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Amex FHR prepaid rate 10% higher than Marriott's reserved rate

Amex FHR prepaid rate 10% higher than Marriott's reserved rate

Old Jul 7, 19, 11:13 am
  #1  
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Question Amex FHR prepaid rate 10% higher than linked reservation on Marriott's

Just booked one night in Ritz Osaka, the prepaid rate I was charged is 10% higher than what's shown in the reservation on my Marriott's account. Amex charged me 596.06, and the rate shown on marriott.com is about 542. Is it normal or should I call Amex to adjust the charge?

Amex charged me in USD while Marriott's reservation shows rate in JPN(Yen). The following is what Amex charged,

1 Room x 1 Night $471.19
Estimated Taxes and Fees $124.87
Cost $596.06

Since I provided my MR#, the confirmed reservation shows up in my Marriott's account. The reservation shows the following breakdown,

Total cash rate 46,000
Service Charge 6,900
Estimated government taxes and fees 5,890
Total for stay in hotel's currency 58,790

Based on the current exchange rate, 1:108.46, the total is 542.02USD.

Last edited by bjm5; Jul 7, 19 at 1:35 pm
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Old Jul 7, 19, 12:45 pm
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Does the Marriott rate have the same benefits, such as breakfast for 2 and guaranteed 4pm checkout? The FHR rate isn't always the cheapest available.
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Old Jul 7, 19, 1:18 pm
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Originally Posted by Steve M View Post
Does the Marriott rate have the same benefits, such as breakfast for 2 and guaranteed 4pm checkout? The FHR rate isn't always the cheapest available.
Besides, FHR Rates are not part of Amex's Lowest Rate Guarantee. They cannot be price-matched, unfortunately.
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Old Jul 7, 19, 1:19 pm
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Originally Posted by Steve M View Post
Does the Marriott rate have the same benefits, such as breakfast for 2 and guaranteed 4pm checkout? The FHR rate isn't always the cheapest available.
It's the same reservation that's shown as Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts Pay Now rate on Marriott's web site. The rate details page does include all FHR promised benefits as followed,

Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts Pay Now

Additional Information

  • *Complimentary Breakfast for 2 daily (Buffet)
  • *Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • *Room Upgrade based upon availability at check-in
  • *Early Check-In of 12:00 Noon if available
  • *Guaranteed 4PM check-out
  • *100 USD hotel credit
  • *Welcome Card
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Old Jul 7, 19, 1:32 pm
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Originally Posted by gdoubleu View Post
Besides, FHR Rates are not part of Amex's Lowest Rate Guarantee. They cannot be price-matched, unfortunately.
I am not talking about matching a lower Marriott's rate. It's the same reservation that is about 10% lower in total shown on Marriott's than what I paid to FHR. Since I put my Marriott Bonvoy's account number in FHR reservation, the linked reservation showed up a minute later on marriott.com.




Last edited by bjm5; Jul 7, 19 at 1:38 pm
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Old Jul 7, 19, 1:38 pm
  #6  
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Are you saying that you can book a FHR rate (prepaid package) directly on the Marriott website? AFAIK that shouldn't be possible since the FHR rate must be booked through AmEx.

BTW, for most foreign destinations, the rate in local currency is definitive and anything in USA dollars is just an estimate based on some exchange rate that might not be the one that applies when you pay.

ADDED: The "non-commissionable" term in what you just posted suggests that the rate doesn't qualify for travel agents to get their standard commission, which AFAIK would violate the terms of hotel contracts with AmEx as a condition for participating in FHR.....or maybe it's a Starriott website glitch similar to customers being shown the amount of money the hotel receives for award stays as in principle on travel agent bookings, the hotel would receive the rate paid by the customer minus the 10% commission on the basic room rate (not including gas, resort fees, service charges, etc.).

In fact, it looks to me like the rate you're seeing is just the FHR rate reduced by the standard 10% commission, with some allowance for exchange rate variation and the commission not being paid on tax, etc. If Marriott in general or this hotel in particular is undercutting their FHR deal, it should be a *HUGE* problem to AmEx. You could try reporting the situation to AmEx and asking them to match the "FHR rate" the hotel is publicly offering and advertising on their website. This is simply not supposed to happen, although perhaps it's just a case of some summer intern needing much more supervision.
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Last edited by MSPeconomist; Jul 7, 19 at 1:53 pm
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Old Jul 7, 19, 2:21 pm
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FHR is not known for being the lowest price. It's more of a convenience bundle of being able to get special perks without loyalty at a reasonable price.

Having a top tier loyalty at a chain is often going to result in a better deal than FHR. Although some people will fight to the death about the 4pm checkout guarantee
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Old Jul 7, 19, 2:27 pm
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Originally Posted by Super Mario View Post
FHR is not known for being the lowest price. It's more of a convenience bundle of being able to get special perks without loyalty at a reasonable price.

Having a top tier loyalty at a chain is often going to result in a better deal than FHR. Although some people will fight to the death about the 4pm checkout guarantee
There's no indication that OP has Starriott/Bonvoy status.

If 4 pm checkout is guaranteed, what's wrong with fighting for it?

BTW I just noticed that this is one of those "not guaranteed if arrive after 6 pm" reservations, which would seem (I hope) to be another IT problem. I also hope the OP is OK with a smoking room.
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Old Jul 7, 19, 2:32 pm
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Usually, any booking side (be it a hotel directly or through a 3rd party like booking.com) that offers "prepay but pay at side" will have a rather good exchange rate shown upon time of booking, to encourage bookings with them. But then, when you stay there, and pay in local currency, you'll eventually notice on your credit card bill that the charge was quite a bit higher than what was shown to you when doing to booking as "estimation".

To "fix" the rate properly, often it's possible to pay directly with them (ie, you won't pay at the hotel since it's properly prepaid and paid directly with your credit card on time of booking, not when you actually stay there) and still get a good exchange rate (because they'll convert it on a good exchange rate, again, to make you actually pick them - at this point, you still get a choice ) If I get the choice between proper PrePaid and "PrePaid but pay at hotel in local currency", I'll always pick the first option, no questions.

This doesn't seems the case here - it's a "pre-booked but paid at hotel" arrangements when you use Amex FHR, without choice to pay in advance unless I'm mistaken. So, you'll definitely have some percentage upmarks from the JPY rate that was shown (and translated into your local currency, USD, on your credit card bill)

That upmark can be quite a few %. Depending on currencies, of course. It's also possible that the rate (in JPY) that Amex got from the hotel was fixed some time ago. Currencies do fluctuate quite heavily recently. Currently the JPY is (relatively) strong and the USD is relatively weak. If the rate was fixed while the USD was a bit stronger, it will be translated into higher charges in USD due to the exchange rate being worse for you. The hotel will still charge the same amount, but you'll be charged more. While booking with the hotel directly, you'd get a day-rate exchange rate, which might be to your advantage.

For me, it looks like a combination of the exchange rate you got when paying there being worse than what Marriott offers when they charge it directly in USD and possibly some currency fluctuation.

With international exchange rates moving up and down a few percentages quite fast, it would be literally impossible for a hotel to offer a FHR rate that is always cheaper unless that rate is so massively below their own PrePaid rate. That's why hotels will always charge in the local currency (or getting paid in local currency, when you book through an OTA, which might have different prices for the same property every day due to currency fluctuations)
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Old Jul 7, 19, 2:46 pm
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There are now some FHR rates that are prepaid and nonrefundable, in contrast to traditional FHR bookings that are guaranteed but not prepaid and typically have a 48 hour cancellation policy. OP appears to have one of these newer PREPAID FHR rates, which don't always earn points (on the room rate) or elite night credits and might not get elite benefits at the property.
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Old Jul 7, 19, 3:14 pm
  #11  
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
There are now some FHR rates that are prepaid and nonrefundable.
This is a prepaid refundable rate. The cancellation policy is shown in post 5.


Originally Posted by bjm5 View Post
I am not talking about matching a lower Marriott's rate. It's the same reservation that is about 10% lower in total shown on Marriott's than what I paid to FHR.....
Understood. Did FHR offer the option to pay in Yen rather than Dollars?

It's possible that FHR has a contracted rate, in Dollars, that is stable, regardless of market price or currency fluctuations.

Otherwise, it is possible that American Express used a different exchange rate. Inasmuch as the reservation appears to be refundable I would ask American Express to explain the discrepancy.
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Old Jul 7, 19, 5:31 pm
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It looks like a system issue that shows the commissioned rate by accident. FHR allows me to book either prepay or postpay, so I tried booking the same room with the same rate a week later postpay. FHR reservation shows exactly the same amount while Marriott's rate has the 10% mark-up. The commissioned rate has both room rate and service charge routed.

Here's the difference between prepay and postpay,
  • Room cash rate: 46,000/51,111
  • Service charge: 5,900/7,667
  • Taxes and fees: 4,890/6,478

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Old Jul 7, 19, 5:43 pm
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
There's no indication that OP has Starriott/Bonvoy status.

If 4 pm checkout is guaranteed, what's wrong with fighting for it?

BTW I just noticed that this is one of those "not guaranteed if arrive after 6 pm" reservations, which would seem (I hope) to be another IT problem. I also hope the OP is OK with a smoking room.
I also noticed the smoking room part. I would never go with a smoking room, so will definitely check with Ritz to secure a non-smoking room. By the way, I do have Platinum Elite with Marriott.
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Old Jul 7, 19, 5:53 pm
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Isn't the difference just about the quoted 5890 yen in taxes (from your first series of screenshots)? Could that be the discrepancy?
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Old Jul 8, 19, 7:45 am
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Originally Posted by bjm5 View Post
I also noticed the smoking room part. I would never go with a smoking room, so will definitely check with Ritz to secure a non-smoking room. By the way, I do have Platinum Elite with Marriott.
My experience with "non-smoking room unavailable" just means the hotel is 100% non-smoking so you don't get a choice. It's Marriott IT after all.
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