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Possible New Bonvoy Government Rate Requirements

Possible New Bonvoy Government Rate Requirements

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Old Mar 31, 19, 9:07 pm
  #1  
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Possible New Bonvoy Government Rate Requirements

I have been staying recently in Florida and am on a government project where we are told we have to book the government rate. We have written authorization for this rate as it is a long term project and have had to hop around hotels to whoever is offering the government rate for the week.

I have been working on this project for the last 6 months and show my government ID at check-in to verify eligibility. Over the past few weeks, I have been asked if I had a tax exempt form for my stay and I informed the person checking me in that my stay is not tax exempt to please charge me the taxes. I found this strange to ask but maybe someone wanted to make sure that I had the best rate. This is happening at both legacy SPG and Marriott properties.

Fast forward to two days ago and I tried to check in and then I was told I HAD to have a government-issued credit card in order to check in using the government rate and that the only way to have a tax-exempt stay would be to use this credit card. I told the check in person that I did not need a tax-exempt stay so that was not necessary. The check-in person apologized for the inconvenience but said they had a big meeting the day before I checked in and were given a new directive to only accept check-ins booked under the government rate with a government-issued ID card. They did not allow me to check in under that rate and said I could just cancel the reservation. I told them that was fine and walked my Lifetime Titanium Elite self (Over 2000 nights) to the Hyatt a couple of blocks away where the rest of the team stays on the government rate and that was pretty much the final nail in the coffin for me for Bonvoy. (The Hyatt is brand new construction and goes out of their way to have our team stay there on the government rate.)

Has anyone else run into this issue or is this the new way that Bonvoy trying to say Bon Voyage to more customers?

Last edited by bdschobel; Apr 1, 19 at 1:32 am
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Old Mar 31, 19, 9:14 pm
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Are you a government employee or a do you work for a government contractor?

Is this a USA federal government project or is it state/local government?

Check the terms for your government rate plan at the property. Some hotels have more than one government rate plan, often for the same rate, with different conditions, while the terms can also depend on the property. Also, some government rates seem to be designed for the military. Some government rates are fine for government employees to use for personal travel, which of course would not be tax exempt.

Nevertheless, the conditions at the time you made the reservation should prevail, not additional requirements that were imposed just before your arrival.
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Old Mar 31, 19, 10:24 pm
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Government rate acceptance and rules are set by the individual property, not Marriott.
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Old Mar 31, 19, 10:30 pm
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Originally Posted by Xu Guan View Post
I have been staying recently in Florida and am on a government project where we are told we have to book the government rate. We have written authorization for this rate as it is a long term project and have had to hop around hotels to whoever is offering the government rate for the week.

I have been working on this project for the last 6 months and show my government ID at check-in to verify eligibility. Over the past few weeks, I have been asked if I had a tax exempt form for my stay and I informed the person checking me in that my stay is not tax exempt to please charge me the taxes. I found this strange to ask but maybe someone wanted to make sure that I had the best rate. This is happening at both legacy SPG and Marriott properties.

Fast forward to two days ago and I tried to check in and then I was told I HAD to have a government-issued credit card in order to check in using the government rate and that the only way to have a tax-exempt stay would be to use this credit card. I told the check in person that I did not need a tax-exempt stay so that was not necessary. The check-in person apologized for the inconvenience but said they had a big meeting the day before I checked in and were given a new directive to only accept check-ins booked under the government rate with a government-issued ID card. They did not allow me to check in under that rate and said I could just cancel the reservation. I told them that was fine and walked my Lifetime Titanium Elite self (Over 2000 nights) to the Hyatt a couple of blocks away where the rest of the team stays on the government rate and that was pretty much the final nail in the coffin for me for Bonvoy. (The Hyatt is brand new construction and goes out of their way to have our team stay there on the government rate.)

Has anyone else run into this issue or is this the new way that Bonvoy trying to say Bon Voyage to more customers?
Seems to me you're mixing issues

1. Military and federal civilian employees don't need a government credit card to use the government rate but that is one way of proving eligibility. Historically, Marriott government rates were at the per diem rate and didn't require the guest to be on official business. Some Starwood hotels, however, charged government rates higher than per diem and required the guest to be on official business. Marriott has allowed hotels to follow the Starwood policies. Hilton almost always follows the official business requirement but II've never had it enforced.

2. Some locales allow official stays to be tax exempt. The requirements of that vary from locale to locale but at least a couple of places in my experience require the use of a government credit card under the theory that the federal government is paying directly.


But ... since you're working on a government project with a letter ... sounds like you are not a federal employee, notwithstanding that you may have an access card. Cost reimburseable government contractors aren't eligible for the Marriott governem

Some hotels, however, are perfectly happy to allow government contractors to use the government rate even though they aren't technically eligible. I'm attaching the link to the official rules which look to be the same as always (other than allowing hotels to follow the legacy Starwood policy if they want to)

https://www.marriott.com/File%20Bloc...eals/chart.htm

And ... if there are several of you, why not just speak to the GM at the property you want to stay at? Tell the GM that there are X of you staying in the area for Y weeks and that you need a rate at or below the federal per diem rate. While you're at it, ask if they can throw in breakfast and parking. A few people on a several week long project have negotiating power. Like airlines, hotels watch their rates and stop offering government rates when they are full. But, I've had at least a couple of hotels over the years override that restriction when they know I'm a regular guest.

As this applies to government contractors seeking to use the government rate, this is a topic brought up several times over the years

No more government rate for contractors
https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/marriott-rewards/1616969-federal-gov-rate-being-enforced-more-strongly-now-starting-oct-2014-a.html


I acknowledge this can be frustrating. Government contractors are required to use the government rate but many hotels don't offer it to government contractors. It's all about the GM ....

Last edited by C17PSGR; Mar 31, 19 at 10:49 pm
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Old Apr 1, 19, 8:11 pm
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[Realized this is largely a duplicate of the same points as [url=https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/members/c17psgr.html]C17PSGR -- apologies]

I do not think anything has changed.

https://www.marriott.com/help/rates-faqs.mi
"To be eligible for government discount rates, guests must be an active duty member of the military or current employee of any level of local, county, state, or federal government within the United States."

Government contractors--which is what it sounds like the OP is--are not eligible for Marriott government rates, at least officially:
https://www.marriott.com/File%20Bloc...eals/chart.htm

This is not new.

I'm a federal employee, and our office does sometimes have contractors work for our office who are only reimbursed per the government per diem rates. We issue them letters, etc., but the hotel is under no obligation to honor per diem or allow them to book the government rates. It's a property decision. Many will work with them because it's good business in many cases to do so. I'd suggest talking to the hotel management about your needs to work out an arrangement.
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Last edited by soitgoes; Apr 1, 19 at 8:13 pm Reason: add note
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Old Apr 1, 19, 8:37 pm
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Originally Posted by soitgoes View Post
[ Many will work with them because it's good business in many cases to do so. I'd suggest talking to the hotel management about your needs to work out an arrangement.
Exactly.

For example, I had a hotel that I would visit for a week several times for a year on official military travel. They wouldn't always have the whole week open. One morning before I was going to move to a CY, I ended up speaking with the GM and explaining I could commit informally to staying there 40 or 50 nights a year. He said they would override the rates on my stays as long as there wasn't a major convention in town.
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Old Apr 1, 19, 10:40 pm
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At this point FD personnel don't know whether Titanium is above or below Plat, so this level of nuance is likely to fall beyond their reach (and very likely that of their management/ownership). The state of FL has long had a tax exemption option via either a certificate or a photocopy of a gov credit card. Holding a gov credit card is not a qualifying requirement for a gov rate, however. I have several hundred SPG/Marriott nights in the state of FL under my belt, and I've only ever had to engage in debate on this a couple of times over the years (I've always ultimately prevailed in arguing the difference between qualifying for the rate via a government ID versus needing a government-issued CC).

So there's that last part to be considered, OP - do you at least have a CAC or something along that line to demonstrate that, although you may not hold a gov CC, you are at least affiliated with a government agency? If not, the hotel was right to turn you away. If so, they're confusing that which qualifies for a gov rate vs. that which qualifies for tax exemption. This is a FL/property issue more so than it is a Bonvoy issue.

Edit: In re-reading your original post, it's clear that you (OP) do indeed have some form of ID versus just a letter. So the hotel FD staff has been given poor direction from their management chain, apparently.

Last edited by CCIE_Flyer; Apr 1, 19 at 10:48 pm
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