My Predictions About Marriott’s New Platinum Suite Upgrade Benefit

Just under a week ago, the details of Marriott’s new loyalty program were revealed. Prior to this announcement, one of the biggest questions that both Marriott and Starwood loyalists had was whether the new program would offer suite upgrades as a benefit:

  • At Starwood Preferred Guest, Platinum members are entitled to be upgraded to the best available room, including standard suites
  • At Marriott Rewards, Platinum members are entitled to be upgraded, and that upgrade may include standard suites

That’s a subtle but important distinction. At Starwood you’re “entitled” to a suite upgrade subject to availability, while with Marriott you can be upgraded to a suite at the hotel’s discretion. In other words, with Marriott a hotel can upgrade you to a suite if they want to, but they can also upgrade you to another type of room if they want to.

I’ve received a ton of questions about what the new suite upgrade benefit will look like, so wanted to share my general thoughts on this:

Marriott’s new policy will mirror Starwood’s

While the terms & conditions haven’t yet been published, the head of Marriott Rewards, David Flueck, told me that the new policy is intended to mirror Starwood’s policy rather than Marriott’s policy. That was in response to me asking whether suite upgrades were at the hotel’s discretion (like Marriott), or whether they were guaranteed subject to availability (like Starwood). That’s good news.

There will be a lot of Platinum members

How likely are suite upgrades to actually happen? The first thing to understand is that the new Marriott program will have tons of Platinum members. I imagine the percentage of elite members in the new Marriott program will be higher than in the old Marriott Rewards or Starwood Preferred Guest program.

That’s because Marriott will have more properties than any other hotel group, and it takes less effort than ever before to be loyal to them. Platinum status will require just 50 elite qualifying nights per year, and for having a co-branded credit card you’ll get 15 elite nights, so really you’ll only need 35 nights per year to earn Platinum status.

So yes, you’ll be entitled to complimentary suite upgrades, but you’ll be competing with a lot of people.

I don’t think Marriott will enforce the policy that rigidly

Historically my perception is that Starwood is much stricter than Marriott when it comes to making sure that hotels are compliant. This is true in several ways.

For one, I suspect that there will be a learning curve here for hotels. Given that Marriott has thousands of hotels, there will probably be a lot of hotels that are slow to learn the new policy. Starwood has historically been good at implementing policies across their various hotels, and it’s my understanding that they also charge hotels the most when corporate customer relations has to get involved in a dispute between a hotel and a guest.

I wouldn’t count on all Marriott hotels being onboard with these new suite upgrades overnight, and that’s because of the number of hotels we’re talking about, and also because Marriott isn’t historically as strict as Starwood when it comes to compliance.


I got a great suite upgrade at the W Verbier

How will Platinum vs. Platinum Premier upgrades be prioritized?

Technically both Platinum and Platinum Premier members will be entitled to complimentary suite upgrades subject to availability. With that in mind, how will hotels prioritize these upgrades? Based on my conversation with David Flueck, it seems like hotels will be given guidance as to what these tiers mean, and then based on that they can make their decisions as to how they want to prioritize upgrades.

Let me give an example. Let’s say a hotel has 10 suites available, and has 10 Platinum Premier members and 10 Platinum members checking in on a given day. All those members are entitled to suites, so who should get them?

  • Should the hotel block Platinum Premier members into the suites before arrival, since they’ve demonstrated more loyalty?
  • Should the hotel not block suite upgrades, and just upgrade all Platinum guests on a first come first served basis?

There’s not a right or wrong answer here, and it will be up to each individual hotel to decide what method they want to use. My guess is that guests may often find themselves in a situation where they’re not proactively offered suite upgrades due to how hotels have blocked rooms. However, I imagine if you want to “pick a fight” with a hotel (which I don’t necessarily recommend doing), you’ll often find that a suite miraculously opens up.

It all comes down to the individual hotel’s management. I know from being an SPG Platinum Ambassador that at some hotels I get a “thank you for being an SPG member” at check-in (so I spend 100+ nights per year with the brand and only get thanked for having signed up for their loyalty program?), while at other hotels I get specifically recognized as being a Platinum Ambassador member.

General suite expectations

Even for us long-time Starwood loyalists, I think we’ve adjusted our expectations of suite upgrades over the years based on where we’re staying. In very general terms:

  • I don’t expect to be upgraded to suites at most US properties, since there are so many Platinum members
  • In Southeast Asia, the Middle East, India, etc., Platinum members are typically treated extremely well, and upgrades are readily available
  • I find that Europe is a mixed bag — at major hotels in London or Paris you often won’t be upgraded, while in secondary markets it’s much easier to get upgraded


I got the sense there aren’t many Platinum guests at the Marriott Yerevan

Don’t expect Suite Night Awards to clear

In addition to complimentary upgrades at check-in, there will also be opportunities to earn Suite Night Awards as part of the Choice Benefit:

  • You can select five Suite Night Awards for reaching 50 elite qualifying nights
  • You can select five additional Suite Night Awards for reaching 75 elite qualifying nights

Note that this is independent of earning status, so if you qualify based on lifetime status or credit card spend, you won’t receive those.

I do think it’s important to manage expectations with Suite Night Awards, though. They clear at most five days before arrival, and they clear at the hotel’s discretion, so they don’t even have to clear these if there are suites available.

While I appreciate the benefit as such, I wouldn’t get your hopes up too high. My general experience has been that when these clear, I feel like I would have gotten a suite upgrade at check-in anyway. Don’t expect to get these to clear on Maui over Christmas, or in Aspen during ski season, or in London during summer, for example.

What are your expectations of Marriott’s new suite upgrade policy?

Comments

  1. Lucky, question for you. Will existing suite night upgrades earned for this year be able to be used at Marriott properties starting in August? Would be great to potentially use these at a Ritz, but unclear if they can only be used at Starwood properties

  2. From the experience you have, is it even worth taking the SNA’s over one of the other gifts, such as free nights if that is the offer? I have read reports of people not receiving the upgrades, but I don’t know if that is the vocal few or the ordinary…

  3. @Lucky – have we heard about what status we’ll be getting in August, if we’re SPG Golds who matched to Marriott Gold (not via credit cards)?

  4. The other challenge is, a lot of Marriott-brand hotels have very few suites anyway since they’re meant to be run of the mill business traveler hotels. So even if the hotel does as they’re supposed to, there might just not be many suites to give.

    I’m still curious if suite upgrades and SNAs are available at Ritz-Carltons—I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re not participating in this benefit, but it hasn’t been stated specifically yet that I’ve seen.

  5. Lucky, SNAs with SPG were NOT at the hotel’s discretion! So this would not be the Starwood policy but a new one.

    It is funny that Marriott locals have always taken pride on brand consistency, everywhere. And now suites will be the definition of inconsistent. Lovely.

  6. My general perception is that many legacy Marriott properties will be reluctantto implement this “entitlement”. I base this on the fact that , as you rightly point out , it was not a very strict policy for Marriott Rewards . Additionally, in the early days of the SPG Platinum suite benefit , many properties were slow to become compliant . However, as guests became savvy and reached out to guest relations and the program matured , I found suite upgrades quite generous and willingly offered- often in advance .

    Remember , forewarned is forearmed ! As everyone seemingly has access to smart devices ,simply check live suite availability as you arrive at the hotel and politely point out that you see suite benefit eligible suites are available and you would appreciate receiving your “entitled” benefit . If your request is denied , immediately escalate on property or via guest services as necessary .

    What everyone should be on the lookout for are carve outs. Since we don’t have the new terms and conditions , we don’t know if there will be properties that will exempted from the suite upgrade benefit ala the breakfast benefit .

  7. @ Ben — “Marriott’s new policy will mirror Starwood’s” pretty much sums it up. There won’t be any suite upgrades. Thank God we have stuck with IC Royal Ambassador and Hyatt Globalist. Marriott, SPG, and Hilton are all a joke.

  8. FIRST, THAT IS WRONG. SNAs are NOT at the property’s discretion; they always have been automated by the SPG booking platform which automatically searched for availability of the standard suite categories at 5 days out and automatically upgraded if that was available at that time for the duration of the stay. That process is repeated every day until the day before a stay, where SNAs automatically are returned to your account if the system cannot automatically provide the upgrade. On arrival, of course, it’s still possible to be upgraded to a stand suite by virtue of the complimentary standard suite upgrade policy for any arriving Platinum—but on arrival upgrades do not count towards SNAs.

