Marriott Bonvoy Reinstates Elite Guarantees

Filed Under: Marriott

There’s some more good news for Marriott Bonvoy members, beyond the announcement earlier today about 2021 status qualification, an upcoming promotion, and discounted award redemption rates. As of today Marriott is restoring elite guarantees, which I know many members will be thrilled to hear.

Marriott suspended elite guarantees due to the pandemic

Shortly after the start of the pandemic, Marriott Bonvoy suspended its usual elite guarantees. Essentially Marriott guaranteed certain perks for elite members, and if hotels didn’t honor them, guests were entitled to cash compensation. Guaranteed elite perks included the following:

  • Guaranteed welcome amenity (with breakfast being one of the choices you can select as a welcome amenity)
  • Guaranteed room type (your bed type preference will be honored)
  • Reservation guarantee (so that you won’t be walked to another hotel in the event of an overbooking)
  • 48-hour guaranteed availability (so you can reserve a room at sold out hotels)

Anyway, these guarantees had been suspended for well over six months. The last two points above aren’t major, since hotels largely haven’t been full. The biggest issue has been the first point above.

On the one hand, I can appreciate the struggles that hotels have faced, so I wouldn’t consider it to be so bad if all hotels acted in good faith. The problem is that not all hotels did.

For example, a small percentage of Marriott properties would deny breakfast to members even though they had a restaurant that was open. It’s one thing if all food & beverage outlets at a hotel are closed, so you couldn’t offer breakfast to an elite member. But there were some cases where hotels used this excuse to avoid offering typical perks.

Well, that will finally be changing.

Some hotels have avoided providing elite breakfast, even with open restaurants

Marriott brings back elite guarantees

As of January 11, 2021, Marriott has reinstated elite guarantees. As the company explains in an announcement:

We are reinstating the elite guarantee compensation which had been temporarily suspended due to COVID-19. Please note that based on day-to-day business conditions at individual hotels and/or government regulations, properties may offer a breakfast alternative when lounges and restaurants are closed such as grab and go or credit for food and beverage purchases on property. As always, the Lounge and Welcome Gift elite benefit depends on brand and geographic regions.

This is fantastic news. It means that if you stay at a Marriott you can expect that you’ll actually receive your guaranteed elite perks, like breakfast (in some form, at most brands) as a Platinum member and above.

Marriott Bonvoy has restored elite guarantees

Bottom line

Marriott Bonvoy really is moving in the right direction with today’s announcements. Beyond a great upcoming promotion and elite status being easier to earn this year, Marriott is also guaranteeing Bonvoy benefits for stays.

For the past several months hotels have been able to deny elite members benefits (like breakfast) even if they had a restaurant that was open, while as of today hotels will have to go by the rules again.

Are you happy to see Marriott Bonvoy restore elite guarantees?

  1. This is nothing more than PR spin because Marriott never defined a restaurant “breakfast” before coronavirus. Plenty of properties, including Marriott-managed properties, cheated by claiming a stale muffin or bagel with coffee was a compliant breakfast benefit. In other cases, some properties gave a stale muffin or bagel but charged guests for coffee and beverage. Yet other properties charged you tip and tax even though that is suppose to be coverer. Marriott never took action. So while they claim you now get breakfast plenty of properties — perhaps a majority in the US — will claim a granola bar, stale muffin and lukewarm coffee in a grab-and-go bag is breakfast. In fact, this announcement expressly allows them to do so with no penalty. This will continue for the foreseeable future.

  2. But, what is their restaurants are closed? Does this force Marriotts to open their restaurants to honour elite benefits?

  3. @ Joshua Chu — “Please note that based on day-to-day business conditions at individual hotels and/or government regulations, properties may offer a breakfast alternative when lounges and restaurants are closed such as grab and go or credit for food and beverage purchases on property.”

  4. Yeah, but I also know some properties have not offered anything, not grab or go or credit. I guess they’ll now offer a muffin. Haha.

  5. @MKLDH:

    They will offer you a paper bag with sugary fake fruit yogurt, a muffin that is either stale or good for a thousand years, and an apple. You may or may get juice and you may or may not get coffee.

    I want to see Marriott say if the restaurant is open they have to give a restaurant breakfast. That needs to be in the terms and conditions so it is enforceable.

    This was a problem before the pandemic. Marriott never defined a breakfast in the restaurant. Club lounge breakfasts only have to be “continental.”

  6. FNT Delta Diamond has nailed it. I’ve run into this constantly the last few years where I gave up objecting because it was clear nothing was going to change. Some locations even justified what they were doing by claiming that providing breakfast wasn’t even required.

  7. Is there a link to the actual announcement to remove the suspension? Seems like there was really never an actual announcement to implement the suspension to begin with…

  8. I really hope to see change but I figured it was just part of being Bonvoy’ed. More and more properties not even acknowledging platinum status at all … no welcome amenity, no breakfast, no late checkout, nothing. Why bother with loyalty when they don’t?

