No Points or Status for This 83 Day Ritz-Carlton Stay

Earlier I noted an interview with one of the world’s richest men, a member of the Saudi royal family who was held prisoner by the Saudi government at the Ritz-Carlton Riyadh for 83 days. He was held in 4575 square foot royal suite room 628.

Word on the street was that the government was demanding confession to corruption charges and payment of $6 billion. It’s unclear the terms under which Prince Alaweed bin Talal was released.

The entire hotel was taken over by the government as a prison, and there were reports of torture and even death.

Ritz-Carlton Riyadh, Credit: Ritz-Carlton

Reader Homer asks in the comments, “So did Prince Alaweed earn points and nights on his stay ? Platinum now?”

Here’s what I’d say about the points.

  • Marriott’s program allows accumulation only for the member’s room and two additional rooms on the same stay, not for the whole hotel. So the Saudi government didn’t make out so well with Marriott Rewards.

  • The meeting planner program caps earning at 50,000 points.

  • ‘Wholesale rates’ are ineligible for points accrual, either to the Saudi government or to Prince Alaweed.

  • It’s debatable whether or not this was a ‘participating property’ during the time it was commandeered by the Saudi government as a prison.

Guests of this Ritz-Carlton who experienced torture during their stays, however, might reach out to customer relations for compensation. Because I’m not sure their experience lived up to brand standard.

Prince Alaweed has a large stake in Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, owns the Four Seasons Hotel George V in Paris, but just sold the Four Seasons Beirut so the next time he visits Lebanon he could use those customer relations points for a Starwood stay.

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 »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. What a poor cap for meeting planners. 50k max? I wouldn’t be very impressed with that if I was planning a really large event. Or even a prison.

  2. Maybe the imprisonment, torture and murder of potential political opposition by a foreign government that the US supports shouldn’t be something that you try to write jokes about on a travel website? Just a thought.

  3. NO – we cannot see, hear or visualize any brutal or inhumane data points, whether in photos or verbiage, even though they appear daily and shown on foreign media. that is detrimental to our kids, so much they need consultations or else their happy childhood is permanently damaged.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *