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Look before you book: Travelers seeing surprise award redemption fees in the Marriott Bonvoy app

Sept. 19, 2022
5 min read
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You shouldn't have to pay money to redeem your Marriott points for award nights. However, some Marriott Bonvoy app users are being asked to fork over extra cash when using their points to book a hotel room.

This shouldn't be happening, but the good news is that it's not on every stay and there's a workaround. Let's look at what's happening with the points redemption fees in the Marriott Bonvoy app and how you can avoid them.

Marriott Bonvoy app points redemption fees

Luckily, these fees aren't showing up on every award redemption you want to make. That's the silver lining.

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However, you may be erroneously asked to pay an additional fee when using your points for a redemption stay at some Marriott properties when you book through the Marriott app. These fees range from $25 to nearly $100, depending on the property, dates and room type.

When searching for a room this coming weekend at the Aloft Tulsa Downtown in Oklahoma, users are asked to pay $55 to redeem their points for a two-night stay. This comes on top of the 17,000 Marriott Bonvoy points needed for the redemption. Notice that this is listed as a "Redemption," meaning it's not a 'points + cash' stay. There should not be a cash requirement for this booking.

MARRIOTT BONVOY APP

The same problem occurs at the Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel & Towers in Bangkok for a two-night stay from Oct. 5—7. Users are asked to pay $94 when redeeming 35,000 points for this stay.

MARRIOTT BONVOY APP

However, there is no redemption fee during these same dates at the Le Méridien Bangkok.

MARRIOTT BONVOY APP

These are just a handful of examples. TPG staffers also found surcharges on award redemptions at the Marriott Mena House Cairo and JW Marriott San Francisco, among others.

To be clear, these are not resort fees or points + cash bookings, leading us to believe this is a bug on Marriott’s app. TPG reached out to Marriott for a statement, and the hotel group said that it is "looking into this" and that we should expect an update in the coming days. We’ll update this post when the bug is resolved.

Related: Luxury on the cheap: 16 incredible Bangkok hotels you can book with points

How to avoid these fees

Luckily, there is a workaround for avoiding these fees. Booking your stay through the Marriott website will solve the problem.

When checking the same dates at the Aloft Tulsa Downtown online, you can redeem 17,000 points without paying any cash.

MARRIOTT.COM

The Royal Orchid Sheraton in Bangkok also isn't asking for cash when redeeming 35,000 Bonvoy points for the same two-night stay next month.

MARRIOTT.COM

While it is an extra step, it's not a difficult one. If the Marriott app asks you to pay a fee when redeeming your points, booking online is the solution.

Related: Ouch: It's not just you, Marriott stays now cost more points

It's also worth noting that the fees sometimes drop off on the final confirmation screen in the app.

For example, at the Royal Orchid Sheraton in Bangkok, the fees disappear on the final confirmation page. You can reserve your room using only points.

MARRIOTT BONVOY APP

But at the Aloft in Tulsa, there are still fees on the final screen.

MARRIOTT BONVOY APP

Bottom line

While these fees should not appear at all, the positive aspect of this news is that you can easily avoid them by booking online through Marriott's website.

If you like using the app to search for hotels and find availability, you can still do so. When it's time to select your room and confirm your reservation, watch for any unexpected fees in the app. If you see them, conduct the same search on Marriott's website and you should be able to use your points without paying this extra fee.

We hope Marriott resolves this issue soon. As always, we will keep you updated on a future resolution.

Featured image by CHINA/BARCROFT IMAGES/BARCROFT MEDIA VIA GETTY IMAGES
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
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3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
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  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

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  • Annual Fee

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  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

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Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases