Best Hotel Loyalty Program For Suite Upgrades?

Best Hotel Loyalty Program For Suite Upgrades?

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I recently wrote a post comparing the major hotel loyalty programs, sharing what I view as the pros and cons of each. There are various factors to consider, ranging from a hotel group’s global footprint, to elite recognition, to the points earning structure.

For many people, the single most valuable perk of hotel elite status is upgrades to suites. In this post I wanted to compare the suite upgrade policies of the “big four” hotel loyalty programs, to determine which is best.

Comparing hotel loyalty program suite upgrade policies

Who doesn’t love a suite upgrade? I mean, it might not be necessary on a one night stay at an airport hotel when you’re traveling alone, but it sure comes in handy when you’re traveling with family on a special vacation.

Fortunately hotel loyalty programs may offer suite upgrades to their most loyal members. In this post I wanted to compare the suite upgrade policies of the four all-around most lucrative hotel loyalty programs — Hilton Honors, IHG One Rewards, Marriott Bonvoy, and World of Hyatt.

Let’s look at the complimentary upgrade policies of each program, and then we’ll also look at opportunities available through each program for securing suite upgrades in advance.

Below is my ranking of hotel loyalty program suite upgrade benefits, starting with the best.

World of Hyatt

World of Hyatt Globalist status sets the standard for suite upgrade policies, both when it comes to space available upgrades, as well as the ability to confirm upgrades in advance.

Hyatt Globalist members receive unlimited space available suite upgrades at check-in, subject to availability. If a standard suite is available, you should receive an upgrade to this as a Globalist member.

Furthermore, with the World of Hyatt Milestone Rewards program, Globalist members who rack up 60 elite nights in a year earn four confirmed suite upgrade awards, each of which can be used to confirm an upgrade to a standard suite at the time of booking for up to seven nights, with no capacity controls — as long as a standard suite is available for sale, you can confirm it.

You can earn further suite upgrade awards for over qualifying for status (you can choose a suite upgrade award at 70, 80, 90, or 100 elite nights), or if you’re a lifetime Globalist member. Note that even elite nights earned with credit cards count toward these hotels.

You can’t beat the combination of unlimited suite upgrades subject to availability, plus easy to earn confirmable suite upgrades that can be used at the time of booking.

Hyatt Regency Zurich Airport suite

Marriott Bonvoy

Marriott Bonvoy Platinum, Titanium, and Ambassador status, offers a pretty well-rounded suite upgrade benefit.

Marriott Platinum members and above receive unlimited space available suite upgrades at check-in, subject to availability. If a standard suite is available, you should receive an upgrade to this as a Platinum member and above. Note that at Ritz-Carlton properties, suite upgrades are only offered to Titanium members and above.

Furthermore, with the Marriott Bonvoy Choice Benefits program, members can select further benefits when passing 50 or 75 elite nights in a year (even elite nights earned with credit cards count toward this). At each threshold you can select five suite night awards, each of which can be used to confirm a suite upgrade at most five days before arrival.

Ultimately I get quite a bit of value from these, but they have limitations — there are capacity controls on these, each is only valid for one night, and five days in advance isn’t that far ahead to be able to confirm an upgrade.

I’d say Marriott has a pretty well-rounded policy, between what’s tied for the best space available suite upgrade policy, and the confirmed suite upgrade policy (even if it’s the weakest one of the three that exist).

St. Regis Aspens suite

IHG One Rewards

With the recent launch of the IHG One Rewards program, IHG has considerably improved its suite upgrade offering. While the space available suite upgrade benefit isn’t particularly strong, I do appreciate the new confirmed suite upgrade opportunities.

IHG One Rewards Diamond members receive room upgrades subject to availability, and these upgrades may include standard suites. However, upgrades are offered at the hotel’s discretion, meaning that a hotel doesn’t have to make a suite available for an upgrade, even if it’s empty.

