Marriott Reveals New Platinum Welcome Gift Options

Marriott’s new loyalty program will launch in August, and while a lot of information has been shared about the new program, there are still lots of questions. One of those questions involves Marriott’s new welcome amenity for Platinum members, and we finally have more information on that.

What is a Platinum welcome amenity?

Both Marriott and Starwood currently offer Platinum members a welcome amenity at check-in. Basically during the check-in process you’ll be given the option of a few different things, though the exact choices vary by brand. Typically you receive the same welcome amenity regardless of whether you’re staying for one night or one week.

Marriott & Starwood’s current Platinum welcome gifts

For context, here are the welcome gifts that are currently available to Marriott Rewards Platinum members, which differ by property:

Meanwhile at Starwood hotels you typically have the option between points, free breakfast, or a local welcome gift. If you choose the points option, Starwood awards 250 Starpoints at limited service hotels, and 500 Starpoints at full service hotels.

Since Starpoints convert into Marriott Rewards points at a 1:3 ratio, that’s the equivalent of 750 Marriott Rewards points and 1,500 Marriott Rewards points, respectively.

On the surface Starwood’s welcome amenity offers more points, but it’s not necessarily that straightforward. In the case of Starwood you’d have to select free breakfast in lieu of the Starpoints welcome amenity, while in the case of Marriott the two amenities are independent — at Marriott you can receive free breakfast and a welcome amenity for eligible properties (in fairness, the breakfast benefit comes with lots of exclusions, though).

Marriott’s new Platinum welcome amenities

Marriott has just published how Platinum welcome amenities will work going forward. Here’s the chart:

My first reaction is that this just reinforces my main frustration with the new program — could this be any more complicated?! Even if I spend 100+ nights per year with Marriott family properties, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to remember this system. There has to be an easier way…

Once you get over how complicated it is, I do find some of the nuances of this to be interesting. They’re largely maintaining the policies of the respective “legacy” loyalty programs:

  • At Le Meridien, Sheraton, St. Regis, Westin, and W, you’ll continue to have the choice between free breakfast, points, and an amenity (though for hotels with club lounges you automatically get access to them, so it typically makes sense to choose points rather than breakfast as the amenity)
  • At JW Marriott, Marriott, Renaissance, etc., you’ll continue to receive free breakfast plus the choice of 1,000 points or a $10 food & beverage credit (or equivalent amenity in select regions)

Personally I think these new amounts are fair. Some might suggest that this is a devaluation for Starwood members, since previously they received 500 Starpoints at full service properties, worth 1,500 Marriott Rewards points, so the amenity is being reduced by a third. However, let’s keep in mind that:

  • Points earning for actual hotel stays is improving under the new program; previously Starwood Platinum members earned three Starpoints per dollar spent (the equivalent of nine Marriott Rewards points), while under the new program Platinum members will earn 15 Marriott Rewards points per dollar spent, which is almost 70% more points than before
  • This is great news for legacy Marriott Rewards members — not only are the number of points offered being increased, but previously Platinum status required 75 nights, while now it required 50 nights, so those who earn 50-74 elite qualifying nights per year with Marriott are now entitled to welcome amenities as well

Bottom line

I think Marriott’s new Platinum welcome gift options are fair. Those who are used to the Starwood system will see a one third reduction in the number of points offered as part of the welcome amenity, though Starwood members will also generally see greatly improved points earning opportunities for hotel spend, which will make a big difference. As a Starwood Platinum member I also typically choose to receive free breakfast rather than earn points as the welcome amenity.

For those used to the Marriott system, we’re seeing the welcome amenity offered for many hotels doubled, and on top of that more members will be entitled to this.

The one quirk I’m still trying to figure out is that the chart suggests that at Courtyard hotels there’s no free breakfast. Marriott said they’d offer free breakfast at Courtyards, so I’ve reached out to Marriott to get clarification on that.

What do you make of Marriott’s new Platinum welcome amenity?

