Marriott Platinum & Suite Upgrades: A Reality Check

Filed Under: Marriott

View from the Wing and I have had a fun back and forth the couple of days regarding Marriott’s loyalty program. Gary argued that anyone who leaves Marriott for Hilton is nuts, I argued they aren’t, and he had a rebuttal.

We could probably debate this back and forth for a long time, but I don’t want to bore you guys. Instead in this post I wanted to focus on a related point. We can all agree that it’s great that Marriott offers all Platinum members unlimited complimentary suite upgrades… or can we?

Marriott really has three tiers of Platinum

Marriott’s new loyalty program was largely designed to appease SPG members. While on paper it looks like they did a good job with that, I don’t think they really did. They missed what made SPG special — consistency and for the most part the ability to deliver on promises.

Marriott’s new program has three tiers of Platinum:

  • Platinum requires 50 nights, and includes perks like unlimited complimentary suite upgrades (except at Ritz-Carltons)
  • Platinum Premier requires 75 nights, and includes perks like suite upgrades at all properties (including Ritz-Carltons), more bonus points, etc.
  • Platinum Premier Ambassador requires 100 nights plus $20,000 of spend, and includes perks like Your24 check-in and check-out, a dedicated Ambassador, etc.

The way the program is currently designed, hotels aren’t given any guidance in terms of how they should prioritize upgrades. Should a 50 night Platinum member get a suite upgrade before a 100+ night Platinum member if they arrive at check-in first? Should hotels pre-block suites and prioritize by the Platinum tier? Different hotels take different approaches.

We know that next year Marriott will be rebranding their loyalty program, and it sure seems to me like they might actually be adding more differentiation between the Platinum tiers at that point.

What we’ve seen so far suggests that they’ll actually be renaming the top three tiers. We may very well see Platinum, Platinum Premier, and Platinum Premier Ambassador, renamed Platinum, Titanium, and Ambassador.

For example, I’m an Ambassador, and currently when I check in I’m typically thanked for being a Platinum member, so there’s not all that much differentiation between the tiers. I have to believe that with renaming of elite tiers, we’ll also see the way hotels perceive different levels to change, since the differences will be more obvious.

Marriott Platinum is already third tier status with the program, and if they’re renamed, that’s going to be even more obvious.

Is Marriott’s suite upgrade benefit a genuine perk?

As I said above, Marriott wanted to make SPG members happy with this transition, and a sticking point for SPG Platinum members was unlimited suite upgrades subject to availability. There’s an important distinction between how Marriott and Starwood previously offered suite upgrades as an elite benefit:

  • Starwood said that Platinum members were entitled to an upgrade up to a standard suite, subject to availability
  • Marriott said that Platinum members were entitled to an upgrade, and that upgrade could include a standard suite, at the hotel’s discretion

They adopted Starwood’s old verbiage, but how realistic is that really? Platinum still only requires 50 nights (Starwood’s old requirement), having a co-branded SPG or Marriott card will get you 15 elite nights towards status starting in 2019 (meaning you really only need 35 nights), and now we’re talking about the world’s largest hotel group.

Being loyal to Starwood took effort. Being loyal to Marriott takes no effort. The current Marriott Platinum situation can’t help but remind me of this Delta email from a few years ago, when they made it tougher to qualify for status:

Delta Silver Medallion members are also entitled to unlimited upgrades. How often do they clear, though? Could your upgrade clear on Christmas Day to Tulsa? Possibly. Could it clear on a Monday morning from Atlanta to New York? I’d say the odds of Trump voluntarily giving up his Twitter account are higher.

Which brings me to the point of how much of a benefit unlimited suite upgrades really are. As an employee at a Marriott property commented on the blog a few weeks back:

With the combining of programs it had made virtually every person that travels a Platinum member. Gold is now a precious metal because there are not any more.
Of my hotel that’s 300 rooms I have 170 Platinum member arriving tomorrow.

Let me share my own experience, for example. Since the two programs have been integrated, I’ve received “complimentary” suite upgrades at the Renaissance Minsk and Four Points by Sheraton Nairobi Airport. Then I’ve used suite night awards (which were otherwise expiring) at the JW Marriott Quito and Sheraton Melbourne.

My suite at the JW Marriott Quito

That’s it. For all my other stays I received either a standard room or an upgraded non-suite.

My standard room at the Marriott Frankfurt

Don’t get me wrong, that’s not a major complaint. But I also think that my experience in terms of upgrades isn’t that different than it would be with Hilton, for example.

When is it appropriate to firmly ask for a suite upgrade?

This raises yet another question. Back in the day you’d sometimes need to “push” hotels at check-in regarding suite upgrades.

Some people would ask if there were suite upgrades were available, and when they were told no, they’d note “but it looks like you’re still selling them online.”

The thing is that back in the day Starwood didn’t actually differentiate Platinum tiers. They had Platinum, 75 night Platinum, and 100 night Platinum, but hotels didn’t really see the differentiation. Now the differences are clearer.

So what’s even the correct way to play upgrades at check-in? It’s perfectly normal for hotels to pre-block rooms for people, so as a Platinum member should you feel comfortable “pushing” for a suite upgrade when it’s for sale, when it’s likely the hotel may have just blocked a different (or higher tier) Platinum member into the suite?

Like I said, this won’t be an issue at the Four Points by Sheraton Nairobi, in all likelihood, but for so many hotels that are constantly frequented by Platinum members, it’s a different story.

I’m curious what you guys make of the whole Marriott Platinum suite upgrade situation!

  1. I always do mobile check in on the app and then do the message feature to see if there are upgrades available. Checking in 24 hours in advance either means they will clear your upgrade early or tell you to wait until closer to arrival.

  2. Otherwise I’m more with Gary’s view of things, but yes, I believe they need to do more to differentiate tiers. I’m a 125 night ambassador – the fact that I basically get 15% more points and five suite vouchers compared to a 35 night platinum means I really could just pick up Hyatt Globalist on the side (I only travel to large cities, Hyatt is usually available). At least give us something – lounge access at Ritz-Carltons, suite upgrades confirmable at time of booking, $$ food vouchers when crossing the 100 night threshold, guest of honor – any one of these and I will stop complaining. But the current status is like Star Alliance Gold….

  3. @Lucky

    When you weren’t upgraded, did you ask? What proportion of non upgrading properties were SPG vs Marriott (upon asking only, pro-actively makes no difference almost). At the backend, they’re still two separate programs for all intents and purposes, there’s been no ‘merger’.

  4. Lucky, Marriott is not only about U.S.
    How come Platinum not requires no effort? Outside of U.S. it does! Much more effort than before, actually. We don’t get any “credit card” nights. If it’s tougher for U.S. members to get upgrades within the U.S., that’s only fair.
    In Europe and Asia, since the merger the situation has actually got much better. I’ve also written an article for my blog on the suite upgrade statistics. Before merger, i had to push really hard in Marriotts (though got a suite almost every time after having pushed), but since August i almost always get a proactive suite upgrade. I admit, that i don’t often travel to the U.S., so my stats are based on my experience in Europe, Asia and Latin America.
    If there should be any differentiation, it’s not “Premier” vs “Ambassador”, but a “real Platinum” (i.e. non-U.S. one, who earns their nights by actually staying) vs. “credit card Platinum” :))

  5. I get consistent upgrades to suites at bigger properties (aka more suites). And those that gave me suite upgrades are ALL former SPG properties. None of my Marriott stays had suite upgrades. My 12 stays since merger only got 1 suite upgrade in Sheraton Royal Orchid Bangkok. I always ask nicely when I get my keys: Is there any suite upgrade available but the answer is always no. I don’t really bother to pull up my phone to check though

  6. I should get suite upgrades with a few of my hotel programs and so far never got a single one. I ask at check-in, and when told no, I politely ask again to confirm, but I haven’t tried showing the check-in person that suites are for sale. I guess I’ll try that, or message the hotel as Riley suggested above.

