Well This Marriott Stay Is Going Great So Far…

Filed Under: Hotels, Marriott

Update: See here for part two to this story.

I’m still a top tier Marriott Bonvoy Ambassador member, though I’ll be dropping down to Titanium as of next month, as I didn’t requalify.

The truth is that I’ve voted with my wallet, and I’ve largely stopped staying at Marriotts. I’ve done everything I can to manage my expectations when it comes to Marriott elite upgrades:

  • Upgrades in Asia are generally excellent, as is the case with most hotel groups
  • Most of my Marriott stays in the US are at airport hotels for one night stays where I don’t care what room I get
  • A good number of my Marriott stays are at properties where there’s simply no opportunity to get an upgrade because the hotel is sold out, and that’s totally fine

All of this is to say that I don’t think I’ve had a single Marriott stay in the past year where I asked about a room upgrade at check-in, either because I had already been upgraded, because the front desk agent was proactive, or because I knew there was no chance.

My latest Marriott Bonvoy “upgrade” experience

Well, today I checked into The Ben, a new Marriott Autograph Collection property in West Palm Beach (did I mention what a fantastic name the hotel has?). It literally opened just a couple of days ago.

Ford and I are excited about this because his mom lives in the area but her building isn’t dog friendly. This allows us to visit her with Winston.

If you were to play “Marriott  Bonvoy upgrade games at check-in” bingo, I think this check-in experience would win. In fairness, this is a new hotel, so I’m not sure whether this came down to lack of training, intentionally denying benefits (as so many hotels do), or what…

Well, the check-in experience went about as you’d expect from Marriott…

“We have you in a king city view room.”
“Yes, that’s what I booked. Do you by any chance have any Ambassador upgrades available?”
“None of our water view rooms are available right now. If you want you can wait for one of those, though.”

I checked the Marriott app, and they were still selling at least three junior suites (the most the app will show). I figured I’d ask about those:

“Do you by any chance have any junior suite upgrades available?”
“Let me check. Hmm… it looks like they’re all pulled from inventory.”

The agent was nice, or else I would have asked “great, so what would happen if I booked three of them right now for tonight?”

We decided to just accept the standard room, since the priority was getting a room ASAP. We were there a bit before check-in time, and we’re only staying for one night.

We go up to our room and… it had two beds. I had reserved a king room. It could have been an oversight, or it could have been that she saw two guys and assumed we wanted two beds (I always give people the benefit of the doubt and assume the former, because the latter would annoy me).

We went back to the front desk, and this time another agent helped me.

“Hi, we reserved a room with a king bed, but were assigned a room with two beds.”
“Oh, that’s probably because we didn’t have any king rooms available.”
“Then maybe your colleague should have told me that rather than assuming that we’d like a room with two beds?”

I do everything I can to be nice to people, but c’mon, that’s such terrible service. Say “I’m sorry” or “let me fix that for you,” but don’t make an excuse for assigning someone something they didn’t reserve and not even bothering to tell them about it. Just to be clear, this hotel is trying to charge $400+ per night…

“Great news, we can upgrade you to a king room with a water view.”

Yes, now a king room with a water view was available, even though it wasn’t five minutes ago.

And then we got to the room, and this is the “water view” we had…

You shouldn’t have… you really shouldn’t have.

This hotel could double as a dentist’s office, because getting an upgrade here is like pulling teeth…

Oh, it gets better!

I was about to hit publish on this post, but this situation just got better.

Just now (well over an hour after checking in) someone entered my room without knocking. It’s engineering and apparently they have to fix the toilet.

Not only do two guys enter the room, but a little girl is now in my room as well (I assume someone brought their daughter to work?), and is now standing in my guest room looking at me while I’m on my laptop sitting in bed with Winston.

What the actual eff?! Yes, this is literally happening “live” as I write this…

  1. Wow Ben! If I were in your shoes, I’d definitely mention this to management. Forget about compensation, but as somebody in the hotel industry, this is something that needs to be brought to higherups’ attention. Thanks for the great content as always, and good luck!

  2. People can’t get mad about Bonvoy anymore. At a certain point you have to accept that you did it to yourself lmao.

  3. Thanks for taking one for the team, Lucky. The amusement value to us is worth your suffering. Mean or not, you HAVE to ask them about that water view.

  4. That’s quite a view. I guess 100 nights/year doesn’t mean much to Bonvoy.

    What a dumpster fire. So sad for those of us who were SPG loyalists.

  5. I checked into the Marriott Harbor Beach today for a couple nights to unload the Brilliant credit and the annual cert and that will be it for us. The resort fees on award stays along with the price increases sealed the deal for us. Guess they are mind readers with the upgrade to an oceanfront room for a lowly Gold member. Adios though

  6. It was very hard to let my Marriott loyalty go, but the company has been just milking it lately. The customer appreciation is out the window, and the hunger and thirst to increase the bottom line in order to benefit shareholders post-merger is ruthless. I’ve noticed that many luxury properties this year are well over $100+ more per night than they were last year at the same time. Then, most have resort fees. You have to laugh!! Let’s not even go there with black-out dates. I called the Ritz Carlton in Philly two days ago and stated that I wanted to use a 50,000 point Bonvoy certificate and wanted to know how much it would cost to add club upgrade. The woman stated, “I don’t know. Why don’t you just pay cash?” THIS IS A RITZ-CARLTON!!! HA!

  7. Did you have the do not disturb sign on your room? I always put that on, and lock my door with the chain any time I am in the room.

    Did Winston bark when he noticed the intruders?

  8. That is an awful experience! As you pointed out, the hotel is new, perhaps the staff needs additional training etc.

  9. I’d like to share my Bonvoyed story right now – live also –

    (1) first night, ceiling A/C in the room starts making weird rattling noises. As I record it the noise to share with management, the thing COLLAPSES and almost smashes my head! I immediately called FD and their response was sending a dude over to put back the absolutely filthy filter back (disgusting) and just push up it up. I asked if that seriously up and maybe maintenance should take a look. He shrugged and said meh they’re gone now. This all happened at midnight.

    (2) second night, GM speaks with me. Tells me they’ll move me to a new room. Thank goodness. They ring up and told me the room was ready. Cool, but I’m still packing so they told me to call them when I was ready. 2 minutes later, staff calls me up and tells me room is ready. I said OK someone told me that already and told me to call when I was ready so someone can help me with my bags. I go back to packing my stuff. 2 minutes later, a bellman comes by with a luggage cart even though I never called down as I wasn’t ready yet. What in the actual F is going on. I told him I wasn’t ready as I was still packing! Finally, I’m done with the packing and I call down to ask for a bellman to assist. 30 minutes goes by and no one so I call down and ask the status. They said they’d be right up. An hour goes by and still nothing…WHAT THE F.

    (3) I get to my new room. It’s much better as the AC actual works in this one. I go to take a shower as I’m sweating from the barely working AC from the other room. I get out of the toilet and boom – the whole floor is soaked with water like it’s flooding. Seriously, this wasn’t a small puddle, but a giant pool of water spreading across the entire bathroom. To make matters worse, the tiling is white making the water super hard to see and it’s slippery. Nearly fell down but I luckily grab the glad door. By this point, I was too tired to have someone take a look at it so I just told them to have it fixed after I left as there’s another shower in the room.

    (4) next day, the saga continues. I bought a memorable and expensive Hand engraved wine glass from my favorite vineyard. I’ve taken this glass on many trips and pack it very securely and wash it myself. I left the hotel for a few hours as they have rolling blackouts here and when I get back I notice the glass is missing. Thinking that housekeeping probably mistook it as the hotel’s glass, I call down to the FD to tell them to please bring it back. 30 minutes goes by and still no glass. I call down again and they told me it’s coming. Another 30 goes by and still nothing. I call again and FD tells me it’s coming for sure. After another 15 minutes, someone calls up and tells me that the housekeeper has fessed up and that she accidentally smashed the class…by this time, I’m fuming. I spent so much on that glass and spent 12 Hours to fly there and kept it protected from any impact through so many flights and it’s gone in an instant from a careless housekeeper who decided to hide the fact she broke it and lie that it was lost…I’ve lost my mind and can’t deal with the staff anymore. I can’t deal with it so I go to take a shower at the other shower cubicle that doesn’t make me need Noah’s ark to survive.

    (5) after the shower in this other bathroom, lo and behold, this shower also leaks a lake. Like a real freaking lake.

    (6) I think I’m losing my mind. And it’s 10 PM here and I’m writing this by candlelight as another rolling blackout has hit. And oh yeah, I have 2 more days to go…at least I have Xanax but I’m running low. Someone. Please. Save. Me.

    Sincerely, Royally Bonvoyed

  10. “Oh, that’s probably because we didn’t have any king rooms available.” WTF??? You reserved so that should be guaranteed right?

  11. As much as Bonvoy may or may not deserve crap…

    It’s a brand new hotel – there will always be issues at brand new hotels

  12. I’m just Platinum with Marriott and I get that many members are Titanium and above, but I almost never get an upgrade anymore. It used to be that they were good in Asia, but that has changed (for me). I feel that Hilton is actually much more generous with upgrades nowadays, even though I’m only Gold with them.

