"Ultimate Reservation Guarantee" Sham

Old Oct 31, 18, 11:09 am
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: RDU
Programs: Bonvoy Plat
Posts: 218
"Ultimate Reservation Guarantee" Sham

I am a 62 night platinum elite. Prior to the SPG merger most of my stays were with SPG, so Marriott may not value me as much as a legacy Marriott Platinum.

Here is my story. I booked The AC Boston North hotel a week ago using a 35,000 point night cert. I received a reservation confirmation number. I booked flights and tickets to game 1 of the World Series. I booked the hotel Monday morning and my stay was for Tuesday night. I received a call from the hotel a few hours later saying there was a mistake and they do not have any rooms. The said they were cancelling my reservation. I asked them not to because I did not have other accommodations, they did anyway. I asked them what I was supposed to do, they said call Marriott rewards. I called and spent about 3 hours on hold and waiting and I was able to stay in a less convenient AC hotel in Boston. I was given no compensation and used my 35,000 cert for the other hotel.

I looked up the Ultimate reservation Guarantee yesterday and emailed Marriott about my reservation being cancelled and that I should be given 90,000 point, $200USD and my night should have been paid for. Here was the response I received....
Hello XXXXX,

I am sorry your stay at AC Hotel Boston North was cancelled due to no availability. I can understand your concerns with your expectations of being a Platinum member not being meant. However, the hotel did call you in advance so the paid night for your stay does not fall under the being Walked requirements. And the $200 benefit applies as follows:

"If an Elite Member believes that compensation is due with respect to any aspect of the Elite Benefits Guarantee, he/she must request payment of the compensation while still a guest at the Participating Property, prior to checking out. Failure to request such payment prior to check out will result in a complete waiver of any right to receive such compensation."

I am going to share your details that you provided with the executive team at the hotel. They will take action and respond to you soon. I ask that you allow us three to five business days to resolve this issue.

You can count on Marriott to improve your experience in the future.

Thank you for choosing Marriott and we appreciate your loyalty.

Best Regards,

XXXXXXXXX
Marriott Customer Care
Wichita CEC

Is this correct? Am I really due no compensation because they cancelled my reservation 28 hours before check-in?

Last edited by hhoope01; Oct 31, 18 at 11:52 am Reason: removed Marriott employee name per FT posting rules
dnkywhisperer is offline  
Old Oct 31, 18, 11:34 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: May 2002
Programs: AAdvantage Platinum, United Silver, Marriott Titanium Elite
Posts: 1,674
Originally Posted by dnkywhisperer View Post
Is this correct? Am I really due no compensation because they cancelled my reservation 28 hours before check-in?
It's true that the Ultimate Reservation Guarantee applies specifically to being "walked" — arriving at a hotel that is operating but unable to honor your confirmed reservation.

However, the right thing for Marriott to do would have been to offer some sort of customer service adjustment to you to you — points or cash — for the time you had to waste on the phone, the inconvenience of staying at a more distant property, and the general aggravation that accompanied all that.

It wasn't your fault.

Somebody at Marriott or at the hotel was careless if the reservation system allowed you to make a reservation that the hotel had to cancel a few hours later. It should not matter what caused the problem — Marriott should take responsibility and make it up to you. Shame on Marriott for dropping the ball.
Horace is offline  
Old Oct 31, 18, 11:58 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Programs: DL DM, UA Gold, Alaska MVP, Bonvoy (lol) Ambassador
Posts: 2,260
Originally Posted by Horace View Post
It's true that the Ultimate Reservation Guarantee applies specifically to being "walked" — arriving at a hotel that is operating but unable to honor your confirmed reservation.

However, the right thing for Marriott to do would have been to offer some sort of customer service adjustment to you to you — points or cash — for the time you had to waste on the phone, the inconvenience of staying at a more distant property, and the general aggravation that accompanied all that.

It wasn't your fault.

