The Marriott merger with Starwood closed mid-August 2018. This process has been anything but smooth, especially with regards to technology. Countless IT issues persist. I’ve talked about some issues I’ve had with my stays posting to my account. These problems continued through the year, and other issues arose near the merger date including long hold times. Now, more than 4 months after the merger close, more than 10 days after checking out, another stay still has not posted.
I’m fortunate to have Marriott Lifetime Platinum Status, especially this time of year, so I can avoid an end of year push to maintain status. For that reason, I haven’t had too many stays in SPG properties in the last few months. Most of those I’ve had have been fine, and the IT issues have been minimal. But my most recent stay from a few weeks back still hasn’t posted automatically. So 10 days after checking out, I submitted a missing stay request, and included an electronic copy of my bill. Apparently I’m supposed to wait 10 business days for processing. Yikes!
After submitting my request on the Marriott website, I also received an automatically generated email. Shocking, they are experiencing higher than normal email inquiries…
How is this still an issue?
As smooth as the early stages of the merger went, with easy points transfers and a mostly smooth technology experience, 2018 has been a mess. It really seems that Marriott has not planned for the scale of IT support that would be needed post merger. Slow responses to online inquiries and long hold times over the phone are disappointing. Back in the SPG days, I would use the twitter team or online chat, and get most issues resolved quickly, and on the first attempt. That is not the case here, and many of my issues are for simple matters like getting stays to post.
With my experiences earlier in the year with difficulty getting stays to post, these were mostly at legacy Marriott properties. My most recent stay that hasn’t posted is a Sheraton. I stayed at this exact property earlier in the year, and it posted normally, with no manual intervention, within a day or so of checking out.
Does Marriott even acknowledge the problem?
In an interview with Skift, John Wolf, VP of Loyalty at Marriott stated the following:
We recognize that some members encountered issues when they reached out to us after Aug. 18. Since then, we have added staff in our Customer Engagement Centers which has greatly reduced call wait times and email response times. In addition, we have adjusted processes, introduced technology and provided additional training for representatives, so members get the answers they need when reaching out to us.
That interview was more than a month ago, and I’m not seeing any noticeable improvement in response times.
What’s my plan going forward?
With Marriott’s huge property portfolio, it is pretty difficult to avoid their hotels. I want to remain loyal, and will continue to leverage my lifetime platinum status, but my experience this year has been pretty disappointing. My first choice for hotel bookings will remain Hyatt, and I’ve been happier with that this year. Marriott remains my backup. Hopefully these ongoing IT issues can be sorted out soon.