With Ajay’s Marriott Platinum status thanks to SPG Platinum, we’ve been staying at a number of Marriott hotels recently. One of the perils of being a Marriott Rewards Platinum member is that Marriott elite benefits tend to change with each brand.
So while there are some straightforward benefits that come with the Platinum status such as:
- Guaranteed availability for preferred room type
- 48-hour room guarantee, in case I have last minute travel plans and need to book a stay
- Complimentary access to premium internet
- 50% bonus earning on base points through stays
There are a few not-so-straight forward benefits that a new Marriott elite has to wrap their head around. For example, out of the 20 brands that Marriott offers, elite members only get complimentary breakfast at 5 of them: JW Marriott, Renaissance, Autograph Collection, Marriott and Delta Hotels. Even within these five brands, there are specific hotels in the US that don’t offer breakfast but instead credit 1,000 bonus points in your account. If you’ve finished digesting where you will be and won’t be offered breakfast then here’s another Marriott policy. Complimentary breakfast at resort properties is not a part of Marriott elite benefits. Phew!
Then the upgrade policy for Marriott elites does not automatically entitle a Platinum member to a suite upgrade. It is left at the discretion of the hotel.
Marriott elite members are also entitled to a welcome gift at check-in. The gift varies by hotel brand and is usually a choice between points and F&B amenity.
- At JW Marriott, Autograph Collection, Renaissance Hotels, Marriott Hotels, and Delta Hotels, Platinum members have a choice between 500 bonus MR points and a food & beverage amenity.
- At Courtyard by Marriott hotels, Platinum members receive either 250 bonus points or a food & beverage amenity
- At Fairfield Inn & Suites, Moxy Hotels, SpringHill Suites, Residence Inn, Platinum members can choose between 200 bonus points or a food & beverage amenity
- At Marriott Vacation Club resorts, there is no choice offered, and Platinum members get 500 bonus points
- At EDITION properties, Platinum members can choose between 500 bonus points and 250 bonus air miles
Our first stay as Marriott Platinum turned out to be disastrous. We stayed at the Fairfield by Marriott in Lucknow and forget about the part that no one recognised us for the elite status, but no one in that hotel was aware of the Marriott elite benefits. At check-in, the staff passed us the room keys without walking us through the benefits.
It was only later in the afternoon when while signing off the invoice at check-out we noticed that as Marriott Rewards Platinum guest Ajay was eligible for the following benefits:
- Complimentary Breakfast for 2
- 20% discount on Food & Beverages
- 2 Pieces of Laundry on Arrival
Had we not noticed this on the invoice we would have never known. When Ajay raised this, everyone behind the reception had a blank look on their faces.
Apart from this, there was the welcome amenity of 200 points or an F&B amenity that no one informed us about. It appeared as though they were hosting a Marriott Platinum guest for the first time at the hotel, which is quite tough to believe for a hotel that is more than a year old.
Marriott Compensation Procedure
The good thing is that Marriott Rewards has laid down guest compensation procedures when the hotel does not meet guest preferences and Marriott elite benefits. Therefore at check-out, Ajay reminded the hotel staff that they had not provided us with a check-in amenity.
Again, the first reaction of the duty manager was disbelief. He was like, what is the fuss about? Here you go, take the 200 points.
At this point, Ajay reminded him of the compensation guidelines, and the duty manager refrained from accepting there was a fault. He said was not aware of any compensation process and did not want to pay-out, so he kept trying to convince us that we could now have the 200 points as the welcome amenity.
To this, we stuck our ground that the Marriott Rewards compensation of 25 US Dollars be initiated promptly. The usual way to do this is to have the property prepare a cheque for you and send you the cheque. Since we eventually agreed to the compensation being made and we were running late for our flight, we swiped the card, collected our invoice and ran.
On the way to the airport, the duty manager called, and he said he wanted to adjust the equivalent amount of 1,600 Indian Rupees against the invoice rather than make a cheque for us. This sounded like an acceptable proposition, and we gave him the green light to this effect.
I have now started reading up on the Marriott elite benefits before I check into a Marriott hotel rather than tallying them at checkout. Secondly, it’s important to point out service lapses to the hotel and escalate to Marriott Rewards if required. A number of these hotels are new, and feedback will only be helpful. For instance, there are four other chain hotels in a kilometre radius of the Fairfield in Lucknow, including another Marriott property, and I’m not sure I’d be happy to come back again here.
For me, it was less about a few hundred rupees and more about the nonchalant attitude of the hotel staff. If a hotel treats it top tier elite members in such a callous manner, how would it behave with other guests?
Have you had a poor experience with a Marriott hotel? Have you claimed the Marriott Guarantee ever?