Marriott Says Award Redemptions Are No Longer Considered Free Nights

News and notes from around the interweb:

  • Marriot no longer calls award redemption stays ‘free night awards’ in its terms and conditions because with Marriott they’re often very much not free. Unlike Hyatt and Hilton stays on points can come with substantial cash co-pays in the form of destination and resort fees.

  • Russian aviation authority reportedly hit by major cyber attack.

    Russian aviation sources claim that the cyberattack started last Saturday. From Monday (the 28th of March), the website of the air transport agency stopped working. Rosaviatsia’s other websites also went offline.

    …[S]ources in the country allege that Rosaviatsia lost its entire database, consisting of 65 Terabytes of data.

    This information includes aircraft registration data, many documents and e-mails going back one and a half years. According to the same sources, the Russian agency can’t use backups to recover from this cyberattack. This is because a lack of funds means that it doesn’t have backups of this data. R

  • Sex offender keeps showing up at Marriott hotels he must be a Bonvoy member.

  • By avoiding Russian airspace, Cathay Pacific’s New York JFK – Hong Kong actually becomes world’s longest flight

  • Texas woman discovers credit card skimmer that stole her number.

  • The Southwest Airlines vs case is really bad for consumers. is a bad actor here, accessing Southwest’s flight information without authorization but doing a bad job of it. That makes it easy to rule against them. But Southwest is publishing information publicly on the internet so it’s hard to argue it is somehow proprietary and no one should be able to use this information. (HT: Jonathan W)

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. I gotta give Marriott credit for this one: At least they’re being truthful for a change. Maybe they’ll continue with this honesty and re-name “Suite Night Awards” as “Get a suite if the hotel can’t sell them on any given night and feels like throwing you a bone.”

    Or simply add the words “if hotel management feels like it” to every so-called benefit.

  2. Marriott is a jerk. That is why I stopped staying with them. Of the big 3, I stay at Hiltons and Hyatts.

    (among the riff raff 3, I stay at Choice and IHG, but not Wyndham)

  3. Regarding the “sex offender who keeps showing up at Marriott hotels, he must be a Bonvoy member,” I agree. He keeps showing up at Marriott hotel properties like the Courtyard by Marriott Asheville Biltmore Village. Accordingly, he is probably an elite Bonvoy Titanium or Ambassador member trying to use his almost worthless free night awards.

    After being arrested and transferred to the Buncombe County Detention Center, he will appreciate the detention center does not collect an additional resort, destination, or parking fee, unlike many Marriott hotel properties. Therefore, as the commercial says, he should “Stay Smart” at a Holiday Inn Express on his next visit.

  4. @KenA : At least he will get the free breakfast at the Buncombe County Detention Center….

  5. If we all support Hyatt and Hilton with our stays while avoiding Marriott maybe we can get them to rethink their foolish ways. At least we will feel better by moving away from supporting Marriott with our hard earned money.

  6. @Dr. C: When compared to Marriott properties, guests receive a complimentary bar of soap during their stay at the Buncombe County Detention Center.

  7. You missed the latest “scam” at Mariotts–taking the formerly free self park garage and converting it into mandatory “valet parking”, with fees of $35-$40 per night. Seen this at a few Marriotts. Another way to get cash during a “free” stay. Add the resort fee, the valet parking fee, and the value of those 15,000 points you will need to pay per night because your formerly 50,000 point per night stay is now 65,000 points per night, and you start to think more carefully about the value of those credit card free nights.

  8. I’ve been booking nights for a European trip in about 2 months and Marriott is the absolute worst of my rewards programs. They often want a bazillion points, plus a not-cheap nightly rate and often extraneous fees on top of that. Their points plus $ offerings suck. So far, I’ve booked Hilton, Holiday Inn, and a bunch of independents – but not one Marriott as yet because they’re so insufferable.

    I’m GLAD that I’ve shifted my former Marriott business to Hilton in the last year.

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