Marriott Eliminates ‘Make A Green Choice’ Points As No Housekeeping Becomes Standard

Starwood pioneered giving customers the equivalent of 1500 Marriott points per night foregoing housekeeping. This was a cost savings for hotels who didn’t have to spend as much on housekeeping staff, and they rebated part of the savings to guests. Marriott adopted this for its full service hotels, but the new Bonvoy program devalued what customers received with just 500 points.

Now in the Covid era, with hotels having fewer guests, regular housekeeping isn’t being provided as a cost-cutting measure under the guise of social distancing. In fairness some guests will prefer that housekeepers not enter their room during a stay. But tiny trash cans, with takeaway food piling up, leads to messy rooms and housekeeping needs to at least be an option.

With housekeeping gone by default, Marriott has eliminated their ‘green choice’ program of compensating guests for skipping the service. Loyalty Lobby quotes a Marriott spokesperson making the bizarre claim that simultaneously guests do not want housekeeping during their stay and guests do not want points in lieu of housekeeping either.

The global pandemic is affecting the preferences of all guests staying in our hotels who are increasingly choosing to forego daily housekeeping to limit contact during their stay.

In many cases when guests request housekeeping during their stays, it is to tidy up the room such as making the bed and replacing towels which can often now be requested via the mobile app.

Yet, among members the overwhelming majority do not choose the Make a Green Choice option, so the program is being discontinued. It is important to reiterate that all guest rooms are deep cleaned between stays.

Now it’s possible that fewer people were selecting ‘green choice’ before the pandemic, but maybe that’s because Marriott cut the value offered to the customer by two-thirds?

As one reader wrote to me this week about a just-completed stay, “I was surprised (when I very politely asked) that after 2 nights of a three night stay if my room could be serviced, I was told (very nicely) no. I mentioned my trash overflowing with coke cans and water bottles and the need for more towels and they finally said they would come collect trash. I also asked for towels and another bar of soap, etc. I got the towels, but no supplies.” And eh offered that this alone was enough to make him not take leisure trips.

Treating hotels – full service hotels – as a purely functional tool to facilitate being somewhere contributes to making travel just not fun. While I understand the desire to cut costs in a low revenue environment, these are relatively small costs that alter the value proposition of the stay for the guest. And that doesn’t begin to get into how offensive it is to charge resort fees when no amenities are available.

Hotels need to work harder to please guests when they have empty rooms. Delivering less value than before is a recipe for lower rates and more empty rooms. Moving to a no housekeeping standard where it no longer makes sense to compensate guests for no housekeeping is the wrong equilibrium for recovery.

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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. It’s going to be pretty telling when the vaccine comes out and Marriott properties continue to offer limited service with a skeleton crew.

  2. While I understand that times are tough and hotels have to cut back on things, don’t insult our intelligence. Marriott trying to say that guests neither want housekeeping nor free points? What a pile of grade A pig excrement.

    Knowing how people are, “guests” probably would prefer to have both of those things. Or at least be given a choice between the two. But to offer neither is a drastic cost-cutting move that is NOT wanted by guests, so don’t BS us, Marriott.

  3. If they aren’t going to pick up the trash I have no objections to people dumping trash in the hallways.
    I can understand reducing contact but this is too far. And hotels are complaining about losing business? Why would I want to pay to stay in a dump?

  4. It’s one thing to not proactively service the rooms (not even sure I agree with that being the default option, but during a pandemic to reduce contact, I can see the logic in it), but it’s entirely another to refuse to service the room when specifically asked. Part of the room rate for a hotel is having it cleaned each night. Hotels are not vacation rentals. They are not private condos. They are hotels, with attendant services expected and required. This is not a reasonable unbundling.

    I would dispute the charge on the credit card as service not received if the manager of the property did not refund a portion of the cost of the stay.

  5. Remind me why I should book a hotel over an AirBnb if I’m not getting hotel amenities and services? And it isn’t like nightly rates are cheaper.

  6. I call BS on the deep clean between guests. With the exception of the tiny minority of Marriott properties across all brands that are managed by Marriott, the vast majority of all properties are managed by owners, franchisees or third-party management companies. Marriott is unable to enforce housekeeping standards, especially when many properties increasingly outsource housekeeping to vendors. Around 40 percent of all my stays across Marriott and IHG involve a room with hair on the bedding, unchanged fitted sheets, dirty bathroom, etc.

