More reports of Marriott properties adding improper redemption surcharges — here’s how to check if you’ve been affected
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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.
Late last year, TPG started receiving reports of erroneous redemption surcharges on select stays booked with points or free night certificates from the Marriott Bonvoy program.
And unfortunately, reports continue to come in from readers with additional properties that have imposed these charges — the list now stands at 36. One property even reached out directly to confirm that they are addressing this on a “handful of folios” affected by these errors.
In short, if you used Marriott points (or redeemed certificates) for a hotel stay in the last year, you should check your bill(s) to ensure you weren’t inadvertently charged for the privilege. And if you were, you should be eligible for a refund of both the surcharges and any taxes associated with them.
Here’s everything we know so far, including an updated list of the properties where we’ve seen these fees and what you can do if you were charged.
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Overview of these added charges
As noted above, we’ve seen a number of instances where TPG readers were incorrectly charged for the privilege of booking award stays with Marriott. In each instance, using points or certificates led to an item labeled “Rm Chrg — Reward Redemption” on the final folio for each night of the stay.
It’s important to clarify (upfront) that these are not resort or destination fees.
While Marriott notably does not waive those fees on award stays, they are legitimate charges — albeit ones disliked by most travelers. In addition, resort fees are typically displayed on the final booking screen, though Marriott agreed to add even more transparency to this process last year.
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 — and you should be able to have them reversed at the front desk or by calling the hotel after your stay.
Where have we seen these charges?
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 a pair of $129 charges (labeled “Rm Chrg — Reward Redemption”) on the two award nights.
Note that the above screenshot clearly shows the $32 “Destination Amenity Fee” along with the additional redemption surcharge.
Then, just a few weeks later, another report of these surcharges came in. This time, TPG reader Shannon spent two nights at the Westin Kansas City at Crown Center in Kansas City, Missouri — and he was hit with a pair of $53 charges.
And in December 2021, TPG reader Nicholas noticed that he too was charged a fee ($37) when redeeming points at the Sheraton Springfield Monarch Place in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Many new reports have since been sent to TPG.
Here’s the current list of properties for which we’ve seen documentation of the erroneous charges over the last 12 months (accurate as of July 15).
- Perry Lane Hotel (Savannah, Georgia).
- The Westin Kansas City at Crown Center (Kansas City, Missouri).
- Sheraton Springfield Monarch Place (Springfield, Massachusetts).
- The Westin Maui Resort & Spa (Lahaina, Hawaii).
- JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa (Orlando).
- W Atlanta — Downtown (Atlanta).
- Fairfield Inn & Suites Phoenix Tempe/Airport (Tempe, Arizona).
- The Westin Phoenix Downtown (Phoenix).
- Sheraton Grand Nashville Downtown (Nashville).
- Aloft Austin Round Rock (Round Rock, Texas).
- W Philadelphia (Philadelphia).
- Element Las Vegas Summerlin (Las Vegas).
- The Sessions Hotel (Bristol, Virginia).
- Bellyard, West Midtown Atlanta (Atlanta).
- The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa (Savannah, Georgia).
- Four Points by Sheraton Kansas City Airport (Kansas City, Missouri).
- Sheraton Suites Market Center Dallas (Dallas).
- Aloft Raleigh (Raleigh, North Carolina).
- Renaissance Saint Elm Dallas Downtown (Dallas).
- Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa (Lahaina, Hawaii).
- Aloft Charlotte Airport (Charlotte).
- Four Points by Sheraton New York Downtown (New York).
- Four Points by Sheraton St. Louis — Fairview Heights (Fairview Heights, Illinois).
- Sheraton Orlando Lake Buena Vista Resort (Orlando).
- The St. Regis Deer Valley (Park City, Utah).
- The US Grant, a Luxury Collection Hotel (San Diego).
- The Westin Sarasota (Sarasota, Florida).
- Element Arundel Mills BWI Airport (Hanover, Maryland).
- Four Points by Sheraton Tallahassee Downtown (Tallahassee, Florida).
- Sheraton Fallsview Hotel (Niagara Falls, Ontario).
- The Westin Portland Harborview (Portland, Maine).
- Cyrus Hotel, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel (Topeka, Kansas).
- Aloft Buffalo Downtown (Buffalo, New York).
- Adero Scottsdale, Autograph Collection (Scottsdale, Arizona).
- The Westin Nova Scotian (Halifax, Nova Scotia).
- Sheraton Anchorage Hotel & Spa (Anchorage, Alaska).
In each 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.
After we published an update to this story in June, management at the Renaissance Saint Elm Dallas Downtown reached out to TPG, saying that they had never heard of this mistake until reading this story:
We were not previously aware of this issue and upon learning about it through this story, we have identified that there was in fact a clerical error on a handful of folios. We are fixing this immediately, and crediting anyone who has been charged incorrectly. We apologize to our guests for the error.
We will continue to track reader reports and update our data accordingly.
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 earlier award reservations.
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 or certificates.
Redeeming hotel points can be a great way to save money on your travels, especially when paid rates are through the roof during busy travel seasons (like this summer). Unfortunately, over the last several months, a series of TPG readers have reported that Marriott Bonvoy has some properties adding erroneous redemption surcharges on select stays.
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 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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