(Tip of the hat to Marriott Rewards Insiders)

Comments

  1. Do we know what the value is outside of the US or is it £10 for UK qualifying stays, €10 for European stays etc? I don’t know where I am with Marriott anymore and will be glad when it’s all settled down.

  2. Isn’t this a huge devaluation of the current breakfast benefit at Marriott, JW Marriott, Autograph Collection, and Renaissance? In the US, lounges are pretty much always closed on weekends. Currently, anyone who is Marriott gold or platinum gets breakfast in the restaurant when that is the case. It looks like that will change as of 8/1/18, and there will now be no breakfast on the weekends. Am I reading this wrong? That would be a pretty terrible change.

  3. Lucky,
    JW Marriot and Autograph Collection Hotels (not resorts!) show that daily breakfast is no longer an option. They switched it around, up until now, you don‘t get free breakfast in resorts, come August 1, you will get it at resorts, but no longer at (non resort-) hotels.
    Or am I missing something?

  4. This looks like you have to choose between a breakfast, the points, and an amenity, no? It says, “choice of one.” The options appear to be

    (1) Points
    (2) Breakfast
    (3) Amenity

    Also, it seems JW Marriott Hotels won’t provide a breakfast as an option, but JW Marriott Resorts will? Huh?

  5. Yay, booked a Westin resort stay for early next year figuring we wouldn’t get breakfast (and of course no lounge) – and now we will!

  6. Hey lucky,

    I pinged you guys about this few weeks ago.

    The courtyard “breakfast” is the 10 USD credit, which gets you a croissant and coffee in dubai, ny, London.

    Also the courtyard credit doesnt say daily unlike others……….

    Breakfast benefit..
    You guys are taking it way too easy on Marriott.

    Also ask them if credit for two rooms is 10 or 20?

  7. Big devaluation on plat breakfast, lounges shut at weekends so no more breakfast in restaurant. Would have been better if they had been upfront at the start instead of misleading everyone with the statement that free breakfast everywhere except RC, Edition and the other one (cannot recall)

  8. I think I’ve put it together (who knows!) but it looks like they’re stopping platinum’s taking breakfast in the restaurant and putting them in the Lounge, which is usually continental only.

    Full breakfast can be taken by platinums but only if you have it your welcome gift. Kind of makes sense really as this week I was at a Marriott with a M Lounge and they told me I had to take it in the lounge and not in the restaurant.

    I could totally be wrong though….

  9. #Tom – but if they told everyone the people who had gold Amex and then SPG’s status match may not have have made all those rushed bookings (me = 9) for a Platinum challenge before the August deadline. Wondered why we it was only 750 points this Megabonus instead of 2000 points.

  10. My experiences for the past year:
    *Domestic Sheratons (lounge closed on weekends) & Westins: Plat breakfast was only the Continental breakfast and not buffet.
    *Budapest Autograph Collection: No lounge, but, daily buffet breakfast + points.
    *Singapore, Tokyo, Kyoto Westins: Full daily buffet and/or lounge and points
    *Mumbai St. Regis: Full daily buffet and points.
    **St. Regis Toyko: Buffet, or, Platinum upcharge for Japanese breakfast. (They actually had a Platinum breakfast menu about the upcharge.)

    There’s a lot of variation on breakfast options; nothing standard. Will that change going forward? Will each property have some flexibility in their options?
    I suspect more properties will only offer Plats a Continental breakfast. Perhaps more hotels will offer an upcharge for full buffet.
    I’m finding more international hotels offering weekend Club Level (lounge perks) promotions and discounted room & board rates slightly above SPG member rates.

  11. So for SPG Platinum members this represents a 33% devaluation: Currently 500 SPG points bonus, will be 1000 points in the combined program ( = 333 SPG equivalent). Terrible .
    Plus they reneg on some of the breakfast promises. One wonders what ‘enhancement’ will come next.

  12. In the new chart, JW Marriott and Marriott only offers free breakfast in resorts, not hotels. Is it something that I am just not understanding correctly?

  13. @ymx, the welcome gift (points, breakfast or amenity) is separate from the lounge access policy.
    Basically, as Plat elite, you would want to choose points or the amenity as your welcome gift, since properties with lounge access already grant you free breakfast (or breakfast in the restaurant if the lounge is closed).

    OR, you may want to have it the other way around. Choose breakfast as your welcome gift and choose 750 points per day in-lieu of lounge access. Note, this is per day, meaning you would would earn 1,500 just after two days compared to 1,000 points, and you have a chance to earn even more points for longer stays. Although, as per the chart, it seems the 750 points only apply to legacy Marriott properties.

  14. What about MR Golds, earned by airline status (United 1K) or credit card (Amex) that converts to MR Platinum come 8.1. How different is MR Platinum that MR Platinum Elite (earned by stays)? (Double use of “Platinum” and Platinum Elite is misleading).

  15. @ymx Your 2nd Marriott Lounge Access link is for Marriott Reward ‘Platinum Elite’. Same for ‘Platinum’ ? What about hotels not in US or Europe? (I.e, Asian, Bali). Thx.

  16. @ AlliW — Platinum and Platinum Elite are the same. Marriott Rewards Gold that’s earned by matching won’t convert to Platinum, but rather will remain Gold, so there’s no welcome gift for those people.

  17. Why you didn’t mention to key element here : 33% devaluation… for people not living in the US without credit card the 500 SPG points was a nice way to credit point (especially for people doing a lot of 1 or 2 nights stays).

    I’m waiting the new policy for make a green choice (good way of earning points too).

  18. So the document now says member plus one guest get lounge access? So are they now going to be stopping families from traveling together from using the lounge?? This will be a huge issue for our family. This will be the one reason we will switch brands. I am kinda hoping Hyatt is sitting in the background just waiting to pounce on all of the unhappy customers!

  19. @Tony @Lars K @Ethan @Disgruntled @Tom

    It appears that breakfasts at legacy Marriott properties (Marriott, JW, Renaissance, etc.) will be offered in the lounge, not in the restaurant. The dot you are looking at is to mark that that property does not usually serve a free breakfast there, and will be offered as a choice on arrival. You will continue to receive free breakfast, but your options may be limited depending on the property (some only offer continental, some offer a wider spread). On weekends, the policy will remain the same, in which with lounge closure, you will be offered the choice of breakfast in the restaurant OR 750 points. In hotels with no lounge (which I assume is the same case as “hotel with a closed lounge,” I believe the case is that you should be offered breakfast in the restaurant or the choice of 750 points. I believe this is the same offering as what was previously offered at Marriott properties anyways, so it shouldn’t represent a devaluation (although the last time I recall staying at a Marriott / Renaissance property was in February).

    As Lucky mentioned in a separate article, Courtyards (depending on location) may or may not offer breakfast.

    What’s new is that breakfast at resort properties (Marriott Resorts, JW Resorts, Renaissance Resorts) will now be an option as a welcome benefit. Not sure what this means for resort fees including breakfasts (I remember being showered with them in Waikiki as part of the resort fee), but it means that you will now have the choice between breakfast or additional points.

  20. Hi Lucky, concerning the below:

    “At JW Marriott, Marriott, Renaissance, etc., you’ll continue to receive free breakfast plus the choice of 1,000 points or a $10 food & beverage credit”

    Not doubting you, but where is this written down on Marriott’s literature? I don’t think this is at all clear from the chart, which says “choice of one, except when noted” – I don’t see any notations about those brands to suggest they are any different.

    Apologies in advance, if this is just me being dumb!

  21. I think i have figured out Autograph Collection. First table, Autograph Collection Resorts get option of Daily Breakfast for Member and Guest. Autograph Collection Hotels get $10 F&B Credit (per stay) but can use lounge. AC by Marriott has no lounge access (second table) and you get option of $10 F&B credit for member and guest, daily from first table.

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