Marriott Homes & Villas Isn’t A Real Homesharing Service (And How To Redeem Cheaper)

Marriott wants you to think that they’re in the homesharing business, and that Homes & Villas By Marriott is an Airbnb competitor. Despite the tag line, “Private Homes With The Assurances Of Marriott,” that’s not at all what it is.

Marriott Homes & Villas isn’t actually a competitor to Airbnb. In fact, it’s not a homesharing platform. It’s a booking site that advertises homes listed elsewhere and takes a commission. It’s better thought of as an affiliate marketing site or more like a third party travel agent or reseller.

This is especially ironic given the ‘book direct’ push that Marriott and other hotel chains have pushed in recent years. The problems that come adding a third party in between the guest and the actual booking site with hotels creep up with vacation rentals as well.

For instance Marriott’s site promises that all of its listings include wifi, but lists properties that do not include internet – as indicated on the underlying listing.

Here’s a property on the Marriott website – Arcadian Gardens in Sequim, WA. By virtue of it being listed on the Marriott site it should have wifi – since Marriott promises that all the properties listed on their site offer it.

But this property is being sourced from Vacasa and if you drill down into the underlying listing, wifi isn’t offered.

I asked Marriott about this property in particular, and they attributed it to Vacasa removing the amenity from the property due to complaints about signal quality, and that Marriott removed the property as a result. A spokesperson explained,

The property you reviewed did have WiFi. Vacasa had just removed that amenity from its site because the signal was substandard. When this happens, home management companies report properties not in compliance for removal from our platform. We no longer offer this property.

However the internet issue isn’t just limited to this one property, although I expect any that I flag will get fixed, perhaps even by the time you read this. Here’s a property that shows no internet on Vacasa but that is nonetheless listed by Marriott and here’s another nearby property on the Vacasa site that is offered by Marriott Homes & Villas.

It’s actually not hard to identify properties on the Vacasa website without internet. You can toggle the amenity on and off, and see the properties that disappear. Then search for those properties on the Marriott Homes & Villas site. Just like failing to police hotels selling their rooms through Airbnb, Marriott isn’t paying a lot of attention or doing quality control on the site’s included listings, it seems.

And it’s not just internet. Marriott Homes & Villas promises TV service. They don’t explicitly say what constitutes that service, I guess, but I think it sort of implies cable TV or a streaming subscription, not just a coat hanger-as-antenna. Here’s a property with a TV but no cable that’s available through Marriott. There are many more like this.

The Marriott spokesperson shared that the third party management company is “required to inform guests before arrival if an amenity is no longer available and work with the guest to resolve the issue.” Put another way, though, if something goes wrong with the stay you’ve booked through Marriott it’s not Marriott that’s supposed to make it right.

One reason to book through Marriott is the ability to earn and burn points, though

  • In the times I’ve searched the homes available via Marriott have either been less desirable at the same price point than others in the same complex (e.g. near the beach rather than directly on the beach) or more money for a comparable place compared to Airbnb. Your mileage may vary.

  • Marriott’s redemptions are revenue-based and were devalued during the pandemic to $0.006 per point.

In fact Wyndham points are a often better deal for many Marriott Homes & Villas properties than Marriott redemptions are. Marriott Homes & Villas sources properties from several providers like Vacasa. Vacasa partners with Wyndham Rewards, and Wyndham charges juts 15,000 points per night per bedroom in most cases. In most cases the more expensive the property, the better the deal Wyndham points are (the whole idea of points!).

Maybe ‘Homes & Villas’ is just another Marriott brand that they sell to customers. Marriott brands usually come with brand standards. But they’re enforced at Homes & Villas about as well as elite benefits are enforced at their other properties?

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. A bigger (self-interested) question is whether Marriott Homes & Villas bookings qualify for the Venture X card’s $200 vacation rental credit? I would assume so, but would like confirmation before trying it.

  2. Marriott can’t properly guarantee benefits for its own property footprint, why would anyone think they could do it for things they have no putative control over?

  3. @Dan — Inconsistent benefits could be part of the “unique” charm and experience of booking a homeshare, i.e. Marriott would probably call that a feature, not a bug. LOL ;-P

  4. Another example of why Marriott is no longer a hotelier. Marriott is a booking platform for hotels and, now, vacation rentals. Even with the hotels, Marriott owns almost none of them and only manages less than 28% of all hotels in its portfolios.

  5. Articles like these validate your title as a thought leader in travel. I’ve been following your blog for almost two decades and while yes, you receive your fair share of criticisms when you write travel related stories that interest you, no one gives you enough credit when you unearth articles such as these.

  6. Booked a Paris apartment through MHV. Got the confirmation from the actual host. Looked up the price on their website, it was half as much to book through them.
    Cancelled the Marriott booking and immediately scooped up the same thing for half price.
    Always comparison shop!

  7. @zac Same here. Looked at booking a MHV condo on the beach in Texas and found the price was 1/3 higher than if I had booked it through Turnkey Rentals that runs the condo complex. I only considered booking through MHV to get the Marriott points to boost my status level, but could not justify the price increase.

  8. We recently booked a house through MHV in Cape Coral, FL. Turnkey managed the property. The house was full of ants – we had to close one of the bedrooms off because they were on the ceiling and crawling up the walls. The house had well water which smelled so bad it made 4 of us physically sick. Most of the beds were broken. The list goes on.

    We left 4 days early and got no refund. We booked with Marriott due to reputation. Never again.

  9. I won’t use this service again. The ONLY Marriott benefit you get is points earned. There is no customer service number to call, and no status related benefits. There is no one at Marriott who can help you beyond the actual property manager. So absolutely no reason to use this platform.

  10. Marriott Homes and Villas is the worst. We booked 4 nights at a condo which turned out to be a noisy unsafe condo from hell with screaming people and loud music till 4am in an unlocked building full of drunks. When we complained to the management company they said there was nothing they could do and that we should contact Marriott. Marriott Homes and Villas so called 24/7 support took two days to get back to us. We either had to stay in the Marriott’s hellscape rental or try to find last minute lodging in Bordeaux on a busy summer weekend. It cost us a lot but it was better then staying in Marriott’s Hell condo. But the whole experience really ruined two of our four days in France. When Marriott finally got back to us they clarified that Marriott takes no responsibility what so ever for customer experiences for the services they sell and that we should take it up with their management company. Marriott local management company clarified that they also had no responsibility for our problems because they did not own the building they just managed it for the owners. Of course they refused to give us the contact info for the owners. Ultimately the nameless owners refused to give us a refund because they know no one can be held responsible Marriott doesn’t allow reviews of they properties they ren but are not responsible for. Essentially no one will stand behind the services Marriott is selling. At least with ABNB you can check reviews and ABNB step in to sort out problems when you are in a jam. You have been warned stay away from Marriott.

    Sent from my iPad

  11. As much as I dislike airbnb, Marriott Homes & Villas is so much worse … for all the reasons you

    It seems clear MHV will end up making some class action attorney richer. There is so much about how MHV is marketed that is just plain not true.

  12. We used points for a Marriot Homes and Villas stay in Florence, Italy. The apartment was listed as pet free, but my wife had an almost immediate reaction and her throat started closing up. She had to leave the apartment while I spoke to the management company who stated that they do not allow pets and there would not be a refund. Homes & Villas shields themselves by not having a phone number. So their 24/7 customer support advertised is a bs. Also when they say they Curate the best homes and have Standards that the homes must meet, that is also bs. I looked up this properties management company on another site and found they have a 2.5 rating. I sent Marriot pictures of the apartment showing a broken electrical outlet that was a fire hazard, a vent with stuff growing on it and a shower that had mold growing on it. No response. They denied my request for a points refund, because they asked the management company and they refused. They intentionally don’t have a contact number, don’t let you leave reviews and pass you off onto the management company. Wish we could start some kind of class action lawsuit.

  13. Worst experience ever. No Heat in London home in January, sewer smell and the home had Cameras in the living area and google listening devices. You can only talk VIA Email. The location was subpar and the flat was dirty. These people make excuses but they really are the worst service ever. I cant believe Marriott would associate or offer this type of property.

  14. Absolutely horrible Company – Marriott Bonvoy has nothing to do with Homes and Villas – avoid at all costs!

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