Marriott pays up when they fail to deliver elite benefits

Earlier this week, a Marriott resort paid me $100 when they failed to offer a Platinum Arrival Gift.  This was my first time invoking a Marriott Rewards Elite Benefits Guarantee, but now that I’ve learned how easy it can be, it probably won’t be the last time.

Marriott guarantees a handful of elite benefits by offering to pay you if they fail to deliver on them.  That’s pretty awesome.  Here are the guaranteed benefits:

  • Reservation Guarantee (for Silver, Gold, and Platinum Elites): If they can’t honor your Marriott hotel reservation, they’ll pay for your stay at a nearby hotel and they’ll pay you for your trouble as follows:
    • $200 plus 90,000 points at JW Marriott®, Autograph Collections®, EDITION®, Renaissance® Hotels, Marriott® Hotel and Resorts, Gaylord Hotels, Delta Hotels®
    • $100 (plus 90,000 points for Platinum members) at AC Hotels, Courtyard, SpringHill Suites, Residence Inn, Fairfield Inn & Suites, TownePlace Suites, Moxy Hotels, Protea Hotels
    • $200 plus 140,000 points for Platinum members only at Ritz Carlton
  • Guaranteed Room Type (for Gold and Platinum Elites): Marriott guarantees that you’ll receive your preferred room type (as set in your Marriott Rewards profile).  If they fail to deliver, you can request payment as follows:
    • $100 at JW Marriott®, Autograph Collection®, Renaissance® Hotels, Marriott® Hotels, Gaylord Hotels, Delta Hotels®
    • $50 at Courtyard, SpringHill Suites, Residence Inn, participating Protea Hotels®
    • $25 at Fairfield Inn & Suites, TownePlace Suites, Moxy Hotels
  • Guaranteed Lounge Access/ Breakfast (for Gold and Platinum Elites): With the exception of resort properties and a list of excluded hotels, Marriott guarantees free breakfast (or a choice of points) for Gold and Platinum elites.  If they fail to deliver, you can request compensation as follows:
    • $100 at JW Marriott®, Autograph Collection®, Renaissance® Hotels, Marriott® Hotels, Delta Hotels®
  • Guaranteed Platinum Arrival Gift (Platinum Elites): Platinum elites should always be offered a choice of an amenity gift or bonus points upon check-in (select properties only offer points).  If they fail to offer this at check-in (and even if they offer it later), you can request the following compensation:
    • $100 at JW Marriott®, Autograph Collection®, Renaissance® Hotels, Marriott® Hotels, Gaylord Hotels, Delta Hotels®, Marriott Vacation Club
    • $50 at AC Hotels, Courtyard, Residence Inn, SpringHill Suites, Protea Hotels®
    • $25 at Fairfield Inn, TownePlace Suites & Moxy Hotels
    • $0 at EDITION and Ritz-Carlton

Marriott’s web page describing their guaranteed benefits can be found here: Marriott Rewards Elite Benefits Guarantee.

My thoughts

To get compensated as described above, it’s usually necessary to ask for the compensation.  Be prepared with the Marriott Rewards Elite Benefits Guarantee page loaded up on your smartphone.  When your guaranteed Platinum arrival gift isn’t offered at check-in, you can get compensation simply by returning to the check-in desk anytime after check-in.  When I did this, I was given $100 credit towards my bill.  In retrospect, I probably should have asked for cash instead so that I’d earn points for that $100 worth of spend, but I was still pretty happy with the result!

Marriott’s Reservation Guarantee is the most generous of the guaranteed benefits with compensation going as high as $200 plus 90,000 points for Silver and Gold members at certain brands and up to $200 plus 140,000 points for Platinum members at Ritz properties.  The only way to collect on this is to show up for your reservation and be lucky enough to learn that they oversold the hotel and that they’ll put you up somewhere else (this is known as being “walked”).  Ironically I’d bet that Silver elites have the best chance of collecting on this since most hotels will walk those with low or no status before walking high level elites.  This is probably most common during high demand times (such as New Years Eve) when you show up very late at night.  It’s theoretically possible to book a low category Marriott with points and walk away with $200 and 90,000 points.

Overall I think it’s pretty awesome that Marriott backs up a number of their elite perks in this way.  Most other chains seemingly do very little to ensure that individual hotels honor benefits appropriately. Of course it is still up to you to know about these benefits and to invoke them when appropriate.  That’s fair.

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About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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  1. […] Marriott pays up when they fail to deliver elite benefits by Frequent Miler. Never knew about this. On one hand I feel bad for the customer service reps as they no doubt get in trouble for not offering these welcome gifts but at the same time I hate when hotel chains have a published benefit that is never actually given without you having to chase it down yourself. […]


  1. I work in the hotel industry. For the record, we all hate assholes like you that ask for free shit just because they can. Maybe the front desk agent as extremely busy or there was a line of people to check in? Who knows? If he or she forgot to ask you if you wanted your bonus points or not…….sorry, it happens sometimes. “Now that I’ve learned how easy it can be, it probably won’t be the last time.” Great. Greg, you’re an asshole.

    • Leigh, you should NOT be in service industry. People like you give a bad face to the service industry. You are there to provide service. That’s it. If you cannot, pay up.

      • My service and my co-worker’s service is outstanding. Greg is out there looking for mistakes and loopholes to get something free or some $ in his pocket. It’s a technicality. I bet his stay was great and his service was great. He just didn’t get offered his snack or bonus points…….so he found a way to whine about it and make $100. A lot of people out there reading this are thinking the same thing. I’m just dumb enough to voice my opinion.

        • Leigh

          I agree with DZ. You need to find another job in another industry. The Customer is ALWAYS right, especially when the vendor fails to deliver what was promised/guaranteed/expected, and the customer is a “high value” customer in the eyes of the company. The vendor needs to make good on mistakes and it is not a “loophole” if it is part of the customer/vendor transaction “contract”.

        • Leigh , as much respect i have ppl working in hospitality , if you’re considering yourself as outstanding one than no doubt you ought be forgotten elites recognition , even with ppl is crowding up the line, there’s no one there to rush you to do your job afterall.

          In this case ,its simple franchise term to put up elites up for recognition, and kuddos to that !!! i have been to properties mostly in US , that there were no welcome amenity offered as plat in spg …and when asked it was a terrible attitude being offered…

          if you don’t find this elite perk be recognizable than perhaps you ought take a hike, and kuddos for those working for Marriott enforcing the elites policy.

        • You can’t even be polite on internet. I can image how “outstanding” the service you can provide to your customers.

        • This is totally ridiculous comment by Leigh!! Marriott provides the guarantee… Not sure what your problem is!!

          As others said, you shouldn’t be in any hospitality business. Let me know where you work, and I will make sure I will never stay at that hotel.

        • I’ll chime-in to support Leigh’s premise in that, yes, customers can be self-serving a-holes. Can we not all agree on that, at least? I haven’t worked a service-industry job since high school but can see why Leigh would be galled by someone who (perhaps) received the room or status for free then asked for even more free things. This hobby/game/whatever-you-call-it sometimes brings out the worst in some patrons, unfortunately.

        • Leigh, you’re an angry, nasty wench who shouldn’t be allowed within a 1000 miles of a paying guest.

    • I completely disagree with you on this one. Marriott offers $100 as a published elite benefit for exactly this situation. If you don’t like it, blame Marriott Rewards not the customers who benefit from their rule.

    • Maybe the front desk agent can actually do their job based on their training. Being busy is no excuse for not providing benefit that are entitled.

    • You hate people that collect on the guarantee that your company makes, because they can? Then why make the guarantee? Take it up with your company.

      Know what I hate? A company that makes me a guarantee, uses that guarantee as a way of instilling trust and an expectation as to the service I will receive, gets my business, charges me a premium rate…and then doesn’t want to honor that guarantee. Or hopes I’m ignorant enough not to ask for them to honor it.

      But Marriott doesn’t do that — according to this blog post, Marriott clearly honors their agreements. Marriot stock just went up in my book and became a more attractive place to stay — not because of the hope of collecting on a guarantee, but because they have shown themselves to be honorable. That counts with me.

      It’s only you (and the other people you claim to represent) hoping for your customer’s ignorance. The appropriate response, the minute you realized you goofed — before even being asked — would be an apology and fulfillment of the guarantee. You will have earned a customer for life.

      Guarantees like this have a two-fold purpose: to garner customer trust and loyalty, and to catch any service deficits so they can be corrected. Rather than complain about it when it happens, take it as a wake up call that you’re not on your best game and find ways to get your service level back up to where it can be. Developing that work ethic will serve you – and your customers – better than hating on people who bring it to your attention. And if a customer brings it to your attention before a Hotel Evaluator brings it to the attention of your management, consider yourself very fortunate for the reminder.

