I thought that some Insiders might find the following correspondence between Customer Care executives and myself interesting and informative. The context and substance is, I hope, self-explanatory.
1. My initial query:
">Could you clarify the basis on which hotels operated by Marriott Itl offer "advance purchase rates? In particular, I would like clarification of the principles that determine when a hotel bills the customer for an advance purchase reservation. This can be an important fact when purchase is denominated in a currency different to that which the customer would normally pay; in other words, when an exchange rate calculation has to be made. I ask because on two occasions over the past 12 months I have made an advance purchase reservation, thinking that I would be billed more or less immediately, only to find that I was not billed until a few days before I arrived at the hotel in question. On both occasions, exchange rates had moved significantly during this period (2/3 months) and, as I'm sure you've guessed, these changes were not to my advantage. In summary, if I make an advance purchase reservation, is there any way in which I can know, or determine, when I will be billed? My thanks"
2. Customer Care's initial response:
"Thank you for contacting Marriott. We appreciate the opportunity to provide you with information.
Payments for advanced purchase reservations are usually processed 48 hours after the reservation has been confirmed. If this time has passed and your credit card has not yet been charged, we recommend speaking to the hotel directly. This way you can request for the payment to go through immediately.
If we can be of further assistance, we invite you to reply to this e-mail."
3. My second query:
"Many thanks for your swift and helpful response to my query.
Two follow-up queries:
1. In a hypothetical situation, suppose that the hotel declines to action my reservation within the time period you suggest: would I be acting unreasonably to insist?
2. Would you mind if I post this correspondence on to the Marriott Insider website?"
4. Customer Care's second response:
"Thank you for your additional message.
The hotels are ideally suppose to charge a guest credit card 24 hours after a reservation has been made. Unfortunately, there is not a written regulation to when a hotel has to charge a guest credit card.
As a result of this we do recommend contacting a hotel to inform them you have made an advance purchase rate and you wish for your card to be charged at this time.
If you wish to post our correspondence on to the Marriott Insider website that is your discretion."
I hope it is a helpful exchange of information,