Earlier this year, my wife & I spent the long Presidents Day weekend (which happened to coincide with Valentine’s Day), at the Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel to escape the cold weather in NY. We could not have timed the trip better – it was record cold in NY that weekend (0 degrees on Long Island) and record highs in Laguna at 82 degrees! It was a fantastic use of 60,000 Marriott Rewards Points per night as room rates were over $700/night for the holiday weekend and I’ll talk about the hotel in a separate post (spoiler alert – we loved it!).
It’s no secret I’m not a fan of the Marriott Rewards program as I think among the major hotel programs, Marriott’s hotels are overpriced from a points perspective, lack aspirational properties that I want to stay at (excluding Ritz Carltons), and earning points in this program is not as rewarding as their competitors. Many run of the mill Courtyards and Marriott hotels price from 30k to 40k points a night but for 25k or 30k points at Hyatt (remember Chase UR transfer to both Hyatt and Marriott at a 1:1 ratio), I’ve stayed at some truly excellent hotels including the Park Hyatt Paris Vendome and Park Hyatt Maldives.
Anyway getting back to the point of this post, while checking my points balances a few weeks ago, I noticed I never earned any points for my incidental charges at the Ritz including our Valentine’s Day dinner at Raya in the hotel. I finally contacted Marriott Rewards to ask about my missing points and was told that incidental charges don’t earn points at Ritz Carlton hotels.
That’s right you earn zip, zero, zlich, nada, nil etc. for any incidentals charged to your room not only at just Ritz Carltons but also many other Marriott chains including Courtyard, Fairfield Inns, Edition, SpringHill Suites and several others. To Marriott’s credit, they do make this pretty clear on their website.
Truthfully, this was something I should have known about Marriott’s program before going but since I tend to shy away from this program, I didn’t know all the ins and outs of the program. It seems kind of crazy to me that Marriott doesn’t want to incentive their guests, especially ones staying at Ritz Carltons where food/drink options are generally a bit more expensive, to stay on property and earn additional points for spending money at the hotel. It’s not hard to imagine a family of four spending a week at a Ritz Carlton resort spending over $1,000 (probably more) on incidentals but getting nothing to show for it. The policy seems kind of petty to me and is just another reason for me to stay away from this program.