How To Use Marriott Bonvoy Suite Night Awards

Filed Under: Marriott
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In this post I wanted to take a closer look at Marriott Suite Night Awards, which are a Bonvoy elite benefit that members have conflicting feelings about.

What are Marriott Suite Night Awards?

Suite Night Awards (known as “SNAs”) are a way for Marriott Bonvoy Platinum, Titanium, and Ambassador members, to confirm a suite upgrade up to five days before arrival. Each SNA is valid for one night of a stay.

While Platinum members and above receive unlimited suite upgrades subject to availability at check-in, this essentially lets members prioritize upgrades on the stays that matter most to them. In other words, you may not care about a suite upgrade on your one night stay at an airport hotel, while you may care a lot about a suite upgrade on your annual vacation with your spouse.

But there’s a lot to understand about SNAs — how do you earn them, how do you redeem them, and what’s the best strategy for deciding when to redeem them? I’ll share my experience below.

Unfortunately don’t get too excited, because Marriott’s Suite Night Awards are nowhere near as useful as the Suite Upgrade Awards that World of Hyatt Globalist members receive, each of which is valid for a suite upgrade at the time of booking for a stay of up to seven nights.

Get priority for a suite upgrade using Marriott SNAs

How to earn Marriott Suite Night Awards

Marriott elite members exclusively receive SNAs as part of the Bonvoy Choice Benefits program. These are offered in two tiers, at 50 elite nights and 75 elite nights:

  • When you pass 50 elite nights you can select five SNAs
  • When you pass 75 elite nights you can select a further five SNAs

You can select SNAs as part of Choice Benefits

In other words, an elite member who earns 75 elite nights in a year can earn up to 10 SNAs. When you select SNAs as your Choice Benefits, they’ll be valid through the end of the year after they were chosen.

In other words, if you selected them as your Choice Benefit in November 2020, they’d be valid through December 31, 2021 (and you have to stay by then, rather than just needing to book by then).

Note that these Choice Benefits are tied exclusively to how many qualifying elite nights you earn in a year, rather than your status:

Bonvoy elite members can earn up to 10 SNAs per year

How to redeem Marriott Suite Night Awards

There are many nuances to understand when it comes to redeeming Marriott Suite Night Awards. Marriott Bonvoy can be a complicated program, and that’s especially evident when it comes time to redeem SNAs.

Each Suite Night Award can be redeemed for an advance confirmable upgrade for select premium rooms and suites, with each SNA being valid for one night. Let’s go through some of the most common questions about Suite Night Awards, which might be the easiest way to understand this.

What rates are eligible for Marriott SNAs?

Any stay that would be considered “eligible” for the purposes of earning Bonvoy elite credits would also be eligible for Suite Night Awards. These can be redeemed on all stays booked directly with Marriott, including paid stays, points stays, free night certificate stays, Cash & Points stays, etc.

What hotels are eligible for Marriott SNAs?

Marriott Suite Night Awards can’t be used for stays at the following brands:

  • Ritz-Carlton
  • Ritz-Carlton Reserve
  • Ritz-Carlton Destination Club
  • Ritz-Carlton Residences
  • EDITION
  • Protea Hotels
  • Aloft
  • Element
  • Design Hotels
  • Marriott Executive Apartments
  • ExecuStay
  • Marriott Vacation Club
  • Marriott Grand Residence Club
  • Vistana

Not just that, but SNAs also can’t be redeemed at select other individual properties not belonging to the groups listed above. If you want to see if a particular hotel is eligible, you can either contact Marriott Bonvoy customer service, or you can just make a booking and see if you have the option of applying an SNA to a reservation.

Marriott SNAs can’t be used at EDITION properties

What rooms are eligible for Marriott SNAs?

It’s up to individual hotels to designate which types of rooms are eligible for Suite Night Awards. According to the terms this is supposed to include select premium rooms and standard suites, though you’ll find that this varies:

  • At some hotels you’ll find that only one or two room types are available with SNAs, while at others you’ll find there are a dozen options
  • At some hotels rooms eligible for SNAs don’t even include standard suites, but rather just premium rooms, while at other hotels you’ll find some absolutely incredible suites available with SNAs, like two-bedroom suites, and suites that are 10x the price of an entry-level room

There’s a huge amount of variability here.

When there are multiple rooms that are eligible for SNAs, you can choose any number to be upgraded to that you want — you could ask to be eligible for an upgrade to one type of room, a couple of types of rooms, or all the room types.

At Caresse Bodrum I used an SNA for a two bedroom suite

When can you request upgrades with Marriott SNAs?