      • For Clarification: Please note that “Leigh” does not claim affiliation with Marriott — and my comments were not intended to infer that she does. If she doesn’t like the policy of her company — whatever that company is — I recommend the same course of action: take your grievances up with your company, honor any guarantees your company makes, and do it proactively, with a smile.

    • I guess you forget that it folks like us that have spent 2 to 3 years of our life at your hotel brand. This was time away from our spouse and children. We are the reason you have a job. As a lifetime Gold Marriott and 4 stays away from lifetime Platinum I find your attitude very different from most people working in the hospitality business.

      Maybe you should seek employment at the DMV where there are similar people with your attitude.

    • While I grasp parts of your theory and agree, you’re obviously a poorly-educated person with no couth. So your opinion and advice are useless to me. If you cannot express yourself without profanity, you should just continue watching TV.

    • Whom do I complain to for getting a smoke filled room when I asked for non-smoking? 2 other families had the same issue and at least one of them checked out. We ended up staying and regretting it.

      My point is that I don’t feel sorry for those who work in the hotel industry as long as the request for the bonus was civil.

    • Sorry, but you are an idiot. No one is being an asshole by asking something a company “guarantees.” If you don’t like it, you can’t complain to customers who just want to make sure they receive what they deserve. I hope you don’t work for Marriott. 😉

    • You probably hate the people who request the compensation because it is documentation that you, in fact, did not provide the “outstanding service” that you claimed to provide. Granted, it might be an infrequent error for an employee, but – for that customer – they were denied a benefit that they have rightfully earned.

      Fact is, Marriott offers this (and publishes it!) for two reasons, I’m sure: (1) to ensure that it’s Platinum members are compensated when not given the gifts or amenities that they have EARNED through their loyalty & probably thousands of dollars of spending, and (2) to track which employees are not doing their jobs in offering all the amenities/bonus points/whatever to live up to Marriott’s PROMISED standards.

      Hotel industry workers can save the excuses for their supervisor when the error is questioned. As far as the customer is concerned, the motives behind the mistake error don’t matter. Marriott made a promise, and it wasn’t met. Totally fine for someone to be compensated for that.

    • Your education, or lack of such, is showing in your comment. Shame some have to be vulgar when speaking out in public.

  2. I’m assuming this applies only to purchased reservations versus point redemptions? I have platinum status and we recently stayed at the Ritz Carlton Osaka and Ritz Carlton Bali. Only Bali acknowledged my status and offered a special breakfast price for the buffet and fantastic upgrade. The Ritz Osaka didn’t really acknowledge or do much in terms of my status. Should I have gotten more in Osaka? Thank you for this informative post!

  3. I’ve stayed at a couple of different Fairfield Inn’s and have not been offered any amenity gift for Platinum members. I’ve had to ask and at that point they offer me a drink from their fridge. I wouldn’t be able to ask for this compensation at the front desk than risk getting into an argument or ruining someone’s day. If it was filing a claim than maybe.

  4. I would NEVER invoke the $100 because the hotel forget to give me the amenity. Im sure this has happened many times. The points just automatically go into my account in those cases. You have to have ZERO class and have to be quite an A-hole of ridiculous proportions to ask for that $100. Just call up the desk and remind them. You can get someone in trouble for that and I can see how its simple to forget.

    The bed-type.. This I would invoke. If I were traveling with someone and needed 2 beds and reserved 2 beds and ended up with 1 I would feel as though I did not get what I was paying for and would be inconvenienced.

    • I have done the same when bed type did not match, the Renaissance in Columbus, Ohio. The front desk manager did not want to give me the $100, because “he was sorry but they did not had enough King Bed rooms available due to renovations”. I went to my room, called MR and they called him back, and soon afterwards I got a call from the front desk to go pick up my $100.

  5. IN a way I agree with Leigh, to the point that many of the bloggers today are simply freeloaders writing non true partially accurate “articles” little to no research and Headers simply to attract “hits’ so that can claim points or other compensation from CC/Airlines.

    Having said that there are some like Gary that have some decorum and actually provide a service.

    This particular article is comprehensive but I can see Leigh’s point it could cause some travelers to walk in with a chip on their shoulder just waiting for the least little mistake.

    I have 4300 room nights with Marriott and at one time involved in ownership of a couple of properties. What the “writer” did not do is to caution the reader that being pleasant to the front desk agent goes so far these days.

    • If you think Leigh is right, then why do you think Marriott provides that guarantee if the unappreciative hotel workers or owners like you guys don’t want to honor it??!!

      I think mostly the people working or affiliated with hotel business are opposing this to cover their mistakes (and asses) of not providing full elite benefits and customer service!

  6. 1) Leigh – these rooms are not free. The credit card companies pay the hotels huge sums each year to reserve the award rooms as a marketing strategy for us to use their cards. (The credit card business is especially lucrative – it is basically a bank without tellers and marble buildings and higher interest with a ‘service fee’ on each use)
    2) I am an older woman and seldom (busy or not) am offered my award amenities.
    3) At the recent November FTU in Chicago – I checked into the hotel when there were three front desk personnel and no other customers. All three joked with me about the cold weather since I am from Hawaii, They gave me a seventh room floor and I asked if that was the floor with the lounge and they said “no” but went on to say the lounge was closed for the week-end anyway.
    I told them I had called earlier that week to see if they had a lounge and if I was going to be able to use it. I explained that the entire hotel was probably going to be filled with high FTU elites and the lounge would have a lot of use and the (phone call) girl insisted that I was already approved to use the lounge.
    Back to check-in – I told them about the phone conversation and again mentioned that the FTU group that was meeting there would all be disappointed not to have free breakfast. They were all soooo sorry but shrugged.
    After going to my room I checked my reservation details which indicated that I should have a free breakfast – SO I returned to reception to inquire. THEN one of the receptionists said “Oh – did I forget to give you your coupons?” And he offered me 750 points or breakfast.

    I didn’t think about any of this until one of the speakers mentioned that he had gotten $100 because they forgot his amenity. Forgot his amenity!!! I didn’t get so much as a thank you for coming to Marriott (I paid – by the way and am platinum – from a lot of paid stays).
    4) So Leigh – I suspect that you get some sort of bonus for every perk that you manage to get us to pay extra for (or maybe even a ‘high five’ from your co-workers). After your horrible attitude I will always ask for my award amenities and mention your name as a thank you for reminding me that I earned the right for Marriott to follow their own rules.

    • If you are such an experienced, regular Marriott customer, then you should know that the lounges are not open on the weekend. Even if you call ahead and request it. They are not open on the weekends. Period. Whine elsewhere.

      • By your assessment – the people who work for Marriott should know it also. I thought maybe they opened it for the FTU group. Whine reinstated 🙂

  7. Yeah. The policies are made to compensate those who are loyal and have been inconvenienced. Not designed for bloggers to tell eveyone how to find a way to earn $100 they didn’t earn. Can you imagine eveyone standing there hoping they don’t offer the amenity. What do you say when they don’t !? Got ya! Ugh. Bloggers ruin loyalty programs and travel. Keep the articles real.

  8. This really comes down to training kind of when you go through a fast food drive thru and if they forget your receipt you get $5 or a free meal. It should be second nature. People also have a choice to whom they give loyalty to so if they are not recognized they will go elsewhere. That point needs to be stressed to the hotel staff.

  9. I have mixed feelings about this. Like Greg says, if it is on Marriott rules, you can’t blame the customer from invoking it, but…
    Ill give you an example: I just left a Marriott Autograph collection in Panama (Buenaventura). A beautiful resort, with nice and smilling people. Their room service menu has a note that if they fail to deliver in 30 minutes, they would not charge for the meal. I ordered room service 3 times and the food never arrived on time. It was at least an hour every time. But I did not invoke the rule, because I felt I did not want to take advantage. At check out, I did tell the manager about the situation, and other things that could be improved. I was clear with him that I did not want to take advantage and I was only talking to him so they could improve. The manager insisted and removed 2 of the 3 charges in my bill at check out.

  10. I’m not sure I understand the dissenters, here. Does Marriott not call these benefits “Guaranteed?” They have set up a fail-safe of sorts for when these benefits are not honored. As a Marriott Platinum, I choose to stay at Marriott properties because I expect these benefits. If they are not honored at check-in, what is wrong with using the published benefit guarantees to ensure that they are, or accepting the compensation as a result? Would you not expect compensation if your room was sold and you were “walked?” If so, you also need to expect compensation if your room amenity is not delivered as promised. You don’t get to pick and choose.

    It’s not like the page Greg linked to is buried in the fine print of Marriott’s website…it’s there for a reason.

    • I think if Greg’s article said “hey guys, kudos to Marriott, they messed up at front desk, and paid up as promised !”, then it wouldn’t be controversial. So I can see why Leigh got worked up about “Now that I’ve learned how easy it can be, it probably won’t be the last time.” and subsequently made comments about class.

  11. Wow, what a bunch of ——. Firstly, if people like Leigh and Ryan are incompetent at their jobs (and very rude on top of that), I hope they get fired soon. Secondly, obviously Marriott knows there are such bad apples at some front desks, so they instituted this policy to weed them out. Good for Marriott. Good for us.

      • Enough. Greg already made it clear that the name-calling needs to stop. If you’d like to discuss the post, that’s one thing. No more attacking each other. That’s not what Frequent Miler is about and not why we have the comments platform. I edited the last reply. Thanks for your cooperation with keeping our site and environment one where there is reasonable and respectful discourse.

  12. Can I ask a question that is not about whether or not Greg is an A-Hole? 🙂

    I would say 1 out of 2 times I check into a Marriott hotel they fail to offer the benefit. EVERY time I’ve circled back to ask for the amenity, I am told that the system automatically assigns points and since I received the points (even though nothing was said at check-in) I do not qualify for compensation.

    The Manager then stonewalls and says there’s nothing they can do about it and they fulfilled the policy. Eventually I just gave up.

    Anybody else have this experience? Is there something I should do differently?

  13. So moving on from hotels for a moment. if I buy a seat on a fight and the plane is oversold and I get bumped, am I enittield to cash compensation? (of course)

    if I pay extra fro First Class but get downgraded to Coach, am I entitled to the difference in fare? (sure am)

    If I buy a room in a hotel with lounge access/breakfast included and the restaurant/lounge is closed, am I entitled to something?

    I think you know the answer.

  14. I’m loving the debate here (both sides), but please keep things civil. I’m very happy to discuss whether or not asking for compensation is morally OK, but debating who is an A-hole is not helpful (I’m happy to take it as a given that I’m one if that would help any). Thank you in advance!

    • I don’t mind actual *debate*, but the tone of many of these comments has turned into Just Another Internet Comment Section where anyone with a different opinion is ________ (insert a favorite ridiculously unnecessary insult).

      I skip almost all of Gary’s posts because in his case he intentionally picks controversial/racist/prurient posts to “prime the pump”.

      I’ll say this about the issue at hand…those who let minor negative aspects of Life get to them (and demand JUSTICE!!!!) are sooooo much unhappier than those of us who, like a duck, let them roll off our back into nothingness.

  15. I was going to comment but decided to read the other comments. To be fair, the post is only detailing the information already available from the Marriott website and that Marriott provides.

    I’m happy about these benefits. It makes the program more attractive to me as an alternative to Hilton and Hyatt and with the IHG devaluation.
    Interesting that in the picture provided for Guaranteed room type benefit that the options are only king/queen or 2 double (or no preference). Why can’t they just put two beds as an option. Some provide two single, some provide two queen beds. I’m happy with just two beds.

    One question though, these benefits apply to both paid and reward stays right including the Marriott travel packages night certificates and CC free night certificates?

    Finally, I do think Marriott might devalue these benefits or add a higher level to their combined Marriott/Ritz/SPG program.

  16. A-hole…nah….anal? most definitely…lol
    I have had desk agents forget my amenity, and if they are obviously busy or friendly, I tend to overlook it and remind them…I usually ask for an extra candy bar (and get it)….somewhere in the back of my mind I know that I could get compensated and have a confrontation with the manager or desk agent , which can be he said, she said, excuses or misinformation…not a way I want to start my stay at a property….Breakfast is a perk I will get a bit more fussy about, but a trip to the front desk during breakfast hours usually gets it taken care of easily.

  17. Costco and LL Bean have unlimited guarantee programs and they know that relatively few persons take them up on it. The benefit to Costco and LL Bean is that people shop there knowing the guarantee is not questioned and unlimited. They are very happy when someone returns a pair of 100 year old boots and gets a free pair and they make sure it is advertised.

    Same for Las Vegas, few big jackpots but when there is one it is highly advertised.

    Making notice on this Blog that there is a guarantee of benefits and that someone collected on it is good for Marriott and they want others to know it exists.

    Good job Greg and Good job Marriott!!

  18. The commenter who noted that this was a way for guests to alert Marriott that their service standards were not being upheld is spot-on. I’m sure we’ve all had experiences where our loyalty is not honored. Marriott actually does something about it to get a bunch of, essentially franchised and independently-owned, disparate properties in-line with company policy and the promises they’ve made to elites. It is essential for elites to call properties out when they are not playing by the rules, and in this way Marriott makes it worth your while to do so. If it didn’t, Marriott would become a watered-down status program with laissez-faire treatment of elites, like, for instance, IHG, where perks are subject to availability or any of the other status programs where properties play games with the elite rules and there is no enforcement.

  19. I don’t disagree that you would be due the $100. It’s the rules and that is fine.

    But remember the other side. You have a most likely hard working employee whose job is on the line. If you don’t think they chase down the employee, you are crazy. That employee could have kids at home depending on a pay check to put food on the table. There is more to life that slamming the rule book down every chance possible. Is $100 worth getting a single mom fired……in my opinion, no.

    That being said, if they front desk staff were assholes, then I would take the $100.

    If the front desk staff was nice and accommodating…..have a heart and blow it off.

  20. What is missing here is the guarantee of missing platinum arrival amenity gift has the assumption that you have to point it out and give the hotel time to fix it during the stay. If for some reason it did not happen after your stay, then the guarantee shall be fulfillled.

    The other response from hotel people is certainly sick since he/she holds assumption that any “free” benefits hotel offered to their elite customer is their gratuitous, however the truth is such benefit is actually the value they are selling to make customers to stay loyal to their brand. Otherwise why people pay the higher rate to be eligible for such recognition? You can usually make bid in Priceline with 20%-50% lower price for the same stay in the same hotel at the same night.

  21. This is part of the terms and conditions of the program that if we violate, we as guests will pay up. IMO, Greg is right and @Leigh is the asshole here for throwing insults. How many loop holes (including resort fees, no breakfast at resorts, devaluations, etc.) do the chains have introduced in recent memory. The T&C is written by the hotels and thus she should be held accountable for them.

  22. Greg, I appreciate the elite benefits reminder. I too am a Marriott Platinum elite level member and have never pushed asking for my benefits other than lounge access.

    Leigh, I appreciate your inane and rude comments as they now give me the fortitude to make sure I ask for any and all of them.


  23. guarantee = : an assurance for the fulfillment of a condition: such as
    a : an agreement by which one person undertakes to secure another in the possession or enjoyment of something
    b : an assurance of the quality of or of the length of use to be expected from a product offered for sale often with a promise of reimbursement The washer comes with a guarantee against major defects.
    Marriott made the policy between their corporation and the customer. The representative who did not fulfill the guarantee is the fly in the soup. Marriott, besides rewarding loyal customers, is receiving a cheap report about customer service. Think about the cost of sending in an hotel inspector! Think about the cost of getting a poor review on Tripadvisor, Yelp, or any of the other review sites. Smart policy for Marriott, IMHO. As for the representative who did not do his/her job? Retrain, reassign, or relocate.

  24. A policy is a policy and so it was written to satisfy the “elite” patron when not acknowledged/given their benefit/amenity. Good information to know for the future but also not to be taken advantage of in my book. Also….this Leigh character never said they worked for Marriott so try not to relate the two in this ongoing debate (I also don’t work for Marriott as well…lol). Cheers!

  25. I have found that over 50% of the time, the Marriott hotels I stay at don’t fulfill their Platinum promise. Lack of consistency in Elite recognition is the most frustrating aspect of Marriott Rewards, but I realize it stems from their corporate franchising agreements. You are made to feel like you have to beg for upgrades and regularly told half-truths about availability and benefits. When I feel like pushing a property to recognize an upgrade availability, it magically appears, but it also irks me as I shouldn’t have to insist on terms. I stay about 130+ nights at Marriott, and travel to varied locations so it may just be a function of the numbers and that I don’t have ‘go to’ hotels I like. I feel like a jerk sometimes insisting on benefits, but I also feel like the way the terms are worded beg you to act like a jerk to force the properties to own up to the terms.

