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:
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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!