EXTRAORDINARY: Marriott Appears To Be Promoting Illegal Holidays in The UK?

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I received an email this afternoon from Marriott Bonvoy, promoting a 25% sale at hotels in the UK and Ireland. I thought I’d have a look to see what was on offer for later this year – once hotels are open again.

Remember, that in England at least, the earliest date that hotels are due to reopen for non-essential travel is 17th May 2021.  The current ‘stay at home’ rule isn’t due to end until 29th March.

I was therefore a little surprised to see that the terms state that the Marriott promotion ends on 30th April 2021:

To be 100% clear, if you were to take Marriott up on its ‘generous’ staycation offer before 29th March, you would be breaking the stay at home laws and face a fixed penalty notice from the police of at least £200.

Between 29th March and 17th May, I’m not entirely sure whether you would be technically breaking the law or not, but you would certainly be breaking the rules and going against Government guidance.

Bottom line

It is inappropriate, to say the least, for a major travel company to encourage irresponsible (in fact, illegal) behaviour in the middle of a global pandemic.

Marriott should clarify the real situation to members as soon as possible.

An unfortunate slogan…


  1. VK says

    I thought the govt had changed the rules recently and said that staycations (same household and no one else) will be allowed from 12th april. I would post a link here but there are many articles you can find once you google april 12 staycation uk

    off topic, if a refer using my business amex plat and the person receiving the referral signs up for a personal amex, will I get the referral bonus?

    • Joe Deeney says

      Hi VK,

      That is technically accurate (and perhaps is something I should have explained in the above for greater clarity) – we did write about it here: here

      The issue is that the policy change from (earliest of) 12th April is in relation to, “those (accommodations) that do not require shared use of bathing, entry/exit, catering or sleeping facilities”. That means things like self-catering, not hotels – and even then, the guidance still contains the following, “(People should) minimise domestic travel where they can”.

      The Government guidelines are clear that, “No earlier than 17th May, “Remaining accommodation, such as hotels, hostels and B&Bs”, will be reopened.

      The key point is that, until 29th March you could definitely be fined for travelling for non-essential purposes. And, that until (at least) 17th May, hotels would be breaching the rules by accepting non-essential guests. I accept that that may be more of a potential legal issue for the hotels, rather than the guests post 29th March/12th April (depending on how those rules are interpreted), but it remains deeply irresponsible for a large business to encourage members to travel in those circumstances.

    • Joe Deeney says

      On the second question – as far as I know, that should work fine. But, I haven’t had a Business Amex for a couple of years. When they click through using the referral link, can they can navigate to the (personal) card they wish to apply for (in the same way you can refer people for a Business Amex using a personal card)? If they can, that will be fine.(If you don’t mind me asking!) what is the referral bonus on the Biz Plat these days – 18k?

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