I Can’t Keep Up With All The Marriott Hotels Playing Games

Filed Under: Hotels, Marriott

I’m extremely disappointed by the way that Marriott has handled the integration of their loyalty programs.

It’s sad, because at first I had high hopes. Not high hopes that I’d be happier as a Marriott Platinum member than a former SPG Platinum member, but rather I figured they’d at least do a good job managing expectations and delivering on what they promised, even if that wasn’t much.

After all, they were off to a strong start. When Marriott’s takeover of Starwood was announced, they introduced points transfers and status matching from day one, which was unprecedented.

Unfortunately they’ve done a significantly less impressive job ever since. Marriott’s IT has been a disaster, hotels have been left in the dark regarding how the new loyalty program is supposed to work, and as customers this sure doesn’t seem like the program we hoped for.

Marriott hotels making up their own rules

I’ve already written several times about Marriott hotels that just make up their own rules. The truth is that literally every day I get a message (or multiple messages) from readers pointing to Marriott hotels that are just making up their own rules. I don’t write about them constantly, because if I did, I’d rename this blog “One Marriott Hotel Making Up Its Own Rules At A Time.”

Let me just point to two that I’ve received in the past 24 hours.

When you go to a hotel’s booking page on marriott.com, you’ll often see that they list “notices.” This typically includes things like the hotel being under construction, a pool being temporarily closed, etc.

The Westin Whistler Resort & Spa now lists the following:

Please note-Please be advised that complimentary Rewards member upgrades will not be available during peak holiday periods.

Um, okay? It would help to clarify what exactly the “peak holiday period” is, or actually I guess it would help just to not make up your own rules.

This is very similar to what the JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa did recently:

Please note – Marriott Rewards upgrades based on availability at check-in. Upgrades are granted to next room category not to suite.

In both cases, hotels are making up their own rules, in violation of the Marriott Rewards terms & conditions.

Then the St. Regis Maldives recently started stating the following on their website:

We’re sorry. This property is not taking redemption bookings at this time. You can either book a cash reservation or search for another reservation.


My take on this

Every time I write these posts, people ask “well did you reach out to Marriott, and what did they say?” These hotels are violating the rules, so when I reach out to Marriott these things usually get fixed, and they acknowledge the rules are being violated.

But the reality is that I’m getting these kinds of notices from readers every single day, and I’m not going to reach out to Marriott every single day.

To me this reflects the huge problem that Marriott has. They are now the world’s largest hotel group, with 6,700+ properties. They don’t actually need to be good, given how big they are, since it’s hard to avoid Marriott.

The much bigger problem, though, is that:

  • The new program is really complicated, and as an expert on these programs I can barely keep up with how they’re supposed to work, so it’s no surprise that hotels struggle to understand the programs as well
  • Based on what I’ve heard from people who work at Marriott properties, corporate has done virtually nothing to train people on the new program, on the upgrade policy, etc., and there’s no punishment when hotels aren’t compliant; so in many cases hotels don’t realize they’re breaking the rules

In other words, until Marriott starts managing their loyalty program proactively rather than reactively, this will continue.

(Tip of the hat to Alexander)

  1. I respect this post and thank you lucky for using your voice to point this stuff out. Marriott has totally ruined SPG. I am just thankful Hyatt was able to match me to their top tier status. In saying that I had to email four people to get them to do it.

  2. @james – thank you ! I know it’s a time drain to have to keep following up on these games but it is very much appreciated . The only way to stop this nonsense is to out theses rogue properties. Perhaps a place in “Ask Lucky” or somewhere else on OMAAT where the non compliant hotel stories can be aggregated . I know you are inundated with emails about game playing , but some of us find the information helpful and would like to see all the game players so we can make our own decisions about where to stay .

  3. Ben is correct, Marriott are so big they don’t care. Their customer service is even more horrific. Trying to speak with the premium department makes it even more insulting. The problem is it is hard to leave (at least for top premier elite group) without proper planning. Perhaps It’s time for Hilton and Hyatt to take advantage and offer status match for all Marriott elite members till 2020. I’m surprised they have not think about that yet, surely they see what’s going on. Massive elite departure will bring Marriott arrogance to a point they will have to address their attitude.

  4. Long gone are the true Marriott hotels, in its place we have the new version of Marriott meets Equity Capital. This started years and years ago when the JW in DC was sold into Limited Partnership, thus began the decline, with Bill gone and Sorenson tethered to the capital boys it’s all about the bottom line and room count. .

    Look no further than Hawaii and the crap flagged as a Marriott. When the Marriott’s were running the company the Courtyard in Honolulu would never have been accepted nor the one in Kona, certainly the Wailea would be treating its FF much better than a lousy cup of coffee how disgusting but they get away with it for one simply reason no fear from upper management. Look at the Marriott Laylow what a joke that operation is, post after post complaining and yet nothing from Marriott.