    Ambassadors couldn’t even get involved to help since SNAs are not at any person’s discretion but are completely automated based on available online inventory. It can only be discretionary when you don’t use SNAs.

    ALSO, the much lower number of suites at legacy Marriott properties will also factor into the challenge of getting Platinum suite upgrades.

    FINALLY, there has been nothing to indicate that Ritz Carlton or Edition hotels are exempt from complimentary Platinum standard suite upgrades or SNA upgrades to standard suites. Ritz Carlton standard suites will never include thier Club level rooms or suites, so Club access (for the time being, at least) will not be a part of the standard upgrade possibilities.

  9. Lucky, have you gotten a confirmation whether or not people who got gold elite status from Amex Platinum will get Marriott Platinum for the rest of this year? (I know starting in 2019 Amex Platinum only offers gold elite) cause there’s been a lot of conflicting comments by Marriott executives.

  10. Whenever asking for upgrades when not proactively offered one, I really hate when given the “sorry but we’re completely sold out” line. This may have worked 15 years ago but do they not realize that everyone can just get on their phones and check that there are plenty of rooms available for sale? The hotel industry as a whole needs to remove this line from their training and come up with some other BS reason to not upgrade elites. It’s frustrating and insulting.

  11. Other than the SNA process is automated (doesn’t mean they can’t game availability), I think it’s covered pretty well.

    The one other consideration is repeat guests. Not ironclad, but some hotels do more for me due to being a regular customer than for status.

  12. @Beachfan. I agree totally about hotels taking care of their regulars, all other things being equal. I worked as a hotel desk clerk in college at an airport Sheraton and we always blocked certain rooms for our favorite guests, many of whom were flight crew members. Also, I am a regular at many hotels in Europe and I know the desk staffs well and they always take care of me. I believe they have a lot of latitude.

  13. @Lucky

    Thanks a ton for covering this. There are further issues in their breakfast benefit (some are not really a breakfast benefit but rather the USD worth of the welcome amenity in F&B coupons).

    Lounge access also has funky language for resorts and they still haven’t changed that.

    Just a clarification regarding SNAs and the commentors above

    SNAs are both automated *and* at hotel’s discretion. The actual manner in which they are handled is fairly complex and I am not privy to the exact specifics but from hotel FoMs and Room Directors, its apparently automated upto a certain point. Once a hotel has limited inventory left (and it can cause this state by marking room as under service or maintenance), it switches to being at a hotel’s discretion. Corporate (including Ambassadors) really seem to not be in the loop about this, also this isn’t how its advertised in T&C, perhaps you can have more luck with SPCC agents (they’re by far the most competent SPG guest facing team, they’re the ones that run the Let’s Chat service for Ambassadors on Whatsapp).

    Or reach out to a VP/SVP level of higher in your region and really press them to investigate rather than quote you broilerplate and they could confirm the same thing.

    The insertion of Marriott’s weasel words in every benefit even in marketing blurbs (let alone T&C) is very worrying
    Late checkout *up to* 4 pm
    Upgrades to ‘enhanced’ rooms, including suites (as opposed to best rooms)
    Lounge access, excludes resorts (current language)
    Breakfast benefit will vary and can be as low as a 10 USD credit for double occupancy potentially (until they clarify otherwise).

  14. Perhaps we’ll be forced to return to the dark old days of carrying laminated copies of the T&C.

  15. Also not sure if the truism of Marriott’s overflowing with elites post merger is at all true.
    There will infact be *less* elites as a result of the new program by quite a margin at least intially (barring the immediate august – 2019 transition period). This should grow significantly at the highest levels (Platinum+) due to increased footprint but there are several factors to consider here.

    The absolute number of elites isn’t relevant unless normalised by property count. Sure Marriott and SPG elites got merged but so did the footprints. I’d wager that SPG properties are more popular with MR elites than MR ones are for SPG members for paid stays (and reverse for redemptions for expensive properties). So yes, certain SPG hotels will be more crowded but there will be plenty of JW Marriotts, Renaissances, RItz, Marriotts and Courtyards which will have a net less number of elites checking in everyday as a %.

    If a city Coruscant has two hotels, one JW Marriott, Mace Windu Street with average of 15 elites checking in each day and SPG has St Regis, Yoda Avenue with 25 checking in everyday. Sure now you have 40 total elites checking into same city but now they’re spread across 2 properties. So 20 each (+5 for one, -5 for another).

