Q: I made reservations at the Residence Inn in Edinburgh, Scotland, for two nights using 80,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. I received a notification from Marriott claiming that I used the points for a stay almost three weeks earlier.
I called Marriott, and they assigned me a case number. I was on the phone for over two hours speaking to several agents, one of whom told me, “You’re not going to get these points back until we find out who took them.” I have tried the executive contacts on your website but have received no reply. It’s been 10 weeks since Marriott took my Bonvoy points. Can you help me get them back? — Celeste Rubanick, Cornville, Arizona
A: It appears an unauthorized party gained access to your account. It’s unclear how that happened.
Marriott should have quickly restored your points — not strung you along for 10 weeks.
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There are things you should do for any online account, like Marriott’s Bonvoy program. You can enable two-factor authentication. Also, consider using a complex phrase as a password and updating it frequently.
I’m uncomfortable with Marriott’s assertion that it needed to find the points before returning them. That could happen tomorrow or never. Marriott needs a better system to verify if someone used points for fraudulent purposes.
You contacted Marriott’s executives in writing after all other efforts failed. I’m surprised the executives didn’t respond. Usually, they delegate an assistant to help facilitate a fast resolution.
I contacted Marriott on your behalf. In response, Marriott sent an email acknowledging “unauthorized activity” on your account.
Marriott recommended that you change your password and enable two-factor authentication. It also restored the missing points.
Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy (elliottadvocacy.org), a nonprofit organization that helps consumers solve their problems. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or get help by contacting him at elliottadvocacy.org/help/.