Marriott / SPG elite benefits guarantee

Pictured above: The St. Regis Llasa Resort, China

My general view of Marriott & SPG’s combined elite program (assuming they ever get it to work as promised) is that Marriott elites now have better benefits than before, while SPG elites have slightly worse benefits than before.  That said, there’s one significant way in which SPG elites are better off than before: Marriott’s elite benefits guarantee.

One of the most interesting aspects of the Marriott Rewards (and now SPG) program is that they guarantee certain elite benefits.  In certain situations, participating hotels must pay you if they fail to deliver benefits.  Thanks to this benefit, I was able to collect $100 in January when the resort I stayed at failed to offer me a Platinum welcome gift (see: Marriott pays up when they fail to deliver elite benefits).  More recently, I was due compensation when a hotel I had booked was unable to fulfill my reservation.  In that case, I told the hotel not to worry about the compensation since they had already treated us extremely well (see details in caption, below).

Above left: Roomers Baden-Baden Germany (a Marriott Autograph Collection hotel). Above right: Brenners Park-Hotel & Spa, Baden-Baden Germany. I had booked one night at Roomers using a free night certificate from my Chase Marriott card, but the hotel contacted me a couple of weeks in advance to let me know that they weren’t able to fulfill my booking due to a large group reservation. At my request, they put us up, at their expense, at the luxurious Brenners Park Hotel instead. It was awesome.  Marriott returned my free night certificate, and Roomers sent me a new free night voucher for a junior suite!

The rules vary by brand and location (and fine print)

Before we dive into the various elite benefits guarantees, it’s important to note that the rules vary by brand and location.  And, in some cases, specific hotels have been given exceptions.  This post is designed to give you an overview of Marriott’s elite benefits guarantees, but if you want to know which guarantees apply to your specific stay please see our resource page: Which Marriott elite benefits apply?

On our “Which Marriott elite benefits apply?” page, you can filter to specific hotel brands to see what benefits you are due. Plus, you can search for your specific hotel to see if there are any noted exceptions.

Summary of Elite Benefit Guarantees

The quoted text below was copied directly from Marriott’s Elite Benefit Guarantees page. In some cases I bolded and/or underlined text for emphasis:

All Elite Tiers (Silver and higher):

  • Ultimate Reservation Guarantee: “If for some reason we’re unable to honor your reservation, we’ll pay for your accommodations that night at a nearby hotel and compensate you for the inconvenience. To be eligible, you must provide your member number when making a reservation. Compensation varies by hotel brand.”
    Ultimate Reservation Guarantee More Info

    Greg’s explanation: If you get walked (.e.g you had a confirmed reservation, but they can’t honor it) from a Marriott/SPG hotel they not only have to put you up somewhere comparable, but they will also compensate you with cash and points for your trouble.

Platinum Elite & Higher:

  • Guaranteed Platinum Elite/Platinum Premier Elite Welcome Gift: “Get more when you check in. As a Platinum or Platinum Premier Elite member, you’ll receive a special gift upon arrival at all participating hotels, offering you a choice of an amenity gift or points. If guarantee is not met, guest compensation applies.”
    Guaranteed Platinum Elite/Platinum Premier Elite Welcome Gift More Info

    Greg’s explanation: Platinum guests are supposed to be offered a welcome gift upon check in.  If you weren’t offered one, you can go to the desk during your stay and request compensation.

  • Guaranteed Room Type: “When making a reservation, be sure to note both your Member number and room/bed preferences. At locations throughout the U.S. and Canada, we’ll always honor your bed type request. Outside U.S. and Canada, smoking/non-smoking preferences are honored based on availability; exact bed sizes may vary, and only Platinum Premier Elite members will have guaranteed priority for their requested type of bed and room. If guarantee is not met, guest compensation applies.”
    Guaranteed Room Type More Info

    Greg’s explanation: I believe that “room type” refers to your smoking/non-smoking preference, and “bed type” refers to whether you asked for a king/queen or two doubles/singles.  Except when voluntarily upgraded, if you get stuck in the wrong type of room, request compensation during your stay.

  • Guaranteed Lounge Access: “Access to lounge for member plus one guest. This benefit only applies to the one guest room in which the Platinum Elite/Platinum Premier Elite member is staying.”
    Guaranteed Lounge Access More Info

    Greg’s explanation: This one seems self explanatory.

Platinum Premier Elite and Platinum Premier Elite with Ambassador:

  • 48-Hour Guaranteed Availability: :Traveling on short notice? We guarantee you’ll always have a room for any paid stay. Just make your reservation 48 hours before arrival at any of our participating hotels, excluding Resorts, Marriott Vacation Club, participating Vistana properties, and Design Hotels.  48-Hour Guaranteed Availability: Limited to Platinum Premier Elite Member’s personal guestroom. Guaranteed room availability for reservations booked at least 48 hours prior to arrival. 48-Hour Guaranteed Availability may not be available on certain limited dates (e.g., special events). Benefit cannot be used in conjunction with award usage or any type of promotional or discounted rates. For Residence Inn and TownePlace Suites, 48-Hour Guaranteed Availability applies to studio rooms only.

    Greg’s explanation: If you want to stay at a particular Marriott/SPG hotel, but it is sold out for your desired stay, they’ll let you book the stay anyway, but at standard rack rates.  This benefit doesn’t include compensation if it is not met.

Reminder

Please visit our “Which Marriott elite benefits apply?” page, where you can filter to specific hotel brands to see what benefits you are due. Plus, you can search for your specific hotel to see if there are any noted exceptions.

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.

