“What can I do to get them to honor this rate?”

Everyone knows that hotel rates can fluctuate from day to day. But when Preston Moore tried to book a room at the JW Marriott Denver at Cherry Creek, he was surprised to find they wanted to raise his rate by $130 from one day to the next — a price he says he couldn’t afford.

Can Marriott do that?

Yes it can.

Moore was in town for a wedding, and the family’s contract for a wedding rate began on a Thursday. So an early arrival like him would have to pay whatever price Marriott asked.

Moore explains:

I work at a school in Norfolk, Va., and make little money, so saving costs is a must when I travel. My cousin is getting married on July 31 in Denver.

The best deal I can get on a flight is using Frontier Airlines which flies direct from Newport News to Denver. That flight is just over $200, which is about half what I could find for other airlines. That flight leaves on Wednesday, July 28, and returns on Sunday.

They do not have a Thursday flight. My problem is the JW Marriott Cherry Creek in Denver will not honor the wedding rate for the room on that Wednesday night that I arrive in Denver. I am traveling with my girlfriend who is also a teacher. The wedding rate is $169 per night, but they want to charge me $299 for the Wednesday night.

I believe that they should charge the wedding rate as that is the only reason I’m using their hotel. (My cousin has all the shuttles and a few of the meals lined up to be at the Marriott.) What can I do to get them to honor this rate?

Well, I agree that it would be nice of Marriott to honor that price. But does it have to? No.

Related story:   Las Vegas wedding almost called off by Bookit.com

I checked with my Marriott contact. “I understand the predicament,” he told me. “But typically we have to abide but what’s in the contract.”

But in this situation, Moore wasn’t asking Marriott to lower its contract rate — just to match it. That doesn’t sound like an unreasonable request to me. Still, the hotel might be full and if the price is higher, the price is higher.

Moore could have made a polite request in writing, which probably would have been declined. As an alternative, he and his girlfriend might have considered another hotel for Wednesday night. Denver has lots of terrific properties that cost less than $299 a night, or even $169 a night.

I asked Marriott to take another look at Moore’s request. Even though it didn’t have to honor the wedding rate on Wednesday, it decided to make an exception for their guest.

That’s good customer service. Nice work, Marriott.

Update: After numerous complaints, I’ve changed the headline on this post.

(Photo: dktrpepr/Flickr Creative Commons)

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or check out his adventures on his family adventure travel site. Contact him at chris@elliott.org. Read more of Christopher's articles here.

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