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Quick Points: Why you should always audit your Marriott folio for redemption surcharges

Oct. 28, 2022
5 min read
Hermitage Jakarta
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For about a year now, TPG readers have been writing in about erroneous Marriott redemption surcharges on stays booked with points or free night certificates.

After being hit by a redemption surcharge last month, I'll share my experience on how I got this inaccurate fee reversed and how you can mitigate the odds of this happening to you.

If you're a Marriott loyalist, bookmark this article in case you find yourself in a similar situation

What are Marriott redemption surcharges?

Marriott Grand Place in Brussels. TARAH CHIEFFI/THE POINTS GUY

When staying at a hotel on Marriott points, your room rate should be covered by points (unless you book a Cash + Points rate, of course). While Marriott award stays are still subject to resort and parking fees, you shouldn't be charged for your room since points or free night certificates should cover room expenses.

Marriott redemption surcharges are completely erroneous, charging customers for a portion of their stay that they shouldn't be paying.

And unless you carefully audit your folio, you could mistakenly pay this expense.

Our data indicate that Marriott redemption fees always appear on folios at checkout; however, the entry line can vary by property.

Email from Marriott International. TPG READER

The screenshot above comes from one TPG reader's folio at the Perry Lane Hotel, a Luxury Collection in Savannah, and has the redemption fee listed as "Rm Chrg - Reward Redemption."

On my recent stay, where I experienced a redemption fee at The Hermitage, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel in Jakarta, the redemption fee charged in Indonesian Rupiah appeared as "Room Revenue."

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Email from Marriott International. KYLE OLSEN/THE POINTS GUY

In a December 2021 comment to TPG, a Marriott spokesperson indicated that these fees typically stem from a “clerical error by the property:”

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.

Even though this issue has been ongoing for over a year, Marriott has yet to resolve this frustrating bug. And unfortunately, it's your responsibility to audit your folio, catch the mistake and have the redemption fee reversed.

Related: Quick Points: How and why you should regularly audit your loyalty accounts

How to get a surcharge reversed

The Hermitage Jakarta. KYLE OLSEN/THE POINTS GUY

When I received my folio from my points stay in Jarkarta and saw room charges, I knew what had happened. After the hotel acknowledged the error via email, I asked for a folio with a zero balance and received the following response from the hotel:

Email from Marriott International. KYLE OLSEN/THE POINTS GUY

While the staff assured me that I wouldn't be charged anything for my stay, in the days following my check out, I continued to receive new folios from the property showing that I hadn't checked out, accruing additional redemption surcharges.

Then, I saw what I had feared — a pending charge on my credit card for the amount of the redemption fees.

When I contacted the hotel again, they advised me that system errors created fictitious charges.

Email from Marriott International. KYLE OLSEN/THE POINTS GUY

Ultimately, the pending charges dropped off my credit card, but I would have likely been charged without bringing it to the hotel's attention.

So if you end up being charged a redemption fee, email the property first. In my experience, they will remove the surcharge on their end, and refund your card for the charges without having to get Marriott corporate involved.

But what happens if the hotel doesn't drop the charges or doesn't respond altogether?

In that case, call Marriott customer support with your confirmation number in hand. We recommend calling the elite line if you have Marriott elite status, as this could connect you to a preferred agent and help you skirt hold times. Once on the phone, politely explain the issue and request to have the charges refunded.

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

Bottom line

We've received dozens of reports from readers about erroneous redemption fees. One reader even shared a story about reviewing their months-old bill from The Westin Maui Resort & Spa, Ka'anapali and receiving over $600 back as a refund after catching an old redemption fee.

It's your responsibility to audit your folios and frequent traveler accounts. When a hotel staff member commits to waiving the redemption surcharge, get a copy of your folio without a redemption surcharge before you leave.

Our advice: The next time you stay on Marriott points or free night certificates, look over your folio with a fine-toothed comb given that this glitch is alive and well. If you're charged an extra fee, start by contacting the property and asking for a refund.

Featured image by KYLE OLSEN/THE POINTS GUY
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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Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
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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4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
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    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.

    670-850
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Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
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  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees