Marriott Hotel Threatens Me With $2000 Charge If I Don’t Show Up

I have an upcoming award stay at a Marriott property, and I received a note from the hotel warning me that if I don’t show up on the day scheduled, and haven’t cancelled at least a day in advance, they’ll charge me over $2000 cash.

We do realize tht plans change. In the event that you need to cancel your reservation, you will receive a full refund if you cancel one day prior to your anticipated arrival. If you cancel your reservation fewer than one day before your anticipated arrival or if you do not arrive for your reservation, the hotel will charge the equivalent of one night, a total of $1999 plus tax, to the credit card used when making the reservation. Any Marriott Bonvoy points used for the reservation will be refunded to your account.

If your flight diverts on the way to this award stay and you can’t check in as scheduled, call your mortgage broker for a second or third lien – quick!

A couple of years ago I wrote about the St. Regis Aspen charging points guests $1000 a night for cancelling reservations within 60 days of arrival. Even customers whose flights were delayed or diverted, and showed up the next day, were getting hit with $1000 charges for their missed nights. $2000 has to be a record, though.

  • When a guest doesn’t stay on an award, the program doesn’t pay them for the award stay
  • The hotel instead goes back to the guest to charge them a forfeiture instead

St. Regis Aspen, credit: Marriott

That’s how Marriott works, it’s also how Hyatt works. Starwood used to have a policy that you could email and request to have your points forfeit instead of cash, which is how most members assume this works — if you have a non-cancellable booking made with points and you don’t show you lose the points.

There’s a lot of risk in Marriott award stays now because if you don’t show up to check-in, if your flight cancels and you have to give up the trip or if you get rebooked to arrive the next day instead, you’re facing a significant cash charge that is not even disclosed to you during the booking process. In this case, the hotel at least emailed the next day, perhaps because their charge is so large.

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. Gene – he could be driving. If he’s flying in first he’s about to experience “safe air travel” while everyone doffs their masks and eats. 😀

  2. Why not identify the property? If the St Regis Aspen was worth naming and shaming for $1000, surely a $2000 penalty demands it as well?

  3. If you are unwilling to name the property (which seems unusual for you) – at least tell us why you won’t name the property.

    One of the few ways to fix bad behavior like at this hotel is to name and shame them publicly. (The other news outlets pick up your story… getting you and the bad hotel more notice.)

  4. Why not name the property? Also, while most people wouldn’t know this, you could in most cases check in to the room using the Marriott app, even though you are aware you will not be showing up. You should appear in their system as a checked in guest. I also thought about staying at the St. Regis Aspen, but there is no way I am going to be stuck anywhere with a 60 day cancel, that is ridiculous! I’ll just go somewhere else, there loss, and to the fool that would put up with restrictions like that.

  5. Wait, that’s how Hyatt works? I no showed a Hyatt rev and they not only cancelled, they refunded me the points too!

  6. I cannot remember the last time I stayed at a Marriott hotel. SPG had a great program.

  7. Even better than that, I just booked a Hilton property that is extracting a 3000 Euro DEPOSIT on an award booking!

  8. Gary us not naming the hotel because, believe it or not, there are people who enjoy calling and interfering with (cancelling) bloggers’ travel plans.

  9. Gary – I would be happy to to cover some of the financial burden for you to purposely miss a date and then sue the heck out of a hotel that tried this nonsense

    Same offer if you buy a ticket and sell it to me. I would love to take an airline to task on this.

  10. Why are these hotel loyalty programs set up this way? No traveler would expect to be on the hook for a cash payment instead of simply forfeiting the points. In 2019, I was flying to the Hyatt Regency Seattle and, after many hours of waiting for thunderstorms to pass, my evening flight was cancelled due to the “tarmac rule.” I remember it being a bit of a PITA to move my reservation to the next day but, to her credit, the on-duty manager helped me out and I didn’t even lose any points. Had I been on the hook for a big cash payment for something completely out of my control, I obviously would have been pissed.

  11. No hotel doing this would stand a chance against a chargeback if it wasn’t disclosed during the booking process.

    Poor customer relations too, especially during COVID.

  12. When your flight diverts and you are incapable of enjoying your award room stay at a Marriott or Hyatt property imposing a confiscatory cash penalty, I would contact the area homeless shelter and offer your unoccupied room to a homeless veteran.

    This is my win, win solution for tonight.

  13. This is clearly a typo. You must have a slow news day if this is what you’re reporting

  14. @Tokyo Hyatt Fan – off topic, but I’m envious you get to take advantage of the Hyatt properties there, assuming you haven’t moved to another brand. I’ve managed to secure 5 Ambassador Suite reservations in HR Tokyo in the last year (of course, all of which were cancelled) – demand for premium suites seems to be at an all time low.

    Happy (local) travels!

  15. Gary, was this disclosed prior to your completing the booking process?

    If not then it wouldn’t be enforceable. Not only that it could be crime they attempted to assess the fee as a regular practice.

  16. There is no hotel in the world that would get that kind of $$$ from me because of a flight cancellation. I would first dispute the charge, then shame them on every social media platform on God’s Green Earth. The bad press I could create would be soooooo much fun. They would rue the day they tried that trick.

  17. @Chris jensen – you and me both brotha’!

    You do social media I’ll do the old school way of calling up journos.

    As @chopsticks says, forfeiting points for a no show is reasonable, but charging cold hard cash is a head scratcher, to put it politely.

  18. $2000 a night isn’t a record. The Ritz Kapalua said they would charge us $12,000 for a 5-night points stay if we didn’t show up on time. (this was during the golf tournament they hold there in January.) We bought travel insurance— but we arrived, thankfully, without incident.

  19. I booked a stay at the St. Regis Deer Valley (UT) on points and received a same-type e-mail warning of a similarly huge cancellation charge. Ended up cancelling the reservation and rebooking at Hotel Park City, which had the side benefit of allowing me to stretch the points further.

    Needless to say, such “don’t be late or we’ll charge you out the wazoo” e-mails are a big turnoff.

  20. “ Ended up cancelling the reservation and rebooking at Hotel Park City, ”

    That’s probably the point of their email. If they just blocked everyone from making award reservations, they would be violating Marriott rules.

    Likely when Marriott wrote the contract they allowed hotels to charge a no show fee and just assumed it would be a normal fee. But then Aspen presumably figured out how to use this allowance to scare off any award bookings and nod other hotels have heard about it and done it double.

  21. @Andrew HR Tokyo is a pathetic, barren wasteland now. I say that after a two night stay in late January to finish getting back to Globalist. They have shut down their pool and fitness area. and will shut down the majority of their restaurants at the end of March. The Regency Club, once my favorite place to be, is a sad ghost town filled with stale crackers and empty coffee machines, and the clientele is bottom of the barrel. Save your memories, and avoid it at all costs.

    Looking forward to Hyatt Regency Tokyo Bay opening next month though.

  22. So I’m curious, If you book it, know the penalty, and are forewarned, why is this an issue? I recall the earlier St Regis famed penalties were not clear and a surprise to the guest. This is not. If you are uncomfortable with the terms just find somewhere else to stay OR call the hotel and explain that you want to get assurance that you can alter if plans go awry. Is that so hard?

    Hotels will rape you as much as you let them. And if Gary wishes to book and take his chance knowingly (even complaining about it beforehand) he is doing nothing more than feeding into their system.

  23. I am curious what would happen if one tested positive for COVID right before a stay. Would they still charge the large bill? Would one have recourse then?

  24. @ Stuart — Agree. Just avoid Marriott like plague, like I do. There are plenty of other hotel companies in the world that there is no need to do business with these people.

  25. @Steven Edelman – as I write in the post it was not disclsoed pre-booking but in a post-booking email while the reservation was still cancellable, whether ultimately enforceable the cost and hassle of dealing with it through a legal process could be more than the amount claimed due unless you actually recover damages.

  26. I wasn’t able to check in for my first night at the SpringHill Suites just outside Zion National Park about 2 years ago. When I booked our trip, I didn’t check the hours of the rental car company and they closed before our flight arrived. I was fortunate to figure this out before our arrival and booked a hotel that had an airport shuttle for that night. I wasn’t able to change the dates for the Zion hotel because the amount of points increased after I booked it. I called the hotel the day I was to arrive and asked them to check us in and advised I’d be there early the next morning. They took care of it and I didn’t have any issues or extra charges. Yes, I lost a day of my booking, but wasn’t out any additional money.

  27. @Tokyo Hyatt Fan – oh no!!! Thank you for the heads up – I will go with my memories of the Atrium Suite and start exploring new properites. 🙂

  28. Mobile check-in resolves this issue entirely and most hotels support it. I do it all the time when my arrival time is after midnight

  29. That the reservation was cancellable is irrelevant. If as their regular business practice hotel management attempts to charge a fee not spelled out in the agreement could be criminal behavior.

    If their policy with award booking is to charge guests who don’t show then that demonstrates their intent is to cheat all their customers who make award bookings. That’s generally the difference a civil and criminal.

    I’d suggest you disclose the name of the hotel so that anyone who would like can make a booking. If the hotels attempts the same behavior this should be brought to the attention of the
    attorneys general of the state in which they are located.

  30. What if you booked it within 24 hours of the stay, i.e. past the cancellation period, Would it then show up on the confirmation or at booking?

  31. Bravo, KenA! Trouble is, most flight delays happen late at night where it may be hard to contact a homeless person on short notice who can use the room. Also, homeless people are not usually in Vail or Aspen. But I have helped homeless people with donations of points rooms here in Charleston SC and one in Little Rock AR. Indeed, I know a couple in Little Rock who could use a gift of 10,000 Bonvoy or 9000 Radisson points per night for tonight!

  32. When you click on the button “Show rates with taxes and all fees”, Fairfield Inn & Suites Las Vegas South March 14-15 shows this rate:
    $2,147,483,647 USD

    I am still on the fence because I have to change my flight to stay that night.

    Just imagine the points I would accrue!

  33. @dc not in dc Don’t forget, your room rate at the Fairfield Inn & Suites Las Vegas South includes a complimentary grab-and-go breakfast each morning and free high-speed internet.

  34. The $2000 penalty was clearly and unambiguously stated at the time of the reservation so you were noticed of it and prior to making the confirmed reservation agreed to and now want to complain about it – sorry, you made your bed, now lie in it

  35. My solution to this Marriott extortion scam will be to use a credit card with a low credit limit (e.g. $750). This way, the hotel will be unable to authorize the full penalties, LOL! 🙂

  36. @DC, that is 2^31 – 1 (2 to the power of 32 minus 1). It’s the maximum value allowed in a 32-bit digit. So even if they wanted to charge more, they couldn’t. 😀

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