Make a Green Choice Program Still Generating Protests By Marriott Housekeepers

Make a Green Choice probably doesn’t do much for the environment, but it does affect hotel housekeepers. Back in the fall when Marriott was facing housekeeping strikes, guests were getting flyers under their doors protesting the program.

make a green choice flyer

Hotels want you to re-use their towels. They want you not to have your sheets changed, and even to decline housekeeping entirely. They will tell you it’s for the environment, but their primary interest is saving costs. Marriott gives you 500 points per night you skip housekeeping, which is a two-thirds devaluation from the old Starwood Make a Green Choice program. They’re not even splitting the savings as well as they used to.

Housekeeping staff have more erratic schedules, depending on how many guests opt out. It’s less work for them. And when a guest who doesn’t take housekeeping checks out, it’s more work to clean the room. In other words, it’s hotel cost saving on the backs of their housekeepers.

I was surprised to learn that housekeepers at Marriott properties continue to invade guest rooms with their beefs with management over Make a Green Choice. Bill C. shares this slipped under a door at the Renaissance Sea World last night.

new make a green choice flyer

The Marriott hotel chain needs to do a much better job policing this, and working with their employees to keep guests out of disputes between employees and management. The guest room needs to be sacrosanct, and not a place where people are pulled into the middle of a conflict. That makes stays far less pleasant.

Marriott encourages you to fly out and visit their hotels, eat beef in the restaurant, extend your stay by flying your family out too, but what you’re really doing that’s harming the environment is having your room tidied. I’ve always found it odd that a hotel chain promotes the idea that their housekeepers are bad for the environment. And single use toiletries.

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 »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. “And when a guest who doesn’t take housekeeping checks out, it’s more work to clean the room”

    As a solo-business traveler whose typical stays are 2-3 days I highly disagree with this. The sheets are just as messy, the pile of towels is the same size, there is slightly more trash in the trash can…that’s it! When I stay in hotels with my kids, yeah, I can see the difference from day 2 to day 4, but when I’m alone I “keep it tight”.

    Everyone gets all huffy about being forced to pay a resort fee even if you don’t use the resort amenities. Why should I have the cost of housekeeping baked into my room rate if I don’t need it cleaned during my solo 2-3 day stay? If they made the “skip housekeeping” option more frictionless, say by adding it as a checkbox in their apps, they could better plan for this in advance. Maybe pay the housekeepers who aren’t cleaning rooms to clean the common areas. Work that out amongst yourselves.

  2. We’re checked in to a Courtyard just outside Seattle. They’re offering a whopping 250 points for skipping a day’s housekeeping under this program.

  3. While they are at it, could they also protest about hotels throttling the volume of water coming out of the shower heads?

    I seem to run into more and more hotels where the water volume coming out per unit of time has been constructed to levels below what it used to be. “Eco-friendly” shower heads/faucets seem to be the order of the day at more and more hotels, and it’s nothing but water flow restriction based on how the hotels chose to replace the shower heads/faucets so as to constrict the volume of water that can come out at any one time. It’s gotten bad enough that some may think of “BYO showerhead” when traveling.

  4. As you stated Marriott needs to do a better job of policing this and many many other things. Knowing franchisee’s they will take this even further if that was possible they suck the blood out of everything they can including service which is getting worse not better and that’s across the board.

    This particular issue can be seen by owners to chop housekeeping staff. I often put the do not disturb sign out if this option is not available as I just want to reduce the amount of people coming through my room. And on vacations it goes without saying, we ask for fresh towels and every third day a complete cleaning, asking for early service so as not to affect our plans whoever they are.

  5. Not to worry, Marriott nudged many consumers away from doing MAGC with the devaluation…because it’s Marriott and they can’t get out of their own way

  6. I’m sympathetic to housekeepers (and farm workers): it’s a backbreaking minimum wage job. And the housekeepers still generally smile and say goodmorning or good afternoon when I walk by in the hallway – usually acting like they really mean it.

    When I stay in a hotel, I never, ever opt to skip housekeeping. That’s how I know I’m in a hotel. When I check in or walk in at the end of the day, my room should be clean and fresh, the bed made perfectly, and the toiletries refreshed. It makes me happy when the housekeeper has gone the extra yard and neatly arranged my shaving stuff and hair brush on a washcloth on the bathroom counter. Sadly, occasionally I’m disappointed, and when that happens, I let the front desk know right away and I expect it to be corrected right away.

  7. What changed?
    I was always under the understanding that Hotels had to change sheets daily because sheets used longer that that would not come clean, or require more abusive laundering cycles.

