When Marriott merged their loyalty program with SPG, they added an SPG feature: Choice Benefits. These are benefits that you can select once you’ve completed 50 nights in a year, and again at 75 nights. In the post “Marriott Choice Benefit Valuations. Which to pick?” I argued that the choice of 5 Suite Night Awards was the potentially most valuable choice (but I also stressed that each benefit is valuable only if you make use of it before it expires). A few readers begged to differ. In their experience, Suite Night Awards were not valuable at all.
Last year I completed 75 nights and so I ended up with 10 Suite Night Awards. I recently had a chance to use 3 of these on a 3 night stay in London. After booking a Marriott stay, if you have enough Suite Night Awards for your entire stay, you’ll see something like this when you view your reservation online:
After clicking to start the upgrade request, you’ll see one or more options. Check only those that seem good enough to be worth spending your Suite Night Awards. In my case, I had booked three nights at the St Pancras Renaissance London and was offered only one option (that’s OK, I love this option):
Then, after submitting the request, you should see this:
Finally, if you’re lucky, you’ll get an email announcing success as early as 5 days before your stay. My email came exactly 5 days prior:
This upgrade is particularly valuable at the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London because it means that you’ll be in the spectacular Chambers wing of the hotel. And it also means that you’ll have full access to the awesome Chambers Club. It’s important to note that if you don’t stay in the Chambers wing, you won’t have access to the Chambers Club unless you have Titanium Elite status or better. Unlike most other Marriott properties with a lounge, Platinum status is not enough to get you in. They consider this to be a club, not a lounge. Platinum Elites do get free breakfast at the hotel restaurant, but it’s worth upgrading a Chambers Suite so that you’ll get Chambers Club access as well. The Club is arguably the best part of this hotel as it offers full breakfast, afternoon tea service, evening canapés which can easily be an early dinner, and complimentary beer & wine.
Upon check in, we asked for, and got, an elite upgrade above the standard junior suite. This is how we ended up in a suite with a full living room and separate bedroom as shown at the top of this post. Ironically, we prefer the regular junior suite that we’ve stayed in on several prior visits. Next time, unless we need the extra space, we’ll ask to return to our favorite St. Pancras home: