Marriott Charging Some Member Credit Cards When They Try To Redeem Free Night Certificates

Check your credit cards for erroneous charges billed by Marriott.

Marriott started letting members ‘top off’ free night certificates at the end of April. You can add up to 15,000 points to a certificate, making it easier to book rooms. Or at least that’s how it’s supposed to work, but Bonvoy members have been reporting that it’s gone very wrong.

In theory, now that redemption costs are all over he map, a hotel that used to cost 35,000 points might cost 39,000 points. You can add 4000 points to a 35,000 point free night certificate to book the room.

However readers have told me they were charged cash for points purchases (rather than having points deducted from their accounts) when trying to apply 35,000 point free night certificates since the new top off functionality went live.

A common thread in some of the reports I’ve seen is that when the reservation fails (as is wont to do) the member gets charged for a points purchase. There’s live discussion of this at FlyerTalk and incidents reported on Reddit as well.

Marriott tells me this is a known issue, that they’re working to fix it, and to reimburse members that were improperly charged. Specifically, “A fix will be implemented sometime next week beginning with the website where the majority of these bookings occur.”

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, 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. This is what happens when clueless product managers scrap the “testing” portions of the gantt chart off the software engineering roadmap.

  2. Marriott hotel hr manager name Jhon Edward from Canada is cheeting me because he is tell me get visa documents after loss my money but nathing to provide visa documents so am request also person Marriott hotel manager also is froud and liyer person so Marriott hotel management cheeting me

  3. Lifetime Plat w/ 800+ nights (plus significant future value to hotel groups considering I’m only 34 w/ tons of travel ahead) — officially dumped Marriott.

    I stay when Marriott is the only option or amazing value, but not investing in credit cards (cancelled 2 including the brilliant) or the hotel program.

    Hyatt + Hilton + AMEX FHR has me covered. Breakfast offerings and lounge closures pathetic for Marriott.

  4. Just tried to use Chase 35k Free night for 29,000 room in Colorado. I clicked “add certificate to reservation” and got an error message “technical difficulties are preventing this action.” Try again later. Five minutes later I got an alert from Chase that my Marriott card had been charged $357.00 to purchase 29,000 points! I called Marriott and they suggested I should file a claim with Chase in order to get a refund of my “purchase” … Wow … how can a Company be so incompetent and have no controls over their programs.

  5. I have just discovered that Vistana Star Options can ONLY be used in USA/Mexico.
    Massive discrimination against non US habitats.


  6. @Desperado – I left Marriott quite some time ago and it has been eye opening to see the difference . Very pleased with the competition. I have never received any pushback from Hyatt , Hilton , or IHG when requesting program benefits . Upgrades with the competition have been liberal and I haven’t been told nonsense such as “no upgrades available “ when the website says otherwise . Early check in and late checkout – no problem. Etc etc .
    I couldn’t be happier since I moved my business away from Marriott . I just shake my head reading the constant and consistent woes experienced by Bonvoy elites .

  7. Didn’t this used to be a feature of Holiday Inn Priority Club? You’d pay a small amount for extra points for an award stay, cancel the reservation, but keep the extra points because they were cheaper than the regular cost to buy them.

  8. Tired of simply over-charging and delivering crappy service, Marriot now just steals from customers outright. Bonvoyed again!

  9. It’s not Marriott: agents have to take a credit card for the room, to hold throughout the duration of the guest stay. Unfortunately, the guest agents at the front desk: swipes the card as a reservation cost and the guest is charged. The night auditors run the audit at night: not knowing, unless they go thru the bucket list each night. In which, the bucket list catches any payments or credit card problems. But, when the audit runs, that guest is charged accidentally. So, it’s not something Marriott is doing. The statement said some bonvoy members. If it was Marriott it would be everyone. It’s guest agents at the front desk that checks guest in and out: that swipes cards as rates, by accident.

  10. Marriott has told me that they have an IT issue with the website. This has nothing to do with any hotel transaction or front desk actions. There is a problem with their internet site and how it processes free night awards.

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