  7. I have 124 nights this year (but not Ambassador status) and I can count on one hand, without using all of my fingers, the number of times I’ve been upgraded to a suite even after asking.

  8. I’m not sure how being loyal to Marriott took no effort, when the Platinum threshold for SPG was 25 stays/50 nights and Marriott was 75 nights… That’s potentially 50 more nights.

    The suite upgrade argument is pointless because no one ever knows if the hotel is sandbagging or not — doesn’t matter which property you’re at. I’m a lifetime platinum premier at marriott, but stay just as much these days at hilton using my Gold from my American Express or Hyatt using my Explorist from my Royal Caribbean match. At this point its all same, same. My goal is having a differentiation of points that I can find a free room at a decent point rate no matter where my plans go.

  9. For my family, not being able to rely on a suite upgrade more or less nukes the advantages to staying loyal. We’d be 100+ night Marriott for this year, but we decided the benefits aren’t worth the effort. We’re going to be lower level status in every program for 2019, and I think that will work out better.

  10. I was upgraded at the Kansas City sheraton to the presidential suite the week after thanksgiving. But the hotel was basically empty due to a snowstorm and post holiday. Then at the sheraton Times Square I was given a suite.

  11. Marriott will write off a significant amount of the good will they paid to acquire Starwood.

    50-100 night a year platinums such as myself, who never considered programs outside SPG will start to shift at the margin or entirely most likely to a combination of Hyatt/Hilton due to cc products and more reasonable awards after the 2019 Marriott deval.

    Marriott bought Starwood for the loyal customers but will piss them away.

  12. My wife and I visit the St Regis Bal Harbour (Miami FL) every year and have since it opened. Under SPG we were always upgraded to a suite, sometimes using my suite night awards and sometimes just as a platinum.

    This past year, under the new Marriott program, I applied my suite night awards, and did not receive an upgrade. I was put into a standard room, and then at check in, they tried to sell me an upgrade to a suite for $2000 extra for the five nights!

    I was furious and they said “This is the new Marriott program”

    I guess that is what we have to expect now that hotels have much more leeway on how they upgrade and what rooms they make available for upgrade.

  13. I will be Platinum Elite by end of this year but this will be my last year of trying to maintain any status with Marriott/SPG. They’ve completely screwed the pooch on the merger – I am still missing over 100k points from the combination of accounts. They are still working on it, months later. I just want to use up all of my suite upgrade awards next year, and then focus on other programs. Hyatt has always treated me way better with frequent suite upgrades (to premium suites even).

  14. I’m Platinum and honestly didn’t know I was even eligible for a suite upgrade. Certainly haven’t received one.

  15. Your 24 is no longer a 75 nights benefit as it was under SPG. They quietly moved it up to the Ambassador tier.

    Also they removed the 1 additional point benefit that someone might have selected as her 75 benefit in 2017.

    I lost all loyalty.

  16. Other than the fact that my sentence partially implicates my “pen-name”, I am tempted to say that these current changes are “The way of the world”. Because most of us are busy in work related travel, we might moan when on location at the hotel (or at elite check-in with the airlines); and we don’t even bother to write in a detailed complaint, because we know that it will go to an email/call center, where a clerk will give us maybe 1000 to 3000 points, depending in how upset we seem (despite the fact that we might have an assortment of a zillion points stored up anyway). Instead, we just sadly go over to another alliance (hotel or airline), with hopes and what are unfortunately temporary dreams of better treatment. True? But as we’re all learning, it is all too soon afterwards that the “superior” alliance starts to pull the same foolishness, merely excusing it because they are “still better” than the chain or alliance that got even worse beforehand!

    I am constantly amazed that an airline, or hotel, or car rental company will spend tens of thousands of dollars or euros in marketing and advertising to gain one new customer (who books 6 months in advance and thus pays an amount known as “squat”), but they will forget about the simple importance of cross-loyalty to fools like us (or at least myself) who book a flight or a room “the day of”, and often pay almost triple what that occasional vacationer would pay… yet the airline or hotel will (except for a nicer check-in line – sometimes) cause us to feel that our loyalty had basement level value…. unless we beg for a crumb. It is truly so sad… as doing it correctly could be so easy, and would bring such dividends for everyone in the equation!

    I could give personal example after example after example, but you Lucky, and our fellow readers, all could compete for the best/worst examples yet (PS: Lucky’s new Al Maha post is yet another typical one). So because we are running out of decent chains and air alliances, my decision for this year, which I share with all of you, is to start to write and send personalized and appropriately detailed letters, based on strong yet solid suggestions (more so than “moaning complaints”), directly to the CEO’s and CMO’s; in fact sent via FedEx versus by email, so that there is at least a better chance for the letter to be put under their eyes. It is my hope that if enough of us will do this, in fact gracefully and positively, we might at least begin to make sense to some of these people. Of course any positive suggestions only have value based on the intelligence of the CEO reader to follow what he or she is seeing… but even in my worldly “naïveté”, I must think that some of us can use this as a method to hopefully begin to help make some difference. Might any of you agree?

    A very Happy New Year to the fine OMAAT Team and the entire OMAAT reader community!!

  17. SPG was almost always upgrading me as a Plat, then this year I am at 1/5 on upgrades as a Plat – I do ask and even in Asia its a miss.

    BUT my stays at Hilton in the past 2 years as a Diamond have been exceptional for upgrades and elite recognition, so am concentrating on Hilton and moving away from Marriott. Recent changes at Hyatt are making a comeback there more interesting too…..

  18. This blog is at times is way too US-centric. I really enjoy Lucky’s reviews but would appreciate that acknowledgement is made that a significant minority are ex-US in domicile. Perhaps it would be beneficial if this was recognised.

  19. @Mike The hotels don’t have any leeway. Why don’t you just push (well, if you need it, of course; many elites just don’t care)? If they decline, complain to Marriott support. I had my suite upgrade denied a couple of times in Hilton as diamond, but after sending a message to Hilton in Twitter, i had my suite in a matter of one-two hours. I admit that sometimes i have to be really pushy and even threatening; but i won’t allow a hotel to misinterpret the program rules. In this case, the suite upgrade statistics will be 100% (if a suite is available for sale, of course).

  20. I am Plat Premier Lifetime and had been Plat lifetime for almost 10 years, earned when it was hard. 2 million points, 10+ yrs status and 1000 PAID nights. I occassionally score a decent suite upgrade but it’s rare. And it has gotten worse since the merger.

    I’m lucky to get ANY upgrade, even from to a 1 BR at a TownePlace Suites on a very slow day!

    It’s too easy now to earn status. As a 25+ year rewards.member, they know I’m loyal. Marriott needs to up their game as I’m moving nights to Hyatt and Kimpton. The latter hooks me up with some sort of suite 99% of the time. And I never wake up asking ‘where am I today’ since they’re not cookie cutter hotels.

    Here’s to Titanium Lifetime and some actual benefits that aren’t available to everyone.

  21. I’m regular platinum with Marriott and will be in 2019 as well (I stay about 55 nights per year). I never ask for upgrades when traveling for work. I only ask when traveling with my family. As a business travelled, I really have no need for a bigger room, hence would rather save any potential upgrades for those that really want them. Just my two cents, although I’m curious if I’m in the minority on this.

  22. I have been extremely disappointed with the merger. Based on the new scale, I am a Lifetime Platinum Premier – supposedly the highest lifetime status available. I easily stay 75 nights a year (excluding the 15 credit card night credits).
    Since August, I have not gotten upgraded even once!! In fact, once a Marriott gave me a lower room than I had booked, till i complained to the manager. Even though suites are available, the properties insist they cannot upgrade to a suite or would just say we don’t have “standard” suites. Also in terms of points earned, I have had repeated issues with non credit of bonuses. Also they didn’t send a single apology email from the recent security lapse – not even a “we are sorry, we messed up”…

    I am tired of the merger and will definitely never go out of my way to stay at a Marriott. I just got an Aspire card and cannot wait to give my business to Hilton and Hyatt…

  23. I find all the fuss about suites highly amusing.

    I spend about 150 nights in a hotels a year – mostly for business. Am Hilton Diamond.