  5. If you recall the CNBC story about Marriott, there has been a long standing battle between the hotel operators and Marriott regarding the burdens Marriott franchise puts on the operators. They are always pushing back and this is a good time for them to do that while Marriott is distracted with integration.

  6. At some point it becomes false advertising on Marriott’s part. As they continue to admit that their properties aren’t following their rules, but don’t make such disclaimers on all their advertisements for credit cards and other points promotions, it becomes clearer that they are advertising something that they know not to be true.

    I got the card and started trying out Marriott properties this year. The properties were ok, but with a lot more restrictions than Hilton. Just working out if you get breakfast seems to require a 20 minute analysis of an award chart.

    I upgraded to the new card simply because it was 50,000 more points and $5 more money. A no brainer. But I have found those points so hard to use that I simply will use them for Fairfield stays during positioning trips and save my Hilton points for nice redemptions.

    Although I have run into Curio’s playing their own games with Hilton redemptions, its not nearly as wide spread or complicated as Marriott.

    I tried for a redemption at a property in Seville (Hospes Las Casas del Rey de Baeza) and after a few weeks of trying and waiting and several calls to the Marriott desk, it simply would not confirm. They couldn’t figure it out either. So, I just gave up. I’ll just save the points for simple hotel airport redemptions and focus on Hiltons.

  7. My wife and I stayed 3 nights at Greensboro Airport Courtyard last weekend. At Check-in I was offered a $10 credit coupon (Courtyard’s version of free Platnium breakfast) when I pointed out that the rules call for a $10 credit for the Platnium member and 1 guest daily,
    I was told “we only give one”. I tried again the next day with a different front desk clerk, this time showing him the Platnium benefits chart, he agreed is says “member and 1 guest daily”, but said “we only give one”. I didn’t bother on the third day, but pointed out the error and poor training in the subsequent property survey. I got a generic email response saying they will use this as a teachable moment. The next day I got another email saying they had given me 4,000 points. I have plenty of points, I’d rather get the benefits I’ve earned without begging for them. Also of note, I used the credit the first day to buy some snacks from the pantry. The second day I bought $10 worth of water and was charged. I had the charge reversed at checkout.

  8. Marriott needs to deactivate the functionality that allows their properties to enter these kinds of unapproved notes. They should have to be submitted, reviewed and approved for compliance with the rules, and then added to the website by the corporate compliance person. Adding this step would hopefully also become a trainable moment for the property on the expectations it is required to meet before they are arbitrarily implemented and affect customer satisfaction.

  9. We’re sorry. This property is not taking redemption bookings at this time. You can either book a cash reservation or search for another reservation. What a joke LMAO. Rogue properties must be stopped! I get from a individual hotel owner why you wouldn’t want so many award redemptions, especially because everyone and their mother think the Maldives is like, the sh*t, but you gotta operate under the Marriott umbrella rules. Otherwise, break off and run your own hotel.

  10. The room upgrade feature seems to be taken as completely voluntary … never automatic and even if you ask you might or might not get it.

  11. Did reach out to Marriott about Al Manara, a Luxury Collection hotel in Aqaba, Jordan. They said they aren’t offering any award redemption while selling standard rooms. Marriott just gave me a half-assed corporate mumbo jumbo response. I don’t even go out of my way to stay at Marriott anymore and Hilton looking better every day!

  12. F Marriott. We haven’t spent a dime on our SPG cards post-merger, and have no plans on doing so. It’s amazingly liberating to stay where we want and earn 3x points anyway (thank you Chase), which we know we can redeem for at least 1.5 cpp. I want to thank the Marriott family for opening our eyes!

    Also want to thank SPG – even as a Gold, they made us feel like being loyal was worth it. I’ll never forget the amazing experience we had at the Westin Florence for our first anniversary. Of course that was also back when AAdvantage didn’t suck.

  13. After 16 years of loyalty I dont even care about lifetime platinum status there because it means nothing, I switched to Hyatt and got Hilton Diamond through the card. Out of 42 stays in the last 4 months I have had *one* at a Marriott. Prior to this I never deviated from Starwood. Whoever ruined that program should be fired. Though at this point I literally don’t care. It’s kind of weird they don’t even try do do anything to get the back, I mean most of my stays are at a handful of hotels that are between 500 and 700 a night and it’s been crickets. Pathetic.

  14. This highlights the reasons I decided to leave the program. I travel enough for work that when I get to use the points I want to be able to use them and Marriott’s program has become less and less rewarding. I personally have little interest in Marriot any more.

  15. I’m a recent platinum due to SPG gold, but I stayed 50+ nights with Marriott last year. With over 500k Marriott points, I’m coming across a ton of hotels I can’t book with Points. Plenty of these hotels had standard rooms for cash, but not for points. What’s the use of being loyal to Marriott if you can’t use your points when you want them.

    I finally decided to start from scratch with Hyatt for 2019. While it sucks to go to the bottom of the elite status, I’d much rather build points and status with a hotel chain that values my business and keeps a true “no blackout” policy. Marriott is becoming worse than American Airlines. I have to use AA (due to being based in PHL), but Marriott is not needed.

  16. This is indeed such a sad state of affair. As a “former” SPG Platinum, I rarely failed to get an upgrade of some kind.

    Now, when checking in at Marriott (especially at “former” Marriott properties), they don’t even make any effort in acknowledging me as a premier member, nor do they give me any kind of upgrade anymore – and without even apologizing for not having an upgrade available (even though I know they have better available rooms from their reservation website) – which “former” SPG properties would always be so good about the until last year.

    Marriott should think twice about not being loyal to their premium guests – because these premium guests will stop being loyal to Marriott if they keep being mistreated – which Marriott management will hopefully realize sooner rather than later.

  17. Call out all the offending properties. This merger has been terrible for customers.
    More and more people should vote with their wallets and go to a competitor.
    Marriott needs to sort out their properties and get them in line.

  18. Williamsburg Lodge does same thing. And I have countless Fairfield’s, Courtyards, Four Points that are just clueless and awful customer service. It’s no longer an IT problem, it’s a Marriott culture problem. A few weeks ago I reached out to Marriott twitter help Bc I was fed up with like 6 stays in a row without getting my skipping housekeeping bonus. After a few days they responded saying they were giving me 2k points to make it right. Only problem, I’ve never gotten the points – and it’s been over a week. At what point do we just say Marriott workers are worse than the post office? The other day I had checked into a four points and on the app it let me make the green choice and decline housekeeping. Well, they still came and cleaned my room (no hang sign on the door to use either). Bet my stash of Marriott points I won’t get the bonus points when my stay posts in the next few days.

    If only there was a Hyatt by my main place of hotel stays.

  19. Regarding your third example, (“this property is not taking redemption bookings at this time…”) I came across this at the Andaman in Langkawi (a luxury collection property). When I called in, I was told the property was in the process of loading their rates/availability for that time period (happens frequently if you’re trying to book around local holidays I was told). Anyway a few days later it was back to normal. I don’t understand why they should need to “load rates” when the cash rates are obviously loaded, unless it’s part of getting ready to go to the peak/off peak scheme…

  20. It’s a disaster. NO real attention to Platinum members. Website that is not only confusing but always broken, down, or in maintenance for some reason. TERRIBLE customer service – on hold times 40 minutes than, a disconnect – untrained rude operators that keep saying “sir” – sir” you’re not listening – when they have NO IDEA what they are talking about ( I asked for a manager and was on hold for 50 minutes -hung up – called back randomly – asked for a manager and was connected in 3 minuets!! s- so last rep was upset at my “tone” and left me on hold!) BTW the 2nd manger completely fixed my problem – and contradicted EVERYTHING the “sir” rep annoyingly insisted was the policy. Also – stays not being credited – upgrades not being honored when there are plenty of rooms – just go on and try to book a premium room or suite! Marriott has a short time to correct and get in line with the SPG way of business if they want to maintain their reputation – LOTS of work or a new CEO is needed but they need to train, upgrade – put premium customers up front and honor their initial promise to be a better program – It’s FAR worse!!

  21. @Rob – Yes! The idea that individual hotels can add messages to their Marriott-run websites in violation of T&C blows my mind.

  22. I think that what’s happening here is rather strange because it seems to me that the reason for these complaints is that individual MR hotels have decided to become more transparent by letting members know what not to expect! In fact, one could see it as an attempt by the new MR program (BonVoY?) to start “managing expectations”, especially among former SPG loyalists, who did a very poor job managing theirs.

    Those hotels that are issuing the ‘offending’ notices could simply avoid issuing them, and simply implement what the notices warned about in the background (e.g., upgrade only to next room category, not to suite, without advertising it). Would that have been preferable? Don’t travel bloggers generally like it when programs or hotels are transparent about rule changes? Why is this apparent increase in transparency being condemned instead of being lauded? One thing to remember is that individual hotels have always had a great deal of latitude or discretion in implementing certain loyalty program rules. They simply do not advertise it. What seems to have happened is that the new Marriott Rewards program managers have decided to let each property be as transparent as it wants to be with respect to how it implements certain rules, and this transparency is causing problems!

    I am not sure how prevalent the reported “transparency problem” has been, but look at the ‘offending’ properties named in this post:
    — Westin Whistler Resort & Spa
    — JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa
    — St. Regis Maldives.
    Two out of three used to part of Starwood!!! One would have thought that most of the ‘offenders’ would be Marriott properties rather than those that used to be part of Starwood, which knew better!


  23. “Based on what I’ve heard from people who work at Marriott properties, corporate has done virtually nothing to train people on the new program, on the upgrade policy, etc., and there’s no punishment when hotels aren’t compliant; so in many cases hotels don’t realize they’re breaking the rules” Yep, you are absolutely right. This is totally on corporate and with all the issues it is obvious that they did not provide clear direction on the loyalty program at the time of the merger. They are harming their brand. Yes they will still stay in business because many people dont even think or know about loyalty programs, but many of their more high value customers with frequent stays may reassess if marriott properties aren’t going to follow the rules. Doesn’t matter how good a loyalty plan is if the properties simply don’t abide by the rules.

  24. Surely the best thing for everyone to do is simply leave very negative reviews on TripAdvisor/Google/Facebook etc for the hotels that are making up their own rules? They don’t enjoy getting bad reviews and will likely take action to ensure they don’t receive more.

  25. I’ve given up and will cancel my SPG card after I complete summer travel. Two years ago, I stayed at the Westin Dublin for 16,000 points a night. The same hotel for essentially the same period of time (given a day or two), they want upwards of 60,000 points a night. Nope!

    During this same trip we stayed at Sheraton Riviera Dubrovnik for 3,663 points per night, paid and extra $94 a night for a one bedroom suite upgrade. I haven’t looked lately but I imagine it’s nowhere near as good.

  26. I’ve given up and will cancel my SPG card after I complete summer travel. Two years ago, I stayed at the Westin Dublin for 16,000 points a night. The same hotel for essentially the same period of time (given a day or two), they want upwards of 60,000 points a night. Nope!

    During this same trip we stayed at Sheraton Riviera Dubrovnik for 3,663 points per night, paid and extra $94 a night for a one bedroom suite upgrade. I haven’t looked lately but I imagine it’s nowhere near as good.

  27. ghostrider5408,

    It was the Marriott execs with the Marriott family name that decided to make the various Marriott-affiliated companies what they are and to make their company and its spinoffs more asset flexible.

    This whole merger mess is a product of trying to cater to the expectations of a shareholder community and to executives with substantial shareholdings or options-holdings of sorts on the table who want to see a rushed payout regardless of the longer term implications.

  28. I would just like to say how disappointed i am with Marriott redemptions. I booked 4 nights reward stay recently for category 7 London County Hall. We are platinum elite, could not trust upgrade, so ended spending 240,000 points AND nearly $1000 American, just to double beds with a river view. Sad I cant spend award points and trust to get a decent room

  29. StR Maldives has been playing interesting games. The week after the StR brand was integrated into the Marriott reservation system, availability was released as usual. Now, however, it seems to be released sporadically with no rhyme or reason. Also, they seem to be having fun randomly releasing OWV availability at completely random rates. In the past week I’ve seen OWV availability for 100k, 110k, 120k, 140k and 386k/nt. How’s that for games?

  30. Laguna, a Luxury Collection hotel in Bali also has the “This property is not taking redemption bookings at this time” message.

  31. Marriott detached my 7 nights certificate without telling me. My trip is in 2 months and waiting for 5 days result from the escalation department. Marriott attached my Cert 1-5 old category to at the time Cat 8 hotel. Months after that, audited my account and detaching the certificate after I called and changed my other TP certificate. It was Marriott problem to get it attached on the first place, now they said it was impossible and refused to honor what they did before. Outrages!

  32. I recently stayed at the JW Marriott Bogotá. They charged “hotel insurance” of ~4 USD per night. Lots of reports on FlyerTalk about this practice.
    I asked them to remove the charge, they did so immediately. But how many people don’t check their folio or don’t bother to have the chare removed?

    I complained to @spgassist (who used to offer AMAZING customer service) and asked them to look at this at the corporate level and NOT have the hotel handle the case. Of course they just opened a case with the hotel and the hotel told me that’s usual practice and that it’s medical insurance for the duration of the stay, which guests are offered at checkin.
    Guess what, I wasn’t asked, and nobody on FlyerTalk was aked.
    I reiterate my complaint to @spgassist, and they just reply with a default answer of “thank you for your feedback.”
    It’s frustrating.

  33. I think the idea Marriott is trying to introduce under the table is you can only spend the points earned on hotel stays on their “Moments’ and not for future hotel stays. I wouldn’t be surprised if this has already been agreed with hotel manager’s on the quiet so complaining to Marriott won’t get your resolution. If this is so, it doesn’t bode well for the medium term future of Travel Packages.

