Update: TPG readers report additional Marriott properties with redemption surcharges
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Editor’s note: This article was first published on Dec. 26, 2021. It has been updated with new reports from TPG readers.
Redeeming hotel points can be a great way to save money on your travels, especially when paid rates are through the roof. Unfortunately, over the last several months, a series of TPG readers have reported that one major hotel program — Marriott Bonvoy — has some properties adding erroneous redemption surcharges on select stays.
In the two weeks since we first reported this anomaly, additional readers have sent us similar data points — indicating that this problem may be more widespread than originally thought.
In short, if you used Marriott points for a hotel stay over the last year, you should check your bill(s) to make sure you weren’t inadvertently charged for the privilege.
Let me clarify (upfront) that these are not resort or destination fees.
While Marriott notably does not waive those fees on award stays, they are legitimately charged fees — albeit ones disliked by most travelers. In addition, resort fees are typically displayed on the final booking screen, though Marriott recently agreed to add even more transparency to this process.
Finally, these reports also differ from what happened at select resorts last summer — when three properties were advertising “Marriott Bonvoy redemption fees” on award stays that clearly were at odds with Marriott’s terms and conditions.
Instead, these fees stem from a “clerical error by the property,” as described by a Marriott spokesperson in an email to TPG.
This issue was first raised to TPG in mid-2021 by a reader who used points to stay at the Perry Lane Hotel in Savannah, Georgia — part of Marriott’s Luxury Collection. She booked a three-night stay (one with cash, the other two using points), but when reviewing her folio after departure, she was surprised to see two items labeled “Rm Chrg — Reward Redemption” at $129 on the two award nights.
When this was originally brought to my attention, I assumed that this was an example of a resort fee — which unfortunately is not waived when redeeming Bonvoy points. However, as soon as I saw the receipt she provided, it was clear this was something else, as the above screenshot clearly shows the $32 “destination amenity fee” that fits into this category.
Then, just a few weeks later, another report of these surcharges came in. This time, TPG reader Shannon spent two nights at the Westin Crown Center in Kansas City, Missouri — and he was hit with a pair of $53 charges.
And just last month, TPG reader Nicholas noticed that he too was charged a fee ($37) when redeeming points at the Sheraton Springfield/Monarch Place in Springfield, Massachusetts.
In the last week, two additional TPG readers reported similar charges at the following properties:
- Westin Maui Resort & Spa
- JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa
In all of these instances, the additional fee had the exact same description (“Rm Chrg — Reward Redemption”), which is the key indicator that this is not a mandatory resort fee.
These charges are absolutely incorrect, per a statement TPG received from a Marriott spokesperson in December:
“A situation like this is typically due to a clerical error by the property as in this case. If this occurs, members should contact the front desk and/or the manager on duty to have it corrected and removed from their folio.”
While Marriott wouldn’t confirm exactly what those charges were, industry experts told TPG that they’re most likely related to the fee Marriott corporate is paying the hotel for the award stay.
How to check your own stays
If you redeemed points at a Marriott property anytime during the last year, it’s probably a good idea to review your folios and make sure these charges don’t appear on any of them. Here’s how to do so:
- Visit Marriott.com and log in to your account at the top right.
- Click on your name, then select Activity.
- Scroll down to the Latest Activity section, and change the filters to view just hotel stays.
- Click on Download to access a receipt for the stay in question.
Unfortunately, online receipts are only available for stays completed in recent months — so you may want to look back at your emails for any award reservations you had from earlier in 2021.
Alternatively, you can visit the Contact Us page of Marriott’s website to request your receipt for any stay within the last year. Select ‘Copy of Hotel Bill’ from the drop-down menu and input your stay details (including a comment, which is a required field). Then, click ‘Submit.’
What if you were charged a fee?
If you do find a surcharge for redeeming your points, your first course of action should be to contact the individual hotel. Try to get connected to the financial office or billing department, and be armed with the full details of your reservation — including the confirmation number and dates of your stay.
If that doesn’t get anywhere, you should escalate the situation to Marriott Bonvoy customer service. Here, I’d recommend starting with the online form, as this will automatically generate (and email you) a case number for your inquiry. This allows you to keep tabs on it if you ultimately need to call.
This is a real-life example of why it’s so critical to double-check your hotel bills prior to checkout, as it’s typically much easier to fix an error immediately than it is after you’ve departed.
Once again, I want to stress that this does not apply to any charges labeled as a resort, destination or amenity fee. This guidance specifically applies to guests who see a “Rm Chrg — Reward Redemption” line item on a bill from a stay you booked using Marriott points.
If you recently redeemed Marriott points for a stay, there’s a chance that you may have been incorrectly charged a fee for doing so. Thankfully, this is not a change to the Bonvoy program but rather comes from a clerical error at individual properties.
If you do see a charge like this, bring it to the attention of hotel management immediately — and if you’ve already departed, follow up with the property’s billing department to request a refund.
We’re also interested in hearing your reports of these incorrect fees, so please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org (with a screenshot or attachment of your hotel bill showing the charge).
Featured photo by VDB Photos/Shutterstock.com.
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