    That’s to do with distribution and normalisation.

    But the major factor in the new program is the significant thinning in suite entitled ranks.
    All SPG 25 stay members are taken out of the equation (the bulk of stay based elites perhaps)
    All United elites matching to Marriott Gold are taken out of equation
    All credit card holding Marriott Gold or SPG Gold (hence Marriott Gold) members are taken out of equation (the bulk of suite entitled elites)

    This is going to decimate the ranks of elites vying for suite upgrades. As it should in my opinion (however I feel they went too far in cutting benefits for mid tiers which don’t compete with higher tiers. Unlike upgrades, breakfast, lounge and late check out can be given out to larger numbers more easily).

    Marriott will upgrade us less often because it simply doesn’t want to, not because of actual constraints like absolute elite numbers or elite percentages checking in per property per day.

  16. “Let me give an example. Let’s say a hotel has 10 suites available, and has 10 Platinum Premier members and 10 Platinum members checking in on a given day. All those members are entitled to suites, so who should get them?”

    I’m definitely missing something here as I don’t see the issue here.

    Plat Prem requires 75 night
    Plat requires 50 nights

    Plat Prem is a higher status tier than Plat so Plat Prems should get the upgrades.

    If American Airlines started upgrading Plat Pros over EXPs they would hear the outrage in the far reaches of the galaxy so why any different here?

    Thx

  17. LOL. Here we go again!

    “At Starwood Preferred Guest, Platinum members are entitled to be upgraded to the best available room, including standard suites
    At Marriott Rewards, Platinum members are entitled to be upgraded, and that upgrade may include standard suites”

    There is absolutely nothing remotely true about those claims, which I’d thoroughly debunked, including providing examples of the hysterical (both meanings of the word) consequences of self-anointed travel gurus misinterpreting what was lexically and syntactically a straightforward (and common across programs) room upgrades policy.

    What is telling is that the post itself is written with all the caveats that implicitly acknowledge the reality rather than the made-up claims: SPG elites were “entitled” to nothing.

    I will not bother posting yet again the link to the post in which I debunked the claim. I will just make a prediction: Marriott is in for a shock when they start dealing with the cadre of self-entitled SPG loyalists that they just inherited, which erroneously, but rabidly, believe that they “entitled” to benefits that are more expansive than the program offers. The result will be that MR will quickly get fed up and begin diluting even the modest benefits that they adopted to try to appease or placate SPG loyalists.

    Pass the popcorn bowl!

  18. @DCS

    You never debunked anything about the suites.

    It is crystal clear, SPG is obligated to upgrade to an empty available suite, it does so often and doesn’t often. When it doesn’t the rules and corporate are on your side.

    Hilton can upgrade to anything from high floor, to renovated, to corner room to one category to 2/3/4 category all the way upto a suite. As is obvious from the language, in actual practice I get upgraded a lot less than SPG. If SPG upgrades me half to three quarters of the time to a suite (and club level all other times), Hilton upgrades to suites maybe a quarter of the time AFTER asking.

    Of course, you don’t even understand the difference between a confirmed and unconfirmed late check out, so little can be said of your inference skills.

    SPG never never fails to provide 4 pm except at resorts. Lucky if I get 4 pm at Hilton more than a quarter of the time again, mostly its 2 or 3 and done. Of course the frequency with which Hilton does 4 pm, is the frequency at which SPG does 6 or 7 pm.

    Marriott is better than Hilton with late check out (though not perfect) and about equal with regards to upgrades (but at several times 4x-5x? the number of nice properties).

  19. I’ve never been recognized as having Platinum Ambassador status at check-in. Also, I’ve never heard or received anything from my Ambassador since our initial phone call.

  20. @DCS

    You’re absolutely right. I believed all the blogs saying SPG was the best currency and that Hilton points were trash because they are worth “less”. Reading your previous comments and doing the math, you are right that Hilton members earn way more, especially with the aspire and promos.

  21. @DCS you are not smart and your analysis is 3rd-grade level. You had a bad experience with SPG, sweet dope bro. Sing it from the mountain tops. The vast majority of people had good experiences and the upgrades worked most of the time as Ben stated, as people are, yes, “entitled” to when they pay for something in exchange for something you get that something.
    You gonna claim every Hilton carries out the benefits to a T? Lol.

