Reader’s email: Hotel Protea closed / Ultimate booking guarantee?

A LoyaltyLobby reader contacted us regarding their Protea hotel booking for Johannesburg airport, which will not be happening as the property is closed.

Readers are encouraged to send us questions, comments or opinions via email, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. We’ll try to cover them here several times a week.

You can access Marriott here.

READ MORE: Marriott Bonvoy Rates and Bonus Points Offers

Reader email:

I am a Titanium Elite with Marriott, currently staying at a Protea in Livingstone, Zambia on vacation. (I am from the U.S). On Wednesday I will be flying to JNB, where I spent a night at the Protea Transit JNB Airport Hotel a while ago. I tried to contact the hotel about its location and accessibility, but their phones keep dropping. I emailed them this morning and got the following auto-reply:

My reservation was made directly through Marriott, with points, months ago, presumably when the pandemic was worse with greater travel restrictions than today. Do you think the Ultimate Reservation Guarantee should apply?

I contacted Marriott via Messenger, and they opened a case with local management. It’s two nights from now, so we’ll see what happens. Thoughts?

The page for this hotel on the Marriott website does not indicate that it will be closed.

The only indicator is that he has no availability right now.

The earliest date you can book it today is 1st JanuarySt, 2023.

Marriott Elite Benefit Guarantees:

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Marriott Bonvoy Elite Benefits Guarantees 2021

Marriott has several Elite benefit guarantees, one of which is the Ultimate Reservation Guarantee, which states:

If for any reason we are unable to honor your reservation, we will pay for your accommodation that night at a nearby hotel and compensate you for the inconvenience. To be eligible, you must provide your membership number when booking. Compensation varies by hotel brand.

But when you read the T&Cs of the program, it says:

iii. Ultimate Reservation Guarantee. To be eligible, the member’s loyalty program membership number and a valid credit card number must be included in the reservation. If a Participating Property is unable to honor the reservation, it will pay for nearby comparable accommodation for the Elite Member that night and compensate the Member for the inconvenience. A Participating Property must be open and operational for the Ultimate Reservation Guarantee benefit/compensation to apply.

Unfortunately, the Ultimate Reservation Guarantee does not apply as the Protea Hotel is closed. It is unclear why he did not contact the members, informing them of their closure, and put them up at other open properties nearby.

Hotels also try to circumvent this guarantee by contacting members in advance and telling them that the hotel is oversold, that they have no rooms, and asking to cancel. The Ultimate Reservation Guarantee only applies if you show up and strongly demand that it be honored.


In theory, the Ultimate Reservation Guarantee is great.

Still, as is often the case with Marriott policies, you have to read the fine print very carefully, and there’s very little enforcement or auditing by the company.

How difficult is it to have a proper system and audit to ensure guests are properly relocated in the event of a hotel closure?

About Michael B. Billingsley

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