  13. Similar story 2 nights ago at the Marriott Biscayne Bay Miami. Wife and I stayed 1 night pre-cruise, I am a lifetime titanium. I did not expect any upgrades as the Miami Yacht show is going on so full occupancy. I reserved a king room.

    Upon arrival, agent says “we have a great room for you, nice view of the bay.” I asked if it was a king and he said yes.

    We get to room and it is 2 twin beds, “view of bay” is similar to your view above. Normally I’m not a complainer but we wanted a king/queen bed, so I called down.

    15 minutes later they called up and said they had 1 king (handicapped) so we switched.

    I just hate the dishonesty/games.

  14. Well, I initially the same at the Westin Guatemala last week, but in contrast to you, I finally ended up in a Junior Suite. And yes, maintenance was done before they released the room and none of the employees brought their children … (Actually Guatemaltecan children would not stare at you, but probably help their parents or else ask you if you have time for a chat …)

  15. I feel your pain. This kind of thing happens to my husband and me all the time. If we’re staying just one night, we sometimes just accept the cruddy service since it’s often such a pain to rectify these situations. If we are staying longer, we usually go to the mat to get things straightened out. Your exact scenario played out for us just 3 weeks ago. Thanks for all you do to make the world of travel saner for everyone.

  16. I’d be at the front desk asking exactly WTF they think is the best possible response to the Upgrade Fail and to the trespass. “How much more for a room nobody will enter when I’m naked?”

  17. Before I knew that the bonvoyed.com (independent complaints) website even existed, I did a one night stay at a Marriott in Santa Cruz. No problems, nothing out of the ordinary, but… Beginning a couple of weeks later, I started getting incessant phone calls. All of them were prefixed with an automated “thank you for choosing Marriott hotels” blurb followed by a live agent trying to sell me (Marriott) timeshares in Florida. After more than 10 attempts to get these calls to stop, I finally succeeded, but ONLY by wasting as much of their agent time as possible and telling them so at the end of each subsequent call. They finally removed me from their telemarketing list and I now go out of my way to ensure that I don’t accidentally stay at any Marriott-owned property with a non-Marriott brand name.

  18. Lol love the water view. Sad! At least Winston seems happy 🙂
    Thank You for sharing your experience as to exactly how not to treat a VIP guest
    It’s downright shameful
    As one who consulted for some of the major programs over the past 20 years
    this what some of us call the elite status illusion.
    Mind you that’s in a hotel that sees the program as a cash cow and not steeped in guest satisfaction and long term relationships.
    Certainly there are compliant hotels in every program that do an outstanding job
    Members get excited when they think they are part of a special elite group however realistically with Bonvoy the reality is overpriced rooms & reward redemption
    about to get far worse and to many elites chasing too few upgrades where not many are elite in the end
    except for their elite luggage tags. And then starve on a stingy breakfast benefit?
    Marriott has a monopoly of some of the most important brands in the world and they can essentially shoot at fish in a barrel and they will still come
    Despite some of the worst customer service in the history of the company from their call centers. RIP SPG who knew how good we once had it?

  19. Ben, don’t forget about the elite room type guarantee. Since you were technically given a double room instead, you should be eligible for the $100 compensation

  20. This is the problem with Autograph Collection and to a lesser degree Tribute Portfolio. Some of these hotels dually branded, both Marriott and also smaller, mini brands/collections. Marriot only cares about faux boutique-slash-independent hotels because their focus groups tell them . millennials want that. The problem is these soft brands are unreliable and have he worst track record of delivering upon Marriott benefits.

  21. Oh man… i’ve had a miserable 5 hours booking to DL ticket to Africa… Does Delta even know they DO Africa??? Thanks to Mercedes (DL Supervisor) 2 Delta One tickets are booked and confirmed..

    YOUR STORY made me laugh out loud! Say hi to the little girl for us all!

  22. So typical…

    We are so glad you reminded us last year about unloading the Marriott points for AA miles. At least we can fly point a to point b as fast as possible and not have to be tortured for a day and a half in a Marriott product.

  23. The decor of that room is hideous. Suburban basement rec room circa 1975. Been there, don’t want to see it again.

  24. You should have just taken the cash offset that they have to pay if they can deliver the room type you have reserved….

  25. I’m sure it is annoying but look at it this way. Imagine you had checked in, been met with a mix of friendly and ambivalence, given a moderate king upgrade and had no maintenance issues. That would have constituted a fine experience in which the hotel does very little, less than is required, but not so bad to constitute a problem on a one-night stay. Just a normal nothing happening experience that happens tens of thousands of times every day.

    Would that have actually been better? At least this gives you a good story. And blog post.

  26. My experience is the same as yours: “The truth is that I’ve voted with my wallet, and I’ve largely stopped staying at Marriotts.” They’re losing 60-70 nights/year from me because of the sheer disdain they have for their guests – especially regular guests.

