Hotel Complains About Marriott Elite Members Trying To ‘Scam’ Free Breakfast

At Marriott’s Hotel Distil, an Autograph Collection property located in Louisville, Platinum elite members and above get a voucher for a ‘continental breakfast’ or $15 off anything on the breakfast menu. Only they don’t offer a “continental breakfast” on the menu. And nothing on the menu was $15 with coffee, fruit or juice, tip and tax.

In fact, as if to make sure you can’t buy a breakfast item and coffee within the $15 voucher they’ve crossed out the $6 price of yogurt on the menu and made it $11. Here it is:

The restaurant’s website menu still shows the yogurt as $6, though:

A $15 credit here works as a discount to encourage food and beverage spend, not a breakfast benefit. It’s like the coupons some hotels give out at check-in offering a drink and an appetizer with purchase of dinner, because they want you to eat in their restaurant.

The reader who shared this with me has spent approximately $30,000 with Marriott just so far this year. He overspent the breakfast allowance at this hotel by $3, commented on it, and reports that “the restaurant manager suggested I was trying to scam a free meal.” Marriott literally promises its Platinum, Titanium, and Ambassador members a free meal!

Marriott hotels just ignore elite breakfast benefits with impunity and will continue to do so until Marriott does something about it. Even before the pandemic I described understanding the Marriott breakfast rules as “like something out of a Fellini film.”

In April Marriott told me that because of the pandemic hotels could more or less do whatever they wanted “hotels were given the flexibility to offer food and beverage alternatives to members with elite status including a complimentary grab-and-go breakfast, F&B credit, or something comparable based on the brand.”

Marriott said they’d be “determining how long to grant flexibility.” Hotel occupancy in the U.S. at least is up. Covid cases are down. Local restrictions are ended or ending.

The chain used to be known more than anything else for its consistency. Now the Bonvoy program is like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates, “you never know what you’re gonna git.”

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. @Stuart

    At what sort of Hyatt would a $15 credit be sufficient? I was at the Park Hyatt Washington, D.C. recently and that would have gotten one a coffee OR a bowl of cereal at breakfast. The cheapest entree-type item on the menu is a $19 omelette. Even $30 would not be sufficient.

  2. Just experienced the same thing at a Hilton. What is the perks of being loyal, anymore.

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