Bonvoy ruined my birthday

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🤓 Trivia Tuesday: In which West African country are the waters of the Atlantic Ocean reserved for sheep bathing on Sundays? Keep reading to find out…

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🤓 Trivia Tuesday: In which West African country are the waters of the Atlantic Ocean reserved for sheep bathing on Sundays? Keep reading to find out…

Good morning from beautiful and chilly Helsinki, Finland!

Despite spending so much time in Scandinavia, this is my first time in Suomi - my 83rd country in the world (I’m comin’ for you, Kara and Nate 😉).

Here’s what’s on the Daily Drop docket today:

  • 🏨 Marriott Bonvoy ruined my birthday (and paid me for it)

  • 🍪 Tasty Travel Tidbits

  • 🤓 Travel Trivia Tuesday

🏨 Marriott Bonvoy ruined my birthday (and paid me for it)

Last week I asked you to answer a question about which hotel program (if any) you are most loyal to. Today, I wanted to share those results along with a hack that I (sadly) had to use yesterday related to this…

This is the poll you all answered in a newsletter last week

As you can see, a whopping 42% of you are loyal to Marriott Bonvoy, which isn’t terribly surprising given that they are the biggest hotel program in the world.

I promise there is an actionable, helpful hack that comes in this section. But in order to get to it, we need to talk about how Marriott Bonvoy ruined my birthday.

My birthday is coming up soon. To celebrate, I decided to go to Rio de Janeiro. Because travel is kind of my thing.

Since this was a special occasion, I decided to ball out on a hotel and book the JW Marriott right on Copacabana Beach, which cost me a bit over 100,000 points for five nights, which is significantly cheaper than the normal rate for this property.

I booked that about a month ago.

Fast forward to yesterday, when I open my Marriott Bonvoy app only to find that my booking for Rio had just… disappeared.

I checked my email, looked at my account activity, and nothing. No cancellation email from the hotel, the points were still deducted from my account, but no reservation.

So I call Marriott.

Apparently, the hotel canceled my reservation nearly three weeks ago without telling me. They also didn’t return my points to my account. So I had no way to know this had happened.

So after a little back and forth, they tell me…

“Don’t worry, Mr. Dodge - we’ve just returned your points to your account, and completely solved the problem.”

Except no… no they didn’t. Because now the property costs 165,000 points for the same five nights. 😬

Needless to say, I was not a very pleased boy at this point.

Not only did they cancel my hotel without my permission (on my freaking birthday) and not return my points for three weeks, they did not seem to realize that their mistake would now cost me an extra 60,000 points. That’s a lot of points, y’all…

This is where an important technique comes into play: asking to speak to a manager.

I know, it’s groundbreaking.

As a Marriott Titanium Elite, I knew that this was an opportunity to get compensation from Marriott since every aspect of this fiasco was completely their fault.

You don’t need to be elite to get compensation, but it definitely helps. Even if you’re a lower-tier elite (like what you can get from the method I showed you yesterday), you have a shot at getting compensation from a hotel program when things go south.

Sure enough, the manager tried to downplay what had happened. But after repeating the situation a few times, he finally offered me 10,000 points as compensation. 😑

To be clear, this is not a great resolution considering how badly they messed up. But 10,000 points is enough to book two nights at some other hotel, so I took it.

I decided not to stay at the JW Marriott at the new exorbitant price, which is disappointing, given how excited I was about it.

Still, there are plenty of other hotel options in Rio, and I found a good deal at the Grand Hyatt for just 12,000 points per night.

But the point is this - never EVER be afraid to ask to speak to a manager (both at a hotel and from general customer service) when something goes wrong.

When they mess up, it’s their responsibility to compensate you (within reason, of course). You don’t need to be mean or aggressive, but you should be assertive and get what you deserve.

I stay at a LOT of hotels, so this comes up for me more often than it probably does for most people… but if you don’t follow up in some way when you have issues, you’re leaving points on the table, as well as a resolution that might leave less of a bad taste in your mouth after these negative experiences.

Marriott might ruin your birthday, but at least you can get some free points and free nights out of the situation if you play your cards right. 🤷🏼‍♂️

🍪 Tasty Travel Tidbits

🤓 Travel Trivia Tuesday

Correct answer: Senegal

That’s right! In the predominately Muslim nation of Senegal, there is a high regard for sheep friends!

This tradition showcases the cultural, religious, and economic significance of sheep in this country.

The practice cleanses the animals (physically and spiritually), making them more presentable. Owners make sure they are well fed and groomed, making these animals suuuuper respected!

And I mean, come on. How cute is an ocean full of swimming sheep?? 😍 

Cool cultural quirks like this are exactly why I’m visiting Senegal, a country that’s been on my bucket list for a while, later this year.

You can read more about these Senegalese traditions here.

WAIT. I know you normally just scroll past this section, but I need you to stop for a sec and read this. Because it’s VERY important…

Did you know that this section you scroll past every day is actually a section that could earn you tons of sweet Daily Drop swag?

If you refer just ONE friend to Daily Drop, I’ll personally officiate your wedding (but only the first one).

I’m kidding, of course, but you can earn some great travel hacking tools by referring just one person, so get to work:

Or copy your unique referral URL to share with others:

That’s all for today, folks. We’ve got some GREAT content for you the rest of the week, so make sure you stick around.

Have you ever been compensated by a hotel program for one reason or another?

Only Email Recipients can participate in polls.

Have a wonderful day, and I’ll see you tomorrow morning ❤️

Mike Dodge
Head Writer, Daily Drop

60.1699° N, 24.9384° E

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