    Suite upgrades / upgrades are literally the least important aspect/benefit of the program. Simply don’t care.

    A suite is just empty space I don’t need.

  24. 48 actual nights so far this year as platinum/platpremier, no upgrade to a suite except for 5 nights using SNA at Marriott Marquis NYC. Ritz Tokyo, Ritz Kyoto, Grand Bretagne Athens, Mykonos etc not even an upgraded room. JW Wash DC had to fight with them to get a room with a view of the Wash monument, first room had a view of nothing and was traveling with family with plenty of view rooms for sale for the 4 night stay. Marriott beach resort grand cayman – requested strenuously bc there were suites for sale for the week we were there on the day we checked in…wouldn’t budge. They came back and said it was a computer error, the room isn’t really available for sale which I’m sure was bs. They gave me a $100 food credit which in Grand Cayman is like buying me lunch. Platinum is a scam.

  25. @Bob – good for you, you are an outlier. Suites are important to most. Hilton is probably a good program for you then.

  26. I’m a Platinum Premier and had decent luck on a recent European trip. I was 3/4 on suite upgrades (in advance without asking) at former SPG properties in primarily non-business heavy cities. Like others have said, I assume Plats have better luck in Europe and Asia where status is not as widely available as the US.

  27. I’m a 103 night so far this year with only $12,000 in spend. Maybe the spend is the problem, but have not had a suite upgrade once. I’ve had my SNA taken for an average room but decided to not fight for them back because they really are worthless. I also have Explorer status with Hyatt and Platinum with Hilton, so will decide over the next few weeks which one I’ll give most of my business to.

  28. @Tim, i feel the same. Im PPE and I ask for upgrade bit not a suite unless im traveling with family. For business, don’t really need a big room since im rarely there.

  29. @Lucky, since the new program launched, how many nights have you spent at Marriott hotels? That’ll help understand the two complimentary upgrades metric a bit better. Thanks!

  30. Completely agreed with Lucky and the commenters. My only (limited) success out of 102 nights across Marriott and SPG properties was at Tokyo Marriott. That’s likely due to a lack of international platinums, and the fact that the hotel has a crap location for tourists.

    That said, I had to fight hard for it. I would hassle the front desk staff the moment the inventory showed up online. After two days of wrangling, I got the suite upgrade for the remaining six nights. Not worth the effort on a vacation, for sure.

  31. I have 96 nights across both brands this year (and no reason to push for 100 because I don’t have the spend), I’m legacy SPG (usually landing at about 75-90 nights per year) and usually travel to medium-to-large cities (e.g. from Louisville-sized up to NYC).

    I’ve found that my upgrade rate is fairly similar to how it was pre-merger: if I’m at a legacy SPG property, I get pretty consistent suite upgrades (I’d say 75% of the time?), while if I am at a legacy Marriott property, upgrades are effectively non-existent, even with light prodding (excluding Suite Night redemption, I had exactly 1 night out of about 25 this year get upgraded to a standard suite at a legacy Marriott, and that was in Spartanburg, SC).

    I’m actually kicking myself a little bit, because if I would have just kept my nights at SPG only properties, I’d have easily qualified for Ambassador for one last year under the legacy SPG rules, before the spend requirement kicked in.

    With the devaluation of many of the extra ways to earn points I think that next year I’m going to try to be more mercenary.

  32. I’m a SPG Platinum Elite and a Hilton Diamond and for the last year I’ve felt like every SPG property gave me a pretty cold reception. Before this year I’ve never complained to a manager about anything, but this year at SPG has been a lot. No hot water? Check. Room filthy when I arrived? Check. No upgrades when hotel is half full and every room category above me is still for sale? Check. It just feels like they added too many platinums and now don’t care about any of them.