    On another note and to add fuel to the mix, yesterday I received a marketing email which, for us Brits came over as rude and authoritarian: ‘You’re registered for MegaBonus in More Places. Now stay.” You’d have thought after their last faux pas with China they’d have realized cultural differences were important.

  34. Have left already after several platinum years. This has just become screwing loyal customers.
    Not sure what kind of wheenie is running the loyalty program now but its clear he needs some basic training first to learn that money comes from customers and not spreadsheets.

  35. I’m close to getting my lifetime status…hopefully this year. After that, I think I am done with Marriott. I stayed last night at TownePlace, which ironically, gave me the most enthusiastic Platinum Premier welcome and “suite” upgrade than I’ve had anywhere else in the past year. When a $57 a night place shows me more love than a $330 place, I know it’s time to reevaluate.

  36. @Lucky
    Speaking of gamesmanship, is Marriott only approving mostly 4+ star reviews on Marriott.com, in order to “manufacture” a high rating for each property? Tried to leave a review for recent stay at a JW Marriott, only to find that you need a “Guest Satisfaction Survey” link…which I have never received after a stay (as a LTPP should have received at least one).

    Perhaps Marriott has always done this (I was SPG LTP so do not know). Will start reading TripAdvisor and Google Reviews only..

  37. @DCS,

    I too noticed that a majority of the offenders are former Starwood properties. I swore off SPG properties many years ago for the EXACT reason people are complaining now. I ALWAYS had to fight for an upgrade that should be automatic and their major discrepancy regarding the state of their hotels pushed me out…

    As a long time Marriott customer and a lifetime Plat, I’ve been pretty happy overall with Marriott overall, including my 178 days in 2018 then again, none of them have been with former SPG properties.

  38. F Marriott. And F the @spgassist. They are the most indignant reps. They were so snotty when trying to tell me how St Regis Maldives charging me 790,000 points was accurate when it was NOT. Done with them.

  39. @Kevin sez: “I swore off SPG properties many years ago for the EXACT reason people are complaining now.”

    That was the subtle point I was trying to make. What folks are blaming on the merger and attributing to a failure of Marriott management would be more credible if former Starwood hotels did not engage in the same practice. However, with the anecdotal evidence suggesting that Starwood hotels might constitute the majority of the offenders, it is conceivable that what is happening now is what Starwood hotels have always done in the background, but have now decided to do it openly — perhaps to better manage expectations by making everything crystal clear to avoid recreating the sense of “entitlement” that was rampant among SPG loyalists because they’d misinterpreted the T&C (call it an attempt to put the genie back in the bottle 😉 ).

  40. In South Beach both The Ritz and The W were not taking points for booking when I looked for December travel. Also the Phoenician in AZ has an extremely small amount of rooms they are allowing for travel on points. It’s beyond frustrating as I’ve been traveling on points to these hotels for years. Also gone is the excellent customer service from the Luxury Collection customer service dept. Now no one seems to have the answers when I call and many times they end up disconnecting me. Very disappointing.

  41. I thought I was a lone LT Platinum Premier (or whatever that is called now) having consistently horrible experiences with Marriott post-merger. I am ‘delighted’ that I am not alone and am not imagining the deteriorating service quality.

    Pre-merger I juggled both SPG and Marriott Platinum status, and frankly I was equally impressed with both – I consistently got upgrades and most importantly just that “hospitality warmth” at all SPG and Marriott properties. So I stayed loyal sometimes going out of my way to stay there.

    In the past 4 months, leave aside upgrades, I had to
    – fight “downgrades” even when rooms were available,
    – service issues in the room that took a day to fix and the hotel management didn’t even apologize
    – a racist check-in person (yup, I checked-out of the property as early as possible.. and nope never received even a simple “Sorry” from the GM or Marriott)
    – tons of points issues – not getting credited, or wrong amounts, etc. etc. and of course
    – properties making up a complete BS of what Platinum Premier means (aka nothing)

    I am just so tired of the basic decency or “hospitality”, that I have started selecting the best hotel even if there are 5 Marriotts nearby. Never going to spend money on them without thinking.


  42. Massively unimpressed with Narriot/Marriott so far. Hardly ever used them before (outwith the USA they’re nowhere near as prevalent). Has been a nightmare dealing with them over the travel package fiasco. Their communication was non-existent, everything had to be gleaned from blogs, staff weren’t properly trained and IT systems weren’t ready.

    Eventually escalated to CEO/Corp level – still took months to resolve (in an acceptable but not great way). They seemed to have almost no power centrally and were begging the hotels for upgrades, etc (who were then refusing). Totally different to my experience with Hilton Diamond Desk.

    Have still got a couple hundred k points with them, not in a rush to accumulate any more. Hilton and IHG have a massive footprint so cover many bases. Hyatt small outside US too, disappointing to lose SPG but based on experience to date that might just be how it is!

