80,000 Bonvoy points go missing. Can she get them back?

Celeste Rubanick loses 80,000 Marriott Bonvoy points when she books a hotel in Scotland. Why won’t the company restore the points?

  • By Wire Service
  • Saturday, March 11, 2023 1:30am
  • Life

Q: I made reservations at the Residence Inn in Edinburgh, Scotland, for two nights using 80,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. I recently received a notification from Marriott claiming that I had used the points for a stay almost three weeks earlier.

I called Marriott, and they assigned me a case number. I have been going back and forth with the company ever since.

I was on the phone for more than 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: Marriott deducted points from your account for someone else’s stay. It should have quickly restored your loyalty points when you pointed out the problem — not strung you along for 10 weeks.

What happened to your points? It appears an unauthorized party gained access to your account. It’s unclear how that happened.

There are certain things you should do for any online account like Marriott’s Bonvoy program. You can enable two-factor authentication (you can do that in the settings of your Bonvoy account). Also, consider using a complex phrase as a password and updating it frequently.

I’m not comfortable with Marriott’s assertion that it needed to find the points before it returned them to your account. That could happen tomorrow or next week — or never. Marriott needs a better system to verify if someone used points for fraudulent purposes, and the process should be quick.

You blazed a paper trail, which included contacting Marriott’s executives in writing after all other efforts failed. I’m surprised the executives didn’t bother responding. Usually, they will delegate an assistant to help facilitate a fast resolution. Marriott also has a reputation for great customer service, although it has also faced some criticism from travelers about its Bonvoy loyalty program.

Unfortunately, there’s no other place to appeal this type of problem. If the executives don’t respond, you’re out of luck … unless you get me involved. I reviewed your case, and I agreed with you that 10 weeks is far too long to wait for a resolution. I contacted Marriott on your behalf.

In response, Marriott sent you an email acknowledging “unauthorized activity” on your Bonvoy account. “Evidence shows unauthorized account access with data compromise of an unknown source,” the email said.

Marriott recommended that you change your password and enable two-factor authentication. It also restored the 80,000 missing Bonvoy points.

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy (elliottadvocacy.org), a nonprofit organization that helps consumers solve their problems. Email him at chris@elliott.org or get help by contacting him at elliottadvocacy.org/help.

Talk to us

More in Life

Budget charges $250 for calibrating a camera. Is that legit?

Budget sends Tony Parise a $250 bill for recalibrating a camera on the windshield of his rental car. But he says nothing happened to it. Does he still have to pay?

In this side-by-side image, the Totem Diner and Pacific Stone Company signs put on a flirty display for all to see Wednesday, March 22, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Signs of love on Rucker Ave: blushing rocks, scrambled eggs, a coffee date

Messages on display on Totem Family Diner and Pacific Stone Co. signs reveal “secret crushes.” More updates expected.

Comedian Jeff Dye is scheduled to do a show March 25 in Everett. (Associated Press)
Music, theater and more: What’s happening in Snohomish County

Comedian Jeff Dye does a set in Everett on Saturday. And country star Tracy Byrd performs locally Friday.

Some of the brightest spots in my garden right now are my clumps of mixed crocuses. (Getty Images)
Lessons spring from what does and does not winter over

Taking stock of how your garden fared through the cold, wet months will help you plant for the future.

Antique mocha ware, made in England to export to the United States and Canada in the 18th and 19th centuries, caught collectors’ attention in the mid-20th century. Like many mocha pieces, this colorful mug is decorated with several patterns.
The name for decorated pottery like this can be deceiving

Mocha pottery is made from clay and features colorful patterns painted over a white glaze.

The 2023 Infiniti QX60 is powered by a V6 engine paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission. (Infiniti)
2023 Infiniti QX60 offers luxury at an attractive price

All four trim levels of this mid-size SUV come generously equipped with premium features as standard.

Kyle Galvin, who has worked for Bluewater for more than 4 years, makes cocktails on July 10, 2020 in Everett. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Where to go for the best cocktails and spirits in Snohomish County

You voted, we tallied, here are the results.

Who has the best patio in Snohomish County?

You voted, we tallied, here are the results.

Give your home some extra love with a deep clean this spring. (Jennifer Bardsley)
Roll up your sleeves and tackle these 15 spring cleaning steps

A lot of work? Sure. But it beats paying $800 for a cleaning service to do all this stuff.

Lyft charged her $150 for mud stains in a car. But she didn’t do it!

Debbie Kim is shocked to find a $150 charge from Lyft on her credit card. What did she do — and is there a way to undo it?

What to do when a co-worker makes you miserable

It’s counterintuitive, but you need to get to know that person better. You don’t need to be friends — just understand them better.

Brian Geppert holds a birdhouse made of skis at his home in Lynnwood, Washington on Saturday, March 11, 2023. Geppert started a recycling program for the greater Seattle area, which has saved hundreds of skis from their demise. He turns the skis into functional art for the home, such as coat racks, bottle openers, bookends, shelves, candle sconces, toilet plungers, beer flights, and more. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Boeing engineer turns old ski gear into household essentials

If Lynnwood’s Brian Geppert isn’t on the slopes, then he’s turning skis into coat racks and bottle openers.