Marriott not honoring rate

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Mar 5, 2020
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Forum Members and Advocates,

I am writing to you in desperation as a loyal Marriott customer hoping you can help me save a potential vacation for my family and friends. I understand from some consumer advocacy websites that you have helped people in the past, and I appreciate your time even if the situation doesn’t work out in my favor.

The background of my situation starts in the Summer of 2019. My family along with 6 other families wanted to collectively celebrate our respective kid’s graduations during the Summer of 2020. We decided that a trip to the Outer Banks would represent a great vacation where all of our kids could enjoy themselves before graduating and heading off to their respective new schools.
We researched various private homes, rentals and hotels in the area. I am partial to Marriott as I am a Gold Elite member and Bonvoy Credit Cardholder - so we decided to make a reservation at the TownePlace Suites – Outer Banks/Kill Devil Hills in August 2019 for July 2020. When making the reservation we noticed that the government leisure rate was available. Many of the traveling adults are federal government employees with valid ids so we each decided to book rooms using the government leisure rate. We are all familiar with Marriott’s policy regarding the government leisure rate, which allows employees of the federal government to travel leisurely on a discounted rate when offered.



I admittedly was surprised it was available during peak season so as a way to ensure our reservation rate would be honored my wife reached out to the general manager of the hotel, Ms. Amanda Phillips. In August of 2019, my wife was able to speak directly with Ms. Phillips, and she assured us that our reservations were set and would be honored since the rate was open in the system. She stated the only thing she would not be able to guarantee is that the rooms would be in close proximity of one another. She was also surprised that the government rate was available during peak season, however she mentioned that because we were able to book it, the rate would be honored. She also let us know that the rate would probably be removed from the system in the next few weeks. Having this conversation gave the seven families comfort that our vacation and budget was set.
Fast forward to February 27th - each family received an email from Ms. Phillips stating that the hotel would not honor the government rate and our reservations would be automatically cancelled by March 5th unless we accepted a new higher rate. I asked Ms. Phillips if she could make an exception since she previously confirmed that the rate would be honored. She responded that she could not because the decision was above her. When I inquired if we could speak with or write to the person making the decision, she declined to provide a contact and stated that the decision was final.
As you can imagine all seven families are now in a panic as to how we can salvage our plans. Ms. Phillips’ refusal to honor our existing reservations have put us in a bind. Most places in the Outer Banks have increased their rates beyond what we can afford and our vacation/celebrations are now in jeopardy.

Our two rooms alone will now cost us $1200 more than we had budgeted. The other families traveling with us are in a similar position. This increase really seems unfair and unjust.

If there is anything you can do to help us with the hotel honoring our existing reservations, I would greatly appreciate it. In either case, I thank you for your time and attention on the matter.



Summary of Key Details



• August 7th 2019 – Made initial reservations at TownePlace Suites – Outer Banks. 7 families spread out over 11 rooms.

• Mid-August 2019

  • Angela Knight spoke with Amanda Phillips who confirmed that existing reservations would be honored as long as reservation holders presented valid government ids.
• February 27th 2020

  • All parties received an email from Ms. Phillips stating that the government rate would not be honored(189/night). She indicated that we could accept a rate of 269/night by March 5th or she would cancel all the reservations

  • On February 28th we reached out to high level executive contacts listed in the Marriott section of Elliott.org but we never received a response
March 4th - Last night we ultimately decided to accept the rate so the the reservations wouldn’t cancel but we are still fighting to see how we can get them to honor the existing rate.

Thanks again for any assistance you can offer.

Edited by moderator to remove confirmation numbers.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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22,843
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
If you have confirmations with that pricing, you should appeal to Marriott headquarters. IMO this isn’t right and you should go to headquarters. Your documentation is well done, including your calls.

Here are our contacts:


Here is how to write:

 
Mar 5, 2020
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Thanks Neil. When you say ‘Headquarters’ should I start with the basic [email protected] email address or something different.
If you have confirmations with that pricing, you should appeal to Marriott headquarters. IMO this isn’t right and you should go to headquarters. Your documentation is well done, including your calls.

Here are our contacts:


Here is how to write:

Thanks Neil. I do in fact have booking confirmations with my initial pricing. When you say ‘Headquarters’ would you suggest I start with the basic [email protected] email address or a specific person.
 

Patina

Verified Member
Dec 22, 2015
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I agree with Neil....you did all the right things to ensure you were good to go. The company should not be able to change it after the fact. The manager of the hotel is not going to bat for you. I don't care that it was someone above her, she confirmed you were secure in that rate, so she should be honoring it. I am disappointed to here that she is not advocating for you.

Anyway, that is here nor there.....follow the advice of Neil and see where it takes you. I would like to recommend you pare down your communication with them though. Try to stick to the pertinent facts only. For instance, I would remove these sentences as they do not strengthen your case but do add too much volume to your correspondence:

We decided that a trip to the Outer Banks would represent a great vacation where all of our kids could enjoy themselves before graduating and heading off to their respective new schools.
We researched various private homes, rentals and hotels in the area.
 
Jul 13, 2016
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While I agree that the hotel should honor the rate, I do wonder why you suddenly cannot afford the rate. According to your letter, you decided to book the resort and were happily surprised to find a very attractive government rate available. So you decided on the hotel and the regular rate prior to booking. Why now, is that rate not affordable to you? That is the weak spot in your account. I would certainly leave that out of your next letter. Just say that you saw the government rate and decided to book the resort.
 
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Mar 5, 2020
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While I agree that the hotel should honor the rate, I do wonder why you suddenly cannot afford the rate. According to your letter, you decided to book the resort and were happily surprised to find a very attractive government rate available. So you decided on the hotel and the regular rate prior to booking. Why now, is that rate not affordable to you? That is the weak spot in your account. I would certainly leave that out of your next letter. Just say that you saw the government rate and decided to book the resort.
Thanks for your advice. I’m not sure that “suddenly can not afford the rate” is the best characterization but I’ll explain further. I’m not sure how strongly this comes across in my synopsis of events but 7 months elapsed between us booking and the notice of the increase. Knowing what our vacation budget would be for the next year, we were able to divert discretionary funds in our budget toward home improvement projects. If I was only able to book at the standard rate to begin with I wouldn’t have taken on our additional home improvement items or I may have delayed them. So the rate becomes unaffordable because 7 months later I find out I have to spend $1200 more and I have much less time to save for the increase. Hope that makes sense.
 

VoR61

Jan 6, 2015
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the United States
Knowing what our vacation budget would be for the next year, we were able to divert discretionary funds in our budget toward home improvement projects. If I was only able to book at the standard rate to begin with I wouldn’t have taken on our additional home improvement items or I may have delayed them. So the rate becomes unaffordable because 7 months later I find out I have to spend $1200 more and I have much less time to save for the increase. Hope that makes sense.
Although this is not directly related to the issue at hand (promise made but not kept), I recommend you include this in your emails as a mitigating factor. Should you choose to do so, I suggest that you be non specific, i.e., "With our budget established for this trip, we diverted the savings from the hotel to some important projects. Now we are struggling to find the necessary funds for the increased rate."
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
22,882
22,843
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
Thanks Neil. When you say ‘Headquarters’ should I start with the basic [email protected] email address or something different.

Thanks Neil. I do in fact have booking confirmations with my initial pricing. When you say ‘Headquarters’ would you suggest I start with the basic [email protected] email address or a specific person.
Yes. Start with Customer Care and give them a week to reply. If they don’t or the answer is no- then move to the first executive. Keep the letter to the issue- you booked a government rate which you are entitled to and seven months later you received a call from the same employee who told you the rate was valid and now is the one telling you they want more.
 
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