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