Hey, Marriott, the 90s Called and They Want Their Fax Machine Back

Back in March I shared my frustrations with the Marriott Rewards program.

I had some upcoming Marriott stays, I figured i would do an elite challenge and add a few nights to the reservations I was locked into, but I quickly realized the program wasn’t a match for what I look for in loyalty and rewards.

  • Breakfast benefit only applies during the week (though some properties go above and beyond)
  • Late checkout on request only, day of departure
  • Suites are excluded from upgrades per terms and conditions
  • Free health club access isn’t a top tier benefit
  • Virtually no benefits on resort stays — late checkout (even based on availability) doesn’t apply, breakfast doesn’t even apply. And it’s those resort and leisure stays where I often care the most..

A Marriott Platinum at a resort still gets free internet and a welcome amenity (I pushed for and got the $100 guarantee after the amenity wasn’t offered on my last stay). That for the toughest elite level to quality for at 75 nights.

My two most recent stays didn’t post to my Marriott Rewards account on their own, so I had to go online to request credit. Much to my surprise the procedure for doing this is… so 90’s.

  • You need your hotel receipt to request credit. I’m sometimes asked for this with other chains and it’s frustrating, they ought to be able to scrounge it up for me, but if they can’t do so fair enough. With Marriott, if you don’t have your receipt, they tell you that you must “Fax or mail a signed request to the hotel” in order to get it.

  • Then you use the website to generate a printable form. Seriously, you don’t just submit the form online. You don’t attach the receipt and email it.

  • Instead, “After printing the page, fax or mail it with your hotel receipt to a Guest Services Location shown on the page.”

Marriott Rewards, the program that the dot com bubble passed by?

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 Milepoint.com, 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. Yes! We had points missing from a recent stay at Marriott and I was also shocked at the “fax me your receipt” thing. On a brighter note, once I faxed them, the points posted very quickly.

    Anita

  2. I also had a stay not credited last month, and although I had to fax it, the credit was posted within a couple of days.. I was able to get credit for a megabonus for a 2 night stay that the hotel billed seperately!

  3. This is so ridiculous that it’s hilarious. Thanks for brightening my morning with a good laugh.

  4. Agreed that Marriott is way behind the times.

    Two details, any Marriott card holder can have receipts automatically emailed the day of checkout. I’ve done this for years and it makes it easy to do my billing (it comes as a PDF attachment.)

    Also, a call to the hotel accounting department during business hours will get a new copy sent immediately.

    As for faxing the missing stuff, I just use eFax from time to time to make life easy on the road, and now at home where I have no fax machine (but do have a scanner).

  5. I had a missing stay in Sao Paulo. When I called Marriott Rewards customer service, the rep told me she would be happy to take care of it. She then sent me an e-mail, told me to reply to it with a scanned copy of the invoice, and after receiving it she would make the adjustment. Which is exactly what I did, turnaround time was within 1-2 days. They just need to update the web site so the same process can be used.

  6. I’ve faxed my receipt on three separate occasions for a stay last year and have heard nothing and have not been credited.

  7. sending scanned form and receipt to elite.member at marriott.com usually also helps so it is not fax only.

  8. In addition to the need to fax receipts, the other issue with Marriott is the number of times I encountered ‘missing stays’. Being a loyal SPG member, I’ve only stayed at a Marriott twice in the past year and I had to file a missing stay request on both the occasions. I think Marriott IT systems are conveniently stuck in the 90s, and that’s what is causing them to inconsistently post stays to a member account.

  9. Same story with AAdvantage missing partner miles — had to fax the ticket receipt and boarding passes. Yes, I know it’s a partner, but I assume they don’t just rely on the fax but also check with the partner, so why do they need the fax in the first place? They did however credit with miles appropriate for a higher fare bucket, so no complaints…

  10. In the past I just called Customer service and told the agent about the missing points and they were happy to contact the hotel and get the receipt. It takes them a couple of days to take care of it, but the points will eventually show up.

  11. To keep the costs down, the missing credit thing is processed by computer illiterate cheap labor. 😉
    So bear with them.

  12. The worst is when you have an international stay and you are paying in a different currency then US dollars. It has posted wrong for me 100% of the time and not in my favor.

  13. I actually think it’s 20 yrs later and … the 90’s did, in fact, call…they want their “it’s the 90’s calling…” joke back

  14. I still do not understand the reluctance to do away with the fax machine by American businesses. We have a fax system here at work that still processes hundreds or thousands of faxes per day, most of which are simply converted into PDF’s and emailed to their original targets who then reply by email themselves before being converted back into a fax and sent along its merry way through the ancient telephone system.

    Sometimes people will tell me they still use a facsimile because the document is too large for email or they need to have a signature on file or something. Our email system can handle attachments from known sources that contain documents with dozens or even hundreds of pages and electronic signatures were made legally enforceable back during the Clinton era.

    I’m with you Gary, this makes absolutely no sense today.

  15. Ditto, and Marriott has a terrible “drop rate” for missing stays, sometimes 1 out of 3 stays!

    I can understand the “no breakfast” thing on Residence Inn weekend stays, they give typically a very cheap rate to fill some rooms. However on their other locations like say downtown San Francisco Sanford Court or others where you are NOT getting huge discounts, how much would it cost them to leave out some cereal & bagels? It’s ridiculous.

  16. Completely agree regarding Marriott’s benefits. They don’t seem to understand that the only time I truly care about getting benefits is when I am not traveling for business. Obviously, a room upgrade is nice when traveling during the week, but I would trade that for free breakfast when I am traveling for leisure any day.

    Frankly, I really feel like their loyalty program is almost a slap in the face to their most loyal customers. Virtually no benefits on the weekends and literally no benefits (outside of internet) at resorts. I routinely spend $30k-50k+ a year on hotels. You’d think they could throw me a free breakfast buffet with a total cost of probably $3 a day from time to time.

    I switched to Hilton almost exclusively for this very reason.

  17. There was a time in the 80s I only stayed Marriott
    They lost over 500K from just this one customer alone over the past 20 years on business and leisure travel.
    I’m not saying some of this business wouldn’t have gone elsewhere do to more interesting hotels.However they dont seem to understand there are some vastly rewarding/better recognition programs out there.
    On the upside I hear Marriott will be bringing back paper certificates for reward redemptions and the 6 to 8 weeks wait by snail mail to redeem them 😉
    Ahh praise the fax machine a historical icon

  18. I know! I was shocked when I had to cancel a trip last month for a family emergency and both Air France and British Airways required I mail them a letter explaining the circumstances along with print-offs of my e-tickets…insane.

  19. I wonder if Marriott’s fax machines still use those rolls of thin, crinkly heat-sensitive paper for printing out their incoming faxes? 😉

  20. If you e-mail marriottrewards@marriott.com with your MR # and a scanned copy of your hotel bill they will credit your account with the points.

    This method is not published, but I’ve done it for 15+ missing stay requests over the past several years.

  21. I must say that I stay at Marriott a bit and never experience what your experience.
    Just for example:
    – I had breakfast this morning, saturday the 5th, at Marriott for free BOTH in club lounge and the main restaurant (I felt like a bigger selection). I have never had a problem with this though I know some hotels do this.
    – Yes, you have to ask for the 2pm check out but I’ve never had a problem. Asking is small.
    – My last stay was upgraded to an ocean view corner suite (Guam Marriott from standard room) and and the stay before at Renaissance Saigon I got upgraded to a two bedroom suite. Actually, this is a bit rare though, and up until these last two I felt the same frustration.
    – Never have I not had access to health club.
    – and my current stay also debunks the resort theory. But I know ymmv.

    I do find Marriotts and courtyards to be dated but JW and Renaissance and obviously the Ritz Carlton hotels are VERY up to date and pretty slick. In fact, I stayed at an InterContinental last week that looks like when it was built they used my grandma as the decorator. Some hotels just need renovation.

    ALL THAT SAID. And I agree that it’s not as rewarding as other programs top tier yet it’s harder to get it. But I have no experience to confirm your gripes. Not that they aren’t valid, because I’m sure you experienced them…. I’d say its rare but then again, I don’t stay in a ton of resorts.

  22. I agree with TravelisFree, but the big caveat is that I live in Indonesia and all my stays are in Asia-Pacific. All the urban hotels I have stayed at as a Marriott Gold (JW HK, JW Beijing, JW Shenzhen, JW Medan, Marriott Singapore, Courtyard HK) have had incredible club lounge spreads, including on weekends, and a choice of free breakfast in either the lounge or the full-service restaurant. I agree that the benefits are less in Marriott resorts, but the JW Khao Lak for example provides one hour of free open bar at their regular bar every night for Gold and Platinum members. Also, the Ren Phuket just upgraded me to a Villa with Private Pool, and I have received suite upgrades at every single property above from the cheapest room category. Sometimes you have to push for the suite upgrade, but they will usually give it to you in the end. Of course, Asia is the holy grail of new luxury hotels and club lounges.

  23. I’ve been in Asia too but… Right now I’m at a Hilton lounge and the cheese spread is of american cheese! Gross… lol. The Marriott I can see from here has a much better spread. (And I have to ask for the late checkout here too).

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