Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Hotels and Places to Stay > Marriott | Marriott Bonvoy > Marriott | Rewards
Reload this Page >

Is Federal Gov Rate being enforced more strongly now (Starting Oct 2014)?

Is Federal Gov Rate being enforced more strongly now (Starting Oct 2014)?

Reply

Old Sep 30, 14, 10:58 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: LAS - I'm All In!
Programs: UA 1K 1MM, Marriott PP
Posts: 3,620
Is Federal Gov Rate being enforced more strongly now (Starting Oct 2014)?

First let me say, I am a gov't contractor working on a contract funded by the Air Force. I realize that the Marriott Fed gov rate has wording that says I am not eligible for the rate. That said, in over 700 nights now I have never had an issue. Until tonight...

I just got turned away (denied the ability to use the fed gov rate) from two FS Marriott in Downtown San Antonio. The story from both was the same, that as of today, there were being stricter on those that could use gov rate. One front desk manager even said, it was Marriott (corporate?) that was driving this enforcement and they were going to have "mystery shoppers" coming around. At both hotels, after being asked for ID, (which I would say only happens 15% of the time anyway) and showing my federal govt contractor ID I was told they both had a contractor rate (one about $30 over PD rate and one $90). As a point of reference, I have stayed at both these hotels at least twice each over the past two years on gov rate without issues. After the second refusal, we ended up at a 3rd FS Marriott (not downtown) and had no issues.

That said, are any other contractors seeing similar issues?

To clarify, I know I am not "entitled" to the rate as a contractor. However, I am trying to work within confines of my contract wording which make me travel in accordance with the JTR. Therefore, I need to stay at gov rate in cities when I can. I'm trying to determine if this is going to be an issue going forward. In a city like SAT, there really isn't an issue in finding a limited-service Marriott within the per diem rate, however, in other cities it could be.
trekwars2000 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Oct 1, 14, 6:05 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Ewing, NJ
Programs: OnePass, Delta
Posts: 233
Well, it does sound like you have to anticipate that the 'Contractor' at these and other Marriott's will be strictly enforced. For the next contract signing, take this into consideration upfront or possibly stay at a hotel other than Marriott for the rate, if that is the real issue, beyond comfort and preference.
bo1953 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Oct 1, 14, 7:07 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Programs: Marriott Rewards Platinum Premier, SPG Plat, Delta Skymiles Silver Medallion
Posts: 102
I am a state government employee that travels nationwide, and one of my co-workers mentioned a few weeks ago that an employee at one of the FS Marriotts in San Diego said they were going to stop accepting state government IDs since they are considered "contractors" - so maybe this is something they are cracking down on.
kbh1234 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Oct 1, 14, 7:30 am
  #4  
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Marin County
Programs: None - previously UA
Posts: 2,481
Surely they should just be restricting availability of the rate at booking? The only reason they care now is that room rates and occupancy are up.
escapefromphl is online now  
Reply With Quote
Old Oct 1, 14, 8:00 am
  #5  
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: DCA
Programs: MR Plat; AA Gold; UA Silver
Posts: 328
As a Fed government employee I frequently book a Fed govt rate. I usually offer my Fed ID as my picture ID when I check in. The ONE TIME I didn't, I got asked (as the Anaheim FFI).

And how on Earth are state government employees "contractors"?? The FDC must have been mistaken.
jlb3 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Oct 1, 14, 8:25 am
  #6  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
2019 FlyerTalk Awards
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Minneapolis: DL DM charter 2.3MM
Programs: A3*Gold, SPG Plat, HyattDiamond, MarriottPP, LHW exAccess, ICI, Raffles Amb, NW PE MM, TWA Gold MM
Posts: 76,894
Yep, although I've seen some state government rates that only apply to employees of that particular state, so one needs to read the rules before booking a particular government rate.