While the space available suite upgrade offering is weak, IHG now has an impressive confirmed suite upgrade option. With the IHG One Rewards Milestone Rewards program, members can earn up to three confirmed suite upgrades per year (which would require earning 70 elite nights).

Each confirmed suite upgrade can be used to confirm a suite upgrade between one day and 14 days prior to arrival, for a stay of up to five nights. These can only be used on cash stays, and not when redeeming points.

While IHG’s space available upgrade benefit is pretty weak, at least the confirmed upgrade perk is a great opportunity. It’s jus too bad it’s not valid when redeeming points.

InterContinental London The O2 suite

Hilton Honors

As much as I’ve become a big fan of Hilton Honors in general, the program’s suite upgrade benefit is the weakest of the “big four.” Not only is the space available suite upgrade benefit not particularly strong, but Hilton also doesn’t offer any opportunities for confirmed suite upgrades in advance.

Hilton Honors Diamond members receive room upgrades subject to availability, and these upgrades may include standard suites. However, upgrades are offered at the hotel’s discretion, meaning that a hotel doesn’t have to make a suite available for an upgrade, even if it’s empty.

As mentioned above, Hilton Honors also doesn’t have any sort of suite upgrade certificates that can be used to confirm an upgrade in advance.

Waldorf Astoria Dubai DIFC suite

An important suite upgrade reality check…

As anyone with hotel elite status can attest to, just because you’re entitled to a suite upgrade subject to availability doesn’t mean you’re going to get one:

  • Even when hotels are fully playing by the rules, there will often be more elite members eligible for suite upgrades than available suites (just as airlines offer elite members complimentary upgrades, but that doesn’t mean there will be seats available)
  • That doesn’t factor in that lots of hotels don’t play by the rules, and will do everything they can to avoid providing a suite upgrade; this comes down to the fact that most hotels are individually owned, and either only have a management or franchise agreement with the major hotel group

As is the case with many aspects of elite recognition, I generally find that the further you get from the United States, the better elite recognition is. With that in mind, what has my experience been with the major hotel groups when it comes to space available suite upgrades?

  • I find that Hyatts are best about trying to provide complimentary suite upgrades when available, and I tend to get them pretty regularly, especially outside the United States
  • With Marriott I only very rarely get proactive suite upgrades within the United States; there’s tons of competition for upgrades, and I find that I have the best luck internationally, and also when using suite night awards
  • With Hilton I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a suite upgrade within the United States, while I get them fairly regularly abroad; I’d say that in Asia and the Middle East my suite upgrade percentage is roughly the same with Marriott and Hilton
  • I unfortunately don’t have any firsthand experience with IHG’s new top tier status yet, though historically I haven’t found IHG to be too good about proactive upgrades

Anyway, that’s just my experience…

Dubai EDITION suite

Bottom line

Suite upgrades are one of the best perks of hotel elite status, though not all suite upgrade policies are created equal. First you have the difference of how hotel loyalty programs offer space available upgrades — some offer suite upgrades subject to availability, while others offer them at the hotel’s discretion. Then you have some hotels that offer confirmed suite upgrades, but even those policies differ significantly between hotel groups.

When it comes to suite upgrades, personally I think World of Hyatt wins, followed by Marriott Bonvoy, followed by IHG One Rewards, followed by Hilton Honors. Admittedly people will have different takes, though, depending on their hotel stay patterns.

What has your experience been with elite status suite upgrades at hotels? Which program is your favorite?

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  1. DCS Diamond

    Links are flipped in comment below:

    LF Diamond status card & info: https://bit.ly/3MF4sQY
    Global Automated Upgrade notification: https://bit.ly/3O5mj4J
    Automated upgrade to a studio suite: https://bit.ly/3xsREZd

    ...makes Hyatt's so-called 'standard for upgrades' look antiquated...really.

  2. DCS Diamond

    @Eskimo: "This is usually the time for @DCS to share some wisdom."

    @UA-NYC: "I’m waiting on pins and needles for a dogmatic response about perfect upgrade rates and experiences that literally no other Hilton loyal ever has ever had."

    Such little minds...

    Well, I no longer have anything to prove in this space because on Saturday 22 May 2022, 7 days after completing a 9-night stay at Double London ExCel, I received this...

    @Eskimo: "This is usually the time for @DCS to share some wisdom."

    @UA-NYC: "I’m waiting on pins and needles for a dogmatic response about perfect upgrade rates and experiences that literally no other Hilton loyal ever has ever had."

    Such little minds...

    Well, I no longer have anything to prove in this space because on Saturday 22 May 2022, 7 days after completing a 9-night stay at Double London ExCel, I received this email from HHonors:

    Hi DCS,
    We want to offer a heartfelt thank you for choosing to travel with Hilton Honors over the years. We’d like to show you the same commitment you’ve shown us by welcoming you to our most elite status, Lifetime Diamond.

    Almost immediately, my membership info on the HH App was updated to reflect the new status, with the bland HH Diamond membership card replaced with the catchy (awesome looking, really) HH Lifetime Diamond membership card, which I call the "Black Card". Take a look. I never have to requalify for Diamond again, even after the eventual demise of the too-good-to-be-true Aspire card, and my HH points will never expire!

    https://bit.ly/3O5mj4J

    What does any of that have to do with upgrades? EVERYTHING. You see, Hilton Honors now offers Golds, Diamonds and LF Diamonds automated room upgrades, globally, which clear 72 hours before a stay. Here's how members are notified that they have been upgraded (upgrades may include suites):

    https://bit.ly/3MF4sQY

    The big deal is that HH's Global Automated Upgrades are prioritized in the order Golds < Diamonds < LF Diamonds, which means that my outstanding rate clearing suite upgrades will likely become perfect.

    BTW, while room upgrade notifications as above do not indicate the type of upgrade, one can find out by checking the 'My Stay' tab on the HH App. The above notification was for an automated upgrade to a junior suite at Hilton Bellevue in Seattle:

    https://bit.ly/3xsREZd

    I have had only two Hilton stays this years, both before hitting LF Diamond and both were for suites. I can't wait to see what's in store for me as a HH LF Diamond. One aspect in particular I would like to document is whether the automation of room upgrades takes individual properties out of the equation to minimize games that some properties can play with inventories.

    So, this site and others can keep recycling bogus claims about how "Hyatt sets the standards for suite upgrades", some of us know better, especially in our rarefied air way above the rest...

    1. DCS Diamond

      ...DoubleTree London ExCel...

  3. skimegheath Gold

    I hate to tell you Asia is getting worse. Too many globalists this year combined with high occupancy rates. I am currently at the Andaz in Singapore. I am here for 9 nights. I used one of my SUA's which to be fair are only for 7 nights. I had my first 2 nights in a standard room and then the last 7 will be in a suite. I arrived back at the hotel at...

    I hate to tell you Asia is getting worse. Too many globalists this year combined with high occupancy rates. I am currently at the Andaz in Singapore. I am here for 9 nights. I used one of my SUA's which to be fair are only for 7 nights. I had my first 2 nights in a standard room and then the last 7 will be in a suite. I arrived back at the hotel at 5pm to change rooms and there was problems finding me an available suite as lots of late checkouts. It is very much leisure travellers here.
    The weekend before I was at the GH in Melbourne - I hate to fight to get an upgrade (I actually lived at this hotel and GH in Mumbai for over 12 months). Again the hotel was sold out.
    Now is the time to book the room you want or use SUA (if a globalist).

  4. Vinod Mirchandani Guest

    Hi. I messaged Holiday Inn Mumbai informing them that I would be arriving and asked them what room I need to book in order to be upgraded to a suite. They were very helpful to provide the information required and I am extremely pleased wit IHG upgrade option.

  5. AD Guest

    Sadly I have no Hyatt status. I spend too much of my travel time in places like Idaho Falls and other towns that Hyatt's limited footprint doesn't serve. But, as HH lifetime Diamond, Marriott Titanium and IHG Plat Ambassador...

