JW Marriott los cabos
Source: Marriott.com
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As far as I’m aware, this is completely and totally in violation of the Marriott Bonvoy Terms and Conditions.

We all know that hotels are (currently) free to charge resort fees and destination fees, even though they are total garbage fees that should be in the base rate. They do this largely to obscure the total price, compete better in searches, and, most of all, to save on fees they pay to 3rd party booking sites.

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And Marriott Bonvoy forces all elite members to pay these junk fees, including on award stays, while Hilton and Hyatt do not. However, these egregious resort fees apply to paid rates and redemptions alike.

But this post isn’t about that.

As caught by a Marriott customer and posted in the Marriott Insiders Facebook group, the JW Marriott Los Cabos Beach Resort and Spa has added a $30 per night “Marriott Bonvoy Redemption Fee”

The website clearly states: “All Marriott Bonvoy redemption nights are subject to a service charge of USD 30 per night.”

bonvoy redemption fee

This is not a Resort Fee and appears to only be payable by those redeeming points. They seem to feel their reimbursement rate is insufficient (and perhaps it is), but that isn’t the point. A loyalty program is a two way street. They get paid bookings as a result of participating in Bonvoy. You can’t take the good and shunt the bad.

Of course, the point of using points for free nights is that they are free. Charging a surcharge purely to redeem points is not allowable by the Bonvoy program terms, at least as far as I’m aware.

If it were, you could have a Maldives hotel institute a $500 / night redemption fee. And soon, the entire points system for Bonvoy would be worthless.

Surely, people will complain about this and at some point I have to assume Marriott will intervene and halt the practice.

If you happen to be at the resort right now ready to check out, I would 100% fight this fee and call Marriott about it.

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I got "in the game" in 2003 and since then I've collected literally millions and millions of frequent flyer miles and hotel points. I've flown around the world in first class seats that would cost $29,000 using frequent flyer miles and a few bucks in tax. And I've stayed in some of the finest hotels - all for free! A few years ago I realized many of my friends actually thought I was paying for these!! So I started sharing my tips. It's long been a passion, but when I hosted a session on Miles and Points at this year's South by Southwest festival, my love of the game intensified and this blog was born.

7 COMMENTS

  1. I think it is one of the nicest Marriott properties in mainland North America. Maybe only rivaled by the Westin Los Cabos, although that is mostly timeshares and condos and not really a hotel proper. I stayed here in August 2017. They charged us $219 per night with several taxes and a fee that was called a service fee. The service fee was 10%. We disputed this because it was never disclosed at the time of booking. I was platinum premier at the time in the old Marriott Rewards program. They refused to upgrade me even though all of their suites were showing as available for booking. The property was completely empty. I imagine it’s as empty or emptier now. Best of all, we were there as part of a corporate junket. I was the meeting planner. We had 15 rooms. So most of the 25 people were our people. Our contract required them to upgrade me and the three other platinums or platinum premiers to the best available suite at the time of check-in. They flat out violated the contract. I had to call Marriott’s Latin America-Caribbean meeting and events sales manager, who pitched us on doing the event there, to get the property to comply with the contract and upgrade. It also took almost two months to get the points. Needless to say, neither Marriott nor the JW Marriott Los Cabos has ever pitched us on returning to the property despite us doing a good dozen events per year before COVID. I think this is a classic case of (a) really bad management, (b) a property that doesn’t care about returning guests or elite status guests, and (c) a property or an owner that knows they are in Mexico and can basically screw foreigners because none of us are going to sue them in a Mexican court.

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