If You’ve Stayed At The JW Marriott In Cabo On Points You Have Money Coming Back To You

The J.W. Marriott Las Cabos Resort has been charging Bonvoy members a $30 per night redemption fee when staying on points.

All Marriott Bonvoy redemption nights are subject to a service charge of USD 30 per night.

This flat fee is described as a ‘service charge’. Paid rate guests pay a similar service charge of 10% of their room rate, and with paid rates under $300 service charges are lower for guests paying cash than those paying with points.

Credit: JW Marriott Los Cabos

More importantly, though, there’s not supposed to be any ‘service charges’ on points stays. The hotel has been overcharging award night guests for some time, hitting them with $30 a night fees when they’re getting paid an amount by Marriott that is supposed to cover the full stay (exclusive of resort fees, natch).

When I first asked Marriott about this I was told that these service charges were typical for resorts in Mexico, and that award guests weren’t being targeted despite unfortunate language on Marriott’s website that made it appear otherwise. I pushed back.

  1. Claiming there is ‘no service charge specifically for redemption stays’ isn’t quite right since there’s no flat $30 charge applied to paid bookings, which are billed 10% of paid rate.

  2. That’s beside the point, since service charges (or any fee that is a percentage of room rate) – as opposed to resort fees – are supposed to be included with award stays. Bonvoy program terms item 3.2.e states that free night redemption “includes.. room tax/service charge.”

Pointing out Marriott’s terms seemed to get action. Marriott first went on to explain the service charge “[t]he full amount received from these service charges is paid directly to hotel associates as a gratuity.” That’s all well and good, but hotel employees should be taken care of by the hotel – they are receiving payment from Marriott that is meant to be inclusive of service charges. And if they are underpaying their staff, they should fix that.

Nonetheless, the chain acknowledged that charging award guests these fees “is inconsistent with the program’s terms and conditions.” As a result, Marriott told the property to cut it out.


Marriott is looking into whether this practice existed at other properties in the company’s portfolio. Once our review is completed, we will communicate with our members who were impacted by such charges and intend to address the situation.

In other words, anyone that has been billed a service charge for their Marriott Bonvoy redemption stay should – eventually – see a refund.

Now we just need to get Marriott to refund improper credit card surcharges from the Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort. But progress is being made.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Thanks for being our advocate once again Gary, really appreciate your support fighting hotels/airlines playing games.

  2. How do we know Marriott is actually doing something? We are talking about potentially thousands of guests who were wrongly charged by the hotel over the past few years. Is Marriott actually going to go back and manually refund or manually credit these guests? I would be interested to know who the franchisee is and what other properties they own and operate under Marriott brands since Marriott implied it was looking into other properties.

    A quick Google search revealed that the JW Marriott Los Cabos is MANAGED BY MARRIOTT and owned by Grupo Diestra. So, this wasn’t the case of a rogue franchisee. The property is managed directly by Marriott. By the way, Grupo Diestra owns 17 hotels in Mexico, including the Renaissance Cancun Resort & Marina, Villahermosa Marriott, Marriott Tuxtla Gutierrez, JW Marriott Santa Fe and Marriott Reform in Mexico City, Marriott Aguascalientes and Marriott Tijuana. It would be interesting to know if the other properties charge similar fees. Sources: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/jw-marriott-brand-to-open-luxury-resort-in-los-cabos-mexico-171583791.html and http://www.grupodiestra.com/

    Now, if only Marriott would stop properties from claiming toast and coffee is a compliant breakfast benefit.

  3. You give Marriott too much credit. “Intend to address the situation” could just be an apology. “We will never let it happen again!” Or a Marriott gift card (vs actual refund, which would then have breakage).

  4. When I stayed at the Sheraton Kaiulani hotel in Waikiki Nov. 12th to the 19th I stayed with points and was charged 30 dollars a day ..they said it was a service charge …I called Marriott while I was there and told them I should not be charged anything because I am staying with points..well the phone call was to no avail…when I checked out of the hotel I was charged 30×7=210 for service charges…That really turned me against Marriott…And I am a timeshare owner for 24 years…But know I am a very dissatisfied owner…

  5. Gary, should we reach out to Marriott directly for our refund? I had a stay at this resort in November 2020 and was definitely charged.

  6. Diligent reader of your blog here, so of course, I blame myself. I just checked out of this hotel today on a points stay. Total cost for their “service charge” + taxes for 5 nights was a little over $330. Unbelievable!

    Really, shame on me for not booking elsewhere after reading this article but I will push hard to get my money refunded ASAP (I just didn’t have the time to battle at the checkout desk earlier today).

  7. One month and counting. Not really expecting Marriott to come through with my refund, but I will be grateful if they do.

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