    • The room upgrade at Marriott is frequently misunderstood, and there has been a lot of discussion about it at Insiders. Marriott’s T&C don’t guarantee an upgrade, it’s based on availability and is also at the hotel’s discretion. Other programs guarantee the upgrade if available, hence the confusion. Not being upgraded is not a violation of terms. I’ve found Marriott to be very good at proactively providing the guaranteed benefits.

      • yea. all elite status are going to shit now. i cant tell you how much i HATE the word “at hotels discretion”. you cant possibly be more YMMV than that. hotel elite is NOT supposed to be YMMV. it should be delivered consistently. thats why 4Seasons and Aman are known for what they are. u essentially pay for the elite status experience via crazy room rate. makes all McDonalds franchise hotel network of loosey goosey elite status totally bullshit.

        • Totally agree. Kimpton is another program that has (historially, pre-IHG acquisition) also had a great upgrade policy. As Inner Circle, I was upgraded to a suite roughly 75% of the time at my standard work hotel (40 nights there over the year), and even on my free night rewards in hotels I’d never been in, received top-floor rooms with the best views. They also never failed to put an amazing amenity in my room.
          So yeah, if room upgrades are the most important part of elite status for you, pick Kimpton, SPG, Aman, etc. or book through any of the Virtuoso, Chase Luxury, etc. programs. I mostly choose status programs for elite-points return. Otherwise, be happy with free breakfast (sometimes, depending on property-brand) 🙂

  26. this is a hilarious debate. if i didnt know better, i would have thought this post was about Donald Trump and building The Wall. haha. i think we can all agree that there is no clear black/white answer to every “guarantee” situation. i think we can also agree that Greg has a solid moral compass w/ a highly respected blog so we can give him the benefit of the doubt here.

    however, let me make one thing very clear. with any “generous” policy, if a shitload of CSR n00bs do it, then you can be damn sure marriott will change it ASAP. yes, i agree its best not to put a spotlight on “loopholes” like this. so lets not be stupid. if too many people redeem this crap like BRG then the hotels will be like “holy shit. we are bleeding.”

    it just comes down to how bad did the front desk messed up. so many times, i let small things go. anything major, i collect on the guarantee like room type or bed type or they cancelled my reservation to give to someone else. those would be a wtf situation. i actually always proactively ask for the amenity to make sure i dont deal with a headache later. but now with this post, every customer will just shut up and not say anything, just WAITING for the fuck up by front desk. personally, i think thats pretty messed up for small things.

    its no different than many other “guarantees” in other industries like “guarantee XYZ or your money back!” or “if the cashier doesnt give you a receipt, your meal is free!”. i feel like someone is going to get in trouble so i just let it go. however, Sears is totally different. they have a drive by online order pickup window guarantee of 5 min or you get a $5 coupon. i cant tell you how many times I had tried to collect on that and failed. i would LOVE to abuse it even just for $5. wish it was $100 tho. sears hires walmart rejects. SMH. i hate that store. i only use it for certain things.

  27. I just got the voucher from Alaska missing the 20 minute baggage guarantee at SFO this morning. Nobody else I could see did (and I didn’t go around advertising that they were available), but a promise is a promise.

    Same situation here, be a reasonable, affable person, and if they miss it and it affects your stay, politely request that to which you are entitled. Don’t be like Lucky at UA and it’ll all be ok.

  28. I have a question Greg, by any chance did you use the mobile checkin? In the app it asks what you want your amenity to be and if you choose points it’s automatically applied at checkout. It states to ask the front desk if you want something else. So maybe they will use that to get around this $100 issue if you use mobile checkin.

    • No, I didn’t. In the past I’ve found Marriott’s mobile check-in to be useless so I never bother anymore. I think you’re right: If you use mobile check-in you probably wouldn’t have a chance at the $100 guarantee

  29. Greg,
    Had to chime in here – I’m a lifetime Marriott customer w/platinum status but have stopped staying at Marriott properties when possible. Why? Because there were too many Front Desk staff who seem to have a chip on their shoulder over the folks with “Elite” status. I am always polite, never ask for anything, and the Staff at Marriott hotels have become completely rude and unhelpful over the past few years to the point that a Front Desk employee told me that they preferred paying customers when I cashed in a few points for a weekend away! Think Marriott needs to educate their employees about the Elite program and the benefits.

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