Do Marriott Elites Now Have To Request Upgrades At Booking?

Do Marriott Elites Now Have To Request Upgrades At Booking?

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A reader (who asked to remain anonymous) pointed out something interesting that’s either new, or that neither of us never noticed before. I’m not drawing any conclusions yet, though I think this is at least worth bringing up and discussing.

Marriott’s “request upgrade please” button

Marriott Bonvoy elite members are supposed to receive space available room upgrades at check-in, with Platinum members and above being eligible for complimentary suite upgrades. Now, just because you’re eligible for an upgrade doesn’t mean you’ll get one even if it’s available, as many Marriott regulars can attest to.

However, there is something that appears to be new. When you use Marriott’s mobile app to make a booking, it seems that you’re now supposed to specifically request a room upgrade… or something. Once you select a hotel and get to the page showing the rate, there’s a section for “Preferences & Accessibility.”

When you click that section, there’s now a button that says “Request upgrade please.” The default here is for this to be turned off, so if you want an upgrade, it would seem you have to specifically request it.

Interestingly this isn’t showing on Marriott’s website, but rather only the app for now. So either this is in the early stages of being implemented, or Marriott never followed through on doing much with this feature.

What could the explanation be for this?

I’ll reach out to Marriott to ask for an explanation of this button, though a few initial thoughts:

  • We don’t know enough yet to conclude that this is a negative development
  • This reminds me a bit of programs like Delta SkyMiles, where you specifically have to push a button to request an upgrade; the idea is that in some cases you may not wish to be upgraded on a flight, and I suppose the same principle applies to hotels (maybe you specifically booked a room with a view you want)
  • The reader who made me aware of this claims that a general manager told him that Marriott corporate is now sending an email to the hotel every day with an upgrade priority list; I can’t personally vouch for this, and I wouldn’t take the statement of one hotel GM as fact
  • If there were to be an opt-in upgrade feature here, logically you’d think that the default would be to request an upgrade, rather than to not request an upgrade (since there are presumably fewer cases where you don’t want to be upgraded than where you do want to be upgraded)

Bottom line

A reader has pointed out that Marriott’s mobile app has a new option under the “preferences” section of the booking process where you can request an upgrade, and by default that option is turned off. I believe this is new as I’ve never noticed this before, but it’s possible it has been there for a while.

Personally I wouldn’t assume there are major implications here, at least not yet. I’ll report back if I learn more about this “feature.”

What do you make of the Marriott Bonvoy app upgrade button?

Conversations (39)
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  1. David Guest

    I am a titanium for life elite member. 100 nights the past year. I was not upgraded once.

  2. Jack Guest

    I've been an MR member for 32 years, and am lifetime Titanium. I don't see any of this as a big deal or, for that matter, either a positive or negative. I will, go so far, however, as to say I do view it as giving the hotels more "excuses" not to upgrade you, if they decide they don't want to.

    1. Mike Guest

      I am titainum and have not been upgraded once even though they have available jr suits ... it's a joke now this makes me want to go to what hotel chain does respect the people who do keep them running when they don't have the amount of people traveling as much as we do

  3. Anonymous Guest

    I have been working with Marriott hotels for part 6 years, pretty much from the beginning of my career and as a manager for a 4 diamond property I can definitely confirm that all elite members get upgraded as long as there is availability. We try to upgrade the people in highest tier first that is cobalt, ambassador, titanium, platinum & gold elite. There are very few cobalt members and you are required a special...

    I have been working with Marriott hotels for part 6 years, pretty much from the beginning of my career and as a manager for a 4 diamond property I can definitely confirm that all elite members get upgraded as long as there is availability. We try to upgrade the people in highest tier first that is cobalt, ambassador, titanium, platinum & gold elite. There are very few cobalt members and you are required a special invitation from Mr. Marriott & CEO Tony Capuano to become a cobalt member.

  4. Chad Broderick Guest

    That button has been there for at least two years. I’m not sure why it’s just now being noticed by some

  5. Mike Gee Guest

    Another hoop to jump through to get room upgrades. Glad I made LT Titanium after the Starwood merger because it's certainly not worth chasing 75 nights a year anymore. Even before Covid, the apathetic front desk staff, sparse room upgrades and general decline in amenities and service Marriott provides for what are supposed to be their highest valued customers has turned me off from the chain. I'll still stay there but no longer go out...

    Another hoop to jump through to get room upgrades. Glad I made LT Titanium after the Starwood merger because it's certainly not worth chasing 75 nights a year anymore. Even before Covid, the apathetic front desk staff, sparse room upgrades and general decline in amenities and service Marriott provides for what are supposed to be their highest valued customers has turned me off from the chain. I'll still stay there but no longer go out of my way to do so and now often look at other options when I travel.

  6. dee Guest

    the option has been there for the longest time or at least for me.

  7. SV Guest

    I never stay at Marriott even though I have Gold elite status with my American Express Platinum card. I'm going to Disneyland on Monday for a few days and I asked them for an upgrade and they gave it to me. I did check the request for an upgrade option when booking but it said it was just a standard room, I had to actually message the hotel through the app while checking in on...

    I never stay at Marriott even though I have Gold elite status with my American Express Platinum card. I'm going to Disneyland on Monday for a few days and I asked them for an upgrade and they gave it to me. I did check the request for an upgrade option when booking but it said it was just a standard room, I had to actually message the hotel through the app while checking in on mobile and ask. I think I have pretty good luck for my first time actually staying with them and using the platinum benefit. I hope this helps and it never bothers to ask!

  8. Kannan Guest

    Marriott rewards program has deteriorated rapidly over the last few years. I am lifetime titanium member and I have not had one single upgrade even last year when I travelled fairly regularly. I can't explain it because last year occupancy was much lesser than previous years due to covid.
    The program itself is much less useful , since the points required to be redeemed for even the basic hotel rooms have gone up significantly....

    Marriott rewards program has deteriorated rapidly over the last few years. I am lifetime titanium member and I have not had one single upgrade even last year when I travelled fairly regularly. I can't explain it because last year occupancy was much lesser than previous years due to covid.
    The program itself is much less useful , since the points required to be redeemed for even the basic hotel rooms have gone up significantly. Earlier I used to be able to stay on points for 5 days per year, these years it's one or two nights .

  9. JJ Guest

    I’m a Titanium. 2 days before checkin (when the app allows chat with the hotel), I send a nice message requesting an upgrade if available. Most of the time (generally in Fairfield, Courtyard etc) this is honored. It saves a bunch of time later.

    1. PrincessDPA Guest

      Ditto. I’m Titanium, and I’ve found the chat feature (after I’ve checked in through the app) to be most effective in getting an upgrade. I usually just say that I will be arriving a little later in the evening, and I don’t want to miss out on the opportunity for an upgrade, since there is a good chance those rooms will be gone by the time I get there. Since I’ve already checked in, and...

      Ditto. I’m Titanium, and I’ve found the chat feature (after I’ve checked in through the app) to be most effective in getting an upgrade. I usually just say that I will be arriving a little later in the evening, and I don’t want to miss out on the opportunity for an upgrade, since there is a good chance those rooms will be gone by the time I get there. Since I’ve already checked in, and they obviously already have my credit card info, I feel like they know I’m really going to show up and use the room. Plus I’m just super friendly and polite, since I’m chatting with a “real” person at the actual property, and they seem to appreciate dealing with a guest who isn’t complaining or grumpy. Most of the time it works out for me, even if it’s just a moderate upgrade, not a suite. It never hurts to ask, and using the chat feature, usually the afternoon before check-in, or just after lunch on the day of check-in (after everyone has checked out for that day but before new guests start checking in), is an easy way for the hotel staff to communicate (less intrusive than a phone call).

    2. Mike Geeee Guest

      As a business traveler, I frequently don't have time to jump through hoops to simply get an upgrade. I never had to do this nonsense in the SPG days and the majority of the time, upgrades were assigned prior to check in. They have even more advanced reservations systems these days and the hotels know what their room inventory is and what elites are booked so they can put those two things together and upgrade...

