Nov052013

BRG Follow-up Courtyard Fresno

Last week I made a Marriott Best Rate Guarantee (BRG) claim for the Courtyard Fresno. Marriott calls their BRG policy Look No Further (LNF).

The hotel was listed as $149 on the Marriott site for the regular rate, yet the AAA rate was only $85. Two nights there on the AAA rate would pay for the cost of deluxe membership.

Anyway, Travelocity had the rate at $94. I booked the $149 rate allowing 6pm date of arrival cancellation with no penalty. I filed the Look No Further claim form and within a few hours my claim was approved and the rate adjusted by 25% off $94 to be $70.50.

NOTE: I almost always book hotel rates that allow cancellation with no penalty when I am testing Best Rate Guarantee claims since these rooms are generally just one option for a hotel stay in my destination. I don’t want to be stuck with a higher rate if the Best Rate Guarantee claim is denied.

Yesterday I received this email from Marriott Rewards:

Reward Details
  • Description: 38J MegaBonus Free Night Certificate Category 1-5
  • Reward certificate number: XXXXXXXX
  • Reward code: 38J
  • Valid through: Tuesday, November 4, 2014
  • Total points redeemed: 0
  • Confirmed on: Monday, November 4, 2013

This was my second stay in October at a Marriott brand hotel and I earned a reward certificate from the current MegaBonus promotion for a free category 1-5 hotel reward night after two stays.

Total cost = $176.59 for two paid hotel nights and I earned one free reward night certificate valid for a hotel stay through November 4, 2014.

  • $79.78 Courtyard Fresno 
  • $96.81 after tax Fairfield Inn San Jose Airport.
  • Under $60 per night for three hotel nights.

Fresno Courtyard in photos

I had driven nearly 500 miles on my trip from Las Vegas through Death Valley National Park and across Lake Isabella to Bakersfield and then up the central valley to Fresno. My eyes and brain were tired after a 14-hour day touring in the car.

I turned on my GPS and followed the directions to drive Highway 41 in Fresno, exit the freeway and make a U-turn to return to the exit for the hotel. My iPhone says exit towards Clovis. Like I know which direction that is at 10pm in the dark with no signs.

I exit Highway 41 and pull up to the stop sign and iPhone says “You are here.”

Really? Where?

I look around and I do not see the hotel and I am at a freeway exit stop sign. I go right and pull into the first parking lot I see to check the map.

Recalculating…

The map shows me I need to drive three miles to get back to the hotel.

I drive a surface road and find myself back on Highway 41 and taking the same exit I was on before. iPhone says, “You are here.” But I am still sitting at a stop sign on the freeway exit in the same spot I was before and I do not see a Courtyard Hotel sign.

I pull over again into a parking lot and this time I look up the hotel website directions. The website says take immediate right after exiting Highway 41.

When I finally found the hotel on my third drive down Highway 41 after looping around for 20 minutes and about 10 miles making circles on the road, I saw the unmarked road on East Shaw that serves as the Courtyard Fresno entrance.

Courtyard Freno road

The sign for the Courtyard Fresno is about 200 feet from the Shaw Avenue road in the distance.

I walk inside the hotel and the receptionist is pleasant and asks me how things are going?

I reply that I am certain I am not the first guest to arrive at the hotel pissed off about the lack of signage.

He explains that the landowner of the large lot between the hotel and the road will not allow Courtyard to place a sign on the property by the main road.

That was a new one for me.

Courtyard Fresno exterior

Courtyard Fresno

Courtyard Fresno biz center

Business Center in lobby.

Courtyard Fresno dining

Lobby dining.

Courtyard Fresno pool

Outdoor pool between hotel wings.

Courtyard Fresno fitness

Fitness room.

Courtyard Fresno bed

Courtyard Fresno bed.

Courtyard Fresno room

Room included a couch.

Courtyard Fresno desk

Desk area. Internet worked super fast at this property.

All in all this worked out to be a good stay at Courtyard Fresno, although I had no complimentary breakfast benefit. I ended up taking a wrong turn in the agricultural fields alongside Highway 180 heading to Kings Canyon National Park and found myself at a Carl’s Jr. ordering large coffee and two biscuits.

As I sat there in the restaurant some young gangbangers sat down at the table next to me. I listened to their graphic stories of violence and beatings of people in their hood. Sick stuff.

Getting into the mountains and walking around the big sequoia trees in Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks was good for my soul. Nature can be furious and unrelenting at times, but she is not plain mean for the sake of meanness.

Courtyard Fresno is one of the hotels on this week’s Marriott eBreaks for $75 when the regular low rate is $94. Loyalty Traveler Marriott eBreaks Nov 7-10.

Related post: On the Road to Earth’s largest tree in Sequoia National Park Nov 3, 2013.

(Almost) Live Testing Marriott LNF Best Rate Guarantee (Oct 28, 2013)

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

More articles by Ric Garrido »