What Can Newly Minted Marriott Platinum Members Expect?

Well, I think Marriott has a lot of new Platinum members in the past 24 hours, thanks to all SPG Platinum members being able to match to the status. I think we all have a certain comfort in staying with our preferred hotel chains, as there’s a sense of familiarity and loyalty. We know what to expect. Learning a new system can be tough.

Several readers have asked if I could provide a rundown of Marriott Rewards Platinum benefits, and what can be expected. So that’s what I’ll do here.

Basics of Marriott Rewards perks

Let’s start with a very simple rundown of Marriott Rewards benefits by status level:

Marriott-Gold-Platinum

Let’s talk about the straightforward perks first, which don’t require further explaining:

  • A 50% bonus on base points earned through hotel stays
  • Guaranteed room type
  • 48 hour guaranteed room availability (a benefit I’ve never used with any hotel chain, since it’s super expensive and there are still exclusions)
  • Complimentary premium in-room internet access

Now let’s talk about the perks that aren’t quite as straightforward: breakfast/lounge access, room upgrades, 4PM late check-out, and the welcome gift.

Do Marriott Platinums get free breakfast?

Hyatt and Starwood have pretty straightforward breakfast policies. As a top tier elite you will get breakfast at the hotel (with Hyatt it’s automatic, and with Starwood you have to choose it as your welcome amenity).

With Marriott it’s not nearly as straightforward. Hell, you almost have to be a lawyer to make sense of the terms associated with the breakfast benefit.

Marriott Platinum members get guaranteed lounge access for themselves and one guest at JW Marriott, Autograph Collection, Renaissance, Delta Hotels, and Marriott hotels, during normal operations, excluding at resorts. That’s right, Marriott Platinum members don’t receive complimentary breakfast at resorts.

Marriott-Madrid-Auditorium-Hotel - 45

If there isn’t a lounge at the above hotels, Marriott Platinum members get the choice between breakfast in the restaurant or 750 points.

The following hotels are excluded, and instead automatically offer Marriott Platinum members 1,000 bonus points:

  • Boston Marriott Copley Place
  • Boston Marriott Long Wharf
  • Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile
  • JW Marriott Washington, DC
  • JW Marriott New Orleans
  • JW Marriott San Francisco Union Square
  • The Lexington New York City, Autograph Collection
  • JW Marriott Essex House, New York City
  • New York Marriott Marquis
  • Renaissance New York Hotel 57
  • Renaissance New York Times Square
  • San Diego Marriott Marquis and Marina
  • The Algonquin Hotel Times Square, Autograph Collection

Yes, it’s that complicated. So while Marriott has almost 20 hotel brands, you only get complimentary breakfast as an elite member at five of them (in fairness, a few of the other brands offer all guests complimentary breakfast).

marriott-brands

Don’t expect breakfast at Ritz-Carlton, EDITION, etc., or at any resorts.

Do Marriott Platinums get suite upgrades?

Marriott’s suite upgrade policy is the same as Hilton’s. Platinum members receive an upgrade, though the kind of room you’re upgraded to is at the hotel’s discretion. Room upgrades could include suites.

Here’s the verbiage:

Complimentary Room Upgrade: Based on room availability at check-in and limited to a Member’s personal guestroom. Upgrades may include rooms with desirable views, rooms on high floors, corner rooms, rooms with special amenities, rooms on Executive Floors, or suites.  All upgrades are granted on a space-available basis, as determined at the time of check-in. Upgrades are subject to availability and identified by each hotel. Not available at Marriott Vacation Club.

So you very well could get a suite upgrade as a Platinum member, but you’re not entitled it, since it’s entirely at the hotel’s discretion. This is in stark contrast to Starwood, where Platinum members get a suite upgrade as long as a suite is available.

As you’d expect, in general elite recognition varies based on the part of the world you’re in. You’re much more likely to get a suite upgrade in Asia than in the US, for example.

suite

Marriott Platinum late check-out

In April Marriott Rewards added some new benefits that were inspired by SPG, and among them was late check-out. Here’s the verbiage on Marriott’s late check-out:

Guaranteed Late Checkout: Gold and Platinum members may check out as late as 4 p.m. This benefit is guaranteed at all hotels, except at resort and convention hotels, where it is based upon availability. Marriott Vacation Club is excluded from this benefit.

At first they seemed to be playing games with this, but Marriott has assured me that the intention is that Gold and Platinum members receive guaranteed 4PM check-out at all non-resort properties across all of Marriott’s brands. However, some members report that Marriott is playing some games with this.

