Popular wisdom says booking a hotel directly through the company’s channels (app, website or phone) will give you a better room than booking through a third party. If you use an online travel agency like Hotels.com, Expedia or a travel portal through Capital One or Chase, the hotel is more likely to give you one of the worst rooms, say near the ice machine or elevator, or with a view overlooking the dumpsters.
In addition, being a member of the hotel’s loyalty program increases your chances of not getting the “worst room at the hotel.”
We’ve learned that this isn’t always true since this Marriott property we booked with Bonvoy points tried to put us in the room located behind the elevator.
While that was a one-off stay, what if you could compare two stays at the same property?
Last year, we stayed at what I think is one of the best Courtyard by Marriott properties in the US. While I booked two revenue rooms for 5 nights using my Marriott Bonvoy account, we were still given a room overlooking the Tesla charging station.
This year we stayed at the same hotel. I booked the stay through the Citi ThankYou portal using the fourth-night free benefit. I didn’t save much more than if I booked direct, and I was truly expecting to get a view of the highway past the front parking lot. Imagine my surprise when I got to my room with a river view.
I know plenty of things go into how hotels figure out room assignments. Maybe more guests with Ambassador or Titanium Elite status were staying during our first stay (If so, I hope they used their reserved parking spots).
It’s nice to know that just because you’re booking through a third party (either an OTA or credit card portal), you’re not automatically assigned the worst room in the hotel.
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