    I’m lifetime titanium. True, I have a few choice Marriott-brand hotels I like. But my loyalty is to the specific hotel. Otherwise Marriott-brand is never my first choice.

  27. I have been dealing with the same crap. I got rooms upgrade but they never ready when I check in. I told them many times to stop that game.
    Marriott is now too big and they don’t give a s…. about customer service.

  28. I know you travel a lot but you might be commiting one of the classic mistakes in writing a live review that is negative during a stay.

    There are many examples of people getting kicked out of hotels for writing negative review while still at the hotel so the rule is to publish after the stay…

    The funniest was the Indian guy that wrote that the spg autograph hotel in Greece was “pure garbage” and then the owner of the hotel came running into his room and kicked him out immediately…

  29. As a lifetime titanium member; Marriott has diluted the value received. Marriott is more concerned about bringing in revenue than rewarding the members who were loyal to them. Wish SPG method of doing business would return. I have had similar experiences. Suites available and unable to use suite coupon upgrades. Need to determine what other chain has the best loyalty program.

  30. I had a similar situation occur at a Hilton location. On two different occasions on my first night’s stay, I was startled by the door opening without any prompting. Both times I was told the computer is showing this room is vacant. Definitely not acceptable.

  31. If that´s the worst thing to happen to you then I guess you are doing pretty alright Ben…

    I never got why people have this feeling of being entitled to friendliness because of customer service. Like, you booked a room ok, there it is you can have it. That doesnt mean anyone needs to be friendly to you. Folks in that business usually dont make too great of a living and have their own worries. I feel people who assume spending money entitles you to friendliness got it wrong. Go into the matter with expectations low and allow yourself to be positively surprised!

  32. I’m sorry. This is so totally not relevant. I can’t help it. Can’t.
    How is that dog always so cute?!? How?? Smitten.
    Sorry. Off topic. Bad me.
    Hope the stay goes better. Get compensation. Get the points. Get the miles. Go Ben!
    (Go Winston!!!)

  33. When I started my career 35 years ago Holiday Inn was king. Everyone in my company stayed there. Now no one does. It looks like Marriott is going down the same path as Holiday Inns and Howard Johnsons before them.

  34. I am glad that I have reached a point in my life where travel is minimal. I just dumped United and their Club card from Chase. I have been Bonvoyed to the point where that marriage is soon to be doomed. There are some hotels that will be missed, but c’est la vie.

  35. Marriott has become a piece of crap.
    What you experienced is similar to what I always experience traveling lately. I am a Titanium and they always play the ‘we dont have an upgrade’ despite showing so many rooms for sale.
    So last time they said they didnt have a suite at check in, well I booked a suite for my wife and told her to check in next to me. They gave her the suite!!!!

    They are always playing games. Dont even get me started at the resort fees on award nights and the terrible breakfast spread nowadays. Oh, and now they dont even have beer or wine at the lounges!

    You have been bonvoyed.

  36. Congratulations, you’ve been Bonvoyed!

    On a better note, more hotel/room pics with Winston, please. You should do more reviews of high-end hotels that are pet friendly.

  37. I have three annual award certificates (one 25K and two 35Ks), 35K points, and the Chase Marriott card. Two of the three certificates are extended expiration from prior year(s).

    I just want to use up the points and certificates, and cancel the card,. I’ll be done with Marriott . I’ll then skip all the Marriott/Bonvoy posts, knowing they mean nothing to me.

    It’ll be part of my project to simplify life (like cutting my 26 credit cards down to 13 in the last six months).

  38. I recently had a disappointing stay at the Marriott West Palm Beach. As a Titanium Elite, I had certain expectations. NONE were met. From check-in to 4 day stay to check-out. Not sure if it’s a West Palm Beach thing, but it was enough that we told the general manager that we would never come back, and that we would tell tell our friends not to come.

  39. Ben, I don’t think you realized that the “water view” in the room was actually the broken toilet…

  40. So sorry about your situation. I have stopped staying at Marriott- despicable management and loyalty recognition. Hyatt/Hilton combo is good most of the time. Take your business elsewhere. Let the market crush this company

  41. Yeah I’m so done with Marriott. They introduced 100k peak night properties which is just insane given their weak points earning structure. Then eliminating the 10 nights bonus for a meeting? Was that really breaking the bank for them? Somehow I doubt it. And the whole pulling teeth with upgrades thing. It shouldn’t have to come to that. I’ll stick with Hyatt and Hilton.