You can request an upgrade with Suite Night Awards anytime between when you make your booking, and 2PM local hotel time the day before arrival. You can’t apply SNAs within 24 hours of arrival at a hotel.

When do Marriott SNAs clear?

Marriott Suite Night Awards can clear as early as five days before arrival, and as late as 2PM local hotel time the day before arrival. I’ll talk a bit more below about what clearing of upgrades is based on, but in my experience if they do clear, it’s often at the five day mark, rather than at the one day mark.

Marriott SNAs can start clearing five days out

Can you cancel upgrade requests with Marriott SNAs?

You can cancel Marriott Suite Night Awards anytime when they haven’t yet cleared, whether that’s three months or three days before arrival. However, if your SNAs do clear, then you can only cancel the request if you cancel the reservation altogether, in which case the SNAs would be redeposited in your account.

You can’t cancel your SNAs once they’ve cleared if you still intend to complete the hotel stay.

Can you redeem Marriott SNAs for part of a stay?

You need to use SNAs for your entire stay, and can’t redeem for part of a stay. In other words, if you had five SNAs:

  • You could book five one night stays
  • You could book a two night stay and a three night stay
  • You could book a five night stay
  • However, you couldn’t book a six night stay, and then apply SNAs to just five of those nights

You need to redeem Marriott SNAs for your entire stay

Are Marriott SNAs guaranteed to clear if a room is available?

Should you expect that if a room you requested an SNA for is available five days out, that your upgrade will clear at that point? No, not quite, unfortunately:

  • On the plus side, Suite Night Awards are cleared centrally by Marriott rather than by the individual hotel, which takes the process out of the hands of hotels that may be trying to game the system
  • However, Suite Night Awards clearing are based on forecasted occupancy; if it looks like a hotel could sell that suite, it’s unlikely it will become available at the five day mark

You will find some inconsistency here. In my experience if there are several of a specific suite type available then it will also typically be available with an SNA five days out. Meanwhile if there’s not much inventory, it might not clear.

How do you request an upgrade with Marriott SNAs?

After you confirm a reservation, there are two ways you can request an upgrade with an SNA:

  • You can phone up Marriott Bonvoy customer support
  • You can request an upgrade directly online

To do it online, go to the “My Trips” section of your Bonvoy account after booking, and log into your reservation. At the bottom of the reservation you should see an area that says “Use your Suite Night Awards.”

Click that, and then you’ll see the options of which premium rooms you can select to request an upgrade to.

Note that you’ll only see the option for this functionality if you have enough upgrades in your account for the entire stay.

My Marriott Suite Night Award strategy

Given that Bonvoy elite members earn Suite Night Awards to cover only a small percentage of their stays, what’s the best strategy for deciding which stays to use these for? Here are my general considerations:

  • How much does the stay matter to me? I care a lot more about an upgrade if I’m traveling with Ford, if I’m at a resort where I plan on spending more time in the room, etc.
  • What are the odds of getting a complimentary upgrade at check-in? As any Bonvoy elite member can attest to, some hotels are great about suite upgrades at check-in, while others aren’t. When deciding whether or not to apply an SNA, I ask myself what the odds are of getting an upgrade without using an SNA. This is based on my past experience at a property, how many suites the property has, and reading what others have said about the hotel online.
  • How good of a premium room is available with an SNA? At some hotels you’ll only have larger guest rooms available with SNAs, while at other hotels you’ll have premium suites that you’d likely never get a complimentary upgrade to. If I’m going to use an SNA, I’d ideally like it to be for a really great room.

It’s important to approach all of this realistically, though. If you’re traveling somewhere in peak season that’s also frequented by lots of other Bonvoy elite members, you’re probably not going to have your SNA clear. In other words, Maui over Christmas? It’s almost certain you won’t get a suite upgrade, regardless of whether or not you apply an SNA.

A real life example of my approach to Marriott SNAs

Back when cases in Europe weren’t as high as they were now, we had thought about going to Venice for a long weekend, and we were going to split time between two Marriott properties — the iconic Gritti Palace Venice (a Luxury Collection property), and the St. Regis Venice.

Now, let me note that under normal circumstances these are both hotels where in summer I’d ordinarily never expect to get an upgrade, let alone with an SNA. Obviously things are very different this year, in light of travel restrictions.

In the case of Gritti Palace, here were the options with SNAs:

For context, here’s how much the room I booked (with points) was selling for, and how much the three types of upgraded rooms were selling for:

What were my considerations?

  • The Giglio Prestige Larger Guest Room isn’t even 20% more expensive than the base room, so in my opinion wasn’t worth applying an SNA for, since my assumption is always that they will probably upgrade you to the lowest premium room type you request
  • Either of the “actual” suite upgrades would have been incredible, as they were ~3-5x the price of an entry level room
  • A week out I looked how many of each room type was still for sale, and saw there were at least three of each
  • I ended up requesting an SNA for both of the suites, and ended up getting a confirmed upgrade to the “base” one bedroom suite, which I was thrilled with (again, I didn’t take this trip, though)

Then for the St. Regis Venice, here were my options for SNAs:

For context, here’s how much each of these room types was selling for:

What were my considerations?

  • I think it goes without saying our eyes immediately go to the very bottom of the list, which are the best suites; it sure would be nice to get a suite with a full view of the canal
  • There were at least three of these suites left a week out, so I ended up requesting just that
  • The upgrade ended up clearing five days out

Bottom line

Marriott elite nights members can earn up to 10 Suite Night Awards per year, each of which can be used to confirm a room upgrade at most five days out. This is a way to request upgrade priority on the stays that matter the most to you.

People have very different experiences with this, and I think it all comes down to managing expectations. While this perk isn’t nearly as useful as Hyatt’s program for suite upgrades, I’ve still gotten outsized value from this, and consistently select SNAs as my Choice Benefits.

What has your experience been with Marriott SNAs? Do you have any questions I haven’t addressed?

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Comments
  1. I’ve had luck every time I’ve booked 2 rooms under my name (Ambassador status) and used SNAs and had both rooms upgraded without using double the SNAs (eg use 1 SNA to upgrade 2 rooms for 1 night)

  2. Speaking as a longtime Hyatt elite and a newly minted Bonvoy Platinum, I’ll amplify the comparison to Hyatt. , World of Hyatt gives a total of four suite upgrade certificates when someone qualifies/requalifies for Globalist, and gives up to four additional suite upgrade certificates each year as people pass 70, 80, 90, and 100 nights stayed or earned (via credit card spend.) Each cert is good for up to a seven-night stay, meaning that you could stay nearly two *months* in a Hyatt suite with the suite certificate earning you get after just one year. As with most aspects of the WoH program, the availability and quality of suite inventory has consistently exceeded my expectations. I have stayed literally months of my life in $600+/night suites using Hyatt’s certificates (and have been consistently surprised by how often I’m upgraded to very expensive suites without using any certificate at all.)

    I don’t mind so much that Marriott is relatively stingy with the nights counts on these, but what bothers me is how inconsistent and exception-laden the program seems to be. Some properties offer upgrades, some don’t. Some properties offer the best they have, some don’t. With Hyatt I drop an e-mail to my Globalist concierge and typically within a few hours I’m told whether I’m going to be in a suite for the duration of my stay or note. Sounds like in Marriott’s program, you might get upgraded, or you might not. It’s more like being pleasantly surprised as AA Gold when your upgrade clears shortly before departure than something you can plan your stay around.

    If I were participating in a focus group for hotel loyalty programs, I’d advise the powers that be that consumers like me are pretty busy and pretty dumb, and one thing that we busy dumb people prefer is consistency in value and expectations for loyalty and awards programs. These programs can undeniably can create demand where it didn’t exist before: we’ve gone from spending 0 nights in Hyatt hotels to far exceeding 100 earned nights a year for the last few years. But the consumer has to have some clarity about the present and future value of the program to commit their time and money in that way. Marriott’s benefit sounds like it might perhaps maybe be useful and I’ll have a go at earning it in 2021. But based on what’s described here my expectations are pretty limited for what it may do for us, and how it might compete with Hyatt’s much more generous and transparent confirmed upgrade program.

  3. The Marriott inventory control cuts both ways. I attempted to use Suite upgrades for an important family stay at a hotel where I am known and liked because I stay there every year. In short Marriott refused to clear the upgrade even though there was inventory available for 3 different suite types. I contacted the hotel AGM who said that if it were up to them I’d be first in line but the property had no control. In the end my certs were returned by Marriott and the property gladly upgraded me to a nice suite upon arrival.

  4. Does the award get deducted from my account when I make the request or once confirmed? If I am making two bookings, can I use the same award to increase my chances of one clearing?

  5. “However, you couldn’t book a six night stay, and then apply SNAs to just five of those nights”

    You can, however, absolutely book a 5-night stay, apply the SNAs, and then book a 1-night stay __at the same property__. And while they can and often will move you to a regular room for the last night, you can use this method to book a partial stay with SNAs. It’s absolutely allowed.

