Marriott’s Guaranteed Late Check-Out Isn’t Much Of A Guarantee At All

This morning I shared the new benefits which Marriott Rewards is adding, including guaranteed late check-out, an experiences marketplace, and an elite concierge service. All three of these benefits are also offered by Starwood Preferred Guest, so it’s fantastic to see Marriott adopting some of the most popular Starwood Preferred Guest benefits… at least on the surface.

Marriott-Benefits

Perhaps the most substantive (and surprising) change was the addition of guaranteed late check-out for Gold and Platinum members. In my coffee deprived state this morning I saw the terms “guaranteed late check-out” and “4PM,” and thought to myself “great, Marriott is adopting Starwood’s late check-out policy,” which offers Gold and Platinum members guaranteed 4PM check-out, except at resorts and conference hotels, where it’s subject to availability.

Well, as it turns out, the benefit isn’t quite that generous… and isn’t much of a benefit at all. The “catch” with the new benefit is the following (bolding mine):

The guaranteed late checkout benefit will be available to Gold and Platinum Elite members of both Marriott Rewards and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards who will enjoy a more seamless travel experience when planning their trip. These members will receive a guaranteed late checkout, which could be as late as 4pm.

I reached out to Marriott’s PR department to clarify what is actually guaranteed here. Here’s what they had to say:

Hopefully I can clarify; It’s all based on availability on the check-out day. Gold and Platinum Elite members will receive a guaranteed late checkout and it could be as late as 4pm. Members can request the late checkout when making a reservation via phone, through the Marriott Mobile app via the mobile check-in process, or when checking in upon arrival at the hotel. This benefit is available at all fully participating Rewards hotels with the exclusion of resorts, convention hotels and Marriott Vacation Club.

In other words, the only thing that’s guaranteed is that you’ll get late check-out, but there’s no guarantee as to how late of a check-out you’ll be granted. If a hotel’s check-out time is 11AM, the hotel would be within the terms of the benefit to offer you a 12PM check-out.

Marriott-Late-Check-Out

In other words, Marriott late check-out is about as guaranteed as Hilton suite upgrades. 😉

Bottom line

I wasn’t expecting Marriott to adopt a guaranteed 4PM late check-out policy, which is why I was overjoyed by this morning’s news. For a second I thought “great, maybe Marriott will in fact be taking some of the best aspects of the Starwood Preferred Guest program.”

This benefit is more in line with what I’d expect from Marriott, and isn’t much of a guarantee at all. I’ve never been at a hotel which didn’t offer at least some sort of late check-out to elite members (like allowing a 1PM check-out with a 12PM check-out time), which would be fully compliant with this new guarantee. But that’s a far cry from guaranteed 4PM check-out…

Comments

  1. Complete BS and marketing ploy by Marriott. If they extend your check out by 1 minute they can say they fulfilled their commitment to a guaranteed late check out. As I said, welcome to the times of frugality and say goodbye to the SPG program. If I really need a late checkout I will book my room through Amex FHR which really guarantees a 4 OM check out. BTW, this BS about “based on availability” is another way for them to try to get more money from you. There were several times where I requested a 4PM check out and was told it was not possible BUT I could pay a 1/2 day rate to use it until 4PM.

  2. Just another reason why SPG elites are so ready to jump ship once the merger becomes final. Policy changes like this do not provide any assurance that elites will be treated better by Marriott. Marriott can double speak and pretend all it wants…but all SPG elites know that isn’t too difficult to guarantee a 4 pm late checkout at even some of the best hotels in the world. If St Regis, W, Luxury Collection, Westin, Le Meridien, Sheraton, etc can do it…there is no reason that all of the Marriott properties can’t do it.

  3. Even worse was when I was offered a late checkout at a cost by the Renaissance Tel Aviv. When I reached out to Marriott I was told that the late checkout benefit meant I got priority, but it wasn’t even necessarily free.

    “When it comes to checking out late from a Marriott hotel it is based on availability on the day of check-out. Most hotels will allow a later check-out for an additional cash option.”

    In other words, even if they CAN give you a late checkout, they don’t have to do it for free. To be fair, that was 2013 and I was only silver, but a hell of a perk to be given priority to pay extra to stay longer.