    Much to my surprise... I've had great experience with Marriott confirmed suite upgrades. And zero suite upgrades without using my SNAs. I've had some upgraded room types though. Last week at the ABQ Marriott they thanked...

    Sadly I have no Hyatt status. I spend too much of my travel time in places like Idaho Falls and other towns that Hyatt's limited footprint doesn't serve. But, as HH lifetime Diamond, Marriott Titanium and IHG Plat Ambassador...

    Much to my surprise... I've had great experience with Marriott confirmed suite upgrades. And zero suite upgrades without using my SNAs. I've had some upgraded room types though. Last week at the ABQ Marriott they thanked me for my loyalty and put me in a standard room on the 4th floor (of a 17 floor hotel with 'high floor' in my profile). Most Marriotts do a bit better with titanium elites than that.

    Many years ago Hilton used to kick butt for Diamonds with constant suite upgrades and nice amenities from the hotel. Now things are different. I've never received one of the automated upgrades notices and can't remember the last time I've had a significant upgrade.

    At IHG the Ambassador status has come through at intercontinentals over the years. Maybe we do get what we pay for!

    1. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

      "Last week at the ABQ Marriott they thanked me for my loyalty and put me in a standard room on the 4th floor (of a 17 floor hotel with 'high floor' in my profile). Most Marriotts do a bit better with titanium elites than that."

      I always type TOP FLOOR AWAY FROM ELEVATOR into the notes/special requests field of my reservation. About 50% of the time they notice. The rest of the time, I refuse to accept the room and ask them to find something new.

    2. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

      A general manager at a franchise-operated Renaissance told me last fall that Marriott had started sending full-service properties a list each day of the guests to upgrade; kind of like an upgrade list for an airline. However, I've never seen this reported anywhere nor has anyone else ever mentioned it.

  6. Eskimo Guest

    This is usually the time for @DCS to share some wisdom.

    1. UA-NYC Diamond

      I’m waiting on pins and needles for a dogmatic response about perfect upgrade rates and experiences that literally no other Hilton loyal ever has ever had.

  7. Stanley C Gold

    I would say that IHG and Hilton are really good about elite status in Asia. As Lucky said, the further you are away from the US the better the upgrades. With Hilton Diamond status, I get very good VIP treatment including upgrades (better and bigger rooms to amazing suites in China and the rest of Asia with the exception of a very few. It was useless in Europe though. No upgrades at all but the...

    I would say that IHG and Hilton are really good about elite status in Asia. As Lucky said, the further you are away from the US the better the upgrades. With Hilton Diamond status, I get very good VIP treatment including upgrades (better and bigger rooms to amazing suites in China and the rest of Asia with the exception of a very few. It was useless in Europe though. No upgrades at all but the service was really nice/friendly. As for IHG, even when I was a platinum member I had very good VIP treatment including upgrades (bigger and better rooms to suites) in Asia especially in China. Now, as a Spire member, even better recognition. I mentioned Spire because although I am now Diamond as Spire is retired I had yet to try staying at an IHG hotel as a Diamond elite. By the way, even at a Holiday Inn Express I was upgraded to a suite on a paid eleven night stay and that was when I was only Platinum. Also, at a Holiday Inn in Canada, I was upgraded to a deluxe room with balcony and this reconfirms what Lucky said about the further you get away from the US the better the hotel elite status recognition.

    1. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

      IHG provides very good treatment of platinums and diamonds in Asia because that is their biggest target market for expansion. There are additional defined IHG benefits/Intercontinental benefits that only apply to China, for example.

  8. Matt Guest

    Maybe I am lucky. I am a Hyatt Globalist and receive a suite upgrade almost everywhere I travel, including in the U.S. I recently was upgraded to a suite at the Andaz 5th Avenue in NYC for a weeklong stay at check-in. And I received a suite upgrade at the Miraval Berkshires earlier in the summer. Those were two of the more notable upgrades.

    One thing that I find helps is to proactively ask...