Somebody at Marriott or at the hotel was careless if the reservation system allowed you to make a reservation that the hotel had to cancel a few hours later. It should not matter what caused the problem — Marriott should take responsibility and make it up to you. Shame on Marriott for dropping the ball.
I guess it depends on the definition of "not honoring a reservation" means. To me, canceling a reservation 28 hours in advance is equivalent to not honoring a reservation. But I suppose it is Marriott's interpretation that matters...
strickerj and mdbe like this.
ethernal is offline  
Old Oct 31, 18, 12:08 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: YXT
Programs: AC*E50, SPG Plat,
Posts: 524
Originally Posted by ethernal View Post
I guess it depends on the definition of "not honoring a reservation" means. To me, canceling a reservation 28 hours in advance is equivalent to not honoring a reservation. But I suppose it is Marriott's interpretation that matters...
Agreed. OP had a confirmed reservation and was told the reservation was not being honoured. Whether he was told at the hotel or they telephoned him ahead of time, his confirmed reservation was not honoured. I do not know the finer points of the guarantee so perhaps the way things unfolded is Marriott's "out." However, good customer service would see someone at Marriott live up to the spirit of the guarantee IMO.
somedude3210 is offline  
Old Oct 31, 18, 12:19 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: May 2002
Programs: AAdvantage Platinum, United Silver, Marriott Titanium Elite
Posts: 1,674
Originally Posted by ethernal View Post
I guess it depends on the definition of "not honoring a reservation" means. To me, canceling a reservation 28 hours in advance is equivalent to not honoring a reservation. But I suppose it is Marriott's interpretation that matters...
The definition that matters is the one in the loyalty program Terms & Conditions, with the key phrase bolded by me:

"Pursuant to section 4.1.c. if an Elite Member has a confirmed reservation, but is relocated from the property upon arrival, the Participating Property will pay the Ultimate Reservation Guarantee compensation in place on that date under the Program Rules."

Although the Ultimate Reservation Guarantee does not apply officially, I agree that the spirit of the Ultimate Reservation Guarantee should still apply.

In a proper culture of customer service, this FlyerTalk thread would not exist. An empowered hotel employee or Marriott customer service employee would have provided an appropriate refund of points (partial or full, depending on how much the guest was being inconvenienced), without the guest even having to ask. The guest would conclude, "Well, I didn't get the hotel reservation I wanted because of some sort of glitch, but Marriott took good care of me under the circumstances." That didn't happen here — and it raises questions about what has happened to Marriott's customer service culture.
porciuscato and strickerj like this.

Last edited by Horace; Oct 31, 18 at 12:28 pm
Horace is offline  
Old Oct 31, 18, 12:20 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: DEN
Programs: MR PP, UA Silver, SW A-List, HH Diamond
Posts: 326
From the marriott website (there are probably more in depth rules but I can't find them now):

If for some reason we’re unable to honor your reservation, we’ll pay for your accommodations that night at a nearby hotel and compensate you for the inconvenience. To be eligible, you must provide your member number when making a reservation. Compensation varies by hotel brand."
I don't see how the hotel cancelling the reservation in advance (28 hrs in this case) gets them off for the spirit of the guarantee, though that is not the official wording. It's a Marriott Corporate guarantee too, so they should reimburse themselves and punish the hotels for non-compliance in some meaningful way. If 'walked' only applied to customers that still have reservations when they arrive only to have no room, why wouldn't a hotel just cancel a reservation for whatever reason suits them... 12 hours in advance? 1 hour in advance? I mean the loophole is endless there.

Originally Posted by Horace View Post
It's true that the Ultimate Reservation Guarantee applies specifically to being "walked" — arriving at a hotel that is operating but unable to honor your confirmed reservation.
I had a question re this but now I see you just linked the relevant terms. It does seem like the guarantee is not a guarantee at all. All they have to do is cancel the reservation before one arrives to get out of it? Even though many hotels are issuing a 72 hour cancellation policy themselves?

Now in this case, it could be an issue with the IT overhaul at marriott corporate. I mean would that surprise anyone? But in that case, it should be corporate providing something

Last edited by goldenbear; Oct 31, 18 at 12:26 pm
goldenbear is offline  
Old Oct 31, 18, 12:26 pm
  #7  
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Programs: DL DM, UA Gold, Alaska MVP, Bonvoy (lol) Ambassador
Posts: 2,260
Originally Posted by Horace View Post
The definition that matters is the one in the loyalty program Terms & Conditions, with the key phrase bolded by me:

"Pursuant to section 4.1.c. if an Elite Member has a confirmed reservation, but is relocated from the property upon arrival, the Participating Property will pay the Ultimate Reservation Guarantee compensation in place on that date under the Program Rules."

Although the Ultimate Reservation Guarantee does not apply officially, I agree that the spirit of the Ultimate Reservation Guarantee should still apply.

In a proper culture of customer service, this FlyerTalk thread would not exist. An empowered hotel employee or Marriott customer service employee would have provided an appropriate refund of points (partial or full, depending on how much the guest was being inconvenienced), without the guest even having to ask. The guest would conclude, "Well, I didn't get the hotel reservation I wanted because of some sort of problem, but Marriott took good care of be under the circumstances." That didn't happen here — and it raises questions about what has happened to Marriott's customer service culture.
Then the OP is right. The Ultimate Reservation Guarantee is a sham. Section 4.1.c says Elite Benefit Guarantee (of which the Ultimate Reservation Guarantee is a subset) does not apply to bookings made within 24 hours of arrivals. Since a hotel can cancel 28 hours out, and bookings the day of don't count, there is no reservation guarantee at all.

If this is the new Starriott, I am out. One thing you DON'T mess with is a reservation. If this ever happened to me, I would no longer stay at Starriott properties.
GUWonder likes this.
ethernal is offline  
Old Oct 31, 18, 12:38 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: DEN
Programs: MR PP, UA Silver, SW A-List, HH Diamond
Posts: 326
https://www.marriott.com/loyalty/terms/default.mi

iii. Ultimate Reservation Guarantee. To be eligible, Member's Loyalty Program Member Number and a valid credit card number must be included with the reservation. If a Participating Property is unable to honor the reservation, it will pay for comparable accommodation nearby for the Elite Member that night and compensate the Member for the inconvenience. A Participating Property must be open and operational for the Ultimate Reservation Guarantee benefit/compensation to apply. At The Ritz-Carlton® and St. Regis Hotels, the Ultimate Reservation Guarantee only applies to Platinum Elite and Platinum Premier Elite Members. The Ultimate Reservation Guarantee is offered at the following brands: The Ritz-Carlton®, St. Regis, EDITION®, The Luxury Collection, W Hotels, JW Marriott®, Marriott Hotels®, Sheraton, Delta Hotels®, Le Méridien, Westin, Autograph Collection® Hotels, Renaissance® Hotels, Tribute Portfolio, Gaylord Hotels®, Courtyard®, Four Points, SpringHill Suites®, Protea Hotels®, Fairfield by Marriott®, AC Hotels®, Aloft® Hotels, Moxy® Hotels, Residence Inn®, TownePlace Suites® and Element. The Ultimate Reservation Guarantee is not offered at the following brands: Design Hotels, Marriott Vacation Club, Marriott Grand Residence Club, and participating Vistana properties. Pursuant to section 4.1.c. if an Elite Member has a confirmed reservation, but is relocated from the property upon arrival, the Participating Property will pay the Ultimate Reservation Guarantee compensation in place on that date under the Program Rules. If an Elite Member receives Ultimate Reservation Guarantee compensation, then he/she is not eligible to receive additional Elite Benefits Guarantee compensation.
Upon reading the complete paragraph, anyone want to comment on whether listing the specific situation of being walked disqualifies other instances that are not as specific (ie cancelling before arrival)? I actually don't think that's necessarily true. The first statement I bolder still includes the OP's situation. The property was unable to honor the reservation.

OP, I might be inclined to contact one of the more prominent travel bloggers about this case - because if it's interpreted as they are doing it now, it absolutely makes the guarantee a complete sham.
KRSW likes this.
goldenbear is offline  
Old Oct 31, 18, 12:43 pm
  #9  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: MSY; 2-time FT Fantasy Football Champ, now in recovery.
Programs: AA lifetime GLD; UA Silver; Marriott LTTE; IHG Plat,
Posts: 13,113
I'll agree that in general, the hotel calling the day before to cancel a reservation and owing no compensation at all makes a mockery of the spirit of the guarantee.

But I'm inclined to give the hotel a bit of a break in this case, since the notification came just a few hours after booking. That seems different than canceling a months-old reservation the day before check in.
swag is offline  
Old Oct 31, 18, 12:47 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Programs: DL DM, UA Gold, Alaska MVP, Bonvoy (lol) Ambassador
Posts: 2,260
Originally Posted by goldenbear View Post
https://www.marriott.com/loyalty/terms/default.mi



Upon reading the complete paragraph, anyone want to comment on whether listing the specific situation of being walked disqualifies other instances that are not as specific (ie cancelling before arrival)? I actually don't think that's necessarily true. The first statement I bolder still includes the OP's situation. The property was unable to honor the reservation.

OP, I might be inclined to contact one of the more prominent travel bloggers about this case - because if it's interpreted as they are doing it now, it absolutely makes the guarantee a complete sham.
While vague, the answer is no, in contracts the additional terms in the same section are universally adding conditions to the sections.
ethernal is offline  
Old Oct 31, 18, 1:03 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Somewhere in Florida
Posts: 1,808
So, given the rules... Don't answer any phone calls from the property, don't acknowledge you received any e-mail. Just show up at collect the points + cash.
KRSW is offline  
Old Oct 31, 18, 1:04 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Programs: DL DM, UA Gold, Alaska MVP, Bonvoy (lol) Ambassador
Posts: 2,260
Originally Posted by swag View Post
But I'm inclined to give the hotel a bit of a break in this case, since the notification came just a few hours after booking. That seems different than canceling a months-old reservation the day before check in.
Didn't notice this in the original post (I read "a week ago" and then "28 hours in advance of the booking" and assumed there was a 5 day lag - I didn't realize the whole story was being told in the context of the past). It is an important point. Agree that this is a mitigating factor.

While annoyed and a failure by either Marriott IT, the hotel itself, or both, it is more understandable.
dnkywhisperer likes this.
ethernal is offline  
Old Oct 31, 18, 1:40 pm
  #13  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: YVR
Programs: AC E75K 2MM former 14-year SE; UA MP Premier Silver; Marriott Bonvoy Lifetime Titanium Elite
Posts: 28,031
@dnkywhisperer

Thanks for sharing your story.
That was brutal.
yyznomad is offline  
Old Oct 31, 18, 2:07 pm
  #14  
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Taiwan
Programs: IHG Plat Ambassador, Marriott Platinum Premier, Hilton Gold, AccorHotels Silver, oneworld Sapphire
Posts: 1,079
I don't think Elite Reservation Guarantee compensation applies here and according to T&C it clearly does not. However I would expect some compensation to be offered for the inconvenience caused. Indeed, the situation is not OP's fault. Would be appropriate for Marriott to compensate OP.
barracuda93 is offline  
Old Oct 31, 18, 3:37 pm
  #15  
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: DEN
Programs: MR PP, UA Silver, SW A-List, HH Diamond
Posts: 326
Originally Posted by ethernal View Post
While vague, the answer is no, in contracts the additional terms in the same section are universally adding conditions to the sections.
Anyone know if this language is new since the combine? I've been MR Plat for 10+ years now and honestly can't say I'd read through the rules with a fine tooth comb. No idea what SPG offered in the past.

But it sure sounds like a sham guarantee - this isn't just wiggle room, but a gaping big loophole.

Seems like a property could cancel any reservation they want if it's more profitable for them to do so.


Still quite possible that in this case it was bad IT, but
​​OP, I'm curious if you noticed what the room rate was when you booked on points. Obviously it was a high demand night. Did you by chance happen to check inventory after they cancelled?

I'm not saying every hotel is going to be a bad actor, but just that you can't discount it... And the reservation guarantee doesn't seem to protect against it.

In general, allowing a hotel to just cancel reservations could promote situations as simple as sellling a room block to a higher dollar client, then cancelling reservations of those who are staying at a lower rate or for one night. (That I know has happened to collegues before, with those of us with higher status having our reservations honored).

​​​​​
"Your reservation is guaranteed, except when we decide to cancel it at any time we feel like."
goldenbear is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread