I have been getting more frustrated with the "rewards" program and several of the other "benefits" for several years but this morning I had conversation that encouraged me to finally sign into the forum.
I was checking prices for some properties for an upcoming trip and checked the rates. The "STANDARD" rate was listed as $89/night. I checked under the senior rate. $84.15! Now i am not a math whizz but just real quick arithmetic told me that a 10% reduction would bring it down to about $80.They are advertising 15% discount for seniors every day. I called customer service and here is the reply. "That rate is based on what the property "COULD" charge for the room!! I was silent for several seconds and then asked the CS agent, "Do you have any idea how ridiculous what you just said sounds? So who determines what they "could" rent the room for? The property could easily say they "could" rent the room for $250 and then $150 would be a great deal!
We visited another location a while back that wanted to charge an extra seven percent per day "resort fee" for such things as internet access, that they advertise as free, phone use, (Who uses room phones any more since cells?) popcorn etc. etc.
I also tried to book a stay with points for a upcoming trip up to New England at a Residence Inn. "No rooms available" When I called asking about the 72 hour guarantee I was told "We are a long term stay location and we don't rent 1 night rooms".
More and more frequently I am encountering that "No points rooms avail for that date" message.
On a trip back from the western part of the country a couple of years ago we stopped at a Courtyard. While checking in the desk clerk said that because I was, at that time,a gold member, we were entitled to a free breakfast. Wonderful. The next time I stayed at a Courtyard I asked about the free breakfast. "That's only at franchise properties" Fair enough. You know what is coming next. Next time a FRANCHISE Courtyard. "Sorry, that would be at company owned motels"!
The issue of "Arrival gifts" is another laughable area too. I have been at a Fairfield and had a nice basket of snacks and a bottle of water and another one of juice while at a Courtyard I am greeted with a small bottle of water and a package of cookies that I did not know could be packaged that small.
Customer service's response is usually like being read from a cue card. "Marriott inspects the properties on a regular basis to insure they are maintaing Marriott's high standards but many are run by a management company" When you are on the road frequently a major concern for selecting a place to stay is CONSISTENCY! This is not present at the Marriott properties any longer.
I maintained my company loyalty to the Marriott chain long enough to have exceeded the required points to be granted Lifetime Platinum but the inconsistencies, every increasing required points for a stay and the need hire an attorney to try and dig out all of the hidden loopholes to allow a location to not honor one or more of the "Benefits" has me frequenting Holiday Inns or Best Western properties more often.
We are also members of the MVC and there too, it seems to depend upon who and when you speak to whether the last thing you heard is correct or not.