      As a business traveler, I frequently don't have time to jump through hoops to simply get an upgrade. I never had to do this nonsense in the SPG days and the majority of the time, upgrades were assigned prior to check in. They have even more advanced reservations systems these days and the hotels know what their room inventory is and what elites are booked so they can put those two things together and upgrade automatically vs having to grovel for an upgrade. The airlines do automatic upgrades all the time based on flyer status and seat availability, absolutely no reason Marriott can't do the same.

    3. FlyerDon Guest

      All I request in my preferences is a high floor and extra towels, I don’t get either unless I request them from the front desk. I usually, but not always, get the towels.

  10. Travelingmann Guest

    This part of the app has been there almost since inception. As an old time Marriott elite, I always place my request in there, but as one person commented, it never gets met or probably read.
    I have to "beg" at the front desk even though I am at the top of the rung.

  11. james Guest

    in Japan, the app has the same upgrade option and its been around since the day i used the app due to my elite( amex spg )and that was 3 years ago. it does help in some ways since but they will let you know upon check in if there are room upgrades available.

  12. Jeff Guest

    Marriott BonVoy Titanium For Life I am often offered Elite complementary upgrade. On short-one-night-stay I tend to refuse them as I know it means a lot of hard work for hotel staff and I would not enjoy it. Last one was Nov'21 @ Madrid Marriott Auditorium (airport-hotel) I was checking-in at 11.30pm and checking-out next dayat 6.00am, the important criteria for me in such case is a quiet room next to the elevator and the closest to the hotel reception desk.

  13. chuck berlin Guest

    this is a feature when you want to use upgrade certificates only

    1. Dan S Guest

      Marriott doesn't give a crap about your status anymore!! I've been an ambassador elite for 2 years and rarely get an upgrade...!! I hate asking but now I have too.. I already know what the answer going to be NO..I do feel that they should be available to the highest status and go down from there I spend over 150 days a year at Marriott properties and should be on the top of the list...

      Marriott doesn't give a crap about your status anymore!! I've been an ambassador elite for 2 years and rarely get an upgrade...!! I hate asking but now I have too.. I already know what the answer going to be NO..I do feel that they should be available to the highest status and go down from there I spend over 150 days a year at Marriott properties and should be on the top of the list along with the rest of the Ambassador Elite's. Bottom line, they just don't care anymore so either do I...

    2. Jill Guest

      So are switching to Hilton!
      DCS would approve of this?

      What about Hyatt or IHG?

    3. Alex Guest

      Hi. First time long time. Just hit Ambassador for the first time in early Dec. I used 3 certs at the Hotel Zachary in Chicago and went from a queen room to a junior suite. At check-in, I asked if they a full or Marquee suite was available. He said that it was already taken care of on the system. Got a marquee suite that’s 966 sq ft. It’s a $1600/night. Maybe I was the...

      Hi. First time long time. Just hit Ambassador for the first time in early Dec. I used 3 certs at the Hotel Zachary in Chicago and went from a queen room to a junior suite. At check-in, I asked if they a full or Marquee suite was available. He said that it was already taken care of on the system. Got a marquee suite that’s 966 sq ft. It’s a $1600/night. Maybe I was the only Ambassador staying or it was pure luck, but I’m happy with my first upgrade experience while being an Ambassador.

    4. Shawna Guest

      The issue is, suites are based upon availability. Status does not guarantee availability. Hotels don't have an infinite number of suites.

      There are more people who want suites than there are suites available. Not only do people with status want suites, there are people who don't have status who are actually booking and paying for them. Everyone wants a high-end experience, not just elite members, so many people are actually willing to pay for suites....

      The issue is, suites are based upon availability. Status does not guarantee availability. Hotels don't have an infinite number of suites.

      There are more people who want suites than there are suites available. Not only do people with status want suites, there are people who don't have status who are actually booking and paying for them. Everyone wants a high-end experience, not just elite members, so many people are actually willing to pay for suites. As a result,they go fast.

      Room types go on a first come, first served basis and hotels aren't going to just set suites aside and make them unavailable to sell.

      Other than actually booking a suite, it's best to submit a suite night award well in advance of your stay. Too often guests assume that rooms don't sell out.

    5. Evelina Guest

      I have no idea why you aren’t receiving upgrades, I think it must be mostly with the region you are in. I have been Ambassador Elite since 2020, as I stayed majority of my time in hotels under lockdown in Asia and Europe. But in my experience during my travels the past year, of the 20+ odd properties I have stayed at, I have a success rate of 50-60% at getting upgraded to suites, and...

      I have no idea why you aren’t receiving upgrades, I think it must be mostly with the region you are in. I have been Ambassador Elite since 2020, as I stayed majority of my time in hotels under lockdown in Asia and Europe. But in my experience during my travels the past year, of the 20+ odd properties I have stayed at, I have a success rate of 50-60% at getting upgraded to suites, and a 100% success rate with Marriott, JW Marriott, Ritz Carlton and W hotels, in fact the latter in Doha gave me an upgrade to Vice Presidential Suite even over Christmas last month. As for suite night upgrades, it has been 100% success.

    6. Eskimo Guest

      @Dan S
      I believe when you say you don't care anymore.
      If you really cared, you probably wouldn't spend 150+ days with few upgrades and not trying to figure out why.

      Some of the reasons if you care.
      Even if you didn't get a suite doesn't mean you're not upgraded.
      It's a lot easier to upgrade a Titanium with 1 night stay than an Ambassador with 8 night stay.
      They...

      @Dan S
      I believe when you say you don't care anymore.
      If you really cared, you probably wouldn't spend 150+ days with few upgrades and not trying to figure out why.

      Some of the reasons if you care.
      Even if you didn't get a suite doesn't mean you're not upgraded.
      It's a lot easier to upgrade a Titanium with 1 night stay than an Ambassador with 8 night stay.
      They prefer to upgrade a repeat Platinum who have stayed with them 100 nights than an Ambassador who is visiting for the first time.
      Or maybe you're rude and feel entitled so your profile has a special remark.

      Try ask an associate nicely why.

    7. Kieran Brennan Guest

      I was thinking the same thing as it will use our suite upgrade award

  14. Goose Guest

    Lifetime Titanium and I can’t remember getting an upgrade in over a year, I stay in Marriotts over 1p nights a year although since business travel I am by myself and it hasn’t been a big deal but would be nice to get offered.

    1. Kieran Brennan Guest

      I don’t think I’ve had him upgrade without using sweet night since the Starwood days when I was always upgraded including oceanfront suite in Punta Mita, presidential suites at Weston Cabo San Lucas and countless sweet upgrades in China at Saint Regis properties… Marriott Bonvoy, not so much.

    2. Kannan Guest

      I am a titanium elite for life and haven't had an upgrade in over 2 years. The program has deteriorated rapidly. The points required for stays has increased significantly across all hotels

  15. Mike Guest

    I never noticed this, but I would love if they implemented it.

    I would honestly turn it off for the many business or short nights I had, because someone else may enjoy it and I don’t care.

    I would also love a two beds or suite button. When you’re traveling with fam, you don’t want to be stuck in a king room, but you would very likely take the suite with king and a sofa or rollaway.

  16. Bhumik Guest

    This has been here for over a year now… the funny thing is it only shows on the mobile app and not on the online booking site

  17. Jon Guest

    This isn't new, I've seen this for years. Doesn't really do much

  18. BenjaminGuttery New Member

    But Ben, have you heard about the new issues with Elite Nights earned from the Chase Promo (fall 2021 spend $3k get an Elite Night) disappearing in the last few days of 2021? It happened to me personally. Loyalty Lobby wrote about it and I called Marriott yesterday and they know too, although not why, it's affecting everyone differently. I lost 3, went from 81 down to 78.

