Was it wrong for me to ask for $100? (Open in browser for reader poll)

This morning I posted a summary of Marriott’s elite benefits that are guaranteed through the promise of cash payouts if they fail to deliver.  In that post I mentioned that I had recently received $100 when the hotel I stayed at had failed to offer me a Platinum Arrival Gift.  It never occurred to me that this would be controversial.  Marriott publicly displays their guaranteed payouts on their website (here), but a few readers thought it was wrong of me to ask for compensation.  I still feel that my actions were fine, but I’m interested in hearing what readers think.  Is there a real argument against invoking guaranteed elite benefits?  Please see the comments of this morning’s post for arguments on either side and then come back here to answer the following poll and/or comment below.

Was it wrong for me to invoke Marriott's Platinum Arrival Gift Guarantee?

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About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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38 Comments on "Was it wrong for me to ask for $100? (Open in browser for reader poll)"

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Ed
Guest

Wait what? I didn’t read the comments but I thought Marriott required you to ask for the compensation before check out (otherwise it wouldn’t be honored).

ddckyc
Guest

No it was fine. Greg deserves it.

Dom
Guest

Yes, you have to claim the guarantee before checkout. If the Platinum gift is not offered at check-in, I always give the hotel until at least the next morning to correct the error. If I otherwise have a very good or excellent stay, I let it go.

RP
Guest

@Dom,

Where does it say that you have to claim the guarantee right BEFORE check out??!! Greg was absolutely right within the guarantee provided by Marriott. Period.

“As a Platinum member, you’ll receive a special gift upon arrival at all participating hotels, offering you a choice of an amenity gift or bonus points. (Amenity gift not available at The Ritz-Carlton, EDITION and Marriott Vacation Club locations.) If guarantee is not met, guest compensation applies.”

Ed
Guest

“If an Elite Member believes that compensation is due with respect to any aspect of the Elite Benefits Guarantee, he/she must request payment of the compensation while still a guest at the hotel, prior to checking out. Failure to request such payment prior to check out will result in a complete waiver of any right to receive such compensation.”

https://www.marriott.com/rewards/terms/elite.mi?aff=MARUS&affname=1100l539&co=US&nt=PH

Chucks
Guest

So it sounds as though Greg was wronged, but his period for asserting a claim had technically passed, but Marriott honored it anyways.

I don’t think it was wrong for Greg to ask, but had Marriott refused to honor his claim it wouldn’t have been an issue. Had Greg fraudulently claimed he was still checked in that would have been wrong.

P
Guest

Your write up makes it sound a little like you had the policy up on your phone just waiting for check in to complete so you could bust them.

Stuff like this is always in how you conduct yourself. There’s a line between what you’re technically owed by policy and being a gracious person. Marriott is foolish to incentivize the consumer to act as their policy police but there’s no question you’re well within your rights. “Wrong” has nothing to do with it.

So if check in completes and they forget to hand you the welcome gift, would you not accept it if it’s clear they had one already made up behind the desk with your name on it? The girl just forgot to hand it to you? “No, I want my $100! I got you!”

Basically, I’m trying to figure out if you’re the guy who demands his money back in the small town diner because it wasn’t the best breakfast you ever had like their sign promises.

MZ
Guest

“Marriott is foolish to incentivize the consumer to act as their policy police” No. If anything it shows how confident they are in the execution of their policy.

Ktc
Guest

Of course you ask for it.

Why even the question? Not even worth the carbon footprint the fake global warming evangelist trying to put out.

T
Guest

Its fine. I find it annoying to have to call up the reservations department to get the welcome points when they don’t post. Had to do this a few times with Hilton and SPG…

Carl P
Guest

Maybe I’m too empathetic, but I would worry about what happens to the person that made the mistake when I report something like this, It’s not wrong, but I’m still not sure I would do it. I’d just mention it at the time if the gift was a big deal to me.

YoYoPedro
Guest

I would totally ask for the hundo. They made a promise, and they knew well enough that on occasion, they’d let the customer down, so they made it clear what the compensation would be when that happens. Boom. Easy peazy.

