Marriott pays up when they fail to deliver elite benefits

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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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