Marriott Friends and Family rate – Is it worth having?
What's the Marriott Friends and Family rate?We've written about this before. Marriott employees can arrange for their friends and non-immediate family members to get a special discount rate at Marriott properties when booking online using the code MMF and showing valid ID and official paperwork at check-in. The Marriott Friends and Family rate discount is often reported to be quite substantial, so we wanted to try and book a Marriott hotel online using different booking sites as well as Marriott's own site, so as to compare the prices found. We wanted to see if the code is worth using if you are entitled to it, or whether just searching around a few sites will get you a good deal for a Marriott hotel anyway.
For our research, we chose the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina for a double room (city view) for 2 people staying one night on Monday March 16th 2015. Using the Marriott website, we first of all checked the rate without using the Marriott Friends and Family rate. The standard rate was $279.
Then we searched the Marriott website again, but this time input the Marriott Friends and Family rate code MMF. The special rate was $237, which is a 16% saving off the standard rate. We then searched Expedia, Priceline and Travelocity for the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina and all the rates matched Marriott's standard rate exactly, at $279 for the one-night stay.
Why are the rates the same across these hotel sites?This is likely to be due to Marriott's 'Look No Further® Best Rate Guarantee', which means that if you find a lower hotel rate on a competing website, they will match it and give you an extra 25% discount. Marriott spend a lot of time and effort ensuring that web rates don't beat their own rates, and price accordingly. Of course, their guarantee doesn't include rates that are not publicly available, including the Marriott Friends and Family rate, but it can often mean that searching around for a Marriott won't get you a hotter deal than booking with Marriott directly, even without a corporate code.
We then checked TravelPony, the member site which offers hotel deals. For the dates selected it couldn't find any available rooms with that criteria. We tried other dates and the same error occurred. In fact, we tried selecting all the nearby Marriott hotels, but each time it said the same thing. There were several pages of results, but no Marriott deal. CheapOstay couldn't find any San Diego Marriott properties for our selected dates.