How to Use Hotel Elite Status to Force Room Availability
I've been a top-tier member of multiple hotel chains over the years and there's one benefit I've never used - the guaranteed room availability perk that is included with many of them.
Generally, I book my travel in advance and I can usually find ways to get a reasonably priced room at my preferred property. Well I found out relatively last minute that I needed to be in Toronto this evening and lo and behold - nearly every single hotel in the city was sold out.
No sweat, I'll just use my Starwood Platinum status to force a room - nope, below you need at least 72 hours. So then I checked my Royal Ambassador benefits and they have a 24 hour forced reservation. Perfect.
However, the process was far from easy. I called reservations and they transferred me several times until I got to the Ambassador service center, who had to physically call the two Toronto Intercontinentals and speak to their managers. I was put on hold for about 10 minutes and was told the first hotel GM was busy so I'd have to follow up with him directly and she gave me a reference number.
I was put on hold again while she called the Yorkville Intercontinental and after 8 minutes I had to hang up due to an important incoming call. She ended up calling me back and leaving me a voicemail and another confirmation number asking me to call the property.
Long story short, one property wanted $500+ and another $349 and before either of them got in touch with me I found a reasonably priced Holiday Inn outside the city for $150ish, so I decided not to invoke my "forced" reservation. Since most of these benefits require a full rack rate, I don't think I'll be using them in the future, but I thought it would be useful to list them out for comparison purposes.
Have you ever used one of these perks? If so, what was your experience like?
Club Carlson: Concierge status: 48-hour room availability guarantee at participating hotels. Guaranteed room availability is for a standard room only at standard rates, and is subject to the participating hotel’s standard guarantee and cancellation policy. Free Award Nights or Points + Cash Award Stays are not eligible for the room availability guarantee. Room availability guarantee is not available at the Radisson Blu Polar Hotel, and does not apply in cases where a nationally or internationally recognized event is occurring within fifty miles of a participating hotel (as determined by Club Carlson).
Gold status: 72-hour room availability guarantee at participating hotels
Fairmont: Platinum status: Guaranteed room access (last-minute reservation requests with 72-hour notice even on sold-out dates - city-center hotels only).
Hilton: Diamond status: 48 hours prior to arrival, except during Extraordinary Demand Date periods, when the hotel becomes overbooked on inventory by more than 10%, and for some hotels when the hotel becomes overbooked on inventory by more than 2%. These reservations are only applicable to paid stay reservations for all room types and reward stay reservations for standard rooms.
Hyatt: Diamond status: 48-hour guarantee. Guarantee valid for one standard guest room when paying the hotel's Hyatt Daily Rate. Not valid at Hyatt Resorts, Hyatt Residence Club Resorts, or during extraordinary room demand.
Intercontinental: Royal Ambassador status: 24 hour advance notice. Reservations must be made before 12:00 midday (local hotel time) 24 hours prior to intended arrival for room availability to be guaranteed. Only in exceptional circumstances where the hotel has been completely reserved by the Government and with explicit Priority Club Rewards approval, may a reservation be declined. Rate paid is Best Available.
Marriott: Platinum status: 48 hours prior to arrival for paid stays.
Priority Club: Platinum status: Requires 72 hours advance notice. Platinum Elite members are guaranteed one guest room for personal use for reservations made at least 72 hours prior to the date of arrival, except during special events that result in extraordinary room demand, as determined solely by the hotel. Guaranteed room availability is not valid for Reward Nights. These reservations are to be made at the hotels directly or through the Priority Club Service Center.
Starwood: Platinum status: Applicable to one standard room booked by 3 p.m. local time 72+ hours before day of arrival at participating hotels. Member must pay regular RACK rate. Black-out dates apply. Not available at resorts. Room upgrade and Free Night Award redemption do not apply when this benefit is utilized. Minimum length-of-stay requirement must be met.