  9. I have no doubt that moving forward at some properties upwards of 50% of guests will have platinum, titanium or ambassador status. If anyone the platinums and titaniums should be most annoyed by free giveaway nights since there is no dollar threshold for those statuses.

    If club lounges every return they will need to seriously consider stripping complimentary lounge access for platinums on every stay. It is unsustainable.

  10. We have a full service Marriott close to us and rates on the weekend will be $125. They closed the restaurant and M Lounge, but have a short menu to order from the Starbucks. It includes a full breakfast and omelettes. Someone in the kitchen cooks them, but way better than the bag or slim pickings at alot of hotels.

    Just spent a week at a Courtyard in Marathon, FL. They gave us a $20 certificate that could be used for anything at the hotel, including happy hour. They also gave me the most awesome room too. This place had music every night. A very special hotel that is like no other Courtyard. I called it a mini Ritz.

  11. @Byron: Yeah, the Courtyard in Marathon is unusually nice. It has a regular bar and restaurant on top of the Courtyard brand standard Bistro. It is definitely closer to a full-service property. If I remember correctly, there is no resort fee. Courtyard properties always give a $10 per person per day voucher ($20 total), so that’s nothing new or unusual. The issue is if you’re by yourself you can’t get a breakfast with coffee for $10 in the Courtyard Bistro. If you lie to the front desk and say you have two people in your room you can manage to get one of the standard breakfast food items with coffee, tip and tax for under $20.

    I don’t mind the Marathon area for someone who doesn’t want the crazy Key West vibe. Except the Kimptons most of the Key West hotels are way overrated and very poor. Like the Fairfield Inn that charges a resort fee eve though it’s a 1960s or 1970s roadside motel with external hallways. The Marriott Key West is a complete rip-off that scams guests with its fake beach and cheats eligible elites out of a breakfast.

  12. Marriott elite benefits have been pretty weak, long before the pandemic. Had Titanium status in 2019 and thought delivery of benefits was very hit-or-miss. Sometimes good, oftentimes not. No matter, it’s Hyatt and Hilton for me going forward.

  13. Stayed at Marriott Marquis Houston (lazy river) in Dec and was not offered any breakfast as a Titanium member, even though they told me I could grab breakfast in one of their restaurants or their coffee shop. Asked 5 different people for some kind of voucher and all said “Sorry”. Going back to Houston in a month and booked the Hilton, but may switch back now.

  14. I received an email in regards to Elite status and some of changes for 2021. In my opinion, Marriott propertiea overseas treat Elite members very well. Unfortunately, travel isn’t an option right now so hopefully the Marriott’s in the US will catch up.


    50% Boost

    In addition to the extra benefits we gave members last June, we’re giving your 2021 Elite status a head start. This February, we’re depositing into your account 50% of the Elite Night Credits (ENCs) based on your 2020 earned Elite status. You’ll be halfway toward achieving your goals.

    Good news! If you have a Marriott Bonvoy™ Credit Card, these additional ENCs are on top of the ones awarded from your Card. Terms apply. Don’t have a Card?

    Plus, we’re reducing the $20,000 spend threshold for attaining Marriott Bonvoy Ambassador Elite status to just $14,000 for 2021.

    Earn 2X

    We’re also launching the Better Two-gether promotion. You’ll earn double the number of points and Elite Night Credits on stays of two nights or more between February 16 and April 27, 2021. Registration starts soon.

    Save up to 40%

    One more exciting benefit: Save up to 40% on standard redemption pricing by booking Off-Peak rates by February 21, 2021.

  15. @Trup: That may be your fault. If you use the Marriott mobile check-in they automatically given you points as your welcome amenity, which isn’t a big deal if the club lounge, concierge lounge, executive lounge, or M Club is open. But if the aforesaid lounge is closed you’re supposed to have a choice at check-in between an additional sum of points or a voucher for breakfast in the restaurant. By default, the points are automatically awarded with online mobile check-ins, unless you opt-out at check-in. Also, technically, you can’t invoke the guaranteed compensation benefit (now reinstated) for them not offering you a choice at check-in if you take the online check-in and points.

  16. I forgot. The issue is “breakfast in the restaurant” as others have said is not defined. So, you could get shafted and get nothing, if the property claims “local policy” forces them to only give you points in lieu of breakfast.

  17. As I said on View from the Wing earlier this month:

    If we are being honest the biggest problem isn’t Marriott International or even Bonvoy. Rather, the biggest problem is the structure of the company. The vast majority of all hotels across all brands worldwide are NOT managed by Marriott. They are managed directly by franchisees or third-party management companies hired to operate a franchisee’s hotel. Marriott only managed a minority of its hotels — most of them are Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis and Bulgari. Even properties branded as J.W. Marriott are no longer exclusively managed by Marriott. Likewise, a growing number of Ritz-Carlton properties are managed by franchisees or their operators. This is arguably the biggest problem. Marriott is a marketing company now, not a hotelier. It can’t control the guest experience because of its size and lack of management over most properties. Add to this way too many brands with vastly different standards and a loyalty program that requires a flow chart to understand and you have a recipe for disaster.