  7. Also, we are more than 5 months into the pandemic and many if not most Marriott hotels do not have updated websites disclosing what is and is not open or available in terms of amenities and services. How hard is it for individual properties to update their website indicating any disruptions or closures?

  8. They should be picking up trash and providing fresh towels. Just call and ask if we need anything. They do not and when I asked at the last place I stayed Fairfield in Decatur Il, the maid had no towels to give us. Most are behind closed doors and not open and in sight to ask for those things. Hell I do not need my bed made or sheets changed. I actually make my bed everyday like I do at home but I am paying for service which includes coffee even if they are no longer serving breakfast anymore. You cant get a cup of coffee without begging for one. Sad.

  9. It was never about the environment; the “Green” was about the color of money that the property owner made having a smaller housekeeping staff.

    I will miss those paltry extra points, but it wasn’t enough to really matter

  10. Recently stayed at a JW Marriott. I’m platinum elite FWIW. No housekeeping. When I called the front desk and asked, I was told that I was given that information upon check-in. I explained that I had not. And was promptly told I had. Interesting interaction. I was asked what I needed in my room. I told them I wanted it cleaned, they agreed to drop off extra towels and amenities. On top of that, they still charged a $33.99 resort fee. P.S. spa is closed. What am I paying a resort fee for again?

  11. Marriott continues to spiral as a less desirable option while traveling in my opinion. I agree with earlier comment about AirBnb. Beginning to look like a better option every day!

  12. @Rick: Yep. Funny enough the housekeepers agreed, at least the unionized housekeepers. They regularly blasted the “green choice” gimmick in their bargaining talks. If I remember it was a big deal in the 2018/2019-ish strike at Marriott properties in Hawaii.

  13. Maybe this level of service is acceptable to younger generations, but we are in the upper tier of middle aged. When we away for leisure, we like to be pampered a little bit. If I wanted to make my bed everyday and take out my own trash, I’d rather stay at home in my paid off house. It’s not like I am too good to do it, but I see no reason to pay for that “privilege”. My recent experience with “no service” was with 2 Hilton brand hotels. At the $200ish that we paid each night for our first get-away since the pandemic started, I don’t think that clean towels everyday is an unreasonable expectation.

    I’ve got some 1 and 2 night business travel over the next couple of months, so I will have to deal with “their” new normal. As far as leisure travel, we just cancelled our winter holiday plans where we are typically at a resort (some points, but mostly cash) for just short of 3 weeks. This decision was entirely driven by our hotel experience last week.

    As a side note, I wonder if Marriott still has the tip envelopes in the rooms?

  14. I’ve traveled a fair bit in the past three weeks and can say that Marriott has been a disappointment to say the least. Hyatt has surprised me and has earned by business going forward. While I have Platinum with Marriott and a dog-load of points, I just can’t with them anymore. It’s time to earn my business back….

  15. Personally I am fine with no housekeeping services during my stay. I usually only need fresh towels and request those as needed. Even before covid-19 I have always keep the “do not disturb” sign up for my entire stay. We all must do our part to help all businesses get back on their feet.

  16. Maybe there could be a checklist. Kind of like Room Service Breakfast. Select…Towels…Trash…Shampoo etc.

    Hang it on doorknob or to the lobby

  17. I have been on the road since all of this has begun and it his highly irritating that they will absolutely refuse to have house keeping clean a room on an “off” day. I am ised to only having house keeping once a week and earning all those wonderful points on my terms. Now its no points and strictly by their schedule which may not line up with mine

  18. What?!?!?! You could have earned points for not getting your room serviced??? I have never seen any email, notification, or table tent in the room of that in years. For as long as I can remember I have placed the “do not disturb” sign outside my room. Now that Marriott ends the program I find out about it (harumph!)

  19. Recently spent 2 nights at the Sheraton and never been informed or asked about my housekeeping preferences.
    Let alone offered extra points.. you would think that would be incentive for future business by AT LEAST being offering the points. Let alone being informed of these changes and what amenities aren’t available.
    Also, marriott was one of the first hotels to provide free rooms for people who contracted covid
    to be quarantined.
    Its not fair to the people staying there to not be informed or given the option. What about all the housekeepers that are now unemployed bc of this….there has to be a happy medium somewhere. People pay alot of money to acquire those points and deserve to be treated as they always have. They take the chance just going there to begin with. If the points aren’t offered or provided then we should be given full service. Accumulating trash isn’t exactly the answer to keeping things sanitary……
    As saud by someone earlier…they could provide door hangings that have maybe a checklist of things needed and left at the door in plastic bags…SOMETHING

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