More articles by Greg The Frequent Miler »

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Rob
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Rob

One thing that has always confused me about the Arrival gift is when is the exact deadline for them to offer the welcome gift where the compensation becomes owed? I.e. If I arrive and check in at the desk and they don’t offer the choice of, let’s say, 1,000 points or food and beverage credit, do I mention it then? Or is it when you get home a week later and review your account and see they never credited your account if you chose points, or if they never offered? I feel like even if you do that, they will just quick throw you 1,000 points and say something like oh, sorry there was a delay in posting or something equally impossible to disprove.

George
Guest
George

I checked into the Hotel Adagio (Autograph Collection) in San Francisco on 8/19. At check in I was not offered my Platinum benefit of breakfast, and there is no lounge. Per my reading of the benefits guarantee, I should have been compensated. After my first discussion with a person at the desk, I was told that they would look into it (although I was not told exactly what they would be looking into). The following day I checked with them again, and they said that they had not looked into it yet. Having read up on the Marriott guarantee, I spelled out for them what they did not offer me (breakfast and lounge access), and requested compensation. They apologized profusely and offered me breakfast for my second night, but not the first for which I had already paid. Grumbling, I left the front desk and contacted Marriott Customer Service. The CSR apologized again and said that she would contact the hotel to straighten it out.

The following morning I checked out, and once again pointed out to the desk manager that I was not offered my Platinum benefits, and that they had not honored the guarantee. Yet again he apologized profusely and promised to “make it right”. I left.

A few days later I found that they had credited about $68 to my folio. Not the $200 that I was due, nor even $100 for either of the omitted benefits.

In short, I find the Marriott/SPG elite benefits “guarantee” to be BS since it certainly is NOT guaranteed.

Kevin
Guest
Kevin

They shouldn’t have credited anything to your bill – that compensation is due, immediately, IN CASH.

Anthony
Guest
Anthony

They will actually pull out $100 from the cash register and hand it to you? Also, it is $100 per NIGHT that they don’t offer the breakfast/welcome amenity?

Anthony
Guest
Anthony

Greg, how do you get the $100 compensation for not being offered a welcome gift? Do you call out the front desk staff member immediately or do you call Marriott?

Josh
Guest
Josh

I also would like to know this. It may be awkward going back down to the front desk and saying you messed up?

ff_lover
Guest
ff_lover

What about the Gold level benefits?

Glenn
Guest
Glenn

I have been walked once before as a Platinum. They paid for our stay at a five star Marriott but said there was no $100 compensation in addition to that. One or the other they said. Still got a great deal, just as you did, so I didn’t complain about it.

nikdro
Guest
nikdro

I was not offered a welcome gift at a recent stay at the Sheraton Tribeca. I brought it up the the manager after she emailed me making sure my stay was ok. She just brushed it off and said I would receive the points. I tried to contact Marriott Rewards twitter support and they didn’t respond until over a day later when I tweeted at them a second time. The customer support at this company has gone way down hill and I don’t plan on having any loyalty to them in the future.

miafll
Guest
miafll

Folks, You need to go to Marriott website to get the Loyalty Program T&Cs, make a PDF file for yourself, either print it out the pertinent pages or stored it in your tablet / laptop so you can pull it up to show the ignorant properties or unscrupulous properties the Marriott Guarantee IN WRITING.

https://www.marriott.com/loyalty/terms/default.mi

Section 4, Elite Members.
Subsection 4.3 has all the details.

You really need to arm yourself with that document, and ask for compensation / solution in a timely manner. Hotels are betting you do not know or not have enough time to get it resolve before checking out. It is all a play of shenanigans, or worse, scam!

Andy
Guest
Andy

What about the guarantee of award night availability if a standard room is available for sale. Former SPG properties at category 7 not honoring this currently. Frustrating.

James
Guest
James

I think that these hotels that have new requirements are just planning to say FU to the elites. They will make it difficult or just do the minimum to meet the requirement. As an example, Wailea Beach Resort – Marriott, Maui plan to give elites a breakfast that is a danish of the day, a fruit cup and cup of coffee. These hotels want the benefit of having Marriott in their name but don’t want to fulfill their end. At the same time award stays at resorts still pay a resort fee.
I think this blog post does not match the reality of what many elites are receiving. We did the work to become elite and now the hotels say I don’t care. Marriott should do a better job and bloggers with influence should do a better job of calling them out.

shay peleg
Guest
shay peleg

Just give those hotels a 1 star review and they will regret it

Sean
Guest
Sean

Checked in to Westin Austin last night and wasn’t offered an amenity. Went this morning and showed the concierge terms and received free breakfast for both nights of our stay. When I mentioned the $100 compensation, she said she’d talk with her manager. Five minutes later, she came back and said manager’s interpretation was that the $100 only applies if they couldn’t offer the amenity. I just let it go since it was my first time and didn’t want to push too much. In retrospect I should’ve asked to see the manager but oh well.

Good news is that the free breakfast qualifies for ANY entree item on the brunch menu ($6-$16 prices) and drink included. When we asked the waiter about tipping, he said that 18% gratuity for our tab was included so that’s a good data point there that you don’t need to necessarily tip extra and the wait staff has incentive to still treat you equally.

Lisa Roy
Guest
Lisa Roy

Just stayed a couple of nights at the new Westin Carlsbad, San Diego and was told at check-in that they have a “corporate lounge” and that my LTP (lifetime platinum elite in Marriott now) did not include lounge access. Not having traveled in a while and unfamiliar with the crossover I asked several times if she was sure and she told me it would have come up on my file at check-in. I did get the 1000 points in lieu of breakfast option. Now I see lounge access as one of my tier benefits. Can you advise me on this hotel specifically?