Merrill+ VISA [Consolidated]

Old Apr 25, 05, 7:59 pm
  #76  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Northwest NJ
Programs: Starwood Platinum,Marriott Platinum, United Silver
Posts: 2,303
Scammed by Merrill +

I have been primarily using my AMEX Centurion and Starwood cards, but was intrigued by the benefits (especially the free nights at the Ritz Carlton hotels) of the Merrill+ card and got one. Reached the $20,000 level fairly quickly when I read on this board that redeeming awards is not so easy. It took one month and two calls to finally get my Ritz certificate.

Called tonight to get a Saturday night in NYC at the Ritz Central Park for this June. The agent basically told me that I had no chance of getting any Saturday night - the only potential availability was on Wednesdays and Sundays. Clearly, there was nothing the agent could do about it so I hung up and called Merrill Lynch. I wanted them to know that as someone who has personal and retirement accounts with ML, I felt scammed. Nowhere in their promotional literature does it indicate how hard it will be to get a reservation. The first person I spoke to basically said, "tough." When I asked to speak to her supervisor, she said I was being rude and that she was going to hang up on me, which she did. Trust me - I wasn't the slightest bit rude.

Called back and got a customer service manager. Again calmly expressed my upset - now at also being hung up on! She put me on hold, looked into it, and got a rep from the Ritz on the phone. He explained that it is their flagship property and June is a short time away. That there is certainly availability on other nights of the week. He said they have 50 weeks advance booking. I guess I surprised him by saying I would take any Saturday night they had in the next 50 weeks.

Guess what - not one!

I'm happy that American Airlines matched my elite status thanks to the ML card, but they will get no more of my business. And my ML consultant will also get a call tomorrow. I fear we've been scammed.
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Old Apr 25, 05, 10:22 pm
  #77  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: On a Bridge
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Posts: 1,072
You need to get with dbayeddy2. Apparently, you have just been LYNCHED!
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Old Apr 26, 05, 6:36 am
  #78  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: CT/ Germany - Ich spreche deutsch
Programs: UA Plat, AA Gold, LH Silver, Bonvoy LTTE, HH Dia, Hyatt Disc, PC Plat, CC Gold
Posts: 4,260
I too signed up for the Merrill Lynch card mainly for the Ritz vouchers. I haven't tried to redeem them yet but to be fair to ML, they do mention that the use of the vouchers is capacity controlled. If you try and redeem Marriott or Hilton (programs with capacity controls) points for NYC next month you won't have any luck either. I would probably be upset too if I where in your position (I might be in a month or so when I try to redeem mine) but you are trying to redeem for one of their most expensive properties during the busiest time of year in NYC. Have you looked at alternative properties to see what the availabilty is a little further in advance? As for them hanging up on you, there is no excuse and next time I would make sure to get the agents name and extension when you begin your conversation with them. That way if they hang up on you later you can report them.
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Old Apr 26, 05, 9:24 am
  #79  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Northwest NJ
Programs: Starwood Platinum,Marriott Platinum, United Silver
Posts: 2,303
christian-

maybe you didn't read my post to the end. I said I would take ANY Saturday night in the open 50 weeks they said they had on the computer. We went month by month as the agents got more and more embarrassed and finally had to admit there were no Saturday nights. Seems their definition of "capacity controlled" in NONE!

And Marriott has Stay-Anytime points. You can get the reservation for more points. Here there was nothing. I live in NJ - a one night certificate will reallhy only work for me in NYC.

The Starwood AMEX has never let me down.
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Old Apr 26, 05, 9:39 am
  #80  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: New York, NY, USA
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Posts: 2,584
If they do not have any Sat nite for the next 50 weeks, then ML should revised their T&C. I would appreciate if it says "only Sun - Thurs redemption". Otherwise, it does sound like a bait-&-switch.

I wonder if Ritz categorized their hotels and maybe these cert will just never work for a weekend in top tier resorts, like Hawaii, or NYC. It'll be interesting to find out if any hotels anywhere will take the cert for a Sat nite for the next 50 weeks.
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Old Apr 26, 05, 11:44 am
  #81  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 16
I have 5 day reservation in maui through the labor-day weekend and another 3 day reservation in US virgin island during thanks-giving, last Dec18-23 I spent 5 days in maui too. So far so god for me, also enjoyed their sports express gift card to deliver all my luggages. Redeemed flight tickets to hawaii and caribean with 30K points for each ticket($550 value) plus 10K AA miles for HI flight alone.

