The Travel Troubleshooter: Oh no, my hotel rewards have been downgraded!

Question: My husband and I have been members of Marriott’s loyalty program, Marriott Rewards, for decades. We’re also Marriott Vacation Club owners. We have a problem with a rewards stay we were hoping you could help us with.

About a month ago, I contacted the Marriott Vacation Club office to make a reservation for a vacation stay next year, and I asked the employee to check on a seven-day hotel award, which I thought was about to expire in a few months. I was informed that the award had been converted into 25,000 points and credited to our account.

I asked to speak with a supervisor, since I preferred seven days to 25,000 points. The supervisor said the only thing he could do was to offer us a five-day award. He said some mass emailings went out last year notifying readers that our type of seven-day hotel award would expire at the beginning of the year. I expressed my disappointment in having to accept his offer.

I searched the Web and my saved mail messages for the announcement of the hotel awards expiring in January. I found nothing. So I went to the Marriott’s customer service website and emailed from their site a note asking them to please send me a copy of that mass email announcement about the awards expiration. I also expressed my concern that we did not receive a personal call, letter, or email notifying us of a change in the expiration date. After two weeks, I mailed a letter. I still have received no response. Can you help? — JJ Mortensen, White Rock, NM

Answer: Can Marriott arbitrary downgrade all of its seven-day awards to five-day awards? In a word, yes.
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Where are my Greyhound Rewards?

Question: I need your help with a bus ticket. A few days ago, I received a notice from Greyhound that a ticket I had earned as part of its rewards program was about to expire.

I tried to resolve this at the Greyhound station in Philadelphia, but they said their computers couldn’t handle an awards redemption. I called the customer service number they gave me, but they said they do not process award tickets any more, and they gave me another number. The person at that number was extremely rude and refused to help me. I was told to go to a Greyhound station in some other city that had the computer capability.

I sent an email to Greyhound and received a reply that they’d reimburse me for half a ticket if I paid for it.

This is a classic example of bait-and-switch. I am thoroughly disgusted with Greyhound. I don’t think they have any intention of keeping their promise. Do you? — Lois Shestack, Philadelphia

Answer: Are you sure you weren’t flying? The kind of behavior you’re describing — the silly rules, the endless runaround, the rude customer service — is typically associated with airlines, not Greyhound.
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