Reader Question: Four Points Penang Exited Marriott System On September 30, 2018 (Now Mercure) – Appropriate Compensation?

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A LoyaltyLobby reader dropped us an email about their upcoming stay that was supposed to take place at the Four Point Penang (Malaysia). Marriott had emailed less than 24 hours before their check in that the hotel had excited the system (and is now Mercure).

Four Points Penang Photo

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Here’s copy of the email that Marriott had sent on Monday night to the reader:

Four Points Penang

As a valued Starwood Preferred Guest member, we are writing to inform you of a change in the status of the Four Points by Sheraton Penang. As of September 30th, 2018, the property is no longer part of Marriott International and will no longer participate in the Marriott program.

We see you are currently holding a reservation, confirmation number 462573906 arriving on Tuesday 2 October 2018 and departing on Friday 5 October 2018. We are pleased to advise you that the hotel will honor your reservation and room rate as it was originally confirmed. However, since the hotel will no longer be affiliated with the Marriott system, you will not earn points for any eligible charges incurred, nor will you receive any of your Marriott membership amenities or benefits. We realize this may be disappointing but hope we can count on your understanding.

Should you wish to connect with a member of our Customer Service Team you may email us at executive.guest.service@starwoodhotels.com

We appreciate your continued patronage of Marriott International and we apologize for this unforeseen change and any inconvenience it may cause for you.

Here are the questions from the reader:

Hope things are well. Not so on my side… I got the email below yesterday night at 11pm. My check in at this property is today 10pm.

Needless to say that I am totally frustrated :

1) I had no time to make alternate arrangements

2) no benefits on site

3) no status credit

As a SPG Plat member I would expect a bit more anticipation. The hotel reception told me they were in negotiation for months….

I have written immediately to the email mentioned below yesterday but have not received any feedback.

What do you suggest me to do when contacting again SPG/Marriott?

As all the hotel chains have gone asset light (meaning that they don’t own any or very few of the properties in their system), there is more churn in the number of hotels entering and exiting the system. We may also see greater number of legacy Starwood properties leaving that are not satisfied with the Marriott contracts, their way of doing business or number of properties in the market

It is not uncommon for the hotel just leave (like what happened here), although it is more common to get some advance notice from few weeks for up to couple of months.

The Four Points Penang is reflagging to Accor’s Mercure brand. I would say that is is somewhat lower brand proposition than Four Points based on my personal experiences at both (Four Points versus Mercure).

There is nothing that would stop Marriott giving the elite qualifying nights that the reader otherwise would have earned and some points for the inconvenience. I have not heard that they would have done this previously, however.

Reader is correct that they won’t receive any Marriott/SPG elite benefits now that the property has moved under the Accor flag unless they also have status with Le Club AccorHotels.

Conclusion

All the chains should have better agreements in place when it comes to these reflags to protect their loyalty program members who are often left in the dark. You book certain property due to benefits, points and elite qualifying nights received and suddenly you won’t receive any of these. It is simply not fair.

These reflagged properties always honor paid reservations (why wouldn’t they?) but sometimes struggle with award reservations that are often canceled with absolutely no recourse.

I actually was looking at staying at this property couple of years back when I was Penang but ended up staying at non-affiliated property in the city center.

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