    1. Eskimo Guest

      Don't worry, you will get you nights back while John and Sebastian will probably get 50000 extra points each as compensation. I just wish they shared their secret on how to get hotels and airline to compensate (a lot) for anything. (Maybe JRL can chime in too?) I always get the suck it up from corporate while these guys always gets an apology and free stuff.

  19. Eskimo Guest

    If it makes anyone feel any better, I've noticed this probably since mid 2021 and I've never toggle it. And 10+ stays since, I've been upgraded all but once (Fairfield with only 1 room category). Most of them even before check-in.

    Also I would take the GM too seriously about this. Even there is a list everyday, All upgrades are still discretionary by the property. Now if it was like Hilton's latest change which upgrades...

    If it makes anyone feel any better, I've noticed this probably since mid 2021 and I've never toggle it. And 10+ stays since, I've been upgraded all but once (Fairfield with only 1 room category). Most of them even before check-in.

    Also I would take the GM too seriously about this. Even there is a list everyday, All upgrades are still discretionary by the property. Now if it was like Hilton's latest change which upgrades are from corporate, that wouldn't make sense for properties to get a list either. So, I don't think such list exists or is to be taken seriously.

    Personally, I don't see any benefit or devalue from this feature. Until there is transparency or a published upgrade list (even the airline ones are not to be trusted), it's all up to the property and Front Desk. The more you expect, the more you get Bonvoyed. Just stick to the guaranteed benefits not the sales pitch.

    And there is very little reason to refuse any upgrade before you even know what room was assigned to you. But then many people also don't get Monty Hall too, so maybe Bonvoy might be on to something.

  20. Jack Guest

    I exactly like this features, because sometimes I book a Suite with a special amenity (like view, balcony,etc.) But it would be nice if they would give you something in exchange like 250 points or a bonus credit like 10 pass upgrades give you 1 guaranteed upgrade.

  21. Jerry Guest

    It’s been there for the longest of time. I always select it and have never received an upgrade based on the selection.. still always have to ask at the front desk..

  22. D.A. Guest

    I'm surprised that Marriott does not also have a tab to request the complimentary water bottles. As a "platinum", I have had to ask for the water bottles on 8 out 8 stays this month. Not once did the front desk clerk offer them or were they in the room. Whereas, at Hyatt, they went out of there way to see that I was offered or had water bottles during my 4 stays with them this month.

    1. John Guest

      Water is not an amenity at some Marriotts it’s been removed. I see legacy SPGs still honoring it…

  23. WHS Guest

    This has been there for ages - at least as far back as 2019 from what I can remember. I really think it has zero affect as to whether or not I get upgraded based on my experience using it.

  24. Reno Joe Guest

    As hotel loyalty has been going -- and especially how Marriott has been going -- we should not be surprised if it becomes the excuse for not granting an upgrade. "Well, you didn't request one.". Yes, we shouldn't be conclusory but we shouldn't be surprised.

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Jerry Guest

It’s been there for the longest of time. I always select it and have never received an upgrade based on the selection.. still always have to ask at the front desk..

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Anonymous Guest

I have been working with Marriott hotels for part 6 years, pretty much from the beginning of my career and as a manager for a 4 diamond property I can definitely confirm that all elite members get upgraded as long as there is availability. We try to upgrade the people in highest tier first that is cobalt, ambassador, titanium, platinum & gold elite. There are very few cobalt members and you are required a special invitation from Mr. Marriott & CEO Tony Capuano to become a cobalt member.

1
Eskimo Guest

@Dan S I believe when you say you don't care anymore. If you really cared, you probably wouldn't spend 150+ days with few upgrades and not trying to figure out why. Some of the reasons if you care. Even if you didn't get a suite doesn't mean you're not upgraded. It's a lot easier to upgrade a Titanium with 1 night stay than an Ambassador with 8 night stay. They prefer to upgrade a repeat Platinum who have stayed with them 100 nights than an Ambassador who is visiting for the first time. Or maybe you're rude and feel entitled so your profile has a special remark. Try ask an associate nicely why.

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