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11 Examples of People Who Got Bonvoyed the Worst

11 Examples of People Who Got Bonvoyed the Worst
Ariana Arghandewal

We all know things have not been going well with Marriott post-merger, despite the pretty picture the company tries to paint in the media. Marriott has been radio silent when it comes to addressing the myriad of customer complaints, to the point that angry customers have organized a website, a Twitter account @Bonvoyed, and a hashtag to air their grievances. Despite this, the company continues to wax poetically about expansion plans and asking customers to vote for the program at the Freddie Awards (yeah, seriously!). If you’re wondering, “How bad could it be?” I’ve rounded up some examples of people getting Bonvoyed, with a little help from the folks who brought you the Bonvoyed website.

11. Vacation club scam

Frank (Silver elite)

“Was told when I bought points at Vacation Club that I would be lifetime Platinum then I call Bonvoy and they tell me that program has been discontinued.”

10. Marriott customers are not alone in their suffering

Job Type: Customer Service

Length of Employment: 5

I work out of one of the Marriott call centers and I really feel we have suffered as much as our guests. At one time, guests who are either legacy Marriott or Starwood members enjoyed contacting us to book travel or assist with their account. Now members have to suffer through an automated prompt, pretty much encouraging them to not contact us, and then suffer through extremely long hold times. This leads to less happy guests which in turn makes our job not as enjoyable.

A large portion of my shift consists of posting missing stays or refunding points from canceled certificates. It seems like the push for members to do more on the app or website has not decreased call volumes which was probably the original intent. I appreciate the quality of our hotels, but the IT and customer relation issues really cause a lot of frustration at our responsibilities and abilities. I will do the best for our guests and my company, I will not unnecessarily transfer guests or hang up on them. I just want my company to do the same and display the values of hospitality and customer service.


9. No-show fees

Scott (Lifetime Titanium)

“Booked on points The Courtyard Copley Center in Boston. Canceled 2 days prior by calling the hotel directly They politely canceled my trip, then billed my AMEX a $537 “No Show” fee. Been battling with the property and the Marriott ‘Elite’ desk for 5 months now trying to get a refund. #Bonvoyed”

8. And another one

Seth (Lifetime Gold)

“Status means nothing at Marriott. My wife booked two rooms for a family vacation. On the way to the airport, we called to confirm the hotel and they said the reservation did not exist. She spoke to two managers who apologized and said the hotel is booked. We ended up booking at another Mariott last minute and paid more for the rooms. Of course, Marriott could not find the rooms but still charged us for the rooms as a “no-show.” I could not believe that they caused us a lot of undue stress and anger and then charged us. We called Marriott and the hotel over 5 times (never a call back) to get the refund. One of the people helping us said that the phone reservation person entered the Marriott number off by one number in the reservation, so much for “Gold Service” lines. Marriott still will not get back to me on it – despite emails saying they will. Status means nothing on Marriott anymore. SPG was great as a gold member. I am also Hilton Gold and IHG Platinum — both of which I am using more now.

7. “Your call is important to us.”

Stephan (Titanium, Lifetime Gold)


Enough said, I think…

6. “We care about your privacy.”

Shane (Gold elite)


“The only thing they didn’t release apparently was my DNA sequence…”

5. The classic bait and switch

Erin (Gold elite)

“I enrolled in a Platinum challenge on 1/5/19 with requirements to stay 16 nights by 4/30/19 to earn Platinum status. Based on this challenge, I booked hotel stays for 24 nights starting 1/7 – 3/19 (34% of days, during a 70 day period). Since then Marriott informed me that I never registered for the Platinum challenge and only Gold (which I did not consent to) even though I have the challenge in writing from a Marriott representative. When I’ve called I wait on hold for up to 1.5 hours, possibly disconnected, told they have no record of my Platinum challenge, and that my ticket wasn’t filed correctly. Then Marriott reroutes or reissues a ticket and tells me to call back in four days. I have 30 tickets open on this one issue! Additionally, after each stay, none of my trips register points or nights. After I check out, I have to call, sit on hold, manually calculate my points, and get each night individually added. Help!”

