Reader Question: Club Marriott Free Night Capacity Control Scam At W Hotel Koh Samui ?

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A few days ago I wrote about travel fairs and a particular offer of Club Marriott, Marriott’s Dining Club in Thailand which is selling annual membership packages with a free night certificate as a major selling point but the use of it proves rather difficult.

Following this article I received an email from another reader who resides in Bangkok and ran into the same capacity control issues when trying to use his certificate.

You can find my article about travel shows in Bangkok here and that’s where the Club Marriott had a sales booth quite a few times already (seen it at multiple locations).

Here is the paragraph I wrote about Club Marriott:

… One example was the sales stand for Club Marriott, the dining club for Marriott Thailand. They advertised their membership with a booklet of various vouchers including a free night at any participating hotel in Thailand. When I probed about the W Koh Samui the representative admitted that while it’s possible to book it, their entire capacity for these Club rate booking has been used up until December 2021. And that under the current conditions (dead tourism market). What a scam, needless to say I didn’t buy it at that time. …

One issue with these free nights and BOGO (Buy One Get One) vouchers is that you can’t check it online. You always have to email or call someone to check availability and that makes the entire program rather difficult and hard to compare rates.

You can access the Club Marriott website here.

This is the flyer presented to customers who are interested in signing up or have already purchase the membership:

Download (PDF, 233KB)

Currently the membership is being sold with a 10% discount for 4,990 Baht net.

I got an email from a reader of ours, Ms. Varisa and she says:

… Our family has the same problem for two years now. Hotels we want to book are never available, the vouchers go unused or wasted at some Bangkok hotel rather than a high value room in Ko Samui. Is the discount even worth it? My husband is Marriott Bonvoy Platinum now thanks to the status match and a lot of staycations we booked since last year. …

Indeed for someone who has Platinum/Titanium status with Marriott it almost makes zero sense to mess around with the Club Marriott for dining discounts. You’re able to get a 20-30% discount based on Bovoy Status at the participating properties already PLUS POINTS. When you utilize the Club Marriott discount of the same or in some cases even lesser value you won’t even be able to collect points as combining it isn’t allowed.

The only remaining selling point appears to be the free night certificate and the BOGO voucher. But what good is that if you can’t use it?

I decided to request a booking from the W Koh Samui for a midweek stay late April and this was their reply:

Mind you that standard rooms are available at all days I requested and the ADR is relatively low, you can even combine it with Megatix (up to 70% Bonus when you buy cash vouchers).

Right now Thailand’s tourism industry is dead in the water and yet the W Koh Samui has no availability to accommodate such reservations until the end of the year? How much is Club Marriott reimbursing these hotels that it’s not worth it to them opening additional availability?

Yet W says there is no availability but offers a “20% discounted reservation” for 9,745 Baht net for one night. Ridiculous, that is the regular package rate available on the Marriott website:

This package includes more than only breakfast but that’s just a minor point. The entire system with these free night and BOGO Certificates of Club Marriott Thailand appears to be a giant scam.

Instead of engaging in this nonsense I rather save myself the hassle and book a proper hotel such as the Ritz Carlton Koh Samui on an all cash rate, earning elite nights and points in the process as well.

Conclusion

Based on the experience demonstrated here and the email from our reader it’s really not recommendable to purchase such a membership if your intention is to utilize the free night and room rate discounts to it’s maximum value. Especially when the individual is already a Bonvoy tier member which comes with valuable dining benefits and discounts – for free!

The example of the communication and booking attempt at the W Koh Samui shows that the system is highly flawed, both in ways to incentivize the participating properties to make rooms available and by engaging in an honest manner with the customer. I dislike being lied to and even more so I hate being scammed. You gotta wonder how many of these vouchers end up going unused because the members aren’t able to find hotels to accommodate them.

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