Marriott Rewards Member Rates Supposedly Prove “It Pays to Book Direct”
E ffective as of Monday, April 11, 2016, Marriott International, Incorporated will introducing Marriott Rewards Member Rates, which is a new discount rate exclusively designed to reward members of the Marriott Rewards frequent guest loyalty program who book directly with Marriott through one of several channels to automatically receive benefits — and book reservations at the very best room rates.
These member rates — which offer a discount of a minimum of two percent on weekdays and up to five percent on weekends — are the latest perk in a series of benefits which the company is rolling out to continue rewarding the loyalty of its members. The rates are applied to the lowest applicable available public rates for non-premium rooms at all hotel and resort properties across all brands in the Marriott International portfolio globally — excluding Bulgari Hotels & Resorts and The Ritz-Carlton Reserve; and except during special events.
“We’re rewarding our loyal members by providing a rate exclusively designed to show them how valuable they are to us,” said Karin Timpone, who is the global marketing officer of Marriott International. “We also want to help dispel the myth that other travel websites offer better rates for our hotels. The simple fact is that you will find the lowest rates across our portfolio when you join Marriott Rewards and book direct.”
The rates must be booked by you using the appropriate member rate category; and the member rate may not be combined with other select promotions, offers or discounts; and is not valid for existing reservations or groups.
Eligible Channels Through Which You Can Book Your Reservation
Members of the Marriott Rewards and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards frequent guest loyalty programs will receive an exclusive preferred rate when you book rooms through any direct booking channel of Marriott International, including:
- Worldwide reservations centers of Marriott International
- Official Internet web sites of Marriott International — such as Marriott.com and Marriott.co.uk — and The Ritz-Carlton
- The mobile application software programs of either Marriott and The Ritz-Carlton
- 1-800-MARRIOTT 0r 1-800-627-7468
- Any hotel or resort property participating in Marriott Rewards or The Ritz-Carlton Rewards frequent guest loyalty programs
- These rates may also be booked through:
- An authorized travel agent; or
- Select corporate travel partner — eligible channels — at any hotel or resort property participating in either frequent guest loyalty program
Best Rate Guarantee
The Look No Further Best Rate Guarantee seems to apply to the special Marriott Rewards Member Rates, where you book a reservation for a room using any of the aforementioned reservation channels proprietary with Marriott International; and if you find a lower hotel rate for the same hotel, room type and reservation dates within 24 hours of booking your reservation — as well as submit a qualified guarantee form — the room rate you found will not only be matched; but you will also receive an additional discount of 25 percent on the room.
The Marriott Rewards Member Rates seem to be similar to the Stop Clicking Around rates which were introduced last month by Hilton Worldwide for members of the Hilton HHonors frequent guest loyalty program — but the maximum discount is ten percent with Hilton HHonors versus a maximum of five percent with Marriott Rewards…
…but the five percent discount seems to be unrestricted for any day of the week with Marriott; whereas the ten percent discount must be booked 15 days or greater in advance of arrival for stays over a weekend with Hilton — otherwise, the discount is only three percent during the week.
The Starwood Preferred Guest has been offering exclusive rates for its members since November of 2015 — albeit more restricted in that the rates must be purchased in advance with no refunds permitted. Although that offer from Starwood Preferred Guest is currently good through Saturday, December 31, 2016, I expect it to be extended — if only to compete with similar promotions from Hilton HHonors and Marriott Rewards.
These marketing campaigns may very well be a way for lodging companies to gain as much control over the buying experience of its customers in order to be able to sell additional options — such as upgrades, for example — during the process of booking a reservation. Simultaneously, the lodging companies do not have to pay a commission to Internet travel agencies such as Orbitz and Expedia when a customer books a reservation directly through an authorized official channel of the lodging companies. I personally have no issue with that, as the lodging companies have every right to do so as businesses while presenting what could potentially be a win-win situation for the companies and their customers — but let us be honest here.
As much as I laud the lodging companies for introducing a special discount for members of their frequent guest loyalty programs, do not automatically assume that you will get the lowest price if you use this discount room rate. There may be times where these exclusive rates are indeed the lowest room rates; but you will only know by continuing to check around to find the best room rate whose terms and conditions are right for you — whether it is a corporate rate, a special rate through an association or other affiliated entity; or as the result of a sale.
Source: Marriott Rewards.