What if Marriott Breaks Its Ultimate Reservation Guarantee?
Marriott has an Ultimate Reservation Guarantee, for those who don’t know. It’s supposed to prevent hotels from screwing you over. You should get compensation if the hotel can’t fulfill your reservation. But what if the hotel won’t honor this guarantee? We got a strange email from a reader this week, and the hotel in question is…ironic.
I got an email from a guest who specifically asked that we don’t use their name (for fear of retaliation from the hotel, which is a bigger issue and needs dealt with at some point). The email was a bit long. Here are the highlights:
- The guest had a reservation at the Marriott Courtyard Hong Kong Sha Tin.
- Prior to check-in, the hotel cancelled the reservation.
- The hotel pitched itself to the Hong Kong government as a quarantine facility, won the contract, and now isn’t allowed to host “non-quarantine” guests.
- That’s why the reservation was canceled.
- The hotel says there’s no Marriott Ultimate Reservation Guarantee here, because the government told them not to host non-quarantine guests.
- However, the government didn’t force this on the hotel–the hotel applied to be a quarantine site, so they had some say in this.
- The guest believes this is a situation where the hotel voluntarily took steps that led to the reservation being canceled.
Whew…a lot happened there.
I agree with the guest. The hotel voluntarily took steps that led to canceling the reservation. It was not “beyond their control”. The hotel didn’t have to apply to be a quarantine site; thus, they didn’t have to cancel the reservation.
And even if they did have to…
What do the Marriott Ultimate Reservation Guarantee terms say?
The Marriott Ultimate Reservation Guarantee terms are found here. They state:
Nothing carves out an exclusion for this situation. That’s the start, middle & end of the terms–everything. You had a reservation, and the hotel didn’t honor it? Marriott is supposed to pay up.
What’s the compensation?
For a Marriott Courtyard property, compensation is listed as “$100 USD (Platinum and Titanium Elite members also receive 90,000 points)”. I don’t know this guest’s status, but they are entitled to at least $100.
The Hotel’s Side
Ironically, this is THE SAME HOTEL we had to call out for being shady earlier this year. Remember when they were playing games with their suites & upgrades inventory to avoid honoring elite perks? Interesting that this is the same hotel, but also not surprising.
The Marriott Courtyard Hong Kong Sha Tin says the Ultimate Reservation Guarantee doesn’t apply here. The hotel’s Guest Relation Manager contacted the guest and provided notice of the cancelation. This manager said why the reservation was canceled and said the hotel won’t provide an alternate hotel to stay at. The manager also rejected a request for Ultimate Reservation Guarantee compensation.
What Should the Guest Do?
If it were me, this is what I would do. I provided this same advice in a reply to the guest’s email:
This is really interesting and also sad. Have you contacted Marriott itself about the reservation guarantee?
I would recommend you start with that.
The Ultimate Reservation Guarantee terms are here, and it looks like they owe you $100 as a Courtyard property – https://www.marriott.com/
Since the hotel is not willing to help you, I would just contact Marriott itself. You could send a private message on Twitter here – https://twitter.com/
Or use the contact page here – https://www.marriott.com/
I would tell Marriott exactly what you said to me – the hotel chose to do this, it wasn’t a government takeover – so the hotel made a decision that involves canceling your reservation, you want your Ultimate Reservation Guarantee benefits.
Go straight to Marriott
Given that this isn’t the first instance of this hotel being shady, I wouldn’t waste my time dealing with them. They wouldn’t play by the rules earlier this year, so they probably won’t now. And they got just a light slap on the wrist after being shady earlier this year, so they likely need Marriott HQ to weigh in before they will play by the rules.
I’d go straight to Marriott–and via multiple channels. Call. Email. Tweet. And highlight that this hotel is refusing to honor written policies. I’d make sure this doesn’t get swept under the rug.
What if it drags out?
But that also depends on how much time and energy you are willing to invest. Common sense would make this an open & shut case, but what if it takes several calls and a whole chain of emails? The hotel might drag it out, just hoping you go away.
This is a pretty ridiculous situation. On the one hand, I’m surprised. On the other, I’m 100% not surprised–that wore off when I saw which hotel it involves. This hotel is really something else, and they clearly didn’t fall into line after what happened with their “slap on the wrist” earlier this year. It’s going to take something more serious from Marriott HQ to get this hotel to fall in line. I’m not sure whether I expect that to happen or not.
For this guest, though: good luck. I don’t envy your position.