Always Claim Up To $200 Compensation When You’re Denied Marriott Elite Benefits

Elite members who complain to Marriott about the J.W. Marriott Grand Rapids cheating them out of their check-in amenity benefit choice are having claims for the ‘$100 elite benefit guarantee’ honored. If you’re elite, and considering staying at this hotel, you’ll want to pay attention to whether the hotel is reforming its practices or still playing games – and claim your $100.

A reader shares that when they checked into the J.W. Marriott Grand Rapids,

  • They weren’t offered the required Elite Welcome Gift choice at check-in of 1,000 points or a $10 food and beverage credit as required under Bonvoy rules.

  • The hotel claimed via chat the property gives out breakfast vouchers, and that ‘counts’ as the gift.

    Good afternoon,

    My name is TJ, and I am our supervisor on duty for today. At this location, we give all of our elite members the points and the gift at check-in automatically. You should have been given Breakfast vouchers during your check in, this counts, per Marriott policy, as your gift.

    We also provide you with your bonus points during your stay. This makes it so you receive both the welcome gift at check-in. I hope this helped to clear up a little bit of the confusion, and hope you enjoy your stay with us.

The hotel’s lounge was closed and so a voucher for breakfast was provided as an alternative to the lounge access benefit. Under Marriott rules, the closed lounge requires the hotel to provide a choice of restaurant breakfast or 750 points. They weren’t even offering that choice.

They can’t close the lounge, give out a voucher for that and claim it is also the welcome gift. (But thanks for playing!)

Since the guest wasn’t offered their Elite Welcome Gift choice, they requested – and received – the Elite Benefits Guarantee of $100, as required by the program terms.

Marriott’s benefits guarantee requires,

  • A dishonored reservation of an elite member guarantees compensation up to $200 and 90,000 points.

  • If a hotel fails to offer a check-in gift to Platinums and above, the compensation is $100 at most full service hotels, $50 at most limited-service, and $25 at Element Hotels.

  • Honoring an elite member’s reserved room type is subject to a $25 – $100 payment (I’ve claimed this $100 benefit myself)

  • The lounge access benefit is similarly subject to a $100 guarantee, for hotels obliged to provide this

It can be a pain to ask for the benefits guarantee, and Marriott will often deny it in the first instance based on the hotel claiming to have been compliant when they obviously weren’t. But it’s worth claiming the money because – since Marriott doesn’t do enough to keep hotels delivering on program benefits – consistently having to pay out for their elite benefits misdeeds is what will keep properties in line.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I stayed at Moxy San Diego and was told at this location they offer points but not the breakfast credit for Titanium members. Bonvoyed again?

  2. This post prompted me to look at the Elite Benefit Guarantee.

    Surprised to see that the highest ranked hotels (RC, RC Res, St.R) only offer the Guaranteed Reservation credits to Titaniums and beyond. Lowly unwashed Platinums can be walked by these grand hotels at no cost.

  3. IMHO this is petty. Sure I take what is offered but if a hotel, as in this case, provides a breakfast voucher I’m not whining that I didn’t get a $10 food/beverage credit. Also 1000 Marriott points is worth about $7 (at .7 cent each). Is that really worth getting upset about? Sure you can be “that guy” and “Karen” your way to $100 but my time and efforts are worth more than that.

    The “welcome” amenities are trivial IMHO. BTW lifetime Titanium here.

  4. @Retired Gambler: ” Is that really worth getting upset about?” – Of course not! It is simply not worth staying with Marriott.

  5. Pre 2013 Marriott’s would actually deliver a Platinum gift of alcohol and food that you chose. Most would deliver a split of cheap bottle cap wine and a tin of processed cheese and sleeve of crackers but some would go all out with full bottles of wine and a chef created charcuterie board. The San Jose Marriott delivered a fruit platter that I munched on for days. They took pride in offering and delivering their gift, for a one night stay no less. And it usually came within minutes of checkin.

    I had no idea about the gift guarantee and during a checkout causally mentioned “it never came” when asked about my stay. The desk Gentleman literally ran into the back and returned with $100 cash completely unsolicited saying we owe you this. Renaissance Waverly Atlanta. Myself and colleagues returned for many many stays over the years.

    That is the last time Marriott actually cared about its guests and reputation.

  6. @Retired Gambler: It’s not petty because this involves two completely separate Bonvoy elite status benefits. What the hotel is doing is giving breakfast vouchers to a restaurant buffet spread (literally what they would serve in the lounge) in lieu of offering you a choice of 750 points per day or the buffet. It doesn’t cost them ANYTHING to give free breakfast because there are enough no-status guests paying full price for the buffet. But it absolutely does cost them something to give you $10 AND 750 points per day.

  7. @Nick Thomas – I fully understand they are separate benefits. The reason I called it petty is worrying about a $10 credit or $7 worth of points. That isn’t worth my time to follow up on. Sorry – maybe you want to chase pennies but I have a lot more on my mind than micro managing the benefits I get. And as stated I am lifetime Titanium (plus Hilton Diamond, Hyatt Explorist and IHG Diamond) so am well aware of the potential benefits I am due at each chain. I may ask but if they say “no” I move on and don’t worry about it

  8. @Retired Gambler: Well, your apathy is the reason why so many properties feel they can get away with cheating.

  9. @Retired Gambler:
    “ but I have a lot more on my mind than micro managing the benefits I get”

    Yeah, like petty posting here. I think I’d rather spend my time chasing the $ than what you’re spending your time doing here.

  10. As a former supervisor/night auditor Ihg/Marriott this is a must to offer! You have to give them a choice of what they want to pick.

  11. On the other hand, that JW Marriott Grand Rapids breakfast has the best omelette I’ve ever had in my life. So good!

  12. @Stanford: You have to ask for compensation from the property before checking out. It’s good to do it in the Marriott mobile app chat feature so you have documentation and can screenshot it. If the property refuses, you can go to corporate. If compensation is paid out, you’ll get a check in the mail. Many properties will offer you points in lieu of $100 because they can buy points cheaper than paying out $100 cash.

  13. I forgot to add that during my very last Marriott stay in 2017 (St Pete FL Marriott), long after the PLT welcome gift of substance was taken away, I chose the (useless) $10 F&B credit and was unable to use it before leaving, it would have likely cost me much more to apply it to something else. I went to grab 2 power bars as I was running out for the airport in lieu of lunch and the front desk pulled a power trip and denied that use. To waste my time arguing the following up would be petty but I’ve never stayed there again.

  14. @Nick Thomas; “You have to ask for compensation from the property before checking out.” This is exactly the argument Marriott corporate gave me each time a property failed to give me the check-in welcome gift in points. The problem is, it’s impossible to know if you’d get the points or not until at least a week *after* checking out. I went through this exercise in futility so many times, even with the help of a Marriott Ambassador, that I just gave up fighting.
    @Gary Leff: Any advice in the case of check-in welcome gift in points?

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