4. Confused about Marriott affiliation

Carl (Gold elite)

“We recently spent time at a Spanish and German Marriott who didn’t even know that they were part of the Marriott program. We even used points to book the rooms, but the Spanish ex-SPG hotel told us that they are independent and are not affiliated with Marriott. No privileges, literally the worst room in the hotel by far (the staff knew all about our room), and just lousy service. The German ex-SPG hotel then tried to charge me over $50 for the hotel room even though it was my Marriott FREE night and it wasn’t a resort or destination fee. They said that they were not getting enough for the room from Marriott so I had to pay the difference! A manager finally waived the charge, but are you kidding me? It took 15 minutes to get the charge waived. I could go on and on, but Marriott has been awful on numerous fronts since the merger. Oh, and we were not only part of the Marriott/SPG data breach, but we had thousands of dollars charged to our SPG card. I know that the breach came from Marriott because the same day that happened, my SPG account was hacked and the credentials that were used for the credit card and the website were unique to SPG so I could track them (I have my own mail server so I can create all the usernames and e-mail addresses I need to track things by company).”

3. Status confusion

Simon (Titanium, Lifetime Gold)


“I eventually got a reply to my email sent on 20 July on 15 October 2018 (3 months). With 9 platinum years and 588 nights, I am informed that my status year for 2018 will be credited at the end of the year and if I have achieved 600 nights I will become life platinum. In March 2019 when I follow up on this, Marriott apologises for the confusion that led me to believe that 2018 was my 10th year…… Am sorry I was not confused I was informed by Marriot that this was the case. So in 2018, I completed my 12 nights (approximately US 1,800) in 2018 and now am told I have to get 50 more nights (approximately US 7,500) to get what was promised. Isn’t this just a plain case of fraud???”

2. 110 million complaints

Job Type: Customer Service

Length of Employment: 3

“Marriott had a motto “Take care of the associates and they will take care of the guests.” In April of 2018 Marriott rolled out their new “Service Delivery Module.” Simultaneously, they stopped taking care of the associates. Before SDM, there were several departments to contact. Sales, customer care, rewards, etc. Now, no matter who you call, you are getting a sales rep.

If you need to get sent to “loyalty” you are getting a sales rep with only three hours of copy and paste training. If you get sent to “elite” they get an additional two hours of the same training. And just to add, it was SPG employees leading the training. An entire new reservation system was forced on us that barely works because Marriott didn’t want to pay Oracle to use the system they had been using before.

To add to this, the agents were able to call supervisors who would help them fix things. The supervisors are now ordered not to help. A case has to be opened for every complaint. Cases are “supposed” to be resolved in three to five business days, but when I left, there were cases that were four months old and still unresolved. The cases started in April. I’ve been told that since then, they have reached 110 million cases.

When the changes started in April, agents that had worked there for 20 years were walking out in the middle of their shifts. The company scrambled to hire many people with bare minimum training. There are a lot of agents that are just terrible. There are still those who want to help but can’t. Even the former SPG agents are new to all of the system changes.

Marriott tried to change 50 things at once simultaneously, but they needed to change one thing at a time.”

1. Involuntary early checkout

The most interesting example of getting Bonvoyed goes to @puno_mike, who shares his tale of essentially getting kicked out of his hotel room. You can read the full thread, but the gist of it is as follows: Mike stored his bags in his room, went to the lobby to grab a beer and when he returned, the TV was turned on and his bags were missing. If you’re thinking, “haunted hotel” you’re wrong. The staff has simply removed his items and given the room to another guest. If you’re also thinking the hotel probably rebooked him, you’re wrong on that front too, because the place was sold out. The staff walked him to two different hotels before he finally settled in.

But that wasn’t the end of the saga! Mike then receives a text message from the hotel’s General Manager, who calls the flub a “rookie mistake,” guilts him about his resignation, then ends the text with a classy, “Karma is a bitch.” The fish rots from the head down, I guess.

Marriott needs to focus on improving their customer service and IT issues before undertaking any overly-ambitious expansions. After all, if you continue to upset your most loyal customers, you won’t have anyone to fill those rooms.

If you’ve been Bonvoyed, I’d love to hear about it in the comments section.

[Image Source: Shutterstock]

View Comments (21)


  1. Global321

    April 5, 2019 at 5:42 am

    For @puno_mike – this is most likely illegal. Once you are checked into a room, a hotel cannot simply remove you. Worst case, they must evict you. @puno_mike may not know it, but he likely has a lot of rights here. I hope he collects.

  2. topman

    April 5, 2019 at 6:35 am

    After being told that I would be platinum for life with the merger, then later on told that I needed two more years. I bonvoyed to Hyatt and have been happier with the change.

  3. rthib

    April 5, 2019 at 9:00 am

    Did the Author do any research? Your first entry (11) is wrong/
    MVCI owners get Status from Gold to Titanium based on their Marriott Vacation club point level.

  4. Gadot

    April 5, 2019 at 9:59 am

    I understand that the “for life” promotion specifically said for Marriott elites and was later changed to all after complaints from SPG folks?

    Agree with Glova

  5. jjmoore

    April 5, 2019 at 3:30 pm

    Stayed 1700 paid nights with MR and have lifetime Titanium, but cannot justify spending any more $ with them. Settling into Diamond status with Hilton and enjoying it very much so far.

  6. Dalo

    April 5, 2019 at 9:25 pm

    I think if my belongings ever disappear from my room I will call the police.

  7. flyupfrnt


    April 6, 2019 at 9:12 pm

    Nothing in comparison to these stories. I wish I had taken a picture too but – Anyone ever hear of a 4 day turnaround $200 charge to have a suit dry cleaned? $20 per pair of underwear? $50 to Dry clean a shirt?

    Fairfield inn & Suites (By Marriott) Grand Mound, WA – True Story – This past week. The price menu is hanging in the armoire. It’s not an April fools joke either. Nice place in the country off of I-5 between Seattle and Portland though.

  8. mgreg

    April 10, 2019 at 12:26 pm

    Twice in recent months stays have not been posted, despite the hotel following up with it several ties.

  9. RaoulM

    April 10, 2019 at 12:32 pm

    I feel like I have got off lightly by comparison to these. My major complaint is that I can’t actually book rooms through the web site due to my browser security settings. But due to the 5X increase in pricing for points redemption at my preferred location with only a small increase in earning, I don’t think I’ll bother too much. Spent all that time and money to get to lifetime gold with SPG and now I find I’m staying at Hyatt and Hilton much more frequently.

  10. JoeDTW

    April 10, 2019 at 12:45 pm

    I’m sure this thread makes people who work for HHonors very happy, thinking of all the people who will be giving their business to Hilton from now on….and I’m also sure people working in the HHonors call center are grateful that they don’t have to deal with apoplectic Bonvoy members like their colleagues at the Bonvoy call center do.

  11. ichorush

    April 10, 2019 at 1:17 pm

    I am a lifetime titanium but will not ever call Marriott about anything. When the robot who cannot help you answers, I tell him to go $#@% himself. I also stay at Marriott twice a year; when my wife and I get our free night with our otherwise unused Marriott reward cards. I have gotten rid of the 700,000 Marriott rewards points when they began to cheapen them so got some value there. Hyatt is soooooo much better so they now get all of my travel business unless they are not located where I am going in which case I use Hilton.

  12. farnorthtrader

    April 10, 2019 at 2:09 pm

    My Bonvoyed moment predates the actual merger, but was clearly a sign of things to come. Just about exactly one year ago, we stayed at the JW Marriott El Convento Cusco.
    My wife and I are both Marriott golds and we stayed in this hotel on points for 3 nights with our 4 children. We booked our stay a few months in advance and I confirmed one room with a king bed and one with two beds with the reservations people at the hotel. They confirmed this for me and had upgraded the room with two beds to a family room. All seemed in order.
    The day before we were to check in, the points for the two bed room were returned to our account. I checked on the app and the reservation for Mar 27-30 related to those points had been cancelled and replaced by another reservation for the same room for March 24-30, with four nights on cash and 2 on points. Very strange, but seemed to still be viable and could be straightened out at the desk when we arrived, certainly easier than trying to fix it from Paracas.
    Upon arrival, we were advised that we only had a reservation for a king room, no reservation for the other four people. The front desk advised that there was only an Inca Wall room available with two beds for the first two nights of our stay and that we would have to go on a waiting list for the last night of our stay and that we would have to pay rack rate for that available room for two nights. They advised that we had cancelled our other room and that we had also booked for March 24-30 through and had no-showed for that stay. Since that stay had shown up in our account as having both cash and points components, it was clear that they were lying to us. I immediately went on the app and was able to rebook a two bed room for all three nights of our stay using points in a standard room (rather than the substandard Inca Wall room). This was the room that they claimed was not available. Another lie to start our stay. The front desk associate promised that they would look into how our reservation had gotten cancelled and replaced and contact me the next day with an explanation.
    Finally able to go up to our rooms, we were given spa vouchers instead of drink vouchers. Even the drink vouchers we did receive for the other room were no good when we tried to use them for something other than pisco sours, even though we were told we could use them for water or soft drinks.
    I also emailed the reservations people who had confirmed our family room to try to get an explanation for the cancellation.
    I never received a response from the reservations people and, despite speaking to the front desk associate every day of our stay, were never given an explanation in regard to the cancellation. I completed the hotels survey after our stay highlighting these issues and received a boilerplate response from the guest services manager that also did not explain anything about what happened.