  43. Wow, amazing to read these stories of how lame and nerfed Marriott’s program has become. Meanwhile, I have been consistently surprised and delighted by World of Hyatt, which has taken care of us and proactively upgraded our rooms even in cases where we shouldn’t have been entitled to the upgrade (e.g. awards stays.) We just got back from New York City, where I used a upgrade certificate on a $123/night room in midtown Manhattan and got placed for a week in a premier suite with more than 1200 square feet of space. Hyatt’s program offers genuine value, and it demonstrates that value to us consistently.

    Ultimately, loyalty programs that actually reward loyalty reward everyone, the corporation included. In the course of just a few years, we’ve gone from shopping around on Priceline for the occasional hotel night to staying at Hyatt hotels almost exclusively, and the program has increased our appetite for hotel stays. Indeed last year we booked more than 120 nights in Hyatt hotels. “The glory of capitalism is that it creates demand where none existed before.”

    Marriott is thinking short-term; Hyatt is going to win with the long game.

  44. I have almost completely switch from Marriott to Hilton. I am Platinum Elite at Marriott and Gold at Hilton. I *never* get upgraded at Marriott, or if I get upgraded it is to a higher floor room. The differences in customer appreciation are staggering. The last Marriott I stayed was in Atlanta in December. I received a “Thank you for being a Platinum member, here are two bottles of water” and no upgrade. On the same trip I stayed at the Beijing Airport Hilton. There was a long check in line, but an employee roving the line asked if there were any premium members. I showed them my Hilton Gold card and the guy called someone on his mobile and then they ushered me over to a private desk, checked me in immediately, upgraded me from a standard King to a 2 room suite, thanked me multiple times for being a gold member. When I got to my room, they called and asked if the suite was acceptable. 5 minutes later the doorbell rang and they delivered a fruit basket, along with a handwritten note from the front desk manager, welcoming me back to the Beijing Hilton and it noted how many times I had stayed there in the past year. It also had a private mobile number of a front desk concierge to call if I needed anything and the front desk was too busy.

    The above isn’t out of the ordinary treatment for Hilton Gold members, in Asia at least. So goodbye Marriott.

  45. Some Hyatt hotels do play games with what is defined as a standard room. Room are available, but because they are not standard, cannot be booked with points. That being said, my experience is that a decent full service Hyatt hotels treat their top tier status guests extraordinarily well.

  46. This is why Marriott and SPG shouldn’t have been allowed to merge. America is turning into the “Soviet Union” of crony capitalism.

  47. Hey Lucky, why don’t you do a Marriott name & shame thread?
    Instead of sending you emails, readers can post the hotels violating rules in the comments. You can send the thread link to Marriott and if they care to enforce program rules, they can check every day and make the changes.
    If they don’t, people know and can spend there money elsewhere.
    It’ll save you time and will be a great service to your readers, Marriott Rewards members and Marriott as well!

  48. I had the by the rules reservation agents trying to use a confirmed (Diamond – Globalist) suite upgrade with Hyatt. I could only use the UG for the big suite. When I saw there was availability for the Junior Suite and was willing to accept a smaller UG – they assured me they could not honor my request. When I checked in @ the property – they said “You should have called us directly, we would have honored your UG to the smaller suite.” I had several issues with HY and after a couple of bad issues and not being able to use my confirmed UG – I switched to HH – Diamond there. “Grass is always greener”

    Nowadays… All of them are throwing/matching status at us. Hertz, MC, HY to name a few.

  49. Platinum Premier elite with Ambassador (SPG prior to merger).
    Does anyone know WHERE on the SPG website or app it is spelled out what the platinum breakfast benefits are? I want to print it out and take with me.

  50. YOU are actually THE country with most (frivolous) lawsuits and most lawyers..
    If THESE are not some great rewards lawsuits to happen (SOON), which are?
    Sue the shit out of these individual hotels and marriott corp. let them BLEED!

  51. Guys. You can switch to any loyalty program as you want, BUT DO NOT CHANGE TO IHG. There is no benefit at all. I live in China. Since last year, tons of hotels do not even have awards reservation available. I would say half of them do not post awards space. This is outrageous, but no one points out. Even worse, I just search a very small city, Panjin. Holiday Inn does not even post cash reservation available on the offical website. HOWEVER, when you check the Chinese travel booking websites, such as Ctrip and Qunar, you can book it perfectly. (You can search Panjin for any date in Jan on Ihg.com and compare to Qunar.com). I have noticed this for a long time! IHG is definitely doing very dirty game in Chinese market. Once a hotel even wouldn’t let me post a negative review. I tried to escalate to IHG, but still no answer. This is absolutely unacceptable. Please avoid IHG as much as you can in China. Btw, the suite upgrade doesn’t even exsit in Platinum benefits. What a joke.

