SPG Gold let down by Marriott CS, now removed Marriott/Starwood from Corp Travel Policy

Discussion created by jbb3y on May 26, 2017
Latest reply on May 29, 2017 by communitymanagers

I'm a Hilton Gold and SPG Gold (split my loyalty to maintain status with both), who decided to give Marriott another try, since I was status matched due to the merger. In making a single booking needed for an upcoming flight change on a personal day (thanks United), I looked for available hotels near DCA. From there it became a nightmare of CS fails:


Seeing a much lower rate via a Google Maps search for hotels (yes, you can plug in dates and get rates to pop up), I attempted to do a "Look No Further" match and stay in the Marriott. Now, I read all the rules, checked both rates were for same room type with identical restrictions, and said why not. I gave the detailed URLs, screenshots, process, and rates.


My first email back from them was for the wrong dates, at a rate not viewable on any site. So, I replied, with even more details, screenshots, search dates/terms to use, and explicit instructions of how the rate was found. I got no reply, so I called.


My first call to try and sort this resulted in being disconnected.


My second call to try and sort this also resulted in being disconnected, this time after 6 minutes of holding.


My third call, then got an agent, who said the original agent would email me now.


I finally received this reply, and they said the found rate x on said site, end of story. Searching around, I was then able to also find rate x if I changed the currency to Australian Dollars! USD on another device with cleared cookies in an incognito window yields the original rate from last night. I then called AMEX travel, and they also had that same lower rate showing for them, and they almost never have a great rate.


I tried twitter to get an actual response, which yielded nothing, of course.


I then called back to try and speak to the person and point out the error, knowing these things are dynamic/run by algorithms. I was told they would email me back, so I said just cancel it; there's a Hilton across the street for $10 more, and this is not worth my time. No thanks, sorry we couldn't resolve this, nothing, just a: You'll receive an email confirming the cancellation.


If they wished to keep my custom, then they would have been more courteous and professional, but have known some of the higher level executives socially when residing in DC, I know Marriott doesn't get it. They do the typical (bad) MBA management thing (where you get your MBA matters people), without figuring opportunity cost of upset customers. Lose huge amounts of future revenue by holding the line for a few bucks today. Explaining to an ex's uncle at their Christmas Party, why I would compare his company to Alfred P Sloan's General Motors trying to exist in an open market, and not think that was a good thing, is still funny, but sadly true.


I then called the Hilton directly, told them the online rate for across I saw online, and the manager booked it for me on the spot. I said nothing about being a Gold, just called their desk to see if they had an available rooms(their app is buggy). Same rate, better room, no questions asked.


What the Marriott people failed to realize, is I'm in charge of corporate spending (Founder and COO), and just so happened to need to book a room for myself due to a flight change for a personal trip. Needless to say, Marriott and Starwood Hotels were then removed from our previously open travel policy. All forward bookings have now canceled, Marriott/Starwood has lost out on tens of thousands of dollars of revenue, and it now looks like I'll be a Hilton Diamond by the end of July.


The reason I bothered joining this forum was to relay this issue (not venting, just this is the only place I saw any semblance of enabled CS). SPG used to look after all customers well, Hilton looks after HVCs fairly well (and when they don't, there's a grovelling apology), Marriott couldn't be bothered to live up to a promise. They then lost a whole company (in the travel intensive film/entertainment industry) worth of bookings. They'll only change if enough people complain and vote with their wallets.


I tend to enjoy Starwood properties, so it will be interesting to see if Marriott adopts their better CS policies. I'll keep watching, but I'm not hopeful.


Also, I got 3 error pages just trying to post this (copy/pasted) post, quite apt.