Marriott gave me 250,000 points to stay elsewhere — reader success story

Feb 12, 2020

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Today I want to share a story from TPG reader Sohel, who made hay after getting walked from a hotel:

Last August, I flew from Atlanta to Portland for a business trip. I had a room reserved at the PDX airport Sheraton, and arrived around 11 p.m. local time ready to pass out. As I began checking in with the front desk agent, he informed me that they were overbooked and did not have a room available for me (I’m a Marriott Ambassador elite member). I was told I would be put up at the nearby Residence Inn instead. The agent and his manager were both very apologetic and offered me 35,000 courtesy points, as well as free dinner and a drink at the bar while I waited for the shuttle to take me to the Residence Inn.

When I arrived at the Residence Inn, the front desk agent there seemed surprised I had been sent from the Sheraton, and informed me that they too were full and did not have a room for me. I called the manager from the Sheraton to clarify, at which point he was also very surprised and offered me another 35,000 courtesy points. The two managers then spoke and decided to send me to a Holiday Inn.

The next day, I contacted the Sheraton manager and explained that per Marriott policy, I am entitled to 90,000 points and $200 for being walked at the Sheraton, and another 90,000 points and $100 for being walked at the Residence Inn. The manager responded the next day, indicating that the points would be deposited shortly (which they were) and a check was in the mail (I got it the following week) — not a bad outcome for a double walk. Readers should definitely take advantage of this policy.

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Marriott’s Ultimate Reservation Guarantee is designed to compensate Bonvoy elite members whose confirmed reservations are not honored. The compensation varies with your status level and hotel brand, and can yield as much as 140,000 points and $200 for top-tier elites (on top of comparable accommodation provided nearby). Sohel succeeded by not only understanding his status entitled him to compensation, but also asserting his claim to that compensation — the Sheraton in this case gets credit for offering Sohel points up front (twice), but anecdotal evidence indicates Marriott properties are not reliably proactive about fulfilling the Ultimate Reservation Guarantee. In short, it pays to know the terms of your benefits, and don’t be shy about using them.

It’s equally important to know the limitations of your benefits, and Marriott’s Ultimate Reservation Guarantee has several. First, the guarantee isn’t offered at all Marriott brands: Design Hotels, Marriott Vacation Club, Marriott Grand Residence Club and Vistana properties are excluded. Second, your member number and a valid credit card number must be included with the reservation. Finally, the Ultimate Reservation Guarantee covers you if you’re turned away upon arrival (i.e., when you’re actually walked from the hotel), but it doesn’t explicitly apply if your reservation is canceled beforehand. Some members have reported that Marriott failed to honor its guarantee when otherwise qualifying reservations were canceled (by the hotel) mere hours before check-in.

Related: What should you do if your hotel is overbooked?

I love this story and I want to hear more like it! In appreciation for sharing this experience (and for allowing me to post it online), I’m sending Sohel a gift card to enjoy on future travels, and I’d like to do the same for you. Please email your own award travel success stories to info@thepointsguy.com; be sure to include details about how you earned and redeemed your rewards, and put “Reader Success Story” in the subject line. Feel free to also submit your most woeful travel mistakes. If your story is published, we’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.

Safe and happy travels to all, and I look forward to hearing from you!

Featured photo by Zack Spear/Unsplash.

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