  8. “The guest room needs to be sacrosanct, and not a place where people are pulled into the middle of a conflict. That makes stays far less pleasant.”

    Ok well. The same is true with tips in *any* environment — I really don’t want to have any direct involvement with what people get paid, no matter what the circumstance. But this is the USA, and we can’t always have what we want. Marriott shove(s/d) tip envelopes in the room, a practice I detest. Both the tip envelope and the MAGC program are putting the onus on the customer to choose whether/how much a housekeeper gets paid. Hard PASS!

    500 SPG points got my attention. 20 of those nights was a free night at a Category 4 hotel, which was something respectable. 500 Marriott points is *70* nights at a Category 5 hotel or *50* nights at a Category 4 hotel. For that kind of “reward”, Marriott can keep the points and pay the housekeepers, TYVM.

    If housekeeping services were like baggage fees, they’d probably be charged at $20/night. If hotels want to go ala carte on the housekeeping services, that’s my price.

  9. But it never works in reverse. I don’t often get 500 Marriott points or 1000 Hilton points (the offer at the Cleveland Hilton for foregoing housekeeping last week) when the hotel fails to clean my room, even when I complain.

  10. @gary Thanks for the article. This gives me a new perspective. I’ve always taken the attitude that my room doesn’t really need daily cleaning so why not take the points. But given that Marriott is only giving me a measly $3.50 worth of points which is almost certainly less than half their savings, I think I’ll let them clean the room just on principle.

  11. Yeah, what Dan and others said. 500 SPG points was definitely enough that I would do it quite often. But I’d rather have fresh towels than 500 Bonvoy Dongs…

  12. These are all Union’s educating their members on how to attach business owners. These people aren’t being paid minimum wage. They are being paid $35 dollars an hour to clean rooms. Its highway robbery. These union laborers are robbing businesses of profits and will soon put them out of business. How can hotels sustain themselves without passing it onto the consumers. The government doesnt do anything but support this insanity. This will soon implode and people will realize they let the unions run too loose and rampant destroying what hard working entrepreneurs spent years building. That is why the car industry in Detroit took a big hit. They couldnt survive anymore paying their line staff 200k annually in wages.

  13. I decline housekeeping anyways. I don’t want people in my room. Any bonus I get from a hotel for doing so is gravy, whether it’s the old SPG higher value or the new Marriott lower value. Sorry, Housekeeper, I don’t want you in my room

  14. I take the points option esp if there only 2 days !Do not like anyone in our room!! And its a waste to have new sheets and towels daily ..waste of water and electric.

  15. Mr. Ward above doesn’t give a shit about low paid housekeepers and lies about what they are paid. I hope they do continue to educate the hotel guests about their being exploited because some of us care. Mr. Ward, you got Rump on your side. But what do you care, most of these workers are of dark skin and I am sure you are a straight white man.

  16. This “Green Choice” is a scam. TWICE I have requested and twice no points awarded. When I email requesting the pts, Marriott says “this hotel is not participating”…even though it was advertised on site! Think I’m going to start throwing away all the advertising cards in the room promoting “green” and environmental hooey. Marriott isn’t the company it used to be

  17. I like the Green Choice program, and I use it primarily to keep staff out of my room when I’m away or don’t feel like being bothered. In fact, I’d argue that having staff in an unattended room, at an undisclosed, random time is a liability. If something goes missing, the first line of thinking for most people is that the HK (or someone with access) stole it. If I’ve scheduled an HK visit, I take tablets, game consoles, cash/cards, and valuables with me, and I secure federally scheduled medication. I don’t know about the observations of other frequent guests, but I have been privy to more than several raging guests, upset about items missing from their rooms after HK visits. I’ve had HK steal from me as well. Of course, no one knows anything when queried about the items in question. Moreover, I clean my own room and bring bleach wipes as well as detergent; I dust every day and make up my own bed, even on mornings when HK is coming to clean during the day. I’m not sure how others live without cleaning up after themselves, but I have encountered the “but it’s a hotel” mentality in *gasp* my own mother, who shocked me with her frat-boy-like hotel room behavior. Not Ms. White Gloves!!! Finally, I’ve actually asked an HK if she’d rather a guest-cleaned room or a $20 tip on a dirty room, like my mother leaves. She told me she’d rather the cleaned room than the tip because she gets the same amount of time to clean the room, no matter its condition.

  18. As someone who works at a Marriott front desk I can say guests who opt to go green are a huge help to our hotel’s overall function when our hotel is in peak season. During peak times our housekeepers are very overwhelmed and appreciate guests who decide to go green. I can really only see this being an issue during slower seasons.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *