Cancellation fee- do I have any recourse?

Old Aug 27, 19, 2:31 pm
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Cancellation fee- do I have any recourse?

I booked a Labor Day trip with the Mrs. to JW Marco Island with a (ridiculous) 7-day advance cancellation period. Well now looking at the big storm cone blanketing Florida, my wife does not want to travel there and I don't blame her. If I cancel I get hit with a $371 charge which nobody will waive. Nobody really seems to care or even make an effort to help. As a Lifetime Titanium with 76 nights already this year I'm really kind of disgusted with Marriott service. I called the so-called "titanium line" and that rep could not have cared less. 'Call the hotel' was the response. It's not so much the money, although that's important, but I've been loyal to Marriott through all the merger issues and had never once thought about leaving. Now I feel like my loyalty over the last 12 years doesn't mean a thing to them. Is there anything I can do here? I know by the letter of the law they are in the right, a 7-day cancellation is what it is. It just leaves a really bad taste in my mouth and quite honestly makes me want to status match elsewhere for my next 10 years of business and personal travel.
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Old Aug 27, 19, 2:53 pm
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I'd wait a bit- the storm is still a bit far out. You may have more luck once airlines issue waivers for that area. At the moment I've only seen airline waivers for PR.
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Old Aug 27, 19, 2:54 pm
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The trip is 7 days away. If there is a big storm coming, then wait till the last minute and they may give you a refund. But, the storm can always go another way and there is no need for you or Mrs. to panic.
You are still lucky with a 7 day cancellation policy. I have seen policies with 1 month or even 2 month cancellation policy on flexible rates.
As for the taste that you are left with Marriott, I don't understand how Marriott is wrong here. Do you think Hilton or Hyatt would have done something different ?? No way!
You are a lifetime Titanium. It's going to take a long time before you will get any status closer to it, but if you still want to go that route for a measly $371 then I guess it's your choice/
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Old Aug 27, 19, 3:01 pm
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If it's something really serious, like a hurricane, Marriott issues a statement and hotels impacted by it waive cancellation fees for confirmed reservations. Airlines typically also waive change fees and cancellations fees under such circumstances.

If it's just bad weather — thunderstorms and winds are common in Florida this time of year — then I would expect regular cancellation fees to apply.

So the question is, will Marco Island just experience bad weather around Labor Day? Or will it be a serious situation, possibly involving evacuation of the island?

It makes sense to me that a reservationist at a call center would recommend that you call the hotel directly if there's not an official waiver in place.

Let's face it. One of the reasons for a 7-day cancellation rule instead of a 2-day cancellation rule is to avoid having half the guests cancel if the 5-day weather outlook calls for rain.
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Old Aug 27, 19, 3:19 pm
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I absolutely agree that Marriott is not in the wrong here, and yes $371 is not worth dying on that hill, but it's not like I'm a serial canceller. I don't think I've ever contacted Marriott for anything significant in 12 years. I just think that exceptions can be made and it would have been nice for them to feign like they were trying at the very least. I think the dismissive attitude of the CSR probably is what made me dig in on this. I've vented. I'll surrender.
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Old Aug 27, 19, 3:31 pm
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Originally Posted by sabre31_98 View Post
It's not so much the money, although that's important, but I've been loyal to Marriott through all the merger issues and had never once thought about leaving. Now I feel like my loyalty over the last 12 years doesn't mean a thing to them. Is there anything I can do here? I know by the letter of the law they are in the right, a 7-day cancellation is what it is. It just leaves a really bad taste in my mouth and quite honestly makes me want to status match elsewhere for my next 10 years of business and personal travel.
Firstly, I think you need to separate your loyalty from Marriott's policy. Loyalty does not preclude the policy. Your post screams of entitlement.

Your frustration is apparent but seeking a waiver based on Titanium status isn't appropriate. You state the $371 isn't a lot of money yet you are willing to move on with ill formed expectations your Loyalt doesn't provide you with.

Now, having said that, I am also a Titanium and have two instances where I was unable to arrive for the reservation. On both occassions I was accommodated by the property when I chatted with them through the App.

The first time was a 24 hour delay arriving in Sydney. I had a reservation at the Marriott at Circular Quay that I had already checked in for. I explained my situation and they happily shortened my stay by one night without charge.

The second was in Sao Paulo Brazil. My Visa did not process before my flight and I had to wait for a couple of days in Dubai. Again, I was already checked-in on a two night points stay. The Renaissance Sao Paulo was very helpful and cancelled my reservation outright. The points returned to my account. I was not charged a cancellation fee.

I always work directly with the property. I have been lucky with sympathetic properties when approaching them professionally and respectfully. If I was to go in with an "I am a Titanium Elite" attitude the outcome would most likely be to the "letter of the law."

I would wait until check-in opens (you don't have to actually check in) and talk directly with the property.

James
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Old Aug 27, 19, 3:48 pm
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As an experienced traveler, you presumably know the policy and made a decision to book a property with a 7-day cancellation policy (which, these days is hardly unusual).

At this point, the property has no reason to grant you an exception and it may never. But, there is a vast difference between danger and simply not wanting to go somewhere with a bit of rain & wind. The latter, depending on your travel insurance, may be covered. Have you checked it yet?
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Old Aug 27, 19, 3:48 pm
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Originally Posted by sabre31_98 View Post
I absolutely agree that Marriott is not in the wrong here, and yes $371 is not worth dying on that hill, but it's not like I'm a serial canceller. I don't think I've ever contacted Marriott for anything significant in 12 years. I just think that exceptions can be made and it would have been nice for them to feign like they were trying at the very least. I think the dismissive attitude of the CSR probably is what made me dig in on this. I've vented. I'll surrender.
Your mistake was to call Customer Service. They can't override the hotel's cancellation policy. Only the hotel can do that! I've canceled a reservation after midnight of my check in day and the hotel waived the cancellation fee. But I called the hotel directly.
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Old Aug 27, 19, 4:08 pm
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Originally Posted by sabre31_98 View Post
I absolutely agree that Marriott is not in the wrong here, and yes $371 is not worth dying on that hill, but it's not like I'm a serial canceller. I don't think I've ever contacted Marriott for anything significant in 12 years. I just think that exceptions can be made and it would have been nice for them to feign like they were trying at the very least. I think the dismissive attitude of the CSR probably is what made me dig in on this. I've vented. I'll surrender.
Have you only spoken with the reservation call center? I'm not surprised that the agents and supervisors have to follow the rate rules of the hotel.

Or have you spoken to a manager at the hotel? Maybe, if you explain nicely, a manager might bend the rules. You might explain that you and your wife expect to be unable to use the reservation and that you're aware that you're beyond the cancellation period. Mention your status carefully so that it's not misinterpreted as "Do you know who I am?"

I looked at Marco Island on weather.com. The 10-day forecast shows "Scattered Thunderstorms" on days when you are likely to be there. There's not a Tropical Storm Warning or anything else along those lines. I don't think you can demand a waiver based on a storm threatening Puerto Rico, more than a thousand miles away — even if the remnants of that storm might cause some rain on Marco Island in the future.

I also looked at NOAA online. There is not a hurricane forming at this time. Tropical Storm Dorian is strong enough to threaten Puerto Rico with winds and rain; by the time its remnants are at Florida on September 1, it's expected to fizzle out to just a breeze.

I've been to Florida a number of times when the weather forecast called for daily thunderstorms — and I've managed to have great vacations anyway. Yes, I had to go indoors for an hour on days when a storm came through. On other days, the thunderstorms bypassed where I was.
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Last edited by Horace; Aug 27, 19 at 4:34 pm
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Old Aug 27, 19, 4:19 pm
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This is not exactly your situation, but I have cancelled reservations after the cancellation deadline and had the penalty waived due to flight cancellations, delays, etc. Usually this happens within 24 hours of arrival. I have had success both through Marriott CS and calling the hotel directly (depending on if it's a points reservation or a cash reservation). My most recent success was just last week.

I would wait. If the storms get bad, airlines will start issuing waivers/cancelling flights, and you'll have a stronger leg on which to argue that your reservation should be cancelled without penalty.
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Old Aug 27, 19, 4:42 pm
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Originally Posted by flyingeph12 View Post
This is not exactly your situation, but I have cancelled reservations after the cancellation deadline and had the penalty waived due to flight cancellations, delays, etc. Usually this happens within 24 hours of arrival. I have had success both through Marriott CS and calling the hotel directly (depending on if it's a points reservation or a cash reservation). My most recent success was just last week.

I would wait. If the storms get bad, airlines will start issuing waivers/cancelling flights, and you'll have a stronger leg on which to argue that your reservation should be cancelled without penalty.
This is usually possible at non-resort properties more so than vacation destinations
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Old Aug 27, 19, 5:53 pm
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Originally Posted by sabre31_98 View Post
...
Well now looking at the big storm cone blanketing Florida, my wife does not want to travel there and I don't blame her.
...
@sabre31_98 :

Going back to the first post in this thread...

Perhaps your wife saw a graphic of Tropical Storm Dorian on television news, without proper interpretation by the weather caster. It's not a "big storm cone blanketing Florida." As I've already noted in this thread, some parts of Florida will get the relatively mild remnants of a storm that's now a thousand miles away.

The cone does not mean that the storm is getting bigger and bigger.

The cone represents the range of the probable track of the center of the storm. The most probable path has it heading toward Central Florida, but it could take a more northerly or southerly path within the range of the cone. If it takes a very southerly path within the cone, then it would be heading toward Marco Island. But, even in that case, it should be so weak by then as to be of no significant consequence.

To see actual charts from NOAA, go to https://www.nhc.noaa.gov and scroll down to Tropical Storm Dorian. Be sure to read the explanations and what the color codes indicate.

If Mrs. Horace and I had a plans for a Labor Day weekend stay at the JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort, we would not let a graphic of a distant storm (and its cone) on TV stop us. We would proceed with the plans and enjoy the beautiful resort!

And we certainly wouldn't flush a huge cancellation fee down the drain.
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Old Aug 27, 19, 6:11 pm
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Always call the property directly. Corporate can do nothing about it. This is true for every hotel chain.
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Old Aug 27, 19, 6:42 pm
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If they stay firm on the cancellation penalty and you decide not to travel, you might ask if they will move the dates to another time you could travel there.

That being said, I would wait until the forecast gets a little closer to your travel date so you and the hotel have a better idea of what your trying to avoid.
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Old Aug 27, 19, 7:10 pm
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Originally Posted by birdiedouble View Post
If they stay firm on the cancellation penalty and you decide not to travel, you might ask if they will move the dates to another time you could travel there.

That being said, I would wait until the forecast gets a little closer to your travel date so you and the hotel have a better idea of what your trying to avoid.
Actually, have you tried to change your dates online? I've never done it, but I think you might be able to push out your reservation to say a month off, and then cancel. Sometimes Marriott's crappy IT works in your favour!
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