J
Guest

If it’s some that the hotel loyalty program offers then it’s fine. It’s not like the loyalty programs will care about us much, so we might as well take advantage of all the benefits we’re entitled to according to the program rules.

Darlene
Guest

I agree with you, Greg. I found the blog informative and was really surprised by some of the reaction to it.

Alfred
Guest

I have observed that many hotels offer a slip for guests to choose their gifts upon arrival.

In any case – this falls under the “Check in Experience”

If all else was satisfactory during check in then I’d not pursue.

However if the check in exp was overall bad, room not available on time, rude staffs, not brought to the lounge for check in then will use this as a complaint point.

dave
Guest

As a general rule in this area, my philosophy is take from millionaires and billionaires, but not from workers. I will hit Wells Fargo or BofA as hard as I can, but I won’t hurt my community bank in anyway, even if there is a simple bonus.

In this case I think the question is who is getting hurt by it? If this is affecting the worker at the front desk, and they have treated you well, then its still your call, but a bit more debatable. If the money comes from above, no qualms.

Jason
Guest

Unless it’s a cooperative your community bank has shareholders just like any company. When you take a bonus from Chase you’re to some extent reducing some grandmother’s potential dividend that she relyies on for retirement, with a community bank it’s much more likely it’s a local millionaire.

MickiSue
Guest

Why would it be wrong to ask? It’s a guaranteed benefit, so ask away.

Too many people are unaware of the specific benefits of their cards and/or status, and stories like this remind us to look for and get them.

Tom
Guest

It’s fine. It keep properties in line with the terms and conditions and that is VERY important… otherwise it would be a slippery slope.
I’m sure Marriott has a very specific reason they do this. Otherwise they wouldn’t do it as I’m sure that the properties don’t like the idea of it.
Everyone can make their own decision if they decide they don’t want to invoke the guarantee but they shouldn’t impose their wishes on others. I think a lot of this type behavior is just internet trolling, shaming, etc I’ve seen plenty of that type of behavior on FT/IF/blog comments etc. People love to create controversy where none exists and wag their fingers in someone else’s face.

Dom
Guest

The “I’m entitled to it, as much of it as I can get, as often as I can get it” mindset is a reminder that discretion and moderation, like irony, are lost on the obstinate.

Ash
Guest

I don’t think it’s wrong… however i do think that you should ask them for the amenity, and give them a chance to correct their mistake… and not just ask for the compensation.

Assuming it was an honest mistake and the staff genuinely let something slip in error.

Angela
Guest

Marriott employees should learn from its mistakes so that benefits are provided as standard practice.

Ethan Steinberg
Guest

I had a similar situation staying at the JW Marriott DC as a platinum elite. Club lounge was closed for the weekend (?) so no free breakfast. When I asked the checkin desk for a voucher for breakfast in the hotel restaurant, they refused. I called Marriott corporate who suggested I try again, but confirmed that if the desk wouldn’t offer me breakfast I’d be entitled to compensation. Two managers later I got my buffet (I wouldn’t leave without asking for the perk and then try and claim compensation for it), but if they’d really withheld over one lousy omelet you bet I would’ve gotten my $100

isaac
Guest

Im a LT plat with Marriott, and only twice did I ever ask for the money, it wasnt because they never offered me my Welcome Gift, but due to some major screw ups that was done and no apology was offered. So due to the other problems I asked for the $$$ since no Welcome Gift was ever offered before my checking out

That said I at a min probably wasnt offered a Welcome Gift a few dz times and only got it upon checkout and by asking. I did NOT invoke the compensation for any $$$, since besides that the stay was flawless. So if the only problem was not being asked what I wanted for my Welcome Gift, Id just make sure I got it before leaving and w/o asking for any $$ compensation ever thou Mr said I can.

Dude
Guest

Not gonna read the original piece to find where this was. But if it was in a less developed country, it could easily get the person fired and ruin years of work and school to start their career. That’s my issue with it.