    Maybe I am lucky. I am a Hyatt Globalist and receive a suite upgrade almost everywhere I travel, including in the U.S. I recently was upgraded to a suite at the Andaz 5th Avenue in NYC for a weeklong stay at check-in. And I received a suite upgrade at the Miraval Berkshires earlier in the summer. Those were two of the more notable upgrades.

    One thing that I find helps is to proactively ask for the upgrade. For example, it was not offered to me at the Andaz until I asked. At first they said they could only accommodate it for the first four days of my stay, which I accepted, but on day two they called me and said I was now in the suite for the duration of the stay. This has happened to me a few times over the years. So another strategy for longer stays is, if you are willing to switch rooms, to request the suite for the part of the stay that is available.

    1. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

      If I value a suite upgrade for a given stay and Marriott booking channels show that suites are available, I ask about a suite upgrade before arrival using the Marriott chat feature. Until somewhat recently, properties were (technically) required to upgrade to a suite upon check-in. Most properties are now mobile app check-in enabled, which meant 2 days before the day of arrival. Some pushed back and insisted upgrades were determined at physical arrival. Marriott’s...

      If I value a suite upgrade for a given stay and Marriott booking channels show that suites are available, I ask about a suite upgrade before arrival using the Marriott chat feature. Until somewhat recently, properties were (technically) required to upgrade to a suite upon check-in. Most properties are now mobile app check-in enabled, which meant 2 days before the day of arrival. Some pushed back and insisted upgrades were determined at physical arrival. Marriott’s terms now reflect that upgrades are determined based on availability on the day of arrival — not the time of arrival.

  9. Kanaka Member

    The section towards the end of this article about having better luck further away from the States is spot on. As Hilton Diamond, I have never received a suite / significant upgrade in the States, but I fairly often (about 65% of the time) receive them in Europe and Asia. Sometimes in Latin America at around 30% success rate. As a Bonvoy Titanium, I have received a suite upgrade very few times in the States....

    The section towards the end of this article about having better luck further away from the States is spot on. As Hilton Diamond, I have never received a suite / significant upgrade in the States, but I fairly often (about 65% of the time) receive them in Europe and Asia. Sometimes in Latin America at around 30% success rate. As a Bonvoy Titanium, I have received a suite upgrade very few times in the States. But in Europe and Asia, I receive suite / significant upgrades the majority (approximately 80%) of the time. And in Latin America, I probably receive Bonvoy upgrades about 50% of the time.

    1. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

      This happens for two reasons: (1) The big brands manage more of their upscale brands internationally than they do domestically. Sometimes significantly more properties. (2) There aren't as many platinums, titaniums or ambassadors internationally.

  10. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

    Also, this isn't true:

    "Marriott Platinum members and above receive unlimited space available suite upgrades at check-in, subject to availability. If a standard suite is available, you should receive an upgrade to this as a Platinum member and above. Note that at Ritz-Carlton properties, suite upgrades are only offered to Titanium members and above."

    Marriott does not have any "standard suite" verbiage in the Bonvoy terms and conditions.

    It is best available room, which includes...

    Also, this isn't true:

    "Marriott Platinum members and above receive unlimited space available suite upgrades at check-in, subject to availability. If a standard suite is available, you should receive an upgrade to this as a Platinum member and above. Note that at Ritz-Carlton properties, suite upgrades are only offered to Titanium members and above."

    Marriott does not have any "standard suite" verbiage in the Bonvoy terms and conditions.

    It is best available room, which includes best-available suite. Of course, some properties cheat and try and say a suite isn't a room. But still. The policy as written is better than Hyatt.