  6. Tonight I’m literally making it to the 50 night mark with Marriott/Bonvoy. I’m interested in how these upgrade certificates will work out. However, I have to say that as a gold/platinum Bonvoy elite member in the present/past, upgrades are extremely rare. I was actually given an upgrade tonight, but it made me think it is only the third upgrade in the past 12 months. I’m typically told an upgrade is just “not available” – and I often can’t help but notice the empty parking lot too. I’m convinced the individual hotels have no interest in playing nice with this Marriott/Bonvoy corporate perk – they have nothing to gain.

  7. Honestly I think the suite night upgrade would be totally worth it if along with the upgrade comes the perks such as executive lounge access.

    Then, I’d be more happier to use them and upgrade an extra room I’m staying at with friends or family during the year to enjoy the facilities together. Since I’m a titanium elite, I’ll get access to the lounge but if the other room can also get access, it’d be amazing. This year I’ve had many opportunity to have friends stay over with me on staycations and come to the lounge. They all said now they know the reason why getting status and staying loyal makes sense. I think from a marketing standpoint, it’d be good for bonvoy to make this a policy across the board. If you upgrade to a suite, it automatically comes with lounge access and all the benefits such as free breakfast and happy hour.

  8. @Danny Kang, Hyatt has a program called “Guest of Honor” that does more or less exactly what you describe. If the Hyatt elite books a room for a guest with points and is staying at the same time in another room, then the elite perks are extended to the guest. The “guest of honor” benefit is supposed to apply only in cases of points bookings, but in both cases where my in-laws came along on a cash rate, the hotel manager generously offered to extend lounge privileges and other elite benefits to them. This was much appreciated, and good business: invariably people traveling with family tend to spend a bunch on dinner and other incidentals at the hotel. We’ve preferentially started choosing Hyatts when we do group trips, because it seems like Hyatt management actively considers what will make a better trip for all of us.

  9. @Danny Kang …the other thing that Hyatt recently started doing is giving out a number of “lounge passes” as a person reaches Globalist status; the Globalist can give these out to non-elites to allow their pals to enter the lounge with them. In truth I’ve never needed to use one of these passes, but for some people in some situations they might be useful.

    If you travel in Asia you will often see lounges being used as de facto office spaces as large-ish groups of people discuss very expensive manufacturing deals and the like with one or two people who are actually staying at the hotel. Those extra people aren’t comped in; they simply show up in a group. The hotel staff knows well the status of every single person who enters the lounge, but they choose in these cases to not play gatekeeper: what better way to advertise the hotel than to have a bunch of high-powered and well-heeled folks come in for a business meeting?

  10. I am afraid you are out of date with your information. SNA’s are now cleared by the htoel not centrally, this used to be the case but at some point after the merger and when all hotels moved to the single platform this was changed as many owners on the Marriott side were unhappy about the lack of control.

    SNA’s can indeed be great but Marriott allows hotels to decide when to allow them to clear and not, regardless of availability which certainly devalues them somewhat.

  11. The concept of having to choose which room type to request an upgrade for is asinine. Shouldn’t the system just automatically place you into the best-available? Instead of possibly getting nothing if the tier you request doesn’t pan out, even if it’s a lower one?

  12. I feel like the SNA program is a giant scam. I hVe been platinum for 9 years and finally mDenit to titanium this year. Since the merger, I have only been successful using the SNA once. If you Re like me and like to prepay your stay for budgeting purposes, those bookings don’t qualify, which is frustrating.

  13. Curious for Marriott elites that have tried to use these SNA upgrade certificates: have you had better luck applying them inside or outside of the USA?

  14. Your reporting on what rates are eligible is not exactly accurate anymore. I booked a room at the St Regis deer valley through amex FHR in September and learned that rates booked through amex FHR are no longer eligible for SNAs or at least that particular st regis is not accepting them, unsurprisingly customer service was no help

  15. @MT – interesting, do you have proof for that statement? Frankly it would make a lot of sense (but does allow for more negative hotel gaming of the benefit).

  16. If I want to book 2 rooms for 2 nights, can I apply 4 SNA’s and get confirmed into both? Or can I only use them on one room at a time?

  17. @MT & @UA-NYC – Hotels are able to allocate inventory to be eligible for SNAs however SNAs are still cleared by the system automatically and not on a case by case basis.

  18. My account shows 65 nights 2020. I have some promotional nights plus the 15 CC nights. Do the Promotional nights count? Not sure where they came from anyway.
    Status is LT Titanium.

  19. I made a nice experience with SNA in Spain. I stayed at a Luxury Collection Hotel, booked a normal room and upgraded to a suite with SNA. When I arrived at the property they gave me an additional upgrade to the presidents suite. This was the first time this had happened to me and I started to wonder whether this was just a nice move or whether the hotels were encouraged to give an additional upgrade if available.

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