  4. I have been offered early check-in and late check-out on most stays with Marriott. I generally lodge at the Ritz. I spend around 200-250 nights a year in Marriott properties so I guess they recognize my loyalty. I didn’t even know that late check-out was not part of the amenities afforded to elite members.

  5. You have either been living under a rock, or never stayed at a Marriott before. As a Marriott Gold elite for the past 4 years, I can tell you the policy has always been to give a late checkout on the morning of, depending on occupancy levels for that day. Every front desk person at every Marriott I’ve ever stayed at says, “Call down on the morning you check out to get a later check out time.”. I have never received a 4PM checkout and the latest I have received was 2PM. At the JW Marriott on O’ahu, (now a Four Seasons) check out was 11AM and I was lucky to get one at noon. Frankly, a 4PM checkout is asking for a lot. If check in time is 3PM and you leave at 4PM, housekeeping will never get rooms done for incoming guests.

  6. @Captain Obvious
    The idea is that there will always be people checking in late, way past 4pm. The only slightly challenging part is on housekeeping to coordinate the various check-out times. At least they’ll have to keep some staff after 4pm.

    Starwood does it, Hyatt does it. I don’t see why Marriott can’t do it unless they don’t want to.

  7. First, I agree that it’s time to say goodbye to SPG benefits. It’s BS that they are “combining” the best of both programs. Unless you have some serious psychological condition that prevents you from moving on from “traumatic” events like hotel program devaluations, I think it’s past time to get over it.

    Second, I’ve never had one bit of an issue getting late check out at any Marriott or Ritz. Granted, I rarely if ever ask for a 4pm checkout…that’s a bit much to ask of a hotel and frankly, if I’m going to be in my hotel room that late, I’ll just stay wherever I’m at another day. This idea that somehow every single Marriott property is by definition worse at giving late checkouts than SPG is a bit of a myth. It’s like those who say that all SPG properties are upscale…yeah right. I could list some excellent perks and pleasures I’ve received through SPG but I can also list many times when their customer service fail very short, particularly at their W brand. I guess those same people who have trouble letting go and moving on from SPG also need to glorify the program as if they were attempting to nominate it for sainthood.

    It was a great program but the world’s not coming to an end. And if you hate Marriott for whatever reason, you still have a ton of other hotels where you can attempt to get the kind of perks you think you deserve.

  8. Actually I understand the contingency nature of these things. There are certainly late check-ins and therefore there should be reasonable accommodation of these requests. And there remains the problem of housekeeping staff working later to clean rooms. At the smaller properties, this is probably a bigger issue. I normally check in at Marriott and Hilton properties for one night and arrive between 2 and 5 pm and I expect my room to be ready when I arrive. Normally this is not a problem since I stay at the larger properties. If too many of these requests are granted and/or not handled properly, I’m basically left cooling my heels in the lobby while some other elite is getting a free pass in “my room” at what one could argue is my expense……..

    Hopefully they handle these requests efficiently and everyone will win.

  9. Lucky, this was stated earlier today by lots of commenters in your previous post. Are you claiming you came to this realization independently, or did I overlook the HT?

  10. The ones who complain about not getting a 4pm checkout are the same ones who complain they can’t get an early checkin. Can’t have it both ways folks. If everyone gets a 4pm checkout at a sold-out hotel, that means the rest of us are sitting in the lobby until 5:30pm trying to check in.

  11. Staff is held responsible for making sure every room is cleaned and available by 3pm check-in so I have never been able to get later than that, especially from franchise operators. Understood people come in later but staff are held firm to that 3p target.

  12. Yep…I have an upcoming stay at the JW Marriott in San Antonio with my family. They said they do not abide by the platinum late checkout guarantee.

    Surely, I’ll have no problem at the Fairfield inn in the business park that I’m out the door at 7 am anyway.

    Once again, the benefits advertised never apply when I really need them — on vacation with my family. Breakfast, Upgrades, now this.

  13. This article is spot on. As a top tier elite, I have been given Late Checkout of 1 PM usually. They would give The Same to anyone who walks in off the street. Thus, status literally means nothing in this regard.

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