Marriott-Benefits

How Marriott Platinum arrival gifts work

Marriott Platinum members receive an arrival gift when they check in at most brands. The details of this varies by brand:

  • At JW Marriott, Autograph Collection, Renaissance Hotels, Marriott Hotels, Gaylord Hotels, and Delta Hotels, Platinum members receive the choice between 500 bonus points OR a food & beverage amenity (outside the US & Canada) or a $10 food & beverage credit (in the US & Canada)
  • At US & Canada AC Hotels and Courtyard hotels, Platinum members receive 400 bonus points AND a food & beverage amenity
  • At SpringHill Suites, Residence Inn, Platinum members receive 200 bonus points OR a food & beverage amenity
  • At non-US & Canada AC Hotels, Courtyard and Protea Hotels, Platinum members receive 250 bonus points OR a food & beverage amenity
  • At Fairfield Inn & Suites, TownePlace Suites, and Moxy Hotels, Platinum members receive 2o0 bonus points OR a food & beverage amenity
  • At Marriott Vacation Club properties, Platinum members receive 500 bonus points
  • At EDITION properties, Platinum members receive 500 bonus points or 250 bonus miles

As you can see, there’s no welcome gift at Ritz-Carlton properties.

Bottom line

There are many reasons I prefer Starwood Preferred Guest to Marriott Rewards. It’s not just that the program is more rewarding in absolute terms (in my opinion), but also that the program is simpler and more consistent. With Starwood I can have breakfast no matter what hotel I’m staying at.

Marriott’s program, on the other hand, is unnecessarily complicated. Just look at how many different types of welcome gifts they have. Has any Platinum member actually memorized the policies at different properties?

But perhaps what I find most frustrating is that you’re least rewarded at the nicer hotels. What I love about Hyatt Gold Passport and Starwood Preferred Guest is that I can redeem my points and stay at their best hotels and not feel like a second class citizen.

With Marriott, you don’t get free breakfast or a welcome amenity at Ritz-Carlton properties. And for that matter you don’t get breakfast on the stays you may value most, when you’re vacationing with your family at resorts. The policy is cheap and unfortunate.

Anyway, hopefully the above is a useful primer. If any Marriott loyalists want to chime in with their experiences or advice, I’d certainly welcome it!

For more coverage on the Marriott/SPG merger see:

Official: Marriott & Starwood Introducing Reciprocal Benefits As Of Today Are Marriott Elite Members Getting The Short End Of The Stick?
How To Link Your Marriott And Starwood Accounts What Can Newly Minted Marriott Platinum Members Expect?
7 New Opportunities Thanks To Marriott & Starwood Account Linking Should You Link Your Starwood Account To Marriott Or Ritz-Carlton?
Can You Now Earn Marriott Elite Nights At Starwood Hotels (And Vice Versa)?

Comments

  1. An obscure benefit that only the Flyertalk cognoscenti will know about is that a Gold/Platinum can never be “walked.” If you attempt to check in and they do not have your room, they are required to give you $200 cash on the spot + 90,000 MR points in addition to arranging and paying for alternate lodging.

  2. This is not quite accurate for Ritz. They have a separate T&C for their rewards program and they do offer a 1,000-point arrival gift for Platinums. Also, the exclusion of Marriott resorts from the breakfast amenity isn’t that big of a deal because the resorts make up a tiny percentage of their portfolio. I’ve never even seen a “resort” at any of the worldwide locations in which I’ve stayed, and I always receive free breakfast / lounge access. I also usually receive a suite both at Marriott and Ritz and even Edition.

  3. This is the counter-point to the MR Plats saying “where are my SNAs” and complaining about lack of equality. They have picked up SO many new/better benefits staying at Starwood properties/being an SPG Plat…whereas SPG Plats, other than being a MR Plat now, don’t really get anything new or different.

    (and as usual, the “but there are Marriotts EVERYWHERE!” argument just doesn’t hold water)

  4. I’ve always had the impression that a fair amount of the appeal of Marriott is that for many business travelers who receive a per diem rather than expensing the cost of meals, Marriott’s decent lounge breakfast and lounge happy hour (usually a fair deal better than what you’d get at a Sheraton lounge, in the US at least) potentially allows people to pocket a bunch of per diem money. Which may be more valuable to some Marriott customers than getting breakfast with their families at resorts. And after all, if you are choosing Marriott over SPG, you probably already don’t place a ton of value on high-end resorts, or you would have chosen SPG in the first place.

    Unfortunately that doesn’t work as well for SPG members. We’ll see what happens in the integration.

    I do kind of understand not giving automatic lounge access at Ritz Carlton, because their lounges actually are a lot better than most Starwood lounges. But it still makes it difficult to leverage elite benefits to have a nice vacation.

  5. Starwood people constantly complain about what it means for a suite to be “available”, and how often they don’t get the upgrade. Unless you’re using a SNA, Starwood people are no better of than us foolish chumps that went with Marriott. So I have to disagree with UA-NYC, and I maintain that Marriott plats got hosed in this deal.

  6. SPG vs Marriott suite upgrades. Verbiage means absolutely nothing. I was at Sheraton McKinney last night. Lots of suites available to book at 7pm when I checked in. I was given a club room. When asked about upgrades I was told that is an upgrade. I asked about suites he said they are sold out for upgrades. Huh!? Hotel was EMPTY. I may have seen a few other people , not a single soul at breakfast. With Marriott outside of resorts if the lounge is closed I get full breakfast (it says continental but 90% of the time it’s a full Buffett). In this case I had to forego the check in amenity to get what was by far the worst breakfast Buffett (anyone else who has been to Sheraton McKinney MUST agree) wifi was free for all. So I just checked out. Bill was $89 which means I’ll get 270 star points. At a full service Marriott I would get 1350 Marriott points plus the 500 bonus (since they give you both the amenity and breakfast ). On the positive note the Sheraton McKinney was a gorgeous hotel although in the middle of nowhere.

  7. I’m still trying to figure out what SPG gives that Marriott doesn’t. I still see MR as far more generous . I don’t even see it being close . Even though Marriott leaves out resorts they still have far more hotels that do offer lounges and breakfast than SPG and ALL resorts internationally offer breakfast .

  8. So now you see that a nice J W Marriott offers more on property benefits for Marriott Platinum than a RC, if you are not using Virtuoso or similar.

    I can skip all the RC staff standing at the lobby elevator in the AM greeting people and get my lounce access and breakfast at a JW:-)

  9. @Ryan – let me spell it out for you, here’s a running list of why SPG>>>MR (especially for Plats):
    – Real upgrade chances – I’m 17/31 this year, and run about 50% annually. Don’t be confused by your N=1 sample size. Also, the room types get drastically better at Westin/LM/W and up properties.
    – 4pm checkout. Needless to say, until a few months ago mid-merger, MR didn’t have this.
    – B’fast at resorts. Know when I want my free, nice breakfast? At a resort I’m burning my points on that I’ve been earning & saving all year. Know when I don’t care for a mediocre lounge breakfast? When I’m traveling for work and can expense a nice one.
    – Platinum welcome points…500 SPG >>> 500 MR
    – Make a Green Choice points – yet another way to have the points roll in (Marriott’s half-a$$ed, cheap effort with this doesn’t really register)
    – Your24 & an Ambassador at higher levels of stays…SPG incentivized you to stay with the brand with more perks, vs. leaving once you hit your 50 nights.
    – Uber/DL partnerships…watch the points roll in. The MR/UA tie-up is nice, but you’re not getting any bonus points out of it.
    – Nice hotels & brands / better OUS options – if you want an endless pool of RI/CY/FI/SHS options, great Marriott is for you. Want a nice variety of brand experiences & unique properties? Starwood has it.
    – 25% bonus points transfer to airlines – the Marriott TPs seem nice, I’m not going to deny that, but for many of us, 7 nights in a single hotel just isn’t interesting/doable…it’s nice to always be able to transfer out if desired.

    There’s a reason why SPG was generally acknowledged as the best loyalty program in the industry…there wasn’t one on every corner, so they treated their loyal travelers well.

  10. @ Ryan – Did you miss the point about guaranteed 4pm late checkout? SPG’s late checkout is exactly what it is and no Starwood employee would argue otherwise.