Jeff
Guest

You did nothing wrong. Believe me, the manager will take that incident and train his staff better. It is no big deal to the employee or the hotel. If they make a guarantee they clearly want to stand behind it. It is a guarantee of performance. Nothing different than a company offering a guarantee on a cell phone, t.v. or other product.

Corbett Kroehler
Guest

Your status should be a source of pride. You should wear it with a smile.

The bottom line is this: the promised compensation levels are created by corporate. Many hotels are franchises. Some franchise owners care about brand integrity. Others don’t.

I recently had a parallel experience which nearly overlaps, with Delta’s Bags In 20 Minutes guarantee.

I am a SkyMiles Platinum (second-from-the-top among published elite levels) which I earned the hard way, without using a SkyMiles credit card to waive the revenue requirement. Twice last year, I made a connection on my way home to MCO which involved delayed luggage. On the first occasion, my Priority-tagged bag was the very last one to be displayed on the carousel. On the second, it was nearly the last.

Until the remodeling of the airport facility, Delta dedicated MCO baggage carousel 30 to Priority-tagged luggage. With that gone, at least for the moment, I am forced to view the tags of all of the luggage as it swirls by me in order to identify the end of the Priority portion, which I do gladly.

On the first failure, I went to the Baggage Service Office, which, at MCO, has at least 3 agents on duty during most hours, to complain. I didn’t realize it at the time but, through blind luck, the agent who served me was a supervisor. I expressed my frustration (albeit congenially) and she immediately issued a credit to my SkyMiles account for 10,000 miles (the standard rate is 2,500 if the bag is not displayed within 20 minutes of the opening of the aircraft door at the gate). I thanked her and left.

On the second occasion, I was served by an agent who, without even glancing at my boarding pass to observe my elite status, told me that I would have to complain to corporate. I immediately responded that, on the previous occasion, I was issued 10,000 miles by the Baggage Service Office. She told me that only a supervisor could do that and I agreed to wait because the supervisor had left the office in order to retrieve a bag which had found its way to MCO on a different airline.

During that time, the agent realized that she had not gone the extra mile and made it a point to keep me apprised of the supervisor’s ETA during the 5 minutes I had to twiddle my thumbs. When the supervisor arrived, the first agent made my elite status explicitly clear and I calmly argued my case. Initially, the supervisor’s justification for offering only the standard 2,500 miles was that the MCO station should not be forced to incur the expense of issuing 7,500 miles over and above the standard compensation because the cause of the problem originated with the loading sequence of the cargo hold at my connecting airport, in this case, LGA.

Fortunately, I had an ace up my sleeve. In recent weeks, I had been in communication with Ed Bastian’s executive customer service team on an unrelated matter. Suffice to say, I had an elite upgrade to domestic first class revoked due to no fault of my own and without the offer of compensation. In those cases, I find the most effective remedy is to write to Bastian by snail mail. This takes several weeks longer than a phone call because Delta receives so much mail, but always connects me with someone in authority who has the job of addressing concerns of elite customers. I received a sympathetic ear and 150 Delta dollars, not a king’s ransom but just enough to salve my vexation.

I was able to use my favorable outcome with Bastian’s team to make the Baggage Service Office supervisor feel guilty. I told her about my interactions with corporate. Through them, I had learned that corporate values my Platinum status. I told her that I knew that she, herself, valued my Platinum status. However, someone in New York did not and, without accountability (read “someone at corporate asking why 10,000 miles were issued in this case rather than 2,500”), the problem would continue to recur.

This did the trick.

The overlap to your situation and the moral of my story: you achieved your status by playing by corporate’s published rules. As part of a corporate strategy to reward your loyalty and ensure quality service in the field, corporate set compensation rules tied to status. In no way should you feel guilty demanding the compensation which is your due. If you had gone on a tirade, that would be another matter.

My local supermarket chain is the regional leader, Publix. It has a price scanning guarantee. If an items scans at a price other than the posted price and I notice, bringing it to the cashier’s attention, the item is free. This happened to me recently. The clerk initially adjusted the price to the correct discounted rate. I assign no malice on his part but would like you to know that I quoted the rule to the cashier, who apologized and voided the item entirely, reducing its cost from $2 to $0 (it was a new flavor of Odwalla smootie). We parted friends and, to this day, I have no regrets.