  42. Recently stayed at the Renaissance La Defense hotel in Paris. I am a Titanium Elite. I dont expect upgrades since like you, I spend hardly any time at the hotels. They acknowledged my status at the reception and told me unfortunately they werent able to upgrade me this time as the hotel was full. Got to my room 1019 only to realize not just was I not upgraded, but was downgraded. The only thing I had on my reservation that was guaranteed was a King size bed, but they didnt have one available. When you travel from across the country, going back down 10 floors to ask for a change is not something you want. It is indeed a shame on how Marriott is becoming so indifferent to loyalty; maybe its better to be gold at all the hotels as the only perk left is the free breakfast that I really appreciate. Time to pick on price!

  43. Regarding the ‘broken’ toilet, some people said because it’s a brand new hotel, you should expect that sort of problem.

    Actually, no! It’s a brand new hotel. So the last thing you should expect is a broken toilet! Or anything else for that matter.

    Lucky, this time I genuinely feel sorry for your bad experience. Sorry.

  44. Marriott should be Marrinott.
    Go Hilton or IHG. At least, it would overall still be a better experience. I would be angry and not just annoyed if I were in your shoes.

  45. I stayed at the Cincinnati Airport Marriott last night. I didn’t arrive until 1:30 in the morning from a delayed. Front Desk Attendant was very nice when I asked him for a room with a bathtub. He assured me I was in a terrific room and all of the rooms had bathtubs. Get up to the room and lo and behold NO tub. I went back down and kindly let him know that he was misinformed and not all of the rooms had a tub because mine certainly did not. I stayed in the room but was super annoyed.

    This morning I called the Renaissance Marriott in Cincinnati where I’m staying this evening. I explained to the front attendant that I had a reservation for this evening and would like a room with a bathtub. The attendant kindly informed me that all rooms have showers except for a few king suites. He asked for my name and and pulled the reservation and told me he would switch my room to the king suite. I thanked him for doing so. When I checked in this evening the front desk said I see our managed moved you to a very nice king suite, enjoy it. I got up to my room and to my surprise it is a beautiful two room suite, with two bathrooms and an extra huge tub. It exceeds my expectations.

    I am a Bonvoy Platinum member.

  46. I would be FUMING over workers not only coming into my room without knocking, but bringing KIDS in ???? ugh. so unprofessional.

    i ALWAYS latch the door shut and hang the do not disturb sign outside. always. thats ridiculous.

  47. My Marriott relationship ended when I found an abundance of feces on my toilet on my last stay. I haven’t been back since. I’m now using Hilton all over the world with great success.


  48. It depends on your travel habits if you think Marriott is useful or not. I would say that compared to other major hotel brands their benefits for loyalty members of Platinum and above are pretty good. The room upgrade is hit or miss, but the club access, for example, and other benefits give them more priority than other bands.

  49. Ben, thanks for the laugh on the “You really shouldn’t have” comment!

    I’m lifetime Titanium Elite but I’ve stopped staying at Marriotts. I was not receiving upgrades for any of my stays since the merger with Starwood so I decided enough with Bonvoy and moved over to Hilton and Hyatt. Hilton treats their Diamond members much better than Marriott.

  50. I am soooo there. I have stayed at Marriott’s almost 50 nights in one and 1/2 month’s and it has all been just so frustrating! First of all, there is a difference between Titanium and Ambassador because I haven’t seen one! I won’t even go into detail here because it’s much of the same. The CEO should worry less about going down the path of Air BNB and get what they have back in track! I’m with you guys wholeheartedly .

  51. “Wow Ben! If I were in your shoes, I’d definitely mention this to management.”

    No need to mention it to management; it has been posted here. 😉

  52. As soon expiring ambassador and lifetime titanium, I’ve also voted with my wallet and stopped staying. Only reason now is to burn points, or if I’ve no choice. Hyatt is my preference every time.

  53. looking to spend my last 7 night cert somehow, and then email them to cancel my account.
    terrible program.
    SPG got me into the game, and Bonvoy kicked me out of it.

  54. I sure hope a Bonvoy team exec reads this thread. The overwhelming deluge of negativity is stunning for this non-Bonvoy member to read (IHG and Hilton Honors member here) . Clearly this program must be a shit show of mammoth proportions!

  55. @john et al – I hear but the reality is Marriott doesn’t care about the few readers in these travel sites. They have said, and I believe them, that the average status guest likes the program. Most are dumb to the benefits etc they “might” be entitled to. If everyone has status then no one does. I think expecting an upgrade and complaining if you don’t get one Is silly. You aren’t entitled to a suite every single time you stay in a hotel paying for an 89 dollar a night king room. If one is given great. But I’ve never understood why you absolutely need a suite upgrade to stoke your ego.

    I also think it’s rather crazy someone who checks in before the allotted time (looking at Ben here) then complains they weren’t upgraded. Why would they upgrade you at 2pm (or whenever) when they could sell that same suite? I agree with you the other stuff is ridiculous but really who cares about the view. If you wanted an oceanfront suite then book it.

    It’s basic business. And I’m sorry I’m diamond with Hilton and they are no different with this stuff. I do notice a different with Hyatt but their footprint is just to small for my needs.

  56. @flieger – are you for real? I’m sorry but yes if you’re in the HOSPITALITY business you are expected to be friendly and nice. I would love to see you fly over to this board if you checked in and they said “here’s your fing keys. I’m having a bad day don’t talk to me.” If they can’t be nice they shouldn’t be in that business. What they make or their life isn’t my concern and should be left at the door. Basic skills such as compassion empathy and friendly should go with any business. Ours included whatever ours is unless you work on the set of Hell’s Kitchen.

  57. Had a similarly negative experience with an upgrade request (am a Platinum Elite) at the JW in Jakarta. FD agent said no suite upgrade was possible but the Bonvoy app still showed 2 types of suites still available for sale. Pointed this out to the agent who proceeded to tell me that she’s aware of that BUT someone in the Revenue Department was trying to pull the inventory as we spoke!!! Not amused, I asked for a Supervisor. He promptly arrived and told me the same nonsensical “the Revenue Department is currently blocking all Suite availability for tonight” and basically dared me to hit the “BOOK” button when I pointed out that the app was still continuing to process booking request for a Governor’s Suite. So I hit the BOOK button, and — voila — it came back as CONFIRMED. Now I have TWO separate reservations. The supervisor’s face turned to red, then he just disappeared while the original agent scrambled by offering to fetch me a welcome drink. A couple of minutes later, a man identifying himself as the Director of Room came up and STILL tried to argue that there’s no availability for ANY Suite. I pointed out that he was wrong by showing him my reservation number and reminded him that if he insisted that no Suite was indeed available, he just needed to walk me to the RC across the road and that exercise was gonna get very expensive for him since as per the Marriott Bonvoy Elite Benefits Guarantee I was due US$200 in CASH plus 90,000 Bonvoy points. That seemed to shock him back to his senses and he was then quick to promise to fix the problem and asked his staff to walk me to the lounge to wait out while he worked on the fix. The wait turned out to be in excess half an hour and he came back to personally walked me to the Presidential Suite. Even though I technically (and finally) got upgraded to the best category room available on the property, the whole experience left a very sour taste on my mouth as the whole check in process took more than 70 minutes! To top it off, during check out earlier today they tried to charge me the Governor’s Suite rate instead of the original Deluxe Room booking!! Talk about RELENTLESSLY sneaky!!

  58. I stayed at a nice hotel in Germany and the staff came and went throughout the day, me in the room or not. Staff to check the minibar, to refill the minibar, to change the towels, to clean the room, to turn down the room, to refill the water, and to confirm the other staff had done their job. None of the staff said a word to me as I sat at the computer planning the next adventure. Not an uncomfortable situation but odd regardless. Quite efficient. Knocking on the door annoys me so I perhaps staff entering without knocking on the door is the better option?

  59. I dont know how anyone could expect a different experience across all these hotel chains. What makes you believe Marriott has a worse (or better) handle on what employees of some of their franchisees are doing? Why would that differ from Marriott to Hilton or IHG or Hyatt or anyone? I´ve been elite with most of the chains over the years and from a perspective of how you are being treated they are all same. What matter though is how you as a customer behave. Treating people with respect is a good starting point.

  60. Lots of negative Marriott experiences on here. I’m currently at the Ritz Carlton Bacara on points and couldn’t be happier. Got one of the best rooms on the property with the waves crashing outside my balcony. And on my trip in the Central Coast, I’ve been treated well and had my suite night awards redeemed at every other location. Overall thrilled

  61. This is my first year with Ambassador status and my Bonvoy experience has been great. I’ve had six stays this year. At two, hotels sold out so no upgrade. Two were courtyard so also no upgrade. This week at Sheraton Overland Park upgraded to a Jr. Suite. For Valentine’s Day Weekend, I booked a standard room with Points at Ritz Laguna Niguel. I let my ambassador know, but was not expecting anything due to busy weekend at the Ritz. We were upgraded to a club level executive suite that was listed at $1500 per night. I could be wrong, but I think people are more likely to comment on negative experiences. After some initial bumps, I’m very satisfied with Bonvoy!

  62. I am lifetime titanium elite for 20+ years formerly platinum lifetime end I fired Marriott at least 15 years ago because they tried the same stunt with their membership rewards program. I Switched to Starwood which was IMHO A fabulous frequent member program became lifetime platinum with SPG. As everyone has experience today with the Bonvoy experience merger we have no value to Marriott as frequent guests and the only way to express that is by moving on and firing them again. Which I have done Hilton and Hyatt are now my priority. Unfortunately I still have over 1.5 million Marriott points Which are practically useless with their now devalued redemption valued approach to reward free nights. We all should learn from this and vote with our wallet, may I suggest looking at alternatives? Sorry you had such a horrible experience but that has been my experience for the past 2+ years. Gone are the SPG days of being respected and valued as someone who stays with the same hotel chain for between 50 and 75 nights per annum. The only way Marriott will ever get it is in a reduction in their earnings. They truly have become greedy corporate America and have no consideration for those that have built their business.

  63. Meanwhile I am a lowly Gold and just left the St Regis Doha on a one night stay. Got 7am early check in and 4pm late check out. Booked the basic level room and got upgraded to a 2 bed Empire Suite. Also got told breakfast would be free on both days despite it being a one night stay!

  64. @lUCKY

    Chinese Elites already realised that a lot of hotels lie in order to keep their suites only selling to cash guests, Chinese now always ask for suite upgrade and in China, most time, you don’t ask, you don’t get it.

  65. I just planned an extensive vacation and cashed in most of my Marriott and Hyatt points. It became apparent that Hyatt rewards bang for the buck is about twice the value as Marriott. However, even with their expanded properties, Hyatt footprint is still too small. I’m considering trying Kimpton. Have you or your readership had any experience with their reward redemption value?

  66. I stopped staying at Marriott hotels once the merger happened. Now everywhere I go I do boutique hotels, bed and breakfasts, and the like. I may not get points anymore, and they rarely have all the bells and whistles, but I get to support small businesses and always have a unique experience, which makes me much happier than getting Bonvoyd.

  67. Crap overpriced rooms and lying FD staff are now the new normal . I am now a happy Choice Diamond member staying at $65 a night hotels. You should try it – very liberating. I still remember the vibrating bed in Kentucky.

  68. People talk about Hyatt’s and Kimpton’s and stuff as alternatives to Marriott and I just have to wonder if I’m the odd person out having to travel to almost nowhere that has either of those hotels. Hyatt is basically major city only and frequently not conveniently located. At least Kimpton has IHG, but that means being in a Holiday Inn or Candlewood in most places if you need stays

  69. After checking in to the Westin Resort and Spa, Puerto Vallarta, last month for a 10-day stay, things started slowly going downhill. Not anything huge, just a lot of room annoyances. We had saved for a “Westin Experience,” and realized we’ve had better stays at less expensive, less luxurious places.
    After two different attempts to be moved to a different room with an insensitive, dismissive front desk person, we went directly to the concierge with our complaint. He brought in his supervisor who apologized profusely and offered us a room with a full ocean view and access to the club lounge!! Now THAT was great customer service! This small compensation was worth a very positive review and our willingness to return!! However, we heard that Mr. Convoy had just purchased this hotel and that worries me, especially after reading these reviews.

  70. @bhcompy – Hyatt footprint is about the same as Starwood pre-merger. I did 800 nights with SPG in 8 years, and somehow was never longing for a RI/TPS/CY/FFI during that time. Kind of like how I feel about Hyatt right now (quite nicely)


  71. We are in London at the St Ermins.
    We got Bonvoyed also. I should add that my husband is a Titanium and I am a Platinum. We arrived early around noon asked for an early check in .
    We were told we were a priority for getting our room ready and would be told of the progress . Well 3 hours later we are still sitting and waiting. When I asked why we weren’t told about the long wait I was reminded that check in is 3pm and they were too busy to let us know what was going on. The guy must have a customer service chip missing. I asked him how that was my problem?
    We were then shown to our room.
    I have had bigger and better rooms at hotels off I95. The room was shabby small and dated. The bathroom was not working correctly. It was so small it reminded me of a hostel. We were disappointed and asked to check out the next day
    Asked to speak to the manager with the top of my head coming off,never heard from anyone the next day but was offered a room upgrade . They would not return our points if we checked out. Called Bonvoy 2 times were told they would not help us get our points back. I don’t know what their purpose is for exsistance.
    No offer to help us move so we toted our bags and moved to the up graded room. At this point too worn out to move or argue any more here we sit in a hotel neither one of us like . There is free water and a kit kat bar that they will replenish . We paid for breakfast but it was so bad we are eating out The point of this was Bonvoy is worthless in the scheme of things .
    If u need help don’t bother calling them.
    Also avoid this hotel in London at all costs. Read the reviews. They are spot on.