  11. -4pm late checkout is enforced at Marriott now. All brands.
    – 270,000 Marriott points for 120,000 Miles (132K for United ) is better than SPG even without the free 7 nights.
    – what do you do when there is no SPG ( there’s always a Marriott 🙂
    – Marriott hotel lounges are usually a big step up, especially JW
    – I was 360 lifetime nights with Starwood. I was Platinum before switching to Marriott years ago. My sample size is not N=1. Its just N=1 since their merger. I haven’t tracked My upgrade rate at Marriott but it’s close to 50%. Who cares anyway. I’m by myself , rarely need a suite but great when you get one.
    – Marriott in general has better food and beverage but that’s always going to be hit and miss
    – I could care less about the Concierge. Sounds ridiculous but the My24 does sound pretty awesome and I hope they incorporate that. Overall when I went from SPG to Marriott I felt much more rewarded and lived getting points in one program to add up since there are Marriott’s everywhere.

  12. Oh and the fact that I only eared 270 points for a hotel stay is aweful. SPG has a great credit card but must be the worst program for earning points unless you forego the free breakfast (why should you have to choose !?)

  13. @ RT sez: “This is not quite accurate for Ritz. They have a separate T&C for their rewards program and they do offer a 1,000-point arrival gift for Platinums. Also, the exclusion of Marriott resorts from the breakfast amenity isn’t that big of a deal because the resorts make up a tiny percentage of their portfolio. I’ve never even seen a “resort” at any of the worldwide locations in which I’ve stayed, and I always receive free breakfast / lounge access. I also usually receive a suite both at Marriott and Ritz and even Edition.”

    Your experience in MR describes as a highly rewarding program for you as an actual MR Platinum. Unfortunately, your experience is irrelevant to self-appointed ‘travel gurus’ who set the standards for what should be considering “best” in the world of loyalty programs — standards, mind you, that almost invariably have no basis in reality and can be easily changed if doing so would increase the number of people they can con into signing up for credit card offers to earn commissions.

    It used to be that HGP and SPG were the “best” programs out there because they were “small and, thus, cared”. However, now that both “small and caring” programs have turned out to be demonstrably subpar (HGP is now “incognito” and SPG is “no mas”), travel gurus have begun changing the standards of “best” in preparation for the inevitable, which will be to make MR — now the LARGEST program of them all and should thus be the LEAST CARING by the old standards — the “best” in the business, based on standards completely opposite to those that made HGP and SPG the “best”….

    Solution: Each person must define their standards of “best” and stick with them. It is the only way to have a rewarding experience from playing the mile/point game, as you clearly are. Chasing ever changing notions of “best” is exactly the wrong thing to do!

    Illustratively, although SNAs were so useless SPG felt compelled to offer their Plat-50s alternate perks, the narrative — false, of course — since the merger has been that SPG offers their top elites “guaranteed” suite upgrades whereas MR does not, even though suite upgrades in both programs are essentially complimentary and dependent on availability. Go figure!

    G’day!

  14. @Ryan – a true YMMV situation. I like suites and crazy ways to earn bonus points. You like the better lounges and TPs. I’m guessing we will both continue to stay in our native hotels.

    At least we can agree that Hilton looks like an also-ran at this point 😉 with the weakest of both worlds.

  15. Yes YMMV. As aweful as Hilton Honors is, I actually stay at Hampton Inn enough to get Diamond Status. There is an absolutely gorgeous Hampton Inn in daphne, AL and I had to go for work often. I use the points at Conrad in HK or Singapore because Asian Conrads are just awesome! But agreed, HHonors is just plain aweful! SPG or Marriott alone win. But in Daphne, Alabama SPG has zero properties!

  16. @Ryan sez: : As aweful as Hilton Honors is…[says things that actually show Hilton not to be awful]..” then conclude…”But agreed, HHonors is just plain aweful! ”

    Hilton is “awful” because self-appointed travel gurus have spent years telling everyone in their tiny blogosphere that Hilton is “awful”. For instance, they went on for years about how HHonors’ 2013 “devaluation” gutted the program, although what it did was the complete opposite! It made a program that got dirt cheap more competitive and positioned it to became the vibrant, dominant and rewarding program that it is right now. Therefore and unfortunately for the travel gurus, there is a much bigger world out here, in which Hilton is not “awful” but a leader and standard/trend setter in the hospitality industry…

    I am sorry that you have clearly been conned into denying your positive experiences, be it at Hampton Inn or at Conrad in Asia…or being among the few who were aware that the great difficulty in earning large number of starpoints without going broke effectively made the currency less valuable than touted by travel gurus…

  17. Must be lonely in the DCS Echo Chamber, where he rants for years on end about how great HH is, and yet no one ever comes his defense & supports his thesis…hmm, wonder why that is…

    (of course, aging seems to be taking its toll on his mental faculties as he can’t even make up his mind about the idea of consumer choice…he raves about Hilton offering three different ways to qualify for status, yet bashes SPG for offering different benefits at the 50 night milestone, depending on user preference)

  18. BTW, I believe you, “HHonors is just plain aweful!” Your misspelling of “awful” is a Freudian slip that betrays your true feeling, which is that HHonors is “full of awe” or “aweful” [sic] 🙂

    LOL.

    G’day!

  19. The best thing about the Marriott takeover of SPG that will be concluded in or about 1/1/2018 is that I won’t have to read any more of UA-NYC and his ilk’s posts about how much better SPG is — BECAUSE THERE WON’T BE ANY MORE SPG!!!

    Hopefully, they will migrate to some other program where they can high-five themselves about their alleged and definitely illusory superiority!

  20. BTW, @RT and @Ryan — Beware the age-old fallacy known as “argumentum ad populum” a.k.a “bandwagon argument” that elevates false claims to dogma status, and goes something like: If self-anointed travel gurus have decreed and every single one of their brainwashed followers says ‘amen’, then the decree must be true! After all, if most of the readers of this blog agree that it is so, then it must so, right?

    Ever heard of the herd mentality? Well, you get the picture about the type of arguments that is used to justify and perpetuate false claims…

    @Hadley V. Baxendale — Amen!

  21. It’s been fun reading all of the comments, critiques, rants and raves about this loyalty program merger. As a Lifetime Platinum with Marriott and also part of their new “Elite Concierge Program” I can honestly tell all of the new members and existing members of the MR program that; “You ain’t missing much”

    My status with Marriott is almost NEVER recognized at any level of property. I find it comically frustrating that in 2016, there isn’t a comment section or something in their reservation software that notates this kind of thing. I am a Concierge Key member with American (not exactly known for having the most up-to-date software) and each and every time I check in, board a flight or exit a plane, somehow the crew is able to say something thanking me for my business and loyalty.

    I will admit that room upgrades have been happening more frequently than in the past, but still the chance of getting an upgrade averages about 2-3 out of every 10 stays.

    There is so much inconsistency across all Marriott brands and properties that it has now become a game of “Whack-a-mole” when I check into a hotel.

    As far as the loyalty program communication, I still haven’t received an email about the co-mingling of the programs. Heck, I still haven’t received any communication about the new Elite Concierge Program. I had to hear about it here on OMAAT and call into the Platinum desk. Even though I don’t need to ever stay in another Marriott property again, I still rack up @ 150 – 200 nights per year…many on my own dime.
    Do you think I have ever once received any special gift, letter or recognition of this fact? I think you already know the answer.

    I’m just trying to share my perspective and experience on the whole MR program. As one of their top tier elites, I can honestly say that I don’t feel as thought my loyalty and spend with the company is in any way, shape or form recognized or appreciated.

    I am excited about finally being able to check out some of the nicer properties from the SPG portfolio during my stays. Who knows, maybe I can become a Lifetime Platinum in the SPG program in the next 18 months or so.

  22. I am a long time Marriott rewards person with Lifetime Gold Elite. I have stayed about 650 nights at Marriott and amassed well over 3MM points in their program with no CC churning or mfg. spending. Just a lot of checkins and checkouts. I am one that feels that I should now be made a lifetime Platinum and feel the changes made are all about SPG coming aboard and a slap to those long term Marriott folks like myself. My stays represent about 3 years of my life during the work week living at a Marriott. I feel as if I am now forgotten in this acquisition.

  23. Hi, Thanks to Lucky and other travel bloggers, I have matched my SPG status to Marriott and am newly minted Marriott Plat as well. I have never redeemed at Marriott and unfamiliar with how they follow the free breakfast policy for elites at Marriott Resorts, where on paper elites are not eligible to obtain this perk. Is this something just on paper and the individual hotels like in Asia typically offer this free or is it never actually provided? I am asking this question as an IHG Spire Royal Ambassador, such no breakfast policy exists in IHG/Ambassador programs, but most hotels throw it in for RAs during redemption stay as well. If Marriott resorts don’t provide free breakfast during redemption stays as a rule and strictly follows this principle, then except for the fact that it is present in more obscure city locations than SPG, there is limited reason to consider Marriott. Even the much maligned Hilton offers this perk at most of their hotels.

  24. since you seem to be an expert on SPG, how about telling us marriott elites how we’ve gained through the merger … so far it’s been all about the poor SPGs living in fear and then the relief that they weren’t shortchanged. what are the extra benefits that marriott elites now get from SPG? so far my SPG (plat) account isn’t showing any SNAs or other frills.

  25. @CMG sez, after whacking MR, a program in which he has spent so much time and money he’s a Lifetime and Concierge Key member of: “….maybe I can become a Lifetime Platinum in the SPG program in the next 18 months or so.”

    Excuse me, but hasn’t MR just took over SPG? So, what good will it do you to become Lifetime Platinum in SPG when it will cease to exist precisely because it would be assimilated by and effectively become the program that you just got through whacking?

    Truly bizarre…

  26. For me the breakfast thing is a pretty big deal. As a top tier elite at a nice hotel in the city (St. Regis New York or Park Hyatt New York) or on vacation (St. Regis Bal Harbour or Bahia Beach), I get breakfast for me and the family (2 rooms) which for 6 people can easily cost $200. With Marriott, when I go also get breakfast. Except at certain brands. Oh, and at certain hotels. I stay in plenty of average properties for work and leverage those stays and points for great family trips. Why am I a valued guest at the Marriott in Lincoln, NE but not at the Ritz Grand Cayman?

  27. @CMG — You had me fooled, but only sarcasm would explain anyone whacking a program that they patronized so long they achieved Lifetime Status in it 🙂

  28. @Lucky – thanks for copying and pasting their bylaws. However, as a Marriott plat elite four five years, I have airways received a welcome gift, early check-in, late check-out and free breakfast (for my guests and myself when booked under my account) every time except when I stayed at courtyards (with regards to breakfast). In addition I have received upgrades during about fifty percent of my stays. This is including resorts. So while it’s great that you are finding and pasting the information for all, I value Marriott because their individual hotels take the initiative to make stays memorable and ignore their program files from my experience. I cannot say the same for other brands where rules are more stringently adhered to (especially HH).

  29. This, on the other hand, is no sarcasm. It goes directly to how self-anointed ‘travel gurus’ make up things that become accepted dogma.

    Consider the following entries in the SPG and MR T&C (all caps are mine):

    — SPG T&C for Platinum room upgrades: “Platinum members receive upgrades to the best available rooms, INCLUDING Standard Suites, SUBJECT TO AVAILABILITY for the entire length of stay at time of CHECK-IN. Not offered at Aloft® or Element℠ hotels.”

    — MR T&C for Platinum room upgrades: BASED ON AVAILABILITY at CHECK-IN and limited to a Member’s personal guestroom. Upgrades may INCLUDE rooms with desirable views, rooms on high floors, corner rooms, rooms with special amenities, rooms on Executive Floors, or SUITES. All upgrades are granted on a space-available basis, as determined at the time of check-in. Upgrades are subject to availability and identified by each hotel. Not available at Marriott Vacation Club.”

    A simple lexical and syntactic analysis of those two Platinum room upgrade T&C entries would show them to be identical. The only APPARENT differences? The MR T&C spelled out what they meant by “availability” and clearly defined “best available room” as “rooms with desirable views, rooms on high floors, corner rooms, rooms with special amenities, rooms on Executive Floors, or suites”, whereas the SPG T&C simply stated: “the best available rooms, INCLUDING Standard Suites.” But if you look at SPG’s general T&C they also spell out availability:

    “All services, amenities, and benefits of Elite Preferred Guest Membership Status are subject to change or substitution at any time without notice. In addition, all services, amenities and benefits are SUBJECT TO AVAILABILITY AND SUBJECT TO THE TERMS CONDITIONS OF EACH SPG PARTICIPATING HOTEL. Not all services, amenities and benefits are offered at all SPG Participating Hotels. Starwood may correct benefits shown as available or credited to an SPG Member at any time.”

    Clearly, therefore, individual Starwood hotels do have the final say even in the SPG program!

    However, here’s how @Lucky and other ‘travel gurus’ have spun the above for years:
    “So you very well could get a suite upgrade as a [MR] Platinum member, but you’re not ENTITLED to it, since it’s entirely at the HOTEL’s DESCRETION. This is in stark contrast to Starwood, where Platinum members get a suite upgrade as long as a suite is available”

    Totally ludicrous! SPG T&C do not “entitle” their Platinum elites to a suite any more or less than MR T&C do or not “entitle” their Platinum elites to suite upgrades!!!

    Another perk that was similarly and artificially spun for years are HGP DSUs, which were claimed as not capacity-controlled, although there was no such clause in the HGP T&C. How was that debunked? A HGP official blunted told @Gary Leff that DSUs are, in fact, capacity-controlled!

    G’day!

  30. How is a typical JW lounge compared to a Westin lounge?

    Which is usually better and in what ways?

    I hope someone can do a brand ranking and slot both mr and spg brands into a 1-30 ranking list, so that we can make some sense.

  31. @CMG – yours seems to be a common sentiment I’ve read. The good news is that SPG has always been very high touch when it comes to loyalty, and it seems like many of the best parts of the program will hopefully migrate over.

    Was SPG perfect? Of course not – as many have pointed out, the hotels of course aren’t everywhere, many properties don’t have lounges, etc. But as a non-behemoth for a long time, much like Avis used to proclaim, “we try harder”.

    Doesn’t stop certain mis-informed blowhards from trying to proclaim things like “there’s no difference in suite language between SPG and MR!”, when, of course in reality, MR Plats tend to report fewer comp. upgrades (especially to suites…sorry, corner rooms and high floors don’t really count) than SPG Plats. And that doesn’t even consider things like SNA, which allow for advance confirmable upgrades.

    But it could be worse, as I’ve said…”we” could be Hilton, with the smallest benefits package (and no lifetime earning) of any program, one which has minimal benefit differences between a near-giveaway midtier status and top-tier taking 60 nights.

  32. The English is grade school level. There is no way anyone can read the SPG and MR T&C for room upgrades and conclude that SPG elites are “entitled” to suite upgrades whereas MR elites are not — the two programs’ room upgrade T&C are identical. That’s NOT a matter of opinion. Go to your Harvard university English department contacts and ask them to analyze those two T&C entries; they’ll tell you they are not different AT ALL.

    Now one can understand why SPG introduced the SNAs. Their Platinum-50 elites complained that they were not being upgraded enough or automatically at check-in, and wanted a mechanism that would enable them to request suite upgrades beforehand. That “mechanism” was introduced in the form of SNAs. However, just 2-3 years after SNAs were introduced, Plats were being offered alternate perks to SNAs because the latter improved nothing — SNAs had flopped…

    The worst thing that Marriott or MR managers could to is to be conned into believing the propaganda that SPG — a program that MR has, in fact, acquired can do with as they please — was infinitely better than MR. The reason SPG went belly is precisely that, like its parent company, it was based on flawed model.

    G’day!

  33. I gave up on SPG a a decade ago – tried of having to argue benefits at the front desk, tired of wondering what kind of shithole I’d have to deal with this week? Would it be the Sheraton in Podunk PA with the 1970’s, stained, green shag carpet in the halls or the nice Sheraton Sukhumvit in BKK? Someone stated above that if you want interesting experiences you stay at SPG… I certainly can’t argue with that!

    Marriott may or may not be your idea of a spectacular place to spend your five days of vacation once a year or offer anything you might find appealing from Marriott Rewards – but speaking as someone who spends significant time traveling for work, Marriott is consistent – like McDonalds or Starbucks anywhere on the planet, I know exactly what I can expect from them, and I can find them on every street corner.

    While Marriott has absorbed SPG, I still plan on staying at Marriott properties, and I’m sure that most of these poor SPG elites will continue to stay that their favorite SPG properties, why would the decide to “downgrade” to an inferior Marriott property? Oh the horrors!

  34. I stayed @ JW Marriott Essex House, NYC about 6 months ago as MR Gold Elite (now Plat) and received breakfast for 2 @ Southgate Restaurant, hotel lobby. It was great.

  35. @Lucky, I have never redeemed at Marriott and unfamiliar with how they follow the free breakfast policy for elites at Marriott Resorts, where going by the rule, elites are not eligible to obtain this perk. Is this something just on paper and the individual hotels typically offer this free (maybe some in Asia?) or is it never actually provided?

  36. @Alison, Thanks for ur feedback. I understand Marriott will provide breakfast for elites in non- Marriott Resort hotels. My question was specifically on Marriott Resort properties which many of their non city holiday destinations seem to fall under.

  37. @PK – can only comment from my experience. I have always received complimentary breakfast vouchers for my friends and myself when they were booked under my MR account, including stays at resorts. My family and I spent 29 nights at Marriott resorts this year and we received complimentary breakfast vouchers for all rooms for all nights (even though technically we shouldn’t). I find that although the rules for the MR program have explicit guidelines, the actual properties go out of their way to make the stays enjoyable. Hence I am happy to see that I can link my SPG account and transfer over all of my points to the MR account!

    This is my 7th year as a Plat Elite and I am only basing the above on my experiences!

  38. Many Marriott resorts provide the breakfast anyway. They dont have to but they know it keeps Platinums coming back. I got full breakfast at Marriott Marco Island, FL Resort. Thats ony 1 but im sure many others do it as well.

  39. I was thoroughly amused by the list of hotels that don’t give Plats lounge access. I’m gold (intentionally – I get to about 70 nights a year and stop, preferring to roll over the nights and make it easier to keep gold since they’re my secondary hotel chain and the diff betw gold and plat isn’t worth it) and stayed at the Long Wharf last week and was given access to their horrible, tiny lounge. I have to wonder if they give Plats 1000 points because the lounge is so bad or if they’ve changed their policy. I know I would have taken the 1000 points instead. I wound up getting water and leaving. A clif bar for breakfast was preferable to that lounge.

  40. Thanks for writing this in a clear way. One of the reasons I never tried for Marriott Platinum status was how weak and confusing the benefits are, especially the breakfast benefit.

    I think you value Marriott points at about .7, so instead of breakfast you get about $7 of points. As well I find it so odd that you get nothing at resorts. That would be the time that not only would I probably have more time to enjoy the breakfast, but would probably be the time that after receiving a free breakfast I would be more inclined to also eat in the restaurant that I enjoyed for breakfast for other meals too.

  41. @Samantha @Ryan, Thanks for your feedback. Assume these instances referred herein are for points redemption nights.

  42. @AD, in my experience marriott lounges in the US are a mixed bag — the boston copley place marriott was particularly distasteful, with lines out the door for breakfast, while renaissances are usually tolerable. but outside the US most of them are something to look forward to — HCMC, bangkok, prague, brisbane, etc., have full-on dinner, free alcohol, afternoon tea, etc. and the one at dubai marriott marquis is over the top … hope you have a good marriott lounge experience someday

  43. @Stacey I wasn’t generalizing about all Marriott lounges. I agree with you that they’re hit or miss at Marriotts and at Hiltons. Intercontinental is about the only chain I can think of where I have been consistently impressed. And, yes, they are generally better outside the US. I was simply pointing out the irony of the lounge at the Long Wharf being specifically excluded, as that generally connotes a something that is very good that they want to keep exclusive. That was clearly not the case with this one.

  44. Look .. no spin here .. I am now top tier elite with SPG , MR, Hyatt, Hilyon, IHG… and I can say without a doubt SPG is by far the best . Yes it’s soon to be gone but it’s the best period ! I never use SNA’s and over 80% get upgrades and a lot of suites even at aloft (if the even have them) I am always treated as a very special person . Received handwritten cards from manager even a few times with entire staff with fresh cut flowers etc.. I truly feel important and cherished at SPG properties especially foreign ones ! Hyatt is my second choice then Hilton .. Hyatt is the only program even close to SPG . Again no spin no stock in the company just my opinion staying all over the world at ALL the above mentioned properties !

  45. @tony : 100% agree.
    Staying at marriot property first time tonight (was in a SPG yesterday) but wanted to see how plat are treated by Marriott… and guess what : SPG rocks. Spg plat vs Marriot plat is just another planet regarding recognition and benefits.

    For hyatt agree too, except their crappy IT and customer service (it’s a real pain to deal with them).

    Hilton is my B plan program and i don’t expect much but i have time to time very good surprises with them (especially with Conrad).

  46. NB : i had stayed in Marriot properties before but not with status and was anyway not impressed.

    My opinion : MR is a program for GOLD (not platinum) because they have tons and tons of middle management guys getting per diem who saye money by eating at the lounge. This is why they are so popular with those sales and other middle management guys.

    Anyway… wait and see… now it’s a mix period but the “whole thing” will be real in 2018… for the best or the worst (i’m not very optimistic).

  47. Stayed at all of the major chains with elite status (SPG, MR, HH, CC, IHG). Unsurprisingly, all are terrible and inconsistent.

    Want quality, hospitality and luxury? Move to a Four Seasons (or a Shangri-La) like I did since 2009 where they even adjust your room temperature before your arrival so that it’s just right. Charge it to a good travel rewards card and spend the points on other benefits. I have never looked back since because none of the top of the line properties at the large chains can compare. Period.

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