Think of the issue of customer service this way: Delta publicly touts the fact that it regularly receives industry plaudits for good customer service. What’s more, as I write this, Marriott is in the throes of a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign about its Golden Rule policy. There is nothing greedy or untoward about enforcing the policy as the aggrieved party. In fact, I would argue that it were you duty to demand published compensation, because, customer service writ large continues to suffer in this nation. Exceptional service for elite customers has become the exception rather than the rule. Only when we express our dissatisfaction can management learn from its mistakes.

One last point, specifically on Marriott: I recently stayed at the Marriott Pleasanton in California east of the Bay. While the service I received upon arrival at the reception desk was not bad, it could have been better, especially for a mainline property. As I proceeded to the elevator, I remarked to myself that, mere weeks earlier, I had stayed at a Fairfield, at the bottom of the economy segment of the Marriott brand, and received superb service upon registration. This dissonance in the quality of service from one brand to another must be quashed, gently but firmly. If elite customers fail to do their part, who will police the matter?

isaac
Guest

Corbett, IMO theres a tremendous difference between your Delta experiences and Gregs Marriott experience. With yours it caused you to spend additional time waiting for your bags so to an extent you were damaged. By Greg he didnt lose anything, yea MR ha sit there as I said above in my 1st post, but that doesnt mean anyone has to invoke it and I havent except when The Welcome Gift wasnt offered and there were other issues during the stay. Now unless a hotel was really bad and I had no choice but to continue to stay there no way would I invoke it. the few dz times I could have I made it known to the FD when leaving that they owed me $xx/xxx when leaving for not offering me my choice of the Gift but I wasnt invoking it. To the hotels Ive gone back to believe Im way ahead because of it, but thats not why I didnt invoke it

Again its not a question of if its due me or you but rather should it be invoked when everything else was good.

Tom
Guest

This has happened to me on numerous occasions and many times the checkin clerk ‘claims’ they already credited the points. Hmmm only received reimbursement once.

Bob
Guest

It’s a ridiculous notion that you should not ask for the guaranteed remuneration for the Marriott clerk’s oversight. Marriott makes the guarantee, no one forced it upon them.

Thomas Zook
Guest

I think it was fine for you to request the $100. However, as I read the guarantee, the guarantee is the choice of elite benefits; they are only required to give the $100 if they are unable to provide the benefit. Am I missing something?

Leigh
Guest

You’re well within you rights to invoke the $100 because the Terms and Conditions say you can. Some corporate lawyers who’ve never worked a day behind a front desk in their life drew up those Terms and Conditions for guys like you. Probably got the idea from whiny guest surveys and/or some focus groups. The reality is that we in the industry on the front desk now know you as “THAT GUY”…..as in “Don’t be THAT GUY”. That’s my problem with the whole thing. Employees make mistakes. There are a lot of reasons that these things happen. I highly doubt it is consistently blatant in the Marriott chain. I’m willing to bet 99% plus of Platinum guests get their welcome gift with no issue. You are just THAT GUY that has to go make an extra stink about it to make a buck. Then, let’s spread the news to everyone else so they can make a buck too. Don’t be surprised that all of your complaints are tracked and available to front desk clerks to see. Things can come around to bite you in the end. If you have an issue…..just be a nice guy and mention it to the clerk that you forgot my welcome gift. He or she will most likely immediately apologize and rectify the problem. You might even get a little something extra too. Guys like you are the ones that make our lives a lot more difficult. Fine print and Terms and Conditons are for lawyers and whiny people. Trust me….we’ll remember you more for being a nice guy than for being THAT GUY.

Lukas
Guest

91% of people disagree with you, let it go.

Leigh
Guest

Lukas….You’re right. I’m over it. Moving on. Quite interesting comments though. I liked the one where someone called me a “wench”. Have a nice weekend everyone and be nice to the front desk staff please.