I didn’t know about peak pricing — reader mistake story
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Today, I want to share a story from TPG reader Carson, who missed an important hotel program update before booking his stay:
Every fall I travel to Green Bay, Wisconsin to watch my beloved Green Bay Packers. It being a small town, hotel availability can be tight, especially for award nights.
In July, I booked two nights in October at a Marriott property for 25,000 points per night. I did not have enough points to cover the reservation at the time, but I did have a free night certificate for rooms costing up to 25,000 points from my Marriott Bonvoy Premier credit card. However, I did not apply it right away, and unfortunately, I did not read about the new points advance policy with Marriott’s peak/off-peak award pricing going into effect.
Yesterday, I logged in to confirm my reservation, having earned enough points for both nights. However, the price had increased to 30,000 points per night due to peak pricing. While I have enough points to cover one night, my free night certificate no longer covers the second. On top of that, there was little to no availability at other properties.
Luckily, I was able to upgrade my old Marriott card to the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card, which will allow me to make one purchase and receive a free night certificate for up to 35,000 points. While I am now covered for my upcoming trip, I will make sure to be aware of changing award prices moving forward!
When you’re planning an award trip, find out whether any pertinent changes will go into effect before you book. Hotel award category changes typically occur en masse toward the beginning of each year, but programmatic developments (like Marriott’s recent overhaul) or updates at individual properties can shift award pricing at any time. To avoid getting caught with an insufficient balance like Carson, budget for what award prices will be at the time of payment, which may differ from the prices you see during the planning stage.
Award rates aren’t the only potential program changes to monitor; elite benefits like upgrades or free breakfast can also be added, modified or cut entirely, so make sure the ones you’re relying on will still be available when you travel. You should also consider changes to your own award travel portfolio, such as whether you’ll qualify for a higher tier of elite status, or apply for a credit card that offers perks (like free night certificates) you don’t have currently. Finally, be aware of changes in store for the property itself, such as pool closures or other renovations, so you don’t end up dealing with construction during your stay.
I appreciate this story, and I hope it can help other readers avoid making the same mistake. In appreciation for sharing this experience (and for allowing us to post it online), I’m sending Carson a gift card to enjoy on future travels, and I’d like to do the same for you. Please email your own travel mistake stories to firstname.lastname@example.org, and put “Reader Mistake Story” in the subject line. Tell us how things went wrong, and (where applicable) how you made them right. Offer any wisdom you gained from the experience, and explain what the rest of us can do to avoid the same pitfalls.
Feel free to also submit your best travel success stories. If your story is published in either case, I’ll send you a gift to jump-start your next adventure. Due to the volume of submissions, we can’t respond to each story individually, but we’ll be in touch if yours is selected. I look forward to hearing from you, and until then, I wish you a safe and mistake-free journey!
Featured photo by Luke Collins/500px/Getty Images.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn a $200 statement credit after your first Delta purchase within the first three months. Offer ends 7/28/21.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles after spending $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months and a $200 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
- Limited Time Offer: Plus, get a 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening, then a variable 15.74%-24.74%. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
- Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees