Why Are Marriott Bonvoy Hotels So Often the Ones Breaking the Rules?

The hashtag #bonvoyed came into regular use thanks to the IT difficulties suffered by Marriott around the time of its merger with Starwood Preferred Guest. Now the phrase can clearly be used for other things, since the list of Marriott hotels misbehaving keeps getting longer…

Here’s a list of the recent offenders…

The Renaissance La Concha Resort in Puerto Rico

This hotel is charging $30 per night when you use your points on a reward stay…

Needless to say, 18% of zero is 0.

But the logic of a %-based resort fee is simply far too twisted to make any sense. If you go down the rabbit hole of specifying a set of precise “amenities” that a resort fee pays for, guests in a $400 room and those in a $200 room would presumably be entitled to exactly the same “amenities”, but guests in one room could non-sensibly pay double as a “resort fee”..

The JW Marriott in Los Cabos, Mexico

Although the website appears to have been updated after a recent furor led by ViewFromTheWing and OneMileataTime, this hotel was also charging $30 when you use your points on a reward stay…

The hotel attempted to defend itself by saying that this “service charge” was money that was distributed among the staff as gratuities. This would probably come as a surprise to any guest who had already been tipping the staff…

The Westin Fort Lauderdale

When was the last time you paid for a hotel stay using cash or a debit card – probably several years…  So the Westin hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Florida has decided to charge you extra for using your credit card.

Incredibly… the extra charge seems to have been reduced to 1% after ViewFromtheWing pointed out the 2% charge...

I am sure that Marriott’s co-branded credit card partners would be amused to see this…

The Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve

I know that this is an expensive hotel in the first place, and that hotels in North America can charge whatever the market will bear as a “resort fee”. But $125 + tax per night for snorkelling gear?  Ouch…

A Culture of Impunity?

I have yet to meet anybody who thinks that resort fees add any value to the consumer. They are clearly a scam designed to appear cheaper on aggregator websites and, in some cases, to pay slightly lower taxes and commissions.

Hilton waives resort fees on award stays. Hyatt does the same for its Globalist members on both paid and award stays. Of course, other hotel chains also have rogue hotels bending the rules, such as limiting the number of “standard rooms” available using points.

However Marriott seems to be the worst offender of them all. The attitude seems to be “try to get away with whatever you can, and we’ll pretend to care if your strategy goes viral”.  If Marriott wants #bonvoyed to stop being a thing, perhaps they should put a stop to these scams run by their franchisees…

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