Can't Find Marriott Award Availability? Try Logging Out
Marriott Bonvoy has had its fair share of issues since the Starwood Preferred Guest integration last August, and the program's toothless no-blackout-dates policy doesn't help. And today we've run into a problem with using points at the St. Regis New York, an incredibly luxurious property in the program's top-tier Category 8. We've also found a solution to it. detailed below.
This isn't the first time we've seen issues with award inventory at an aspirational Marriott property. For example, earlier this year TPG Points and Miles Editor Nick Ewen noticed that Al Maha — the best value Marriott redemption according to TPG Contributor Ethan Steinberg — was restricting award inventory. And, shortly before top-tier Marriott properties moved into Category 8, TPG's Richard Kerr noticed that some properties were playing games with award availability.
So, what's wrong now?
When I was searching award availability at the St. Regis New York for a five-night stay — after all, if I'm going to pay 85,000 points per night, I'd like to get a fifth night free — I noticed that I couldn't find any five-night award stays. For each search, a message noted "We’re sorry. This property is not taking redemption bookings at this time. You can either book a cash reservation or search for another property."
I wasn't thrilled to see a popular Marriott property claiming it wasn't taking redemption bookings. So, I started searching for shorter two-night stays. Still no luck on any dates I searched.
Finally, I searched for a one-night stay. And found availability on my first try.
Then I searched for one-night stays on other dates. And found many one-night stays available, even on subsequent nights.
TPG Points and Miles Editor Nick Ewen was initially able to find two-night award availability at the St. Regis for September 9-11. Shortly afterwards, he searched again and got the same message I'd been getting, as well as no award availability.
Wanting to investigate further, I logged out of my husband JT's account, which we tend to use to book Marriott stays since he has Platinum status, and into mine. And to my surprise, I saw ample award availability, even for five-night stays. Unlike for Nick, the availability didn't disappear for me on subsequent searches.
Wondering if the apparent bug was fixed, I logged back into JT's account. And again, I still couldn't find any multi-night award availability.
A quick search showed we were both able to book multi-night stays at other top-tier Marriott properties. So the issue seems limited to select Marriott Bonvoy member accounts and to one property — the only one we've confirmed is the St. Regis New York. We've reached out to Marriott to report the problem and ask for comment, but we hadn't received a response at the time of publishing. We will update when we do.
In the meantime, if you're one of the members who can only see one-night award availability at a property you want to book, you could call Marriott. But, as TPG's Head of Family Summer Hull found, calling Marriott to resolve an issue is often a long, painful process.
Or you could log out of the affected Marriott account, search and then only log in when prompted. Here is Nick's search for the same five-night stay above (Sep. 9-14) while not logged in:
Then when he signs in, he's taken right to the page to review his reservation details and can confirm the stay from there — one that apparently doesn't exist when he searches while logged in.
This isn't ideal, since you won't see member rates when comparing whether to book a cash or points stay, but it does seem to be a successful work-around for now.
Are you having this problem with your account? Have you found any other affected properties? If so, comment below.