    From section 4.3.c.iii of the Bonvoy terms:

    Platinum Elite Members and above receive a complimentary upgrade to the best available room, subject to availability on the day of arrival, for the entire length of stay. Complimentary upgrade includes suites, rooms with desirable views, rooms on high floors, corner rooms, rooms with special amenities or rooms on Executive Floors. At The Ritz-Carlton, suites are only included for Titanium Elite and Ambassador Elite Members and rooms with direct Club access are excluded. Enhanced Room Upgrades are subject to availability and are identified by each Participating Property. The Complimentary Enhanced Room Upgrade for Platinum Elite Members and above is available at all Participating Brands except at Marriott Vacation Club, Marriott Grand Residence Club, Sheraton Vacation Club, Westin Vacation Club, Aloft, Element, The Phoenician Residences, a Luxury Collection Residence Club, Scottsdale, and Ritz-Carlton Reserve.

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

    It doesn't say "standard" anywhere. It says "best available."

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ FNT Delta Diamond -- You consistently make this point, so I'm curious to learn more about your experience. How often do you find that you're proactively upgraded to the presidential suite when it's available? Or do you ask, and if so, how often is it granted? And if it is granted, is it after you show a copy of the terms & conditions, or how much fighting is involved?

      You also make this point:

      @ FNT Delta Diamond -- You consistently make this point, so I'm curious to learn more about your experience. How often do you find that you're proactively upgraded to the presidential suite when it's available? Or do you ask, and if so, how often is it granted? And if it is granted, is it after you show a copy of the terms & conditions, or how much fighting is involved?

      You also make this point:
      "Marriott's interpretation has been if the suite is available in the pool for a suite night award certificate then it is also eligible for a complimentary upgrade based upon elite status."

      I'm curious, is this published somewhere?

    2. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

      I keep making the point because people continue to misinterpret and misreport what the actual benefit says in the terms and conditions.

      Most of the properties I stay at don’t have a “presidential suite.” They have a suite; maybe two categories, like a “junior” suite and an “executive” suite.

      At those that do have multiple categories, I’ve been upgraded to the highest or second-highest category of suites without using a suite night award certificate...

      I keep making the point because people continue to misinterpret and misreport what the actual benefit says in the terms and conditions.

      Most of the properties I stay at don’t have a “presidential suite.” They have a suite; maybe two categories, like a “junior” suite and an “executive” suite.

      At those that do have multiple categories, I’ve been upgraded to the highest or second-highest category of suites without using a suite night award certificate and without invoking the terms and conditions at the JW Marriott Grosvenor House in London, Renaissance Republique in Paris, Prince de Galles in Paris, Westin Detroit Airport, and Renaissance Orlando Sea World.

      The Renaissance in Aruba and JW Marriott in Los Cabos tried denying me and two colleagues a suite upgrade, claiming their suites were available until we showed them that we could book suites.

      The Bonvoy terms allow a property to identify specific categories of suites for upgrades or suite night award. In my experience, if that category of room is publicly available for booking it is almost always available for upgrades or theoretical SNA redemption. Some properties don’t sell any suites on Marriott.com, which allows them to avoid upgrades. That’s the biggest loophole. They reserve suites for booking only through the property itself.

    3. Reno Joe Guest

      I can tell you that the Grand Sheraton Park Lane in London will fight tooth and nail to resist granting an upgrade to an Ambassador. Even when multiple suites of all types are available and then have the nerve to say "the room we gave you is good enough." Seriously? Multiple times. Same thing at a different London property. "I don't care if a suite is available, we're simply not going to give you a...

      I can tell you that the Grand Sheraton Park Lane in London will fight tooth and nail to resist granting an upgrade to an Ambassador. Even when multiple suites of all types are available and then have the nerve to say "the room we gave you is good enough." Seriously? Multiple times. Same thing at a different London property. "I don't care if a suite is available, we're simply not going to give you a suite for seven days." Well (****) me. Separately, I NEVER EVER EVER EVER received a suite upgrade at ANY St. Regis. The terms and conditions are absolutely meaningless when the default mentality of petty tight-fisted property owners will simply be to not grant upgrades . . . even when multiple multiple suites go empty. Why the (****) state suite upgrades if available are a benefit if in practice it will be resisted or simply not granted. I held up my side of loyalty -- they did not hold up their side of loyalty. It's pretty straightforward. But, different from so many hangers on, I have pulled all of my business from Marriott. No Marriott apologist can change my mind that its property owners are dirt bags and the loyalty program is ingenuous.

  11. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

    I don't know how anyone who reads the terms and conditions of Bonvoy can say that World of Hyatt "sets the standard" and "wins" the contest.

    Hyatt explicitly limits suite upgrades to a standard, aka entry-level suite.

    Marriott has no such limitation. Sure, some Marriott properties cheat and play games. But on paper, Marriott's suite upgrade benefit is significantly better as it includes higher-category suites. Marriott's interpretation has been if the suite is...

    I don't know how anyone who reads the terms and conditions of Bonvoy can say that World of Hyatt "sets the standard" and "wins" the contest.

    Hyatt explicitly limits suite upgrades to a standard, aka entry-level suite.

    Marriott has no such limitation. Sure, some Marriott properties cheat and play games. But on paper, Marriott's suite upgrade benefit is significantly better as it includes higher-category suites. Marriott's interpretation has been if the suite is available in the pool for a suite night award certificate then it is also eligible for a complimentary upgrade based upon elite status.

    Also, why do you consistently ignore other loyalty programs? Radisson, Choice, Best Western, Accor, and even IHG's Ambassador/Royal Ambassador sub-program should be covered if you're going to do these guides.

    1. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

      I forgot to add that Hyatt exempts Hyatt Place from upgrades. I can't remember if the terms also exempt Hyatt House. That's a huge issue considering the very limited Hyatt footprint. In many markets, the only Hyatt option is a Hyatt Place or Hyatt House -- if there's a Hyatt option at all.

    2. Nick Guest

      “Terms and conditions” and “on paper” …I hear you, but real life and off paper, I’ve been upgraded beyond the standard suite on a consistent basis. And been upgraded to hyatt place suites on several occasions as well (those are usually around 700 sq ft). Hyatt House is not excluded.

    3. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ FNT Delta Diamond -- Fair point about Accor, Choice, Radisson, etc. When blogging, I think there's often a balance between being thorough, and being concise and focusing on what people find most interesting.

      Why do I sometimes leave out certain programs?
      -- At the end of the day, OMAAT is about luxury travel, and I can't be all things to all people; while there's absolutely value to Choice Privileges and Wyndham Rewards status,...

      @ FNT Delta Diamond -- Fair point about Accor, Choice, Radisson, etc. When blogging, I think there's often a balance between being thorough, and being concise and focusing on what people find most interesting.

      Why do I sometimes leave out certain programs?
      -- At the end of the day, OMAAT is about luxury travel, and I can't be all things to all people; while there's absolutely value to Choice Privileges and Wyndham Rewards status, it probably doesn't resonate with most readers of the blog
      -- Accor Live Limitless is potentially a great program, but admittedly the blog's readership is primarily in the United States, and there are limited opportunities to earn the status with Accor here, both with credit cards, and in terms of the group's footprint

      This blog post is already 1,400+ words with covering just four programs, and it would have been much longer if I covered twice as many programs.

      I totally get where you're coming from and your points make sense, but hopefully you see my perspective on this as well.

    4. Reno Joe Guest

      Certainly US readers. But, these readers travel abroad. And, if your focus is on luxury travel, Accor has Fairmont and Raffles among six other luxury brands. In terms of number of properties, revenue, and staff, it is second in the world only to Marriott. In addition to the usual upgrade at check-in if available, Accor has the ability to earn up to 12 nights of confirmed suite upgrades. Capital One is a transfer partner. I'm...

      Certainly US readers. But, these readers travel abroad. And, if your focus is on luxury travel, Accor has Fairmont and Raffles among six other luxury brands. In terms of number of properties, revenue, and staff, it is second in the world only to Marriott. In addition to the usual upgrade at check-in if available, Accor has the ability to earn up to 12 nights of confirmed suite upgrades. Capital One is a transfer partner. I'm not here to sell Accor, but if you were going to add one to the mix, Accor would be my recommendation.

      As the comment from Nick suggests, there's what's offered and then there's real life. Regular travelers already know what the deal is on suite upgrades. Less experienced travelers are likely to be lured in by the notion of tier status. Or, tier status offered by some credit card. But, they need to know how it actually plays out. This article is or should be a public service announcement for travelers who "aren't there yet." Yes, there's an argument to say that reviewing the terms and conditions is needed. But, I think it would have been more efficient to provide a LINK to each program's terms and conditions and say "read them." Especially the parts related to "property discretion" and exceptions. Then say "here's what experience tells us" and that be the bulk of the article.

      In the end, it's your blog and thanks for everything that you do.

    5. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

      Understandable, but I think Accor deserves more coverage. There are plenty of Accor properties like Fairmont in North America. And so much of your travel is international even though most Americans only travel domestically or within the Americas. So, if you're going to continue international trip reports and reviews, I think Accor deserves coverage.

    6. Paul P Guest

      @Ben, agreed however you still missing the RA suite upgrade experiences.
      Speaking as an RA I am very happy with the upgrades provided so far !

  12. Nick Guest

    @Ben - as you said, WOH sets the standard. Booked PH Zanzibar before the category 5 change. Stayed two nights ago and was granted the Bahari Terrace Suite. At 190 sq meters it’s the largest I’ve stayed in. No suite upgrade award used either. Last night was spent in 14A on Oman 787-9;) …an incredibly rare treat for me.

    I can’t remember last time I HAVEN'T been given a suite at a hyatt, including Hyatt Place.

  13. LEo Diamond

    So technically, if a junior suite is available, the hotel has to offer comp. upgrade to Marriott platinum elites? Had the bad experience of almost forcing one of their managers to do so at the St.Regis SG.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ LEo -- That's correct! Sadly quite a few hotels try to get out of following the policy, though...

    2. Suning Guest

      St.Regis Singapore is notorious for denying any upgrades!
      I booked a STARS rate for a St.Regis suite at St.Regis Kuala Lumpur as Ambassador and expected upgrade to Caroline Astor suite as was available for sale on Marriott app when I checked in last week. Initially front desk said the Caroline Astor suites were fully booked and when I pointed out they were selling online they changed their story and said all the Caroline Astor...

      St.Regis Singapore is notorious for denying any upgrades!
      I booked a STARS rate for a St.Regis suite at St.Regis Kuala Lumpur as Ambassador and expected upgrade to Caroline Astor suite as was available for sale on Marriott app when I checked in last week. Initially front desk said the Caroline Astor suites were fully booked and when I pointed out they were selling online they changed their story and said all the Caroline Astor suites available were smoking and I wanted non-smoking. So no upgrade despite STARS and Ambassador status. In the end the St.Regis suite was huge and it was not an issue, but the stingy approach of both St.Regis Singapore and Kuala Lumpur always leave a bad taste about the brand in my mind.

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Kanaka Member

The section towards the end of this article about having better luck further away from the States is spot on. As Hilton Diamond, I have never received a suite / significant upgrade in the States, but I fairly often (about 65% of the time) receive them in Europe and Asia. Sometimes in Latin America at around 30% success rate. As a Bonvoy Titanium, I have received a suite upgrade very few times in the States. But in Europe and Asia, I receive suite / significant upgrades the majority (approximately 80%) of the time. And in Latin America, I probably receive Bonvoy upgrades about 50% of the time.

2
FNT Delta Diamond Guest

"Last week at the ABQ Marriott they thanked me for my loyalty and put me in a standard room on the 4th floor (of a 17 floor hotel with 'high floor' in my profile). Most Marriotts do a bit better with titanium elites than that." I always type TOP FLOOR AWAY FROM ELEVATOR into the notes/special requests field of my reservation. About 50% of the time they notice. The rest of the time, I refuse to accept the room and ask them to find something new.

1
Eskimo Guest

This is usually the time for @DCS to share some wisdom.

1
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