A few weeks ago, I wrote about the renewal experience with my American Express Bonvoy Business Card. In it, I mentioned that I had some Marriott nights coming up and that I was apprehensive, but hopeful about my experiences. Without revealing too much (a review is coming later), my experience at the Sheraton Vistana Village in Orlando was good overall. However, upon my return from that trip, Marriott has once again demonstrated why the verb “Bonvoyed” continues to be a verb for their terrible customer service.
Breaking It Down:
A Marriott Mistake Email?
I received an email from Marriott entitled “Your Marriott Bonvoy Account Update: Special Offers, Benefits and More.”
If you’re reading Point Me, you know that we’re always looking for special offers and deals so naturally, I clicked on the link. Right under the heading, there was a banner for “Select Your 2019 Annual Choice Benefit.”
This year, I only have my 15 credit card nights on my account, so I figured I was sent this due to my Platinum status. I clicked on the link and got to the following screen:
Bonvoyed! A bit frustrating to say the least as I had my sights on using these 5 nights + 2 previous nights to attach to my upcoming Hawaii stay.
Upon looking at the link further down, there was some small print that stated:
“Qualified members will be able to select their Annual Choice Benefit within 48 hours of achieving 50 or 75 eligible nights. Annual Choice Benefit selection must be made by 11:59 pm ET on January 15, 2020.”
Personally, I think that Marriott should only be sending these emails to people that qualify for the benefits this year and not just mass spam them out to everyone. Turns out, this mistake was just perhaps bad judgement. I did notice however there was another hyperlink and decided to click on it to take me to my previous awards — where I discovered an actual mistake.
The “Real” Marriott Mistake: Account Information
My mom always said to forgive and forget and with the one piece of bad judgement, I would have just sighed and let this go. However, when I clicked on the link that took me to past history, it showed up a true error.
After logging into my account, I was shown that I had previously chosen a Suite Night Award benefit for 2018 due to my Platinum Status. However, instead of showing the 5 Suite Night Awards that I was expecting, I saw 10 Suite Night Awards instead. Time to call Marriott to see what was going on.
Yikes: The Marriott Platinum Customer Service Phone Experience
After taking a few minutes to make sure I had my ducks in a row, I decided to call Marriott’s Platinum Customer Service line. Upon explaining things to the initial representative, she said this was the first time she had heard of the email and needed to do some checking.
After taking a few moments, she came back on the line and stated I had 15 Suite Night Awards that I could use. I politely corrected her that I had 15 nights stayed, but shouldn’t have 15 Suite Night Awards.
The representative did some more checking and then said yes I have one suite night available to use and it’s attached to my upcoming reservation in Hawaii. Again, this was incorrect. As it stands, I haven’t used any of the five Suite Night awards, but attached three of them to reservations in the future. Therefore, it should have left me two to use in my account.
Besides the tech issues, the representative was trying her best, but it was obvious how unaware she was in terms of how the program worked.
The Jekyll Customer Service…
I decided to take things up another level. Waiting on the phone for a supervisor took a few minutes. Upon getting to the phone, the supervisor who identified himself later as Rick, seemed abreast of the problem. He genuinely seemed sincere about wanting to get the email situation figured out. Rick stated it was an error and shouldn’t have been sent out to everyone. He was going to notify his supervisors and asked about the other issue. Overall, this one was handled well.
…Watch Out for Hyde
However, when I began inquiring about the 10 Suite Night Awards that were showing up in my account as my 2018 benefit Rick, formally my best friend, quickly became rather hostile. I got accused of trying to manipulate the program and was told I should know the rules of the Bonvoy program. In response, I told him there has been a lot of confusion about the program since the merger and that I was trying to get clarification on why my account was showing 10 Suite Nights Awarded, when that was not actually the case.
Rick stated the popup in my account was an error, admittedly another one, and that I should forget about trying to “manipulate” them for five additional nights. He was then quick to point out that I hadn’t stayed a single night this year at Marriott, rather than the usual “thank you for being a Platinum member.”
During 2018 I earned 53 Nights of credit thereby giving me Platinum Status in the new Bonvoy program till February 2020. This year I stayed 4 nights, which haven’t posted to my account.
I will admit that I’m not always the easiest customer, but I know you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Therefore, throughout the process I didn’t raise my voice, cuss, or interrupt Rick. However, this time, instead of answering my questions or saying that it will be reported to his supervisors Rick became angry, demeaning, and patronizing. He eventually just hung up. I was left feeling frustrated and upset.
Overall, I just wanted to understand why my 2018 account choice rewards was showing 10 , when only 5 had been awarded. Perhaps just getting back from “the happiest place on earth,” I was feeling a bit spoiled by the Disney Magic. After all, Disney is usually the embodiment of customer service.
Or maybe this is just another glimpse of the “Bonvoy” experience. Sadly, it is too late to change my 10 booked nights in the next 3 weeks to other properties. Beyond that though, it is going to be “Bonvoyage” Marriott for me.
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