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One of the funnier scenes of the 1990s US TV show Seinfeld is when Jerry arrives to a car rental counter and is told that, despite having a reservation, the agency doesn’t actually have a car available for him. “You know how to take the reservation… you just don’t know how to hooooold the reservation…”
When you arrive to a hotel – confirmed reservation in hand – and are told that the hotel has no available rooms, or that the room type you booked is not available, you might feel just like Jerry Seinfeld. Luckily Marriott Bonvoy has a published guarantee policy that will compensate you for the (often-substantial) inconvenience.
“Walking” is the colloquial term used to refer to a hotel being so full that it cannot provide a room for the night, even though you have a confirmed reservation. When this happens, the hotel must find you accommodation at a nearby hotel – completely free – as well as pay for transportation to that hotel. For a longer stay, they must also return you to your booked hotel as soon as a room is available.
Because Marriott corporate wants to give priority to its Bonvoy members over those who booked via an OTA, there is substantial additional compensation to be paid. This is intended to punish the hotel quite severely… so that they make sure to honour those Bonvoy reservations!
All Marriott Bonvoy members receive 90,000 points and $200 at full service properties. At lower-service hotels all Bonvoy members receive $100 – the 90,000 points is only given to Platinum and Titanium members.
Only Platinum and Titanium members receive this guarantee at Ritz Carlton and St Regis hotels – $200 and a whopping 140,000 points.
When travelling alone, you might not care much if you receive a King-sized bed or two Queen / twin beds. But when travelling with your partner or a platonic friend, you probably mind substantially more. Besides bed size, you also wouldn’t be pleased if your booked “sea view” room became a “garbage dumpster view” room… In these situations, Marriott’s room type guarantee will apply.
Making a claim against this guarantee isn’t always the smart move, however. If you booked 2 beds, but are upgraded to a king-bed suite, the temptation of $100 might actually result in the hotel finding you a 2-twin standard room in the basement. YMMV…
The ignorance of hotel guests is occasionally taken advantage of by hotels, irrespective of whether the hotel is acting in good or bad faith. Knowing what Marriott has guaranteed – and having a link to the website publishing those guarantees – is a great way to receive what you are entitled to, or to receive enough compensation to put a smile on your face.
Have you ever been “walked”? How did it work out for you? Let us know below…