, especially for the amount of time? For that amount of time an apartment rental is a better anyway since you can cook, come and go as you please, and get to know a neighborhood. I spent one January in the 90s in the Bastille area co-renting with a grad student whom I'd never met. Splitting it, both of us paid about $750 for the whole month.
This really brings up the question of what Marriott Rewards are worth now that 2011 has turned into 2012. It is less and less a place I want to be because I'm paying for all the things that used to be perks of status.
OK, but sometimes we like the convenience of staying in a hotel versus an apartment. With the amount of points and time that Lakeshore is willing to put into this trip, you would think that the Marriott could accommodate this request without gauging them for additional money, particularly being a Platinum Member...What happened to the good old days when the treatment was outstanding by the Marriott..Has the change in leadership recently resulted in a deterioration of service once offered by the Marriott???
Exactly, Jasper! We have rented a flat before, and while the extra space was nice, for vacation, I like to be pampered and not have to clean:). Our boys are awesome travelers, so they are not a problem. They love Paris, as we used to live there, so we will be out most of the time...just need a comfortable place to sleep. It just makes me crazy that they are basically denying my reservation that I made with points, and are asking me to pay this large extra fee...over $2700 when you add the tax! And I get no nights accredited for it because I also have to use 480,000 points! Aren't the points enough???
We travel extensively with our children, as we homeschool, and love to take them to experience e subjects they are studying. For goodness sakes, the whole time we were in DC last month, my two year old kept asking, "can we go back to the Marriott hotel?" Talk about brand recognition!!! Doesn't Marriott realize that if they loose those of us with young children now, they will loose a future generation of avid travelers? And why in Paris? Everywhere else has been so nice...sometimes we are even upgraded to large suites, and not just at average hotels...try JW DC, Gand Flora inRome, JW Cairo, and many others. And, I wasn't even asking for a suite, just a request for an upgrade, which the first gal on the Platinum would absolutely not do for me! I had and have the reservation made with just points, but now I am being told that I will have to pay the extra Euros to accommodate my family, when on the reservation site, there are all kinds of rooms available. It is just very disappointing. Our hard earned points and loyalty for 16 years don't mean much.
Profchiara, I think we will begin calling around for other brands to match our status and take our business there.
Could you call, or at least email the property you would like to stay at? If you could, you could explain the situation to the MOD, and maybe get this resolved. I have done this with PP hotline and they got me in a three way conversation with the hotel of choice. All worked out. Will also tell you that the Marriott C-E, did not charge me the extra euro for an upgrade, but still gave me the upgraded room. I expected to pay, but did not have to, and it was quite a Christmas present.
I happen to also like the Ren. la Defense. There is a lot for a family to do at the shopping center, transportation is close, and they have good rates. I do not know if the GM, Wille L, is still there, but he always was accommodating to others and my family.
Keep us posted. But think about direct communication.
Your suggestion to call the hotel directly is what I was going to do, and still will, as my last resort. But, just so you understand, I was emailed directly by the hotel's management to inform me of additional euros we must pay to be accommodated. So, now I am afraid that if we still try to stay on only points, we will be "red flagged" and will be denied a place to stay or treated horribly when we get there(like Profchiara). Is there any way to find out the gm from the website? So far, I am having no luck.
And, I may look into LaDefense, As we know the area well...the boys love the big thumb sculpture by the mall!
Thanks for your help and empathy!
Good luck and do not hesitate to contact the hotels directly. Over Christmas, The RI in Williamsburg upgraded me to a 2br suite, and it was great. Booked another trip there in October because of their nice gesture.
Like the Professor, I don't know about spending 480,000 points and then spending a lot of money. Remember, "Competition is a buyers best friend".
What you need is one understanding person to help you with this challenging travel situation. I really think you will find the right answer.
Here's a picture of Wille L, at the LaDefense, and again this hotel served the situation well.
Again good luck, no matter where you stay!
As I said in an earlier post, my beloved France seems to be especially awful in these new 'reward' charges. They don't do it that many other places abroad. I simply won't do it on principle, but then of course I got that awful treatment at my previous favorite hotel in Paris, the Rive Gauche, when I refused.
These days, everyone will match your status, at least for a while. Hilton, Hyatt, Best Western (which now has Premier Hotels, where I'll be staying in Istanbul in a queen suite with free breakfast and wifi) and Priority Club have all comped me. Even if you don't end up matching the nights needed to continue in their programs, you can always convert them to airline miles.
I actually like staying in Paris in an apartment if I will be there for a while. Since I am not a very conscientious housekeeper in my apartment at home, I see no reason to change my behavior abroad. Plus some of the rentals come with maids who come in once a week. What I really like about apartments in Paris is that you get to cook the food you can buy at the local markets, enjoy the wines at real prices with every dinner, and yet have plenty of money to spare for great dinners out and fun excursions. If you should decide to go that route, let me know and I'll send you stuff from alum mags.
But as you say, if you really just want a break from it all, check the competition. Even if you don't get a card (only Priority Club sent me a new card, but all the others have it marked as highest level on my online account), you will get the best range of prices and things like free breakfasts (esp for a family in Paris!). Just think what you could do with those 480,000 points if you don't waste them in Paris! That's nearly two six night stays at the Grand Flora, which as long as you call in advance is usually available, without surcharge.
Can we get a consensus together that these ridiculously expensive surchanges for 'free nights' are absurd?
I, too, think we should make Marriott aware that this is absurd, placing a surcharge on "free" nights. It does not make an elite feel valued. Why take the time to go out of our way to stay at Marriotts and earn points when we can't redeem them for free?
I have started looking into rentals. I am only hesitant, because we are paying for our airline tickets this time(not using miles), so it will start adding up fast! And, I actually made the reservation with points and no surcharge...we were really excited, because it was looking like this would be the perfect compliment to use points this time around. I haven't had time to call the hotels directly yet, like Jerrycoin suggested, and to be honest, my French is not great, so I am very hesitant, but I will put my pride aside when I have some uninterrupted time...it may be awhile;)!
I will also take some time soon to call the chains you have suggested. Thanks so much!
Greetings Lakeshore and Profchiara, I'm hoping to clarify the confusion surrounding your redemption stays. As platinum members, you both qualify for the upgraded room during a normal paid or redemption stay (based upon availability and excluding suites of course). Since room upgrades are not guaranteed on a paid or redemption stay and determined on the day of arrival, Marriott Rewards members may select from a standard redemption rate (using just points) OR redemption with cash upgrade (cash upgrade varies by hotel but is clearly labeled while booking). While both of your individual situations fell short of your expectations, these redemption options have been the policy for redemption stays so this clarification is not a devaluation of the program or elimination of benefits. I hope you enjoy your family trip!!
I appreciate your response but hope you understand our complaints -- 80 - 140 euros a night extra for a 'free night' is about $110-200 a night extra so this is about principle AND affordability. I hate to bring up the Rive Gauche Affaire once again, but the problem was not even a lack of upgrade. I would have settled for a regular room. But compared to about eight previous stays at the RG, which I praised effusively on Insiders, I was treated horribly at the front desk, dismissed quickly, and was sent to what could only have been considered a serious downgrade. It was a tiny room facing the industrial side of Paris (where I've never been relegated to before).
Since I know Paris very well, it's not that hard to find accommodations for the price of the upgrade if you're willing to look in different arrondissements or different hotels. I most assuredly would have stayed at the inexpensive Courtyard Saint-Denis, near the first Gothic church in the world (at much less than the reward surcharge for real price). Or I would have stayed at the very nice CDG Marriott since it was my last night in Paris.
All these rules MAY have been in place for a long time, but it seems based on the bulk of Insiders' comments that suddenly they are all being enforced to the letter.
We hear you, the option for a cash upgrade on a redemption stay provides members the guarantee of a room upgrade when making the reservation. Alternatively, upgrades are provided for gold and platinum members based upon availability. So the redemption plus cash upgrade is not a charge for a 'free stay', but the cost of a guaranteed room upgrade. The cash upgrade cost varies by property but is listed with the rate option when booking online but that's not to say you should have been treated poorly at the desk.
Why can't Marriott enforce that these upgrade charges be based on the difference in the room prices available to the public? If the room would cost 30 E more than the standard room, then that is what the additional charge should be. Many of us would have less of a problem with this policy if the additional charges are reasonable. With the current policy, it would be better for MR members to stay at a more affordable hotel in the area rather than spend points plus high additional charges.
Effectively, these high upcharges act as 'blackout' dates.
superchief beat me to the punch as I was going to ask the same thing.
And I'll take it one step further.. What if at the time of check-in the hotel isn't full and an upgraded would have been available. Would the front desk give the guest the upgrade and do away with the upgrade charge that's on the reservation?
Greetings mikiegfla, The property's availability for upgrades not only depends upon how full it is, but also the time of year, tourists, families, special events on property or close by, how many Golds or Platinum Elite members already have upgrades and of course length of stay. So hypothetically, Gold and Platinum members that book a standard redemption will receive an upgrade under those circumstances. On the other hand, a reservation for a redemption plus cash upgrade does guarantee the room upgrade in advance of arrival so the upgrade charge does apply.
I guess I understand but this effectively limits upgrades to those willing to pay extra, regardless of their status with Marriott Rewards. and reduces the value of Elite membership guarantees, such as they are. Why not actually have a real no blackout dates policy and allow members to get upgrades free based on time of booking combined with
elite status, and if no one wants that option then offer it for points?
One other idea,
On my recent stay in Paris, and I am going back to this hotel in May. The new GM at Ren. AdT, was just transferred to this property from Germany. She was way more empathetic than me, and really showed me wonderful treatment. I do not remember her name, but you could also call this hotel and ask for her. Again, they did not charge me for an upgrade, but frankly may on the next stay, I really don't know. The hotel is "Modern", but a great location for your family, and rated in the top 10 hotels of Paris. They comped, with voucher, a wonderful breakfast every day, in the room! That really took the pressure off, getting dressed and going out. This too is a nice place!
Good luck! This Anne (Room service), was so wonderful each day! If you are interested in this hotel, I will furnish names of people here who can help you!
Count me in as one who thinks that paying dollars in addition to points is unfair and a bit of bait and switch. As I've mentioned on several posts here at the "Insider", I had to do this on my last trip to Paris. During the planning stages I did note that none of the area Marriott's and RI would accommodate more than two people, and I was traveling with my wife and two teens. I contacted each hotel to see what could be done and the only solution offered up was to pay for larger room. I selected the CE because it was the kids first trip to the city.
In my humble opinion Marriott should have just given in and provided a larger room based upon the points only. They would have scored a lot more points with me by simply foregoing their profit on the larger room and making me happy. But no, they took the greedy way out.
On my next visit I'll be reserving at La Defense.
Staying in the downtown business section isn't my first choice, but I hate shelling out points for those CAT 8 properties.
Sure wish Marriott would bring back the EuroHopper. That way I could check into the Ren Arc De Triomphe without having to use more points than I want to.
This isn't just a problem with properties outside the US. When I tried to reserve a room for 3 at the Residence Inn Treasure Island last year, I found that I would need to pay an extra $100 plus points to confirm a 1BR vs a studio. The studio only had an occupancy of 2. I called the platimum line and then the GM and made no progress. In fact, the GM said the hotel has a policy of not upgrading platinum members even if rooms were available. I added this hotel to my list of places I will never stay.
I wouldn't mind paying the difference between the room rates in order to confirm an upgrade. However, the 1BR was only $15 more than a studio at this property. I doubt that the larger rooms cost 140 EU more than the 'normal' room. These types of policy have caused me to be much less loyal to Marriott, and I now spend about 40% of my hotel dollars at other chains.
I am a regular (and a PP) at the La Defense Ren. I have to say that the staff particularly in the concierge lounge are superb (as are alcoholic drinks and nibbles available until 10pm free). It IS a bit out of town - albeit only 8 minutes on metro to Arc de Triomphe or 4 mins on the RER A line but thats a minor quibble. I always get an upgrade to a corner room - and on 2 ocassions to a fantastic 2 room suite with huge tub (room 801 for reference!).
I have always enjoyed my stays there and feel the place is underrated. With the RER and Metro so close, you can really save some money on week-ends. I would enjoy the shopping center next door and the large food store was great for snacks. Here are a few pictures for others who might have an interest in staying there. The comped breakfast in the California Room was always excellent.
Please say hello, if Wille L. is still GM (Pictured). Second picture is the cemetery next door, (Note the US section)
Had the same issue with needing space for a 3rd adult this year over Christmas and New Year's. It was only after I booked the Ren. Vendome that I noticed the daily Euro charge for the upgraded junior suite that would have accommodated all 3 of us. Realizing the cost, I ended up cancelling and rebooking 2 rooms at the Champs Elysees using only points. Got the larger rooms but still only 1 king size bed in both rooms, but nice big baths with separate shower and tub. We fortunately were only in the hotel for a night on the frontend and 2 nights on the backend, as we rented a beautiful 2 br 2 1/2 bath apt on the Rue de Monthieu directly behind the Marriott Champs Elysees. The staff were great with the bellman actually taking our luggage to the apt and coming back to pick it up when we came back to the hotel. Service was excellent and the complimentary daily breakfast was a great way to start the day. Seeing your need for 2 beds in one room, might I suggest the Courtyard LaDefense in Columbes located at 91, bd Charles de Gaulle. We stayed there in Aug 2007 for 2 weeks and the rooms were quite nice. At the time, the train was under construction but I am sure it is operational now, it passed directly in front of the hotel. The rooms also had a nice little refrigerator where we could keep little food items, especially breakfast items. At the time, I was not Platinum so the cost of breakfast was about 17 Euros per day at that time. The Marriott Champs does have a refrig but it is filled with items for sale and if removed, will be charged to your room immediately. It is your call if you want the hotel, but quite honestly, the apt we rented came with daily maid service, full US style kitchen, a computer with internet included, washer/dryer, everything we needed, and there was a Monoprix on the corner for groceries if we wanted to plan to cook breakfast, lunch and/or dinner. It was nice to be able to come back home and just relax in our own french apt, far better than a suite at the George V and for a fraction of the price.
Just to give you an update, after much emailing different hotels, and it seeming as though the onlyway to guarantee that we would not have problems upon arrival, we changed our reservation to cash. There was no way I was going to pay an extra 130 EUROS a NIGHT on top of 360,000points( we stayed for 115 nights) and not have it count as a night stayed, so we decided on the Rive Gauche, as the Rive Gauche was only 160 Euros a night, we ended up staying there. Now, professor, I remember being so sad at reading about your treatment there, and also, my husband stayed there once quite a few years ago on business, and his car was broken into in the parking garage, so we were very hesitant, but Valerie, in charge of Customer relations emailed me promptly, and told me because it was a special occasion( 2 of our sons would behave theirbirthdtheir while we were there), she said she had upgraded us to a jr. Suite at no extra charge. Very nice.
I must say that it turned out to be a wonderful trip. Valerie and her staff at the concierge lounge were wonderful! They knew us by name immediately(do they have our pictures on file???), and they always were smiling, even when some patrons were not very nice. They were fantastic with the children, sent up beautiful cakes to our room on their birthdays, and on eEaster, they gave out chocolate Eggs, and had a coloring contest, displaying all of the beautiful artwork done by the children. It was fantastic!
THe location was so nice...not touristy, good and reasonable restaurants nearby, close to the metros, and very walkable to all of Paris, especially Luxemborg Jardins, the Latin Quarter, the Louvre, musee D'orsay(we like to walk)...we even had a wonderful walk to the Eiffel Tower, making a stop or two for éclair au chocolats along the way! We actually went to a couple of parks that we never ventured to while we lived in Paris! I am glad we got to stay in this part of Paris, as we never have as a family before. And it was nice to have such a welcoming staff,appetizers, sodas wine wine to come back to after a day of sightseeing. And, it was totally safe...we returned home by foot after midnight on many occasions. My husband's break in years ago must have been bad luck. I thank Valerie and her staff for making our trip extra special.
NOw, if I only had a couple of days,I would recommend the CE, AT, or Ren Vendome(if only they had bigger rooms for those of us with children...that would be my first choice). But, if you have already had your first trip to Paris, and want to feel like you are living in the city, away from the tourists,than I would give Rive Gauche a chance.
And, by the way, quite a few people we spoke to Conceirge level who had stayed on points happily told us that they were upgraded to Jr. suites without a surcharge...interesting.