    While Hilton definitely has inferior properties overall, I’d rather stay at a slightly less nice hotel that treated me much better and always upgrades me. The only time hilton has EVER not upgraded me are weekday trips to NYC or London. The last time SPG upgraded me at all was 7 stays ago, where I got upgraded from a Junior Suite to a regular suite. Last 6 have all either offered a paid upgrade or said no upgrades were available. Westin Dublin even wanted to charge us $100/night more for a king bed when the difference in rates on the site was about $10/night.

    I think I’ve qualified for both again next year, but will be using Hilton a bit more.

  33. I have been very disappointed with suite upgrades since the rules changed. As a Hilton Diamond and a MR Platinum (made P Plus this week), I find Hilton will try to upgrade you if they can, and MR will try to find a away to avoid an upgrade if they can. I usually get the excuse in MR that I’ve been upgraded one room type category and that is the max allowed without charge.

  34. My suite upgrade rate has been underwhelming – after many years as a happy SPG Plat50/75 outside the US with no credit card night gifts. I am not surprised, though. I had proactively avoided Marriott for years because of their product, service attitude, loyalty programme and so forth. I guess noone (but the corporate blogging b*tch from TPG) had expected Marriott to change and fulfill their shallow promises when introducing the joint programme.
    The wording of the current suite upgrade policy leaves a lot for the hotels to interpret and Marriott “customer service” doesn’t care (as the never have).
    The good times are over, as much as one doesn’t understand why they paid the goodwill for the loyal customer base and then do everything to piss these people off. But it wasn’t unexpected…

  35. I am platinum ambassador, have over 1600 lifetime stays. I never ask for a suite upgrade mainly because I find I leave stuff behind in large rooms. I made Ambassador status a few weeks ago and have only received an email from my ambassador introducing themself even after leaving a VM and emailing for assistance so I’m not finding any value yet. Marriott has the worldwide coverage and a great negotiated rate with our parent company so hence my loyalty. I hope there is some more value to the status, since my loyalty won’t really get me anything furtherance it stands.

  36. I live in the UK so can’t simply get Hilton Diamond with a credit card, I actually earned it. I’m also a Marriott OK (87 nights this year).

    I find I get a suite upgrade just as often with Hilton as I do with Marriott. I find Hilton hotels generally treat me better as well. One thing Hilton does well and Marriott seems to always fail at is reading the note I add when I male the booking. I always add a note that I have a good allergy. 50% of the time Hilton hotels pass this info to the restaurant/lounge and when I give my room number they mention the food allergy and tell me what I can and cannot eat. I have yet to experience this even once with Marriott!

  37. I am a Platinum Elite (upgraded from Gold to Platinum after the merger) and I have received a 1 bedroom suite upgrade at the Ritz Carlton in San Francisco. When I checked in, I asked to be upgraded to a larger corner room because I knew that Ritz explicitly doesn’t upgrade to suites but the check in agent told me they had already upgraded me to a suite. So that rule seems to be at the liberty of the hotel.

  38. Everyone has basically the same story as mine. They givith then they Takith away. SPG has had a fairly well oiled and very unusually loyal clientele BECAUSE they did it right. Platinum treatment was always ( 90%) given….Marriott hotels are cookie cutter for the most part and management is weak and never customer centric. They care about their job….not their clients. For 199.00 rooms this may work…for 250-500 a night…won’t work for me….
    They will loose many people and much revenue due to their poor merge, and cheap attitude. I will repay their loyalty as they have diminished theirs to me.

    A shame…hello Marriott….if I loved your brands I would have been platinum with you..not SPG…your blowing it…

  39. First I’ve heard this: Platinum Premier requires 75 nights, and includes perks like suite upgrades at all properties (including Ritz-Carltons), more bonus points, etc.

    Anyone know when this was effective?

  40. I am an Ambassador 100 night and have received 1 upgrade without asking and declined it as it was on a low floor and not all that quiet. I don’t like asking and being “that guy” at the desk.
    Prior to the acquisition of SPG, a dark day indeed, I frequently received upgrades without asking. Always a nice touch when guest service and status is acknowledged proactively.
    Definitely a much different experience now with Marriott at the helm.