I've also seen hotels with two federal government rates that are identical, but one allows contractors but not the other one.
MSPeconomist is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Oct 1, 14, 8:29 am
  #7  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: DCA
Programs: UA US CO AA DL FL
Posts: 39,048
Bear in mind that the terms of so-called "government rates" are determined by the property/chain rather than with airfares and the like which are negotiated with and then established by GSA schedule.

"Federal government employees" means employees. It doesn't mean contractors. Some rates will include contractors and some properties will have a separate rate for contractors. Same thing for state & local employees. It may also be that the federal contractor rate is the same as the state employee rate. And it may be that some some rates are for employees of certain states only and may or may not include entities such as the state university system.

All this means is that a property has set its rate either at or below the GSA-established reimbursement rate for federal employees. In some instances, the federal employee rate may be above the GSA reimbursement rate and that leaves the employee the option of sucking it up or seeking approval for a rate above the per diem.

Clearly with the economy improving and more business travel, properties are cracking down because it costs them money. No different than any other unauthorized discount.

Last edited by Often1; Oct 1, 14 at 8:40 am
Often1 is online now  
Reply With Quote
Old Oct 1, 14, 2:15 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Programs: United 1K, MR Plat, SPG Plat
Posts: 804
As an eligible federal employee, all I know is that it is getting a lot harder to find Government per diem rate availability at FS Marriotts or Rens downtown in major cities even several months out. Even CYs and FFIs don't have availability, so if I want to stay at Marriott and I can find the gov't rate, I wind up having to stay several miles outside the city center and commuting in.

At a recent stay for a conference at the JW Marriott Desert Springs, I was informed by the Front Desk Supervisor that Marriott recently instituted a 100% ID check for guests utilizing the federal government rate, this is supposed to be across the chain. According to the supervisor, guests who can not produce a valid federal government agency photo ID would be offered the best available rate at the time of check-in. Apparently there is an edit check the front desk has to perform at check in to confirm the ID was verified so the federal government rate loads into the system.


Regards,

RIP...
OU812 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Oct 1, 14, 2:50 pm
  #9  
2019 FlyerTalk Awards
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: St. Paul, MN
Programs: DL DM 4.2 MM MQM , Marriott Lifetime PP , Hertz PC
Posts: 2,530
Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
I've also seen hotels with two federal government rates that are identical, but one allows contractors but not the other one.
How do you search for the contractor rate? As a contractor with a contractor ID I am having the same problem finding rates within per diem.
hnewman is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Oct 1, 14, 3:18 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: ATL
Programs: Marriott Platinum, Delta Kryptonium Medallion, National Executive
Posts: 1,888
Originally Posted by bo1953 View Post
Well, it does sound like you have to anticipate that the 'Contractor' at these and other Marriott's will be strictly enforced. For the next contract signing, take this into consideration upfront or possibly stay at a hotel other than Marriott for the rate, if that is the real issue, beyond comfort and preference.
Easier said than done. Requiring contractors to book at the government rate is often non-negotiable with government agencies, particularly at the state level. I have government clients who even insist on seeing the government rate when we submit receipts, even if we're willing to pay the difference.

Sure, we could stay someplace else where they are more lenient on policy. But why should we? I've been loyal to the Marriott brand for years and I would hope they would return that loyalty in this situation. As long as they have safeguards in place to control abuse, there should be no difference in whether I wear a government ID around my neck or a contractor's. Ultimately, the room is being payed for by the government client and the taxpayers.
plagwate is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Oct 1, 14, 3:26 pm
  #11  
2019 FlyerTalk Awards
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: St. Paul, MN
Programs: DL DM 4.2 MM MQM , Marriott Lifetime PP , Hertz PC
Posts: 2,530
Originally Posted by plagwate View Post
Easier said than done. Requiring contractors to book at the government rate is often non-negotiable with government agencies, particularly at the state level. I have government clients who even insist on seeing the government rate when we submit receipts, even if we're willing to pay the difference.

