On Tuesday 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.
Perhaps the most substantive (and surprising) change was the addition of guaranteed late check-out for Gold and Platinum members. I was so excited when I saw the terms “guaranteed late check-out” and “4PM,” and thought to myself “great, Marriott is adopting Starwood’s late check-out policy.” This offers Gold and Platinum members guaranteed 4PM check-out, except at resorts and conference hotels, where it’s subject to availability.
Well, upon reading the terms more closely, we realized that the benefit wasn’t quite as generous as we had hoped, and wasn’t much of a benefit at all (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.
In other words, the only thing that was guaranteed was that you’d get late check-out, but there was no guarantee as to how late of a check-out you’d 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.
SPG members are worried about the merger, and these are the exact reasons so many SPG members are worried. At Starwood guaranteed late check-out is actually a guarantee. Just guaranteeing some sort of late check-out isn’t actually much of a promise.
Well, I’m thrilled to see that Marriott has come around. They’ve reached out to let me know that they’ve updated the terms of the benefit to be in line with Starwood’s:
Guaranteed Late Checkout
Gold and Platinum members may checkout as late as 4pm if they ask. This benefit is guaranteed at all participating Marriott Rewards hotels, except at resort and convention hotels, where it is based upon availability. Marriott Vacation Club is excluded. Guaranteed late checkout launches globally on May 16.
So Marriott will now be offering guaranteed 4PM check-out globally starting May 16, except at resorts and convention hotels, where it’s subject to availability.
This is fantastic, as Marriott is introducing a substantive late check-out benefit, unlike the previous version they had.
While the initial verbiage that Marriott used for this benefit was disappointing, I’m thrilled to see this change. The way I see it, guaranteed 4PM late check-out was one of the major perks which really differentiated SPG from Marriott Rewards.
Now if Marriott would just add elite breakfast at resorts and some sort of substantial suite upgrade benefit, I think SPG members wouldn’t be dreading the takeover as much.