  41. PGB, you are absolutely right: from the front desk to the Platinum phone line SPG was a well-oiled machine you can always rely on. Marriott was just another stingier version of Hilton. For these reasons I was staying 80-90 nights with SPG and another 30+ stays with Hilton because of smaller SPG footprint. I tried my best to enjoy what was left of SPG this year but honestly, Marriott already ruined it. Out of 90 nights I think I was upgraded twice: (1) at Sheraton Lombok to a great suite (I think it was our third visit at low season) and (2) 4Points Orlando for 1 night. At least we have fun memories of SPG program. Marriott just sucks BIG way.

  42. Lucky,

    I agree that each hotel has its own rule regarding member’s benefit.

    In Asia, standard suite upgrade for Platinum Elite is a normal thing. I nearly always received a complimentary suite upgrade at any Marriott properties. Back then, I even received a Suite upgrade at Four Points hotel in Indonesia for being a Silver Elite.

    However, I personally think that Hilton treats me better than Marriott nowadays.

  43. One thing I don’t really get is why Hyatt is not capitalising in this huge deception of SPGs most loyal guests. If I were a Hyatt shareholder I would seriously be interested in my management’s rationale. I am not talking about giving a match out for free but a little challenge for Plat and above could be a very very lucrative move given how much real loyalty Marriott has destroyed. Of course, over-tanned sunnyboy Arne doesn’t understand what real loyalty is, for him it’s all transactional, they way they have always run Marriott.

  44. “this won’t be an issue at the Four Points by Sheraton Nairobi, in all likelihood”…

    What is your rationale behind this statement? Do you perceive that people travelling to Nairobi, the capital of one of the largest economies in the continent and the banking heart of Africa would not hold ‘Platinum’ status…?

  45. I am a Diamond in Hilton, a Lifetime Gold in Marriot, usually platinum in Marriot every year, and platinum in SPG every year.

    Since the SPG-Marriot merge, the downgrade in the quality of service and benefits has degraded so severely, I have been turned off at staying at these properties. I would normally average over 80 nights per year in Marriot, this year I have stayed 15. I would previously stay over 50 nights per year in SPG, this year its about 8.

    However, in the past I would average around 20 nights a year in Hilton, this year I passed the 60-night mark. This should be giving Marriott some food for thought. Nickle and diming your best customers loses them.

  46. Ben, you were 100% wrong when you wrote:

    “Starwood said that Platinum members were entitled to an upgrade up to a standard suite, subject to availability
    Marriott said that Platinum members were entitled to an upgrade, and that upgrade could include a standard suite, at the hotel’s discretion
    They adopted Starwood’s old verbiage, but how realistic is that really? Platinum still only requires 50 nights (Starwood’s old requirement), having a co-branded SPG or Marriott card will get you 15 elite nights towards status starting in 2019 (meaning you really only need 35 nights), and now we’re talking about the world’s largest hotel group.”

    Marriott’s new terms and conditions say an elite member eligible for a suite is entitled to the best available room, including a suite, at the time of check-in. With the Marriott mobile application, check-in is 48 hours in advance. There is no limitation to a “select” or “standard” suite. So if the presidential suite is available then it is yours, according to the terms.

  47. I’m a Platinum (will make Plat Premier tomorrow) – all through stays/nights (I’ll end up 69 stays/75 nights, no status nights through credit cards in Europe).

    I had two Suite upgrades, one in Georgia (the country, not the the US state) and one in Guatemala. Was it worth it? Probably not, since I only stayed one or two nights, respectively …

    My main frustration remains the move from stays to nights. I conisder myself very loyal booking so many stays – that I can’t stay any longer is completely outside my control …

  48. Same experiences here. As a platinum, I have received one suite upgrade – to an amazing loft suite at a Protea in Cape Town. Other than that, I have gotten upgrades to bigger rooms on the club level, but no other suites. In some instances, usually in NYC, it doesn’t even seem like I get upgraded at all. It is a little frustrating to get a room below the 10th floor in NYC as a platinum.

  49. @DC_Flyer: Platinum is the old gold. You’re probably one of 50 platinums at a New York City downtown hotel on a week night.

