Marriott Rewards Legally Defined as “Personal Financial Interest”

Confession. One night in SLC, dog weary and highway-stained, I parked my Ford rental at a Residence Inn by Marriott and slept in the car. Come sunup, I strolled through the lobby, grabbed USA Today, and helped myself to complimentary coffee and oatmeal.

But I didn’t take mini-shampoo. And I got no Marriott points.

Maybe that’s why I’m a little in awe and soft on crime when it comes to Carnarsie’s post about Alabaman James Whittaker, who schemed and conned 100,000 Marriott Rewards Points and plead guilty to “one count of participating in an act which affected a personal financial interest.” He’s no ‘pudding man,’ but he’s one of us. He wants the points, even if he does play on the edges. All he needs is a little remedial training and some travel time of his own. Nothing trumps reality.

Apparently he sheep-dogged out-of-towners attending courses on Maxwell Air Force Base to stay at the Renaissance Hotel in Montgomery and pocketed their rewards points. That takes some brass. Or lack of conscience. (But hey, look at me with my oatmeal.)

Marriott International told the prosecutor that 100,0000 points are worth $1,250. (What say you all?) Not a bad mileage run/sleep run. Especially considering Whitaker never left his desk. Depending on the hotel category, that’s anywhere from 16 to three free nights.

No word on his sentencing. Poetic justice would be a free night or two in jail.

Thanks Carnarsie.

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