  52. Ben,

    As I have mentioned to you previously, Hilton makes up its own rules dealing with Diamonds. There written rules say one, and their corporate office personnel says another.

    What is different with Marriott, its obvious they bite off more than they can handle. It doesn’t take a genius to figure that out.
    What is alarming is that the Board has taken no steps to resolve this. No additional expertise
    hired in to help Arne.
    Perhaps cutting it cheap on IT.
    When its a big ship, the errors will build transparently to the captain. When its too big the captain can’t solve. I do hope the Board recognises this and begins to take proactive steps before the sinking. Any executive in business will have seen this already, why doesn’t Marriott?

    Perhaps they will try to sell off SPG?


  53. I love how you self proclaim yourself as an expert. You have no idea of any insider info and yet you are an expert, lol.

  54. @Marvin
    Thanks very much for sending this. I had seen something similar on another travel blog but I wanted credibility from the Marriott website. So this is very much appreciated. Interesting about Courtyard by Marriott brand. I stayed at my first one last month . The courtyard by Marriott Valencia Santa Clarita California. When I checked in as a platinum Premier elite with ambassador level. They gave me the $10 food and beverage credit and in addition to that breakfast certificates and based on the fact that I was a platinum Premier elite with ambassador level. Now this completely contradicts the Marriott breakfast benefit table. But again I guess this is where each property can make their own decisions.

  55. I was a 20 year Marriott “Associate”. Everything changed when Bill stepped down and Arne Sorenson took control. It became all about how much money can we make and how big can we get. The mindset now is just let the hotels do what they want so we can keep them under the flag and stay the biggest. Marriott used to hold hotels accountable, but that, sadly, is no longer the case.
    It is not the company it once was, and why I left. But as others and @Lucky, has pointed out, they are now so big it doesn’t matter they’re too hard to avoid and they know it.

  56. @David H – thank you for your comments . What you posted is what many of us have speculated on – a change in focus and attitude in the executive suites .

    I just can’t figure out if it’s executive arrogance or denial or a combination of both . There are myriad customer service and IT issues , yet we have been told for months that the platform is stable. When we try to have issues addressed, we unkindly referred to as “ noise around the edges .” There is no recognition of the fact that we are trying to help get things fixed but I guess that’s irrelevant when an executive truly believes there is nothing to fix .

    Unfortunately, nothing will change until there is a large exodus of loyal guests or properties .

  57. Westin maldives refuses upgrades, asks on 50-200 usd extra charge per night for 75night Platinums that ask for an overwater villa ..

  58. I finally got so fed up with all the hotels playing games, having to call in every single time to get my points and stays credited, having pre-paid stays get double charged etc that I emailed the CEO knowing I’d get into executive escalations. Something like 50 of my lifetime elite nights also just disappeared. I’ve been trying to get an answer on that SINCE AUGUST and can’t even get one out of the executive escalations person. She also fed me some BS about how hotels are allowed to only designate a couple rooms as award rooms even if there are other standard rooms available for cash. When I sent her a screenshot from the website that said “If there’s a standard room available for cash, it’s available for points” she said “That’s wrong”. THEN WHY IS IT ON YOUR WEBSITE. Horrible company, I’m in the process of liquidating my MR points and likely moving to Hyatt or Hilton.

  59. As a long time LT Platinum at SPG, I was sure SPG would sink to Marriott’s level post merger and not the other way around, or more likely, Arne and company would revel in the share-price and the “we are the largest” mentality that they would, and have forgot the cardinal rule of business: “People do business with those they like”. I am not liking the new Marriott and based on this thread, I’m not alone. I might add, “Loyalty earns loyalty” and program rules are two way, not one. After fighting with an auto-attendant and then on hold for 19 minutes, I finally reach an associate. I am told that my ‘xyz’ request is against program rules. I say, fine, how about finally designating my status as LT Primer Platinum Elite and allowing me to choose my annual choice award for 2018: Nothing. I point out that these items are also in the program rules, black and white…..Nothing, except “we are still verifying everyone so be patient” Verifying??????? Really???? A peek at my Marriott.com overview verifies my eligibility for both of these items!!! ……Nothing. The Program Rules create a contract: A meeting of the minds with consideration, and Marriott is consistently in breach.

    Like the sentiments discussed herein ad-nausiam, It is with some nostalgia that I say farewell to SPG and try something new. I short-cutted my way to Diamond with the Hilton Aspire card and I’ll see how 1999 goes. There is no such thing as the perfect frequent guest program so I am not expecting perfection over at Hilton but the recognition I receive at Marriott is no longer in sync with my years of loyalty to the now Marriott brands.