  50. I’m Platinum Premier and checked in the Renaissance Tuscany yesterday. It’s pretty empty. I was given the room that I booked (balcony with view), except that it has two twin beds. I’m traveling with my husband and asked for a king room. I was told that my room was upgraded for the view and they could only downgrade me to give me a king bed. They were selling all classes of rooms above mine, including suites. We tried to push it gently, but they wouldn’t budge except for a downgrade. Very disappointing experience as PP but didn’t feel like fighting harder. FWIW, they offered breakfast (but that’s it – no recognition otherwise).

  51. Personally since Marriott has taken over I see several major changes. First is how many points for a hotel night, yeh they converted it but you still have Fairfields showing up as a category 5 or 50k in points. Suite night awards are a joke, in the 8 previous years I never got denied, always got the upgrade and at times even the presidential suite, today its about a 40% chance you will get an upgrade to a suite, even if they have one available. Last but not least for those who may not know, Marriott is now charging for 3rd person in a room, even if its your kid. Not every Hotel has the policy but for example the Marriott or Sheraton at Niagara Falls does. And last but not least, resort fee’s yes this is when the hotel wants to suck a few more dollars from your wallet even if your paying with points and half the stuff they give you for the additional charge is already part of your perks. And don’t get me going on parking charges, I’m using my points and moving to Hilton.

  52. Agree…it’s Marriotts tight fisted no smiles to customers requests attitude.
    I’m right now…staying in a Lux Coll prop and have a 3 rd guest mother in law,
    After really an upgrade..but. They are chargin* 75.00 extra a night for 3 rd person AND 20.00 for her breakfast.

    Marriott needs to see SPG or all bookings drop as a complaint to back off.

  53. I am a Ritz Carlton manager and wanted to shed some light. As many have stated, in our 200 room hotel we will have 100+ platinum+ check ins every day. It is impossible to complimentary upgrade anymore. Also the front desk works on upsell commission, and many of our non-member or lower member arrivals are willing to PAY for an upgrade at check in. We have to keep certain suites open for upsells until the night ends, we all have revenue goals in business don’t we? Another challenge is that we’re technically only supposed to comp upgrade 1 tier. Upgrading 2 tiers would require additional payment which are rules made by the executive team. Many times in luxury properties the suites are privately owned therefore require a minimum amount of revenue to stay (your points will not work in these suites, they must be booked at rack rate or upsold to the value of the rate). Another important factor guests don’t understand is length of stay. Lengths of stay must match up like a perfect puzzle in order to meet our revenue goals, so placing your 5 night res in a suite only available for 3 will not work. Or the next guest coming in after 3 days is paying more than you. Until you work in revenue management in hotels you will never know how much thought and strategy goes into these decisions. Bottom line moving forward, pay for the room you want and please stop pushing the front desk because platinum guests cause us so much stress at work.

  54. @Sn

    “platinum guests cause us so much stress at work”

    Sorry to hear your most loyal customers cause you so many problems. But fear not, most of us have been bonvoyed and you won’t be seeing us again.

  55. @SN

    Appreciate the inside view you provided and no doubt believe what you are saying. However those are not communicated, in fact when you put a perk like Suite awards if you reach 50-75 nights it should come with a Disclaimer “Most times you will not be able to use these unless trying at a Hotel off season or not busy”. You mention they have to meet certain prices but again that is not disclosed. I’ve already started to move, Hilton provided me an even loyalty tier as long as I stay x number of nights in next 60 days. Was a great 20+ years with Westin but as with all programs the better they get the decrease in value we the consumer get back make it hard to justify. Hopefully this will allow you hotels to free up some rooms so you can keep some of the other loyal members before they jump ship.

  56. @Mark Scafidi I do agree with you, I would love to see Marriott come out with a better communication like “Updated benefits year 2020” replacing the word ‘upgrade’ with ‘priority on best room’. I think generally it is easier to get upgraded to suites in Hiltons and former SPG because the hotels were built with a lot more suite inventory.

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