Someone is just too greedy, think about what they give you with $20k spending: one domestic ticket up to $400 value, $50+$75 sports express gift card, 1 night ritz. And you want a saturday night at ritz-NYC! the agent did say Wednesday and Sunday is available, for me it is not so bad.

As for SPG, they are good, but no room after Dec24 avaiable for my maui trip.

Originally Posted by adamak
If they do not have any Sat nite for the next 50 weeks, then ML should revised their T&C. I would appreciate if it says "only Sun - Thurs redemption". Otherwise, it does sound like a bait-&-switch.

I wonder if Ritz categorized their hotels and maybe these cert will just never work for a weekend in top tier resorts, like Hawaii, or NYC. It'll be interesting to find out if any hotels anywhere will take the cert for a Sat nite for the next 50 weeks.
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Old Apr 26, 05, 11:46 am
  #82  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: CT/ Germany - Ich spreche deutsch
Programs: UA Plat, AA Gold, LH Silver, Bonvoy LTTE, HH Dia, Hyatt Disc, PC Plat, CC Gold
Posts: 4,260
Just called to check some availability for dates I was thinking about using the vouchers in various locations and here is what I have found out for 3 different properties:

1. Ritz Carlton NYC Central Park - No availability after Aug. 30. I was looking for a two day stay in Dec. Agent said that sometime specific properties will block out times to later open them up after they see how many regular reservations they have received.
2. Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel - Plenty of 4 days blocks availabe in both Sept. and Oct. Agent gave me numerous dates where we could arrive and stay for 4 nights. (not just weeknights!)
3. Ritz Carlton South Beach Miami - Shown to not be participating in the booking system. Agent said he would pass this problem on to a supervisor because they where listed as a participating hotel on the voucher.

Overall there seem to be some problems but with flexibility there should be a solution to using the vouchers for me. As mentioned before, I would have to be flexible if I was using Marriott or Hilton points too! (Thank God for SPG for those other non flexible trips!)

Last edited by christianj; Apr 26, 05 at 11:58 am
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Old Apr 28, 05, 4:59 pm
  #83  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Northwest NJ
Programs: Starwood Platinum,Marriott Platinum, United Silver
Posts: 2,303
Okay - three days later and I'm a lot calmer than when I started this thread. Still annoyed, but mostly at being hung up on.

You all should know that I passed my posting along to my financial consultant at Merrill Lynch and he took the matter very seriously. His attitude was that the consultants work hard to develop long-term relationships and that they resent that misleading products and unprofessional low-level telephone people can put them in jeopardy. Amazingly, he passed my letter along and it seems to be near the top of the food chain.

I expect nothing - at most a letter of apology. He did stress that all calls are recorded and everyone seems to want to hear the call. I'll let you all know if something significant happens.
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Old Apr 28, 05, 6:13 pm
  #84  
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Programs: DL Diamond, UA 1K GS, Marriott Plat Prem, SPG Plat, Hilton Gold, Avis Chairman, National Exec Elite
Posts: 633
Originally Posted by stevens397
christian-

maybe you didn't read my post to the end. I said I would take ANY Saturday night in the open 50 weeks they said they had on the computer. We went month by month as the agents got more and more embarrassed and finally had to admit there were no Saturday nights. Seems their definition of "capacity controlled" in NONE!

And Marriott has Stay-Anytime points. You can get the reservation for more points. Here there was nothing. I live in NJ - a one night certificate will reallhy only work for me in NYC.

The Starwood AMEX has never let me down.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't there 52 weeks in a year? If this is true, then the ML+ Card is a waste!
Kyle53719 is offline  
Old Apr 29, 05, 4:09 pm
  #85  
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Join Date: May 2000
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Originally Posted by Kyle53719
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't there 52 weeks in a year? If this is true, then the ML+ Card is a waste!
There are 52 weeks in a year but you can only book 50 weeks in advance.
Doppy is offline  
Old May 2, 05, 8:52 am
  #86  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 177
Here's my story.... I am only 3,000 pts (1pt = $1 spent on the card) away from becoming ML Visa +2 benefits level.

I am trying to obtain +2 benefits level so I can get comped the AAdvantage Status Match for the end of this month, because I am flying to Maui in late May on AA. And would like the Gold Status so I can pick a better seat for my 13 hour flight from NYC.

I have spent around $17,000 from 1/1 - 5/1/05 and on 12/1/04 I spent $12,000. They refuse to bump me up to +2 benefits level base on "good faith". they said the points are accumulated on an annual basis so the $12,000 I spend last December doesn't count.

Personally I think that's poor service on their part since I am on my way to spend about $100,000 annually with this card. I am deciding to cancel soon.

Anyone have luck accelarating their ML Visa + into +2??
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Old May 3, 05, 8:05 pm
  #87  
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Coconut Creek, FL
Programs: AA Lifetime Platinum-2 MM Starwood Plat,Delta DM
Posts: 947
Originally Posted by stevens397
I have been primarily using my AMEX Centurion and Starwood cards, but was intrigued by the benefits (especially the free nights at the Ritz Carlton hotels) of the Merrill+ card and got one. Reached the $20,000 level fairly quickly when I read on this board that redeeming awards is not so easy. It took one month and two calls to finally get my Ritz certificate.

Called tonight to get a Saturday night in NYC at the Ritz Central Park for this June. The agent basically told me that I had no chance of getting any Saturday night - the only potential availability was on Wednesdays and Sundays. Clearly, there was nothing the agent could do about it so I hung up and called Merrill Lynch. I wanted them to know that as someone who has personal and retirement accounts with ML, I felt scammed. Nowhere in their promotional literature does it indicate how hard it will be to get a reservation. The first person I spoke to basically said, "tough." When I asked to speak to her supervisor, she said I was being rude and that she was going to hang up on me, which she did. Trust me - I wasn't the slightest bit rude.

Called back and got a customer service manager. Again calmly expressed my upset - now at also being hung up on! She put me on hold, looked into it, and got a rep from the Ritz on the phone. He explained that it is their flagship property and June is a short time away. That there is certainly availability on other nights of the week. He said they have 50 weeks advance booking. I guess I surprised him by saying I would take any Saturday night they had in the next 50 weeks.

Guess what - not one!

I'm happy that American Airlines matched my elite status thanks to the ML card, but they will get no more of my business. And my ML consultant will also get a call tomorrow. I fear we've been scammed.
I got a reservation in Central Park n July with a Sat night. I had to cal a few times. They open up dates and the booking is a little strange. If you keep calling you will find dates. Maybe not n June but you will find dates. Considering this is a flagsship property the reviews I have seen are just ok. Why not ty Ritz battery park. Better reviews than central park. Considering the nature of the benefit I still think the program is good.

Robert
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Old May 21, 05, 9:18 pm
  #88  
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: San Clemente , CA
Programs: UNITED 1K (1 MILLION MILE FLYER), MARRIOTT PLATINUM,HILTON DIAMOND
Posts: 100
Beware Merrill Plus Account Holders!!!!!

Merrill Plus MBNA Account Holders Beware! The new Merrill Plus website was activated tonight. Nowhere in the benefits section does it mention the free Ritz Carlton night certificates! As you know,previously when you would attain Merrill Plus 1 designation ( spending $20,000 in calendar year) you would receive 1 Free Night at Ritz Carlton Hotels. When you would reach $50,000 spend in a Calendar Year,you would receive an additional 3 nights at Ritz Carlton. I called Customer Services at MBNA and they were absolutely clueless on whether this benefit has been discontinued. I have sent an email to MBNA CS and will let you know their response ( if they ever respond).
MISSION is offline  
Old May 22, 05, 1:21 pm
  #89  
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: SF Eastbay
Programs: AA Plt-Lite 2MM,HH Gld, MR Plat
Posts: 608
It's still in the Terms and Conditions:


https://rewards.ml.com/MLRewardsCent...ons.htm#Travel
sbc94523 is offline  
Old May 22, 05, 2:01 pm
  #90  
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: San Clemente , CA
Programs: UNITED 1K (1 MILLION MILE FLYER), MARRIOTT PLATINUM,HILTON DIAMOND
Posts: 100
Not In The New Website Terms!

I just went to the New " Merrill Plus " website. When you click on the link on the left side of the page, " Program Rules",there is absolutely NOTHING mentioned in the program benefits or Rules indicating ANY Ritz Carlton free night(s) benefits. I hope this is just a misprint or an omission error,but knowing how Merrill and MBNA work,my "gut feeling" is that this Ritz Carlton benefit has been discontinued. If you look on the Home Page for Hotel Parners, Ritz Carlton is not even mentioned!

Last edited by MISSION; May 22, 05 at 2:16 pm Reason: more info
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