As we were discussing on Episode 17 of the Podcast – we had one last chance to book Marriott properties for 60,000 points/nt before top properties go up to 85,000+/nt on March 5th, 2019. I booked one provisional stay but came across an annoyance along the way: The dreaded Marriott Bonvoy Extra Person Fee.
A number of things were conspiring against making one last redemption at these 60,000 rates:
- Marriott only allows booking 50 weeks ahead of time
- My Demand Schedule for the next 50 weeks is mostly spoken for
- The optimal length of stay is 5 nights since the 5th night is free on an award booking
- A lot of warm/resort destinations are sold out at peak times like Christmas to New Year’s
That said, I was able to identify one target that might suit my needs.
The Canyon Suites at The Phoenician, a Luxury Collection Resort, Scottsdale
Strangely for a hotel with the words “Suites” in the name – all rooms at this property evidently aren’t suites.
For 60,000 points/nt I was able to book a room with 2 double beds. The room accommodates 4 people. With the 5th night free it should be 240,000 points, or 48,000 points/nt. Not a bad redemption at a time when the hotel was going for ~$900/nt.
When I went to check out I wasn’t surprised to see a $200 resort fee. However, I was surprised to see a $500 Extra Person Fee.
Marriott Bonvoy Extra Person Fee
Our boys will be 14 and 12 at the time of stay so my first thought was to reduce the number of children in the room to just 1. That merely knocked the Extra Person Fee down to $250.
I thought perhaps the issue was that the kids were too old to be considered children so I reduced their ages to 2 and 4 years old. The Marriott website still wanted to charge me a $500 Extra Person Fee.
What’s going on here? I had a look around and found this post on The Points Guy.
Summarizing, it says this has been going on for some time. That although Marriott’s policy is that children under 12 years old should be complimentary in standard bedding. Yet, the site wrongly charges the Extra Person Fee.
An Award-Only Fee
I went back and checked whether the price of a Cash booking changed when I added 2 children. It did not. The price was exactly the same whether 2 or 4 people were in the room.
So this is a fee that gets tacked on only when redeeming an award. I look at it as being charged a fee to use the 2nd bed in the room – but only if I’m using my Marriott points.
Relief for Elites? No
Somehow in their bungling and twiddling with elite status categories I’ve managed to get Titanium status.
Whereas at Hyatt this provides relief of things like resort and parking fees when staying on an award, no such relief is granted to Marriott elites.
That’s some reward for a guest who spent 75 nights [theoretically] in their hotels to earn Titanium status.
I booked the stay for just 2 adults, but I’m left wondering if they’ll want to charge me an Extra Person Fee for the kids at the time of stay.
I can’t imagine they would have the nerve, but you never know.
This strikes me as a money grab, that’s especially ill-conceived since it goes directly for people who are redeeming Marriott’s loyalty currency for a stay.
Marriott is dying a slow death to me as a loyalty hotel. By devaluing the earning on their co-branded SPG cards, inflating their award chart, and pulling stunts like an Extra Person Fee on award redemptions they’ve decreased the chances I’ll stay at their properties or interact with their award scheme.