Sure, we could stay someplace else where they are more lenient on policy. But why should we? I've been loyal to the Marriott brand for years and I would hope they would return that loyalty in this situation. As long as they have safeguards in place to control abuse, there should be no difference in whether I wear a government ID around my neck or a contractor's. Ultimately, the room is being payed for by the government client and the taxpayers.
+1 exactly the same issue here
hnewman is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Oct 1, 14, 3:27 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 8
I am also a contractor working for a defense company on a Navy contract. My company requires me to book travel through our company-managed travel site. A couple weeks ago, the FY15 per diem rates were not loaded into the system yet, so our company rate at any hotel selected was higher than per diem.

For an upcoming trip in October(FY15), what I had to do was book at the company rate, higher than per diem. Then I called the hotel directly(Marriott Tysons Corner VA) and asked if they can extend a per diem rate to me even though I'm a contractor and explain how my company has a negotiated rate that is equal to per diem. They happily obliged and changed my reservation to the "Federal Govt rate" that now shows on my confirmation online when I log into Marriott.com They are the ones that changed it to that, I didn't select that rate...

After reading this, I might be printing out hard copies from our travel website that shows our company rate is indeed equal to per diem. And worst case I could call our travel agency and have them rebook the hotels at our rate, which by now should be equal to per diem since they should have loaded it in now.
ak3883 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Oct 1, 14, 5:35 pm
  #13  
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 138
Originally Posted by trekwars2000 View Post
First let me say, I am a gov't contractor working on a contract funded by the Air Force. I realize that the Marriott Fed gov rate has wording that says I am not eligible for the rate. That said, in over 700 nights now I have never had an issue. Until tonight...
It sounds like you got away with receiving the lower rate that you admit you weren't entitled to for 700 nights and now you're a little surprised you weren't able to get away with it for one more.

I have seen that Marriott has always been more lax with government rates than competitors and it follows naturally a lot of people have taken advantage of it. If getting stricter and enforcing the rate rules enables them to still maintain these rates for people who are actual government employees, then I am for it.

Contractors are great people who do great things for the government and the public. And by virtue of being contractors (in my experience) they have to put up with a lot of unpredictability. So consequently they are typically paid better than government employees. I don't see any reason why Marriott should pretend they are government employees just to be friendly.
Aaron20 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Oct 1, 14, 6:55 pm
  #14  
Moderator: Alaska Mileage Plan
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 9,596
Originally Posted by plagwate View Post
Sure, we could stay someplace else where they are more lenient on policy. But why should we? I've been loyal to the Marriott brand for years and I would hope they would return that loyalty in this situation. As long as they have safeguards in place to control abuse, there should be no difference in whether I wear a government ID around my neck or a contractor's.
Loyalty requires that each party abides by the terms of the other. Also, there is a difference between a government employee and a contractor.

I have no problem with Marriott specifying and enforcing tight restrictions on its government rates. It has no duty or responsibility to offer them to contractors.

Lamenting that a government rate is not offered at a desired property or a preferred chain is a bit rich.
dayone is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Oct 1, 14, 7:40 pm
  #15  
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: ATL
Programs: Marriott Platinum, Delta Kryptonium Medallion, National Executive
Posts: 1,888
Originally Posted by dayone View Post
Loyalty requires that each party abides by the terms of the other. Also, there is a difference between a government employee and a contractor.

I have no problem with Marriott specifying and enforcing tight restrictions on its government rates. It has no duty or responsibility to offer them to contractors.

Lamenting that a government rate is not offered at a desired property or a preferred chain is a bit rich.
Selectively pulling text from my post does not make your argument any stronger. It merely takes my statement out of context. I never claimed that a government contractor is the same as a government employee. The point is, the payment for the room is coming from the same taxpayer coffers.

It's Marriott's choice whether they want to be flexible on this or not. I realize that. But frankly, I don't see why they should risk the loss of business when contractors' hands are tied on the room rates they can book.
dmarge18 likes this.
plagwate is offline  
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
  • Ask a Question
    Get answers from community experts
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: