A LoyaltyLobby reader sent us a maddening experience with Marriott properties in Atlanta who walked them three times in the same night.
Here’s the email from the reader:
Sorry to be long winded, just wanted to share my experience just in case you might be interested in sharing on your site…
WALK 1: Epicurean Atlanta (Autograph Collection)
Me and my +1’s birthday, so I booked a Junior Suite at the brand new Epicurean hotel in Midtown Atlanta. Had birthday dinner reservations and everything to eat at the hotel.
I arrived to the property, and they had no suites available. The only suite available was a “vice-presidential suite”, but I don’t believe he had the authority to move me to that room type.
WALK 2: Twelve Midtown (Autograph Collection)
I called into the Titanium line, got a great rep who booked me a One Bedroom King Suite at the Twelve Midtown.
I arrived to this property, and was told not only was my suite unavailable, the entire hotel was sold out. I called back into Marriott and while on hold the rep told me she actually did have the room available. I took it and went up to the room.
It was not the one bedroom suite I had booked. Just a standard double. No couch. No living area. Nothing. I called back into Marriott, spoke to another rep who called down to the front desk. She came on the line with great news – they did have a one bedroom suite like I booked, and to head downstairs and get my key.
Went down to the front desk, and was told otherwise. Just to head back up to my double room. I pressed as this is supposedly an all-suite hotel, and I was told I’m in a “PR Room”. I’m not even in a real room! They split a 2 bedroom suite in half essentially, and gave me the lock off with just a bed and bath, no other amenities. They don’t advertise this room anywhere on the website. TV isn’t even plugged in. Doesn’t work when turned on. Tried basic troubleshooting, tried to call down to front desk, but there isn’t even a phone in my room.
WALK 3: Westin Buckhead
Called into Marriott AGAIN. Spoke to another rep who said they had suites available at the Westin in Buckhead. I booked and confirmed an Executive Suite at this property.
We pack up, head clear across town to the Westin Buckhead. We arrive at this hotel, and surprise, no suites available like I had booked. I didn’t check in and called into Marriott YET AGAIN.
FAILURE: Renaissance Midtown
Spoke to the 5th rep of the night. She was stunned, and said she was going to book me a suite at the Renaissance Midtown. I went down to load up my car again asked her to please call and make sure they had suites before I went back over to Midtown.
Thank god she called, they didn’t have suites available either. She told me we had exhausted all options.
Finally at this point I politely requested compensation. I received 40k points.
The Twelve Midtown denied compensation. I pressed for the room type guarantee and was denied. After further pressing I was given 5 min to vacate the premises before APD was called. I was refused contact info for hotel management.
Management has not returned my call at the Epicurean or the Westin.
The reader has a Titanium status with Marriott, and the hotel company has defined Elite Benefit Guarantees in place that also deal with cases such as the one here. These were briefly suspended last year, but they were reinstated and are currently in place.
Marriott’s Ultimate Reservation Guarantee applies when the hotel is unable to honor a confirmed reservation. The compensation is brand and elite tier dependent:
Both Autograph Collection hotels and Westin each owe the reader $200 and 90,000 points.
Considering how mismanaged many of these hotels appear to be (how difficult it is to ensure that the inventory that is open for sale is available?), I would not expect the employees to be aware of the Elite Benefit Guarantees.
We have been in touch with Marriott regarding the reader’s issues, and they wouldn’t comment beyond that it is being “handled internally.”
Elite Benefit Guarantees
When Marriott first launched this Autograph Collection soft brand, I half-jokingly called it an Autocompensation Collection due to issues with most stays. The best one was when the front desk claimed that they were not really part of Marriott, and I asked her to check the name and the flag at the door.
But seriously, I certainly would like to know what is going on here. How on earth did these hotels continue selling inventory on Marriott’s channels that were unavailable? Have all the competent employees left?
Why didn’t the Epicurean hotel give the reader the suite which they had available? For me, it seems that there was common sense missing at this hotel. Also, usually, front desk employees are empowered to process whatever upgrades are necessary to keep operations running smoothly.
I genuinely hope that Marriott can get its act together and start requiring that hotels adhere to a certain level of customer service and brand standards. This is not the way to treat any guest less alone Titanium one.