    @Ziggy: the difference is that you can check into the hotel and room at different times, whereas everyone boards a plane at the same time. So when a plat shows up before a plat prem, they are entitled to that suite. If all ten plats show up before all 10 plat prems, they’ll get those suites and the premiers will be left un-upgraded, despite being a higher tier.

  22. DCS prove to us where it mentions “suite” on the Hilton Diamond benefit page.

    You can’t, because suites aren’t a stated benefit (just as a 4pm check-out isn’t either).

    Putting CYA language deep in the T&Cs doesn’t count.

  23. @Matt Thanks for the explanation.

    Terrible way for upgrades to be handled – not sure why a Plat Prem should lose an upgrade to a Plat just because he/she arrives later in the day.

    I was under the impression that one of the advantages of having good status is that you get priority over those with lower status….but apparently not in this case.

    I don’t get it.

  24. @Matt — I did the math and knew a long time ago that SPG was the least rewarding program in the business and made it very early on my no man’s land. I did not bother with it much to have had a “bad experience”. Au contraire, it is folks like you who got left holding the bag, homeless, when Starwood/SPG went belly-up. The sense of “entitlement” was made up by travel bloggers and then perpetuated by SPG by not setting the record straight, while they quietly enforced the correct rules in the background, to the great frustration of their bewildered loyalists. If you have not read my devastating post on this, I will be happy to post the link, but what is no longer credible is to continue to make claims that the very demise of Starwood and SPG have made untenable.

    Hilton is reigning supreme – there is simply no program out there that comes close to being as innovative, consistent and, yes, rewarding.

    G’day!

  25. “DCS prove to us where it mentions “suite” on the Hilton Diamond benefit page.”

    Everyone but this poster already knows this. So, for his benefit, even though I have posted it several times at the request of THE VERY SAME POSTER, here goes [it looks like the new HH T&C have gone up online]:

    “Effective Date: April 2, 2018. The following supersedes all prior Terms & Conditions. By participating or continuing to participate after the effective date, you agree to the following:

    Diamond Hilton Honors Members will receive upgrades to preferred rooms, based on availability at the time of arrival (excludes Napua Tower at Grand Wailea and Imperial Floor at Rome Cavalieri).

    Upgrades for Diamond Hilton Honors Members may include upgrades up to “junior”, “standard” or “one-bedroom” suites.” [1]

    See “suites” right there. Link to T&C in the next post to avoid having this one held in moderation.

    G’day!

  26. I’ve had great success over the past five years using Suite Night Awards at hotels including the Gritti Palace (in July), W San Francisco, W Paris, Westin Maui (7 nights), Westin St. Francis (SF) and others. However, I tend to agree that complimentary upgrades to suites are very, very rare even with Platinum 75-night status. I don’t expect the new Marriott program to improve this situation – I just hope regular room upgrades don’t suffer with the upcoming avalanche of new Platinum elites.

  27. Ben: You’re wrong. Marriott’s current policy does NOT limit upgrades to standard suites. While Marriott’s current policy doesn’t require an upgrade to the best-available room at check-in it does not specifically limit the category of suites. Also, only Marriott and Ritz-Carlton platinum elites are currently eligible for suite upgrades at Ritz-Carlton properties.

  28. DCS knows damn well that things buried in the fine print of the T&Cs don’t actually mark the intent of the program, and thus continues to obfuscate.

    Once again, tell us where on the MAIN Hilton Diamond page it makes any mention of proactively upgrading to suites as an actual program benefit.

    We will keep waiting…

  29. Simply incredible! What exactly are you waiting for you??? I’d posted the link as soon as I said I would and below is the comment without the link to avoid it too being held up in moderation. Importantly, it is incredible that someone as vocal as you cannot just open up a web browser and type in a search box: “Hilton Honors Terms and Conditions”! The T&C statement about HH Diamond suite upgrades is no more buried in fine print than is your nonexistent claim about being “entitled” to suite upgrades as a SPG Plat!