  18. Wow, reading all these comments very glad to be in India I guess haha. Breakfast at all hotels here is always full fledged in the restaurant even when the lounge is open (pre, during and post covid), had stayed at Le Meridien Delhi during the initial lockdown and they allowed me to order breakfast in bed off of the menu without restrictions, all hotels visited during the lockdown either offered lounge hours at the bar or in the room with snacks and unlimited liquor throughout the lockdown. Been a Marriott gold member for a year and plat / titanium for the last 5, and only claimed this guarantee once which was during one of the stays in Seattle in ’18!

  19. Lots of good information here. I will be checking in more often. We are Marriott Platinum members and have saved up some miles to travel when we retired. We retired and then came Covid. Looking forward to making the most of our points, etc. I will say we’ve stayed in SF at different hotels over the years and had excellent breakfasts. In London, my husband got very sick, and I thank God for being on the Concierge level with plenty of food and drink offered at no cost. Life saver!
    Looking so forward to traveling again!

  20. This is hilarious… As a Marriott ambassador which is the highest level and equals 100+ room lights and 20 K spending plus… I still have to fight for my breakfast rates regardless of the pandemic… It shouldn’t be this way. They really need to up the game when it comes to ambassador level…

  21. I’ve just given up on Marriott elite benefits. Just check in, stay, collect points. I stay at all sorts of Marriott brands so keeping track of who does what or honors what is tiresome.

    I’m usually just surprised if upgraded or get any benefit (very infrequent).

  22. @FNT Delta Diamond
    I agree… however I can tell you that when I was with SPG, one of the requirements to belong to the Starwood preferred guest program was that all hotels regardless of management by third-party or franchisee had to comply with the program 100%. I think they were four or five hotels that were not participating and they were listed as such on the website. With Marriott they can decide on their own if they are not going to participate in the bonvoy program- but Marriott does not list which properties these are.

    Marriott should make it a requirement for branding that they adhere to the program. And if not, Marriott should list these properties.

  23. We just stayed at the Marriott was fabulous. It was so GREAT
    We went back the next month.. We were offered breakfast..had free snacks and several free drink coupons..they have it together…

  24. I just checked into a Courtyard in the middle of Illinois for 1 night. The only breakfast option is gab-to-go bag that you can take with you or eat in your room. How this is different from Hampton Inn? Wait, Marriott does not have a promo till Feb 16. I am only staying in this Courtyard because there is no Hyatt in 100 miles.

  25. LOL. I’m still waiting for a room guarantee compensation that I filed a claim for pre-covid travel a year ago. Now that every credit card holder is “Platinum”, fat chance any property will honor any of the stated benefits.

  26. Just a suggestion… I understand each article “needs” a question to start the discussion. While you usually ask the right questions, I think “Are you happy to see Marriott Bonvoy restore elite guarantees?” is a bit of a boring question. Who would not be happy about restoring guarantees? A better question could have been – for example – “Do you think Marriott Bonvoy is restoring the right elite guarantees in this pandemic?”

  27. I still think it was the wrong move to grant elite tiers to credit card holders. Now that most guests are at least platinum, it takes away value from those who actually earned their status. It all comes down to entitlement issues. Sad.

  28. Agree with Phil, “Are you happy to see Marriott Bonvoy restore elite guarantees?” is basically a rhetorical question. A better question would be “Does this move the needle for you for your upcoming travel plans?”

  29. Yes,
    This was Foul! The Restaurant is open for business selling $10 Burnt coffee in a trademark Starbucks cup, along with other overpriced knock off amenities, But they can’t serve Breakfast due to Covid-19!?
    Being a Diamond Member and due to Covid I spent roughly 5 months in total staying in Marriott Brand Hotels. But the past 90 days of 2020 The Marriott Brand Has received a Foul Place in My Book. O I just wanted to say if anyone with authority associated with Marriott-Bonvoy reads this From the Top to the Bottom your Employees need a refresher course on respect and Appreciation for guest they pay your salaries!

  30. So for me I am not getting my points….I have been at this same hotel for 7 months now. And it is always a excuse when trying to get them. I asked for my membership to be added. It never this hotel .

  31. May I add, this does not move the needle for me in my upcoming travel plans, and I don’t really think that we should give Marriott credit for not cheating their customers anymore (although it’s obviously good that they’ve reinstated the promised benefits) 🙂

  32. What about incentives to those employees say with over 30 years service whom receive complimentary stays for no cost. Marriott has gotten rid of employees and incentives that were given to employees. Totally unfair and an extreme hardship on individuals.

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