a screenshot of a hotel

Hey The Points Guy – You Did It Wrong!

Being “walked” is like airline overbooking – hotels sometimes make more reservations than they have inventory for, under the statistical assumption that some guests won’t show up.  When being walked, the hotel will refund the amount you paid, cover the first night at an equivalent hotel, and cover transportation to that hotel.  It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it can certainly be inconvenient.

Brian Kelly of The Points Guy posted about having almost been walked from the Marriott Renaissance Philadelphia Airport hotel.  In summary, he paid a very steep premium for a room at the hotel, had his assistant call to confirm his room since he was arriving late, and at arrival, was told that the hotel was full and that he was being walked.

a screenshot of a hotel
The Points Guy Was Almost Walked From the Renaissance Philadelphia Airport (source: The Points Guy, LLC)

Mr. Kelly was justifiably unhappy.  He’s a Marriott Platinum member, which confers his right to guaranteed room availability.  Further, he spent an obscene sum ($USD 468) for the room, which is ridiculous for an airport hotel.

After much protest, the hotel offered him a partially-cleaned room.  According to Mr. Kelly, it appears that the front-desk agent cleaned the room himself, which resulted in a less-than-pleasant overnight experience.

Taking into account Marriott’s walking policy, I think The Points Guy handled this situation poorly.

Marriott’s Walking Policy

Marriott has a walking policy that generously compensates Marriott elite members, including lowly Silver members, for being walked.  For Silver, Gold, and Platinum Elite members, a guest who is being walked will be compensated accordingly:

a screenshot of a hotel reservation
Marriott Has a Generous Walk Compensation Policy

As a Marriott Platinum Elite member, if Mr. Kelly didn’t protest being walked, he would have received:

  • A paid room at another property;
  • $USD 200.00, and;
  • 90,000 Marriott points.

According to Mr. Kelly’s own points valuation (a concept I don’t like), at $USD 0.009/Marriott point, he would have earned $USD 810 in points, in addition to a $USD 200 payment, turning his walk into a $USD 1,100 compensation.

After (rightfully) complaining about his experience, his room was comped and he received a free room upgrade voucher and comped breakfast.

What The Points Guy Should Have Done

Mr. Kelly states that he was trying to check in at 1:00AM.  All nearby hotels in the Philadelphia area were sold-out.  He had a flight out the next morning.  What was he to do?

First, I would check whether any hotel within a reasonable radius was available, not just in Philadelphia.  There are a number of small towns nearby, which would have been well worth the trip for the compensation available (and the chance of getting a clean room).

More creatively, he had the opportunity to stay at the in-airport Minute Suites, which while not the most comfortable of sleeps, would have been clean and likely available for use.  If he had a flight out early that morning, did it really matter where he spent a few hours to rest?

I understand Mr. Kelly’s time is valuable – he is, without argument, one of the most successful bloggers in history, having turned his blog into a flourishing business.  He is a millionaire, and I do not expect someone of that calibre needing to “rough it out” and sleep on the airport floor (which in my experience, is just awful).  But, at least according to his post, he did not exercise a great deal of creativity, and the compensation on the table justified a little bit of adventure.

In Summary

Being walked from a hotel can suck, especially late at night.  Fortunately, Marriott offers an extremely generous compensation package for guests with status.  Mr. Kelly of The Points Guy did not approach the situation as best he could – with a little flexibility, he would have made out like a bandit (though I’m sure a person of his stature is being compensated greatly regardless).

I do note that he was given a room with two beds instead of one, so at least he can get $USD 100 under the Guaranteed Room Type benefit 😉

a screenshot of a hotel registration form
The Points Guy is Eligible for $USD 100 in Compensation for Not Getting His Booked Room Type

Do you think The Points Guy dealt with being walked as best he could?


  1. @ThePointsGuy did say that he considered going to a suburban hotel but with an early morning flight he just needed to get some sleep. He did everything he could to be accommodated and decided to accept the sort-of cleaned-up room. So, in fact, he wasn’t actually “walked” and therefore did not claim the compensation in the chart you posted. Imagine the situation yourself – hotel staff say the room is cleaned, you arrive in the room and see that it is not clean – it’s now really really late to be looking at alternatives, so you stay put. Maybe not the decision you might have made, but your headline & chart in the first paragraph implies he didn’t know what he was doing. I don’t agree. Kind of seems like a click-bait headline to me.
    You provided good information about compensation and it would have been an equally good article if you had not tried to one-up a fellow blogger. Just sayin’

    1. Per his post, it seems that he spent quite a deal of time waiting to figure the problem out, have a room cleaned, etc. Had he just accepted the initial “we’re walking you”, he would have likely been just as quickly managed at another hotel, and be compensated well.

      And of course, this is all in good fun. If bloggers didn’t disagree with each other, it’d be a rather boring discourse no?

  2. There are 2 types of approaches in these situations:
    “Squeaky wheel gets the grease” or “you catch more bees with honey”
    I have noticed the ladder works consistently better when dealing with any human. People in cust service (especially the millennials), will only do the bear minimum when you’re rude to them, and will often stick to an anfavorable side of a policy, while someone like me who smiles at them more and treats them as beautiful humans that they are will receive all sorts of favors, upgrades, vouchers, and more. I am speaking from experience traveling all over the world. Crap happens, be nice…

  3. You properly alluded to how successful Brian is. I can assure you he has more points/miles than he will ever use? Sometimes metrics alone don’t solve the problem. I guess to Brian it was easier to stay put and get to bed as soon as possible. I’m sure he knew the walk policy but elected to stay put. We know folks who let their family be bounced from a flight to Orlando but it got him 4 tickets RT to Honolulu. Great deal but some might have felt it was not worth the inconvenience AND they could afford the Hawaii tickets. Some people would take the benefits you suggested and some would much prefer staying put. Your post is certainly educational and that helps – at least people should KNOW their options.

  4. I can’t agree with the critics of this post. In reading TPG’s post and tweets, it sure seems like he would have gotten a lot more sleep in a lot better room if he had just accepted the walk or, even better, found the best walk option himself and asked for it. He spent a lot of time waiting for a room to be ready and then complaining about it and then getting very poor sleep that could easily have covered the extra time it would have taken to go to/from another hotel.
    I honestly think that he handled it in the worst possible way, losing out on both the compensation for being walked and getting a far worse night of sleep than he would have if he had proactively dealt with the walk.

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