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Over the weekend I took a quick break from what seems to be my main occupation at the moment – trying to get accurate information from American Express – to be baffled by Marriott Rewards agents instead. Yes, I’m afraid it’s time to return to the ‘twilight zone’ subject of Marriott Travel Package Certificates…
You may have noticed that the Marriott/SPG integration hasn’t exactly been a seamless success. Indeed, If I was in the habit of handing out prizes for ‘biggest IT screw up in the travel industry’, I’d have a very hard time deciding whether Marriott or British Airways should get the gong this year.
One of the areas where the mess has been most apparent is with Marriott Travel Package Certificates. Originally, we were told that it wouldn’t be possible to redeem them until 18th September (a month after ‘integration’), then just a few days after ‘integration’ we were told they were in fact already redeemable and everything was sorted way ahead of schedule. Inevitably, this heroic boast turned out to be completely wrong.
Anyway, I’ve been following Craig’s (excellent) advice and avoiding pretty much anything to do with Marriott for as long as possible, in the hope that SURELY they can get the systems working properly at some point, if I just wait long enough. Unfortunately, I’ve nearly run out of time and now have a Marriott stay coming up soon that I need them to attach a Travel Package Certificate to.
Back when I was young and foolish (about 5 weeks ago), I thought I’d use the Certificate for a stay at a nice former SPG hotel I’d had my eye on, but I’m too battle-scarred for such naive dreams these days. The chances of being able to attach the Certificate to a SPG hotel reservation in time for my stay, are effectively zero, so I settled for a decent looking Marriott option instead.
I rang Marriott Rewards, a helpful agent made the booking, and after about 45 minutes on hold while they spoke to a colleague in a different department who they needed to help them add the Certificate to the booking, I was told it was all sorted…
Great, job done! – Except, of course, I knew there was no way that a mere hour on the phone was sufficient hassle for me to have actually succeeded. A quick glance at my account showed that the Certificate was clearly still “unused” and was, in fact, still coded as one of the old (pre ‘integration’) Certificates – meaning they hadn’t even completed the first step (converting the Certificate) properly. Time to try again.
Round 2 began in a similarly promising manner, with a helpful agent sounding like they might actually know what they were doing. The early optimism didn’t last long though, dashed on the rocks of a single phrase, “I just need to call through to my colleague for help attaching the Certificate, is it ok if I put you on a hold for a minute?”.
Lifetimes passed by, new stars were born, I learned to hate the Marriott hold music with a passion I had previously only felt toward ‘The Flower Duet’.
And then, “I’m really sorry about this, but my colleague is having a problem converting your Certificate to the new system and there are no supervisors in today to help them, apparently. I’ve created a Case Number for you though, and someone should be looking at it and should be in touch within 5 days. Thank you so much for your patience today”.