  60. Why doesn’t everyone start complaining to their credit card companies. In my case my wife and I each have our own separate American Express SPG Luxury cards with an annual fee of $495 for each individual card/account. We spend thousands per year on these cards to obtain Marriott points. Amex doesn’t want to lose out on that especially when their partner Marriott isn’t performing fairly and following their own advertised rules. I look forward to everyones comments and suggestions.

  61. This post is spot on! I am beyond disappointed with the manner in which elite members have been treated, post merger. It’s a complete mess and I am definitely switching over to other options. The latest mistreatment at Le Meridien Piccadilly in London was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Also, service at the Ambassador desk is even worse. I’ll take my business elsewhere. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and providing a forum for others to share their experience. The hotels are just blatantly violating the program’s terms and conditions without a care in the world. Hopefully enough people take their business elsewhere and they financially feel the impact of their poor service.

  62. Shar, it is inevitable that when the numbers slide, which they will, it will get Arne Sorenson’s attention. Unlike Bill Marriott who had a family legacy in hospitality to protect , Arne is strictly a numbers guy. As a lifetime platinum (now LT Titanium), I never thought I would be spending $450.00 to “buy” a Hilton Diamond membership to protect my travels from this degree of time consuming nonsense.

  63. I’m about to hit Marriott Ambassador level which means over 100 nights and $20K a year in spend. I’m fed up with them. I’m on a trip right now (Nov 2019) and stayed at the JW in Kuala Lumpur, Marriott TENG Plaza Singapore and JW in Jakarta. All three hotels have serious management problems. The high rewards level I’ve achieved gets me nothing. That is nothing I care about. Sure, I get bonus points….so what! I already spend over 100 nights a year in a hotel. The rooms are dated, expensive and the services provided are nothing special at best and in reality inferior. I’m really kicking myself for taking this long to understand Marriott’s scam. Broken elevators, broken sauna, pool out for repairs is the norm. The JW in Jakarta does not even stock Diet Coke/Pepsi in the lounge. Twice now the closed a Resturant to support a wedding with no notice. One of the biggest scams Marriott pulls is claiming they will upgrade your room at checkin if available. A total lie. In fact, I have been down graded and the staff lied about it. I made it through October and over 90 nights this year (750 life time) and never got upgraded. Several times the staff lied about an upgrade and when I got to the room it was what I booked. A call to reception always got more lies and nothing coherent. Now I always ask at check in and I’ve been totally jerked around. The complimentary upgrade lie is a total scam and if you get one it helps to be white and to be very lucky. It’s purely chance. The online check in does nothing to help you get one either. Another lie. I’ve also, as a titanium elite status level, been jerked around on late checkout. So Marriott can go pound sand. I’m now hotel brand agnostic. The status, bonus points, etc are not worth taking the hit in comfort and value. From now on I’m picking the nicest hotel, best amenities and ignoring the scam/games Marriott plays. Rarely will it be a Marriott property. That’s really my advice. Hotel brand loyalty really benefits the chain and not the consumer. The rare occurrence of a reward is not worth missing out on some better experiences. I’m Platinum for life anyway….I see no reason to fall for their broken promises and lies anymore.

  64. @Ron Hunter,
    You are singing to the Qhoir! I am also a former Ambassador member whilst at SPG where it really helped. I am now a lowly Lifetime Titanium member. BTW, If you have the 750 nights and likely 10 years Platinum, your status should be Titanium as well.

    It is completely infuriating to have front desk folks lie to your face at check-in about how they are having an event or similar nonsense so the suites and upgraded rooms are all gone, particularly when you check the inventory on your laptop and see that they are full of (it). It’s a total turn off even if you end up with what you deserve only after asking for the GM. The suite upgrade certificate program is also a sham. First of all, the offerings are often not suites but “upgraded guestrooms”. I have found that the upgrades are often not honored even when the inventory is available. You receive a terse message stating “Your upgrade request has been denied”. Not even a sorry or try again next time. They pulled that with me at the Wentworth by the Sea, a resort where I am known to staff and management as a regular. The front desk people went as far as to send Marriott Corp. a message stating that if anyone was granted a suite certificate upgrade, to make it me. The bottom line: Marriott did nothing and the property gave me a very nice suite upon check-in since Corporate was out of the loop and the inventory available.

    I’ll keep my lifetime status with Marriott….I earned it, but like you, I diversify where I stay to suit me. If that happens to be a Marriott brand, than so be it, however I obtained the Hilton Aspire card and as a HH Diamond, have been treated very nicely. If at sometime, Marriott gets less full of themselves and turns the program around, I’ll welcome them back.

    Arne Sorenson calls you and I as well as most of those posting in this thread “Noise around the edges”. In today’s world of reviews and posts making or breaking a company, that “noise” can become deafening.

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