  72. Hi Ben,

    when you say you “ voted with your wallet” against maintaining Ambassador, i assume you will stay at other properties mainly due to better value for money.
    Do you think other major chains have better rates compared to Marriott? If yes, which?
    I too hold Ambassador-Status, traveling mostly US-Metro Areas with all chains more or less present. I can’t necessarily say that i have been badly Bonvoyed since the SPG Merger but i do have the feeling that room rates are often totally nuts especially in Boston, SF but also Indianapolis and Washington. I have never really compared with Hilton or Hyatt and assumed that the market is as it is.

    Which chain would you recommend consindering around 100 nights per year Business in the US and with fun/points travel mostly in APAC?

  73. this is the most pretentious post I’ve read about a new property.
    as someone who’s been in this industry for more than a decade and opened several new properties myself, its people like this that staff Hates dealing with.

    *here’s a play by play of (in my experience) exactly what happened*
    You arrived early and wanted a room asap, probably made mention of that at check-in. so the agent got you a room that was ready now regardless of bed configuration
    You were supposed to be in the original room the first staff member put you in.
    After complaining to a new agent (probably someone new to the industry or not familiar with the operating system) they tried to appease you (as i’m sure you didn’t forget to mention to them again you were ambassador or elite status).
    The new agent got a little overwhelmed /panicked due to your status /tone of voice and switched you into a ‘water-view’ room that Engineering had put aside to fix.

    That room was supposed to be empty. This is also the reason that the “upgrade” wasn’t available as the first agent said. Engineering didn’t get the update that the room he had blocked for repair was now occupied so came in to fix the toilet so they could use that room.

    **in-case you don’t travel as much as this blogger does – some things to know when travelling are:
    1) Most hotels have several different staff members changing and moving rooms due to many things – such as previous guests who don’t check-out on time, room cleaning will take much longer than usual due to very Messy previous guests or people who spit gum onto the carpet, room type requests such as no feathers or specific views or bathtub/shower requests etc etc.

    2) The front desk agent doesn’t always know exactly what you originally booked – this will depend on exactly what system the front desk is using, sometimes an agent can only see what the guest is currently blocked into (so if a manager or engineering department etc. had moved it to a room with 2 double beds, the agent might not have known. easy fix. just confirm with the agent when checking in.

    3) hotels check-in systems use codes to tell agents what type of room you have like SKN or WKN they usually stand for things like Water King non smoking some hotels have confusing abbreviations that can be hard for a new hire to learn.

    as “someone who travels 400K miles a year” you figured you’d know “bed types are Never guaranteed”… whats written on the back of EVERY single hotel door or hotel keycard “LOCK your deadbolt”… did you even look at the website when booking?, how much of a water view or upgrade were you expecting when they barely even have a photo of the harbor.

    Basically all this comes down to, why wouldn’t you confirm which room type you had on check-in?. if you travel as much as you claim, there is NO chance this is the first time at ANY hotel brand (Marriott or other) that your bed type has changed. Give the agent a break they made a mistake and you’ve gone on some crusade to tear apart the property as a whole. Not to mention being an absolute nightmare every 10 mins when the engineer hadn’t finished fixing your broken toilet yet. what would you prefer a toilet that doesn’t work or someone in the room fixing it?

    Someone also had to say “yeah go ahead and take a look at the toilet” which even if they did enter without knocking (which i also doubt because no one wants to walk in on someone doing something nasty, its more likely you didn’t hear the knocks or thought it was for a different room) why not say something like “i’m just in the middle of something can you come back later?”

    this ‘blown out of proportion story’ is dripping with entitled privilege.

  74. @ Entitled brat — For someone who has so much experience in the industry, you sure make a lot of incorrect assumptions. I booked a room with one king bed, and I received a room with two beds.

    And as someone who has worked in the hotel industry for over a decade you’d think you know that bed types are guaranteed, actually. This is a guaranteed elite benefit that Marriott offers. See here:

    And since you’re so wrong on those, I won’t even bother addressing the rest of it…

  75. I am titanium and constantly get Bonvoyed in europe. At check in they usually say no suites available but i was upgraded “I was upgraded to a “lovely” executive room.”
    They i say i szee suites available in the app and the agent says he doesnt see them in his system.
    So I ask to speak to a manager who usually can resolve

    But Im tired of the lies and effort involved so i and my colleagues are switching to hyatt and Hilton, when available

  76. As a former SPG Lifetime Platinum and bonvoy lifetime titanium (yes, case is intentional) member, I feel for you. Marriott is the worst thing that could have happened to SPG. My points are now worth less than half of what they were with SPG, upgrades are non-existent (even though the rooms are available), and SPG perks have vanished. Marriott seems to have no respect for loyalty or interest in catering to their elite. For a company that is supposed to have religious roots, they sure are doing a terrible job. I would be embarrassed to be associated with them. I am burning my points and then switching to Hilton.

  77. How many Marriott points do you get for adopting little kids who wander into your room?
    Could be a good deal.

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