    ___________________________________________________________________________________________

    [1] Link went here

    Look under benefits for Diamonds. HH Golds get no suite upgrades, but are ‘guaranteed’ restaurant breakfast, as well as exec lounge access if they are upgraded to the exec floor, making it as good as the new MR Plat Elite status 😉

  30. “They clear at most five days before arrival, and they clear at the hotel’s discretion, so they don’t even have to clear these if there are suites available.” – I can understand if the suites were booked on a paid rate, but its frickin absurd for properties to just refuse certs when they have open suites that aren’t going to be booked. If this is the case then marriott shouldn’t even advertise this benefit.

  31. In my opinion the suite upgrades will be allocated as follows:

    1. Any Platinum or Plat premier elite status guest who is a regular at the property at the time of request
    2. Plat premier, Platinum at the time of request
    3. Other Plat premier, Platinum elites at the time of arrival

  32. Lucky, thanks a million for bringing this up.
    There is little we can do about the limitations due to the new amount of plats in general (probably less after the transition period) , this was sort of inevitable and we still have to see
    how this turns out.
    On the other hand it will really matter how they phrase their promise and t&c. While I wish the response you received is going to prove right (SPG policy with guaranteed upgrade to best room incl. Suites despite our friend DCS rabidly lying about this) I simply mistrust Marriott.
    As you said, SPG was always far better executing their policies because they cared and hand strict conditions, I am very much looking forward to the exact wording here. Just like they bought SPG also because it had far better IT and customer interaction and now shift everything to the older Marriott IT they have bought a loyal clientele and seem to be pushing them into their scheme of policies. SPG members were also loyal because the programme was reliable in terms of promises and not as watered as Marriott. So absurdly the non-compliance with suite upgrades may lead to a significant lower number of entitled elites (who left to Hilton or Hyatt it became free movers) which may result in higher upgrade chances for the remaining.
    We will see, wording of t&cs and the promise will be crucial for my decisions where to take my nights.

  33. @Ben1982 sez: “(SPG policy with guaranteed upgrade to best room incl. Suites despite our friend DCS rabidly lying about this)”

    I do not lie. I would say that it is you lying, but it would be too harsh. You are simply delusional.

    Here’s the short version of the SPG room/suite upgrade policy for Plats:
    “As a Platinum member, you’ll enjoy all the benefits of Gold status, plus even more rewards: An upgrade to best available room at check-in — including a Standard Suite.”

    How is that policy different from any other program’s that offers elite room/suite upgrades? Not different AL ALL.

    It is not my problem if your head is deep in the sand and you want to believe what you and everyone know well from your own experiences to be bogus because upgrades cannot possibly be guaranteed if they are at the discretion of each property, which is why you cleared only a few of them a year if you were lucky, including those “guaranteed” with the largely useless SNAs.

    Here is the relevant part of the full SPG room/suite policy:
    “…subject to availability at check-in for the length of the stay, provided the room was not booked through a pre-paid third-party channel. Specialty Suites such as, but not limited to, premium view, Presidential, Honeymoon, and multiple bedroom suites are excluded. This benefit does not apply to all-suite hotels. BEST ROOMS ARE IDENTIFIED BY EACH PROPERTY and may not include upgraded Towers level accommodations unless Towers level accommodations are booked originally. The upgrade benefit is available for one room for the personal use of the Member only, regardless of the number of additional rooms purchased by the Member. This benefit is not offered at Aloft and Element properties.”

    See? “BEST ROOMS ARE IDENTIFIED BY EACH PROPERTY”, ergo no one is entitled to any kind of upgrade.

    Bloggers willfully misinterpreted a simple rule to try to make their favored program seem better (they did that with a whole host of benefits), except that SPG did not interpret the rule as bloggers thought it should be, so it led to weird and hysterical complaints. Here is a sampling of some of my favorite complaints by self-anointed travel gurus, who hit the airwaves to accuse SPG of duplicity for correctly interpreting…THEIR OWN RULE!!! (put each title text below in a search box to find the associated full post):

    2012 — I am Sick of Arguing for Starwood Upgrades.

    2014 — Starwood Platinum Suite Upgrades: Why Does It Have To Be A Fight?

    2013 — Platinum SPG, best room upgrade: please change the language.

    2015 — Destroying Loyalty: Starwood’s Lies & Expectation Management.

    One of worst “sins” in this business is the inability to manage one’s expectations, which makes SPG loyalists the biggest “sinners.”

    G’day!

  34. The most updated SPG terms regarding suite upgrades are available at:

    WWW . SPG PROMOS. COM/fullterms/?EM=SPG_FULLTERMS_CREDS_TERMS

    And they state this:

    “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”

    Best in not open to interpretation anymore. Best means the highest in a sample size (a sample size defined as including suites).

    The full detailed T&C refer back to this page regarding upgrades (And indeed all major elite benefits).

    Anyone claiming otherwise is intentionally trying to deceive others. Perhaps that should be covered under blog terms for censorship under #fakenews.

  35. @Vineet – the troll you are calling out will continue to lie and obfuscate to suit his own needs…nothing is ever done about it.

  36. @Vineet — It is a mentality like “Best is not open to interpretation” that led to the sense of self-entitlement and to these hysterical jeremiads by those who were the most vocal in pushing that canard:

    2012 — I am Sick of Arguing for Starwood Upgrades.

    2014 — Starwood Platinum Suite Upgrades: Why Does It Have To Be A Fight?

    2013 — Platinum SPG, best room upgrade: please change the language.

    2015 — Destroying Loyalty: Starwood’s Lies & Expectation Management.

    The clear problem is that they forgot to let SPG properties in the secret that “best is not open to interpretation”, leading to the jeremiads above, which should have told anyone who cared to know that the peddled claim of “entitlement” was always utterly bogus!

    BTW, you did NOT get to the FULL T&C, which I quoted above, revealing the same tendency to read only what one wants to read in a policy.

    It is time to get real, to stop the self-delusion, to, at long last, wake up and smell the coffee, especially now that SPG in ‘no mas’…

    G’day!

  37. Troll – a person who makes a deliberately offensive or provocative online post…

    …especially when they are frustrated that they cannot refute factual evidence that shows their self-delusions or debunks their made-up claims.

  38. @DCS:

    I provided the complete T&C. There is nothing more to them. If you believe they are incorrect, I’d love to see the relevant link for your version.

    (you can insert spaces after www. And before. com to get around the moderation/approval requirement)

  39. @Vineet – Find any place where AMEX is promoting their co-branded SPG cards for after August 1, 2018, and you will see the full and likely FINAL version of the T&C for SPG Gold and Plat benefits. I have no idea where you’ve been looking but what you posted is NOT the FULL room/suite policy.

    But, you really do not need any of that. Just consider the volume (both meanings of the word) of travel bloggers’ accusations that SPG did not honor THEIR OWN room/suite policy, and you will see that claims that SPG elites are “entitled” are simply ludicrous. Starwood just manages many, if not most, of the properties in the chain, which, therefore, means that properties have a great deal latitude to decide what they wish to call “best room” for the sake of upgrades. There is nothing that any elite member can do about that, short of getting into fights with front desk agents (and many SPG elites have done just that!).

  40. I cannot believe no hotel employee has commented before on this topic. I work in Europe and have worked at Accor, Hilton, Starwood, IHG and Radisson. I am no longer working at Front desk but am still in Front Office department in a different chain. Most of the people in hospitality hop companies frequently so everybody knows somebody in a different chain or hotel. It is not hard to know the difference between them.

    The upgrade policies are not similar. Starwood internal training was very clear in the policy of providing available suites (available in the system to assign at check in, not online) to platinum members. We had lots of ways around this but there was much stricter rules and consequences if guest complained including audits of upgrades.

    Hilton we could get away with anything, some hotels have a strict 1 category only policy and depending on hotel, only managers or rooms division can override this. The actual benefit differs by hotel and region and we faced no consequence for upgrading a Diamond guest to a better view. The number for percentage suite upgrades between the two chains was not even close. Though it wasn’t close to 100% at Sheraton either.

    I know that Marriott hotels also have flexibility like Hilton and the European chains are all much worse.

  41. @BB — Once more, your claim that “Starwood internal training was very clear in the policy of providing available suites (available in the system to assign at check in, not online) to platinum members” is not consistent with these posts by travel bloggers, most them very top SPG elites, complaining that their “entitlement” to suite upgrades was being ignore by…SPG!:

    2012 — I am Sick of Arguing for Starwood Upgrades.

    2014 — Starwood Platinum Suite Upgrades: Why Does It Have To Be A Fight?

    2013 — Platinum SPG, best room upgrade: please change the language.

    2015 — Destroying Loyalty: Starwood’s Lies & Expectation Management.

    There are lots and lots of posts, as well as member comments, along the same vein all over the web.

  42. @DCS, fair enough, you have made your point here and in many many other posts. The vast majority of active SPG plats here has a different point of view based on massive experience. I was able to force hotels to upgrades to available standard suites and it was a great policy.
    Whatever the trauma that caused you to constantly repeat fake news – we have all acknowledged your statements and there is no reason for copying them over and over again. Just stay calm or press that button to call these nice people who take care of you and ask them to take away internet from you for a little time. It‘s for your own good.

  43. @Ben1982 — You got you backwards since you were the one who were “able to FORCE hotels to upgrades to available standard suites” and thought “it was a great policy” …

    I am perfectly fine.

  44. Don’t you get it? There was a hotel not compliant with the rules and as it was a great and clear policy I was able to make us of it and get what was promised. This is what makes a good policy, if it’s enforceable if hotels don’t comply or where training was insufficient. So I got what I wanted because it’s a guarantee… a policy is not the same as people following it, but a good policy is one you can rely on and enforce if necessary.
    And yes, I know you will not agree for the sake of believing your own truth and yes I believe there are many comments supporting your point because you yourself leave the same comments over and over again – which doesn’t make it better but more ridiculous.

    I am glad to hear you are fine.

  45. @Ben1982 — I get it just fine. It is you who are trying to make a case that cannot be made given the available evidence of members and bloggers complaining vociferously that a policy was being breached. Occasionally, SPG simply indulged members who complained because they wanted to perpetuate the utterly bogus perception, hatched in travel blogosphere, that the program treated its members better than the competition, while at the same time they quietly enforced the correct T&C in the background. They wanted to have their cake and eat it too!

    I’d “investigated” the whole claim and wrote a long post about it, chuckling uncontrollably about the clear sense of self-entitlement and gullibility of [some] SPG members. The complaints I posted repeatedly above were from that post. No member is “entitled” to any type of upgrade if each property has the final say on what “best room” means. Period. They can claim whatever they want and there is little that anyone can do about it other than to start a “fight”, in which case SPG or a property might decide to simply indulge a member, as you apparently were. The examples of complaints I posted above spanned 3 years. That is an awfully long time for a program to keep making the same “error.” What it means is that it was a feature of the program and not a bug!

    Look, SPG is dead. None of this matters any longer. You want to go on reminiscing about what a great program SPG was, then go right ahead. Just ask yourself: if SPG was so great, why did it go belly-up at a time of great growth and prosperity in the industry? The “demise of the greatest” is reverse Darwinism, and there is no such thing.

    The soapbox is yours. Knock yourself out.

    G’day.

  46. While you keep shouting out and claiming that many people brought this up vociferously you have no evidence but constantly claiming it yourself. I would love to get a decent number of links to these remarks by many members and bloggers who are not you.
    SPG will be dead but it‘s all about taking the best of it onwards and it seems that everyone but you made the experience that this guarantee was a well executed policy. The definition of best rooms was due to availability and a fixed room category as standard suite and not to ongoing discretion of the hotel. You could always call spg and they would be able to confirm these categories.
    The point I really do not understand: here there are many longtime spg plats with a plethora of own experiences of this – you do not seem to have a comparable experience and evidence and still go on talking nonsense. Maybe you should stick to the topics you can bring on valuable insights and stop bullshitting on things you don‘t have a clue of.

  47. I provided the evidence above, many times, pointing to prominent travel blogs and their comments sections. Also, you have a web browser, do a search, find the volume of complaints, and then weep because you will recognize yourself as among the many self-entitled who have taken to airwaves to complain. (Hint: begin by entering the text of the titles of the blogposts above in a search engine box. It is really that simple to get to the evidence).

    I did not drink self-anointed “travel gurus'” kool-aid about how Hyatt Gold Passport and SPG were the “best programs in the business”, which is why I have consistently contributed a fresh view and valuable insights here and elsewhere. About those “best programs in the business”, the former is almost effectively out of the game after trying and failing to transform itself, while the latter is now completely out. The reason: neither program was even half as good as touted by those you seem to be getting your insights from.

    I do not bullshit. Truth is an irritant to those who do not wish to hear it.

    Goodbye and good luck.

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