  13. BSpeaker

    April 10, 2019 at 2:45 pm

    Please tell me someone is sending all of this to the highest possible person at Marriott. They used to be so proud at HQ of their service. Surely someone in the head office is monitoring some of this. If not, then the choice really is easier. No Mo Marriott. Oh, and write your congressperson to rigorously object to the Marriott quest to take over as many hotels as possible. Monopolies are supposed to be illegal, and considering the level of service they are no longer offering, it’s apparent they’ve become the poster child for WHY monopolies are a bad idea.

  14. gpmolloy

    April 10, 2019 at 5:02 pm

    I guess I’m just lucky. Since being elevated to lifetime Titanium, I’ve never been treated better at Marriott or former SPG properties. I’ve gotten more upgrades in the first 3 months of the year than some entire years as a lifetime Platinum under the old Marriott system.

  15. pogopossum

    April 10, 2019 at 5:24 pm

    I’ve been a Marriott elite for 22 years, and worked for them for 15 years prior to that. I always liked the company. Lately, my current employer has said we cannot stay at any Marriott for business, period. Our go to hotel chain is now Hilton. That’s fine, I am Diamond with them. I’ve burned up my remaining points and will make a plan to change credit card affiliation. I am staying at a Marriott at SFO in a couple of weeks and will be curious about the experience. Sad, maybe they just got too big..

  16. PushingTin

    April 10, 2019 at 6:26 pm

    Stayed at a DC Fairfield Inn in Chinatown. There wasn’t any hot water in the morning for a shower. Ended up running late, so I used the website to file a complaint- never heard back. Marriott, to me, used to be the top in customer care. Not anymore.

  17. Bennybear

    April 10, 2019 at 11:42 pm

    Nothing compared to the others, but we were told our Marriott gold would be platinum after the merge and still get our free breakfasts. We even had email from Marriot showing the new platinum status which was later downgraded. Now no breakfast and the hotels cost way more in points. We’ve gone to Hilton who gives us breakfast for gold! You think they would care!

  18. bbp

    April 11, 2019 at 1:22 am

    I’ve been gold and then platinum the last few years and enjoyed my lounge access and late check out. But then at the end of last year there was a charge for a few days in Newark Airport Marriott that was clearly fraudulent. I spent 2 months waiting for a folio request and NEVER got one. Now, after being platinum (I thought thru my Mileage plus gold status) I suddenly changed to gold. I emailed twice asking for an explanation and have not received an answer for over a week. I am just about done with ‘loyalty’ and will probably be switching to Hilton for my next trip and from now on. Great job Marriott.

  19. KRSW

    April 11, 2019 at 8:22 am

    Marriott is forgetting why people choose chain hotels — Consistency and knowing there’s Coroprate to get involved if the local hotelier isn’t up to par. Has anyone truly deciphered how the breakfast benefit works yet? No consistency there. With Bonvoy, now Corporate is the liability (poor customer service, even worse IT).

    It still amazes me just how poorly everything at Marriott has gone over the past 18 or so months.

  20. Mrittmayer1

    April 11, 2019 at 8:46 am

    I posted in Linked in and twitter that Bill Marriott made me a lifetime platinum and bonvoy has decided marriott’s promise of lifetime is now ended by downgradeing me in March 2019 ….I have asked and they said they are looking into it…it was quite simple by looking at the past 24 Months I was getting bonus opoints at platinum level and then boom downgraded to gold lifetime and 25% bonus and no use of lounge or upgraded room and less points….well if its that simple for me and I dont work at Mariott what are they doing there ? Wondering but not holding my breath just cancelling reservations that were booked a month or two out until they return what Bill Marriott promised.

  21. flymax77

    April 26, 2019 at 11:42 am

    here is another one – incorrectly downgraded to gold, even though ritz carlton credit card spending guaranteed gold until 2020 in the initial upgrade

    no resolution still, numerous help tickets


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