Marriott doesn’t let you book an award for someone else on the website. You have to call, wait on hold, an hope you get an agent that knows how to do it correctly – otherwise your guest may have a problem checking in. All of a sudden your good deed will turn out to be a travel nightmare.
A reader shares,
[I c]alled up an airport Sheraton and as I have for 20 years to add a family members name to the reservation. The call centers frequently don’t add the name despite my calling… I was told this is no longer possible due to fraud and a new security layer in place where all hotels can no longer add a name unless on a revenue booking.
Followed up with Marriott Call center for more clarification they can no longer add a name either.
The call center must cancel the award booking and rebook the award res[ervaton] if you want to add a name! That means if you need to add a name and they are out award space to rebook you are out of luck!!
I talked about this issue in a longer discussion of the major things wrong with Marriott Bonvoy as part of overall challenges getting good customer service from the program, but I realize I haven’t highlighted it more on its own so many have probably missed how serious and frustrating it can be.
It’s not possible to book an award for someone else on the Marriott website. I used to make an award and then ask the Marriott twitter team to update the guest name. That was quicker and easier. However it’s no longer possible, and Marriott requires that gifted awards have the correct guest name at time the reservation is made.
You have to call, and play agent roulette. Last year I made an award reservation over the phone for my wife. The agent checked and cross-checked to make sure it was being done correctly. Still, I didn’t trust her work so I contacted the hotel directly who let me know that the reservation was made in my name, with my wife’s nowhere on it!
- I contacted Marriott for help and was told there was nothing they could do, that I should call and make a new reservation because reservations can’t be changed after they’re made. (But that’s what I tried to do the first time, and Marriott did it wrong!)
- I worked directly with the hotel to make sure my wife would be able to check in with our daughter. Mess with me all you want, but don’t give my wife and daughter grief checking into a hotel after a long travel day.
If Marriott wants award bookings to have the correct guest name on them at the time they are made, they should let you specify the guest name on the website. That way you don’t have to call, and you don’t risk customer service agents failing to do this correctly.
By the way another change Marriott didn’t tell anyone about is they’ve updated their rules and you can no longer give away more than 5 times in a calendar year. It doesn’t appear that they track this and prevent you from doing it. Instead you can go and gift six awards, run afoul of the rule, and if they choose to they could then close your account.