Marriott Elite Breakfast Doesn’t Have To Include Coffee, That’ll Be Extra For Juice Too Ms. Titanium Elite

Update: while a guest reports being told the same thing the menu suggests – that coffee would be charged – I’ve also been told by two guests that they were not in fact charged for the coffee. Go figure.

Summer Hull of The Points Guy reviewed The Hythe, a Luxury Collection Resort in Vail. The photos are excellent and the piece highly detailed – worth a read if you’re considering staying at this hotel – but one sentence about two-thirds down the page deserves to be highlighted. It captures everything that’s wrong with Marriott Bonvoy, in my opinion.

Should you decide to upgrade to the full buffet with juice and coffee, which normally costs $42 per person for a non-elite member, you’ll pay an $18 upcharge as a guest with Platinum Elite status.

Your ‘free breakfast’ as a Marriott Platinum, Titanium, or Ambassador member comes off of a special limited menu. But it does not even include juice or coffee. Here’s the actual elite breakfast menu, which confirms this:

And here’s the important context. Hotels can get away with virtually anything at Marriott, and hotels in this particular ownership group usually try.

This property is owned by DiamondRock Hospitality whose CEO has complained about having to give elites breakfast.

So on the Bonvoy and rewards program, they’ve made some changes and like you would expect when they were on new programs, for some of their hotels, it’s been really good and some we need to make adjustments with the new program.

So, I would say, our rewards cost in Bonvoy are down across our system, which has been good. Some of the contributions in some hotels are up and frankly some are down. And so, we’re working with them and they are agreeable to make adjustments where it’s fair to make adjustments. I’d say the one that we’re — we have been a little bit focused on is they — what — on your Bonvoy, they’ve given the leads who are their premium folks, free breakfast at resorts and they compensate us I think $7 a breakfast. But that’s one that in some markets make sense and in some markets probably is it’s too expensive. So that would be one that under the Bonvoy program we’re working with them on solutions to be equitable.

The hotel investor CEO complains about breakfast, which he sees being worth $7. So he’s only going to give $7 worth of breakfast even though his total costs for the program are lower since the launch of Bonvoy and even as he noted that he was promised additional cuts.

It’s important not to leave benefit language ambiguous in program terms the way that Marriott does. Hyatt’s approach is to actually define what breakfast means so there can be no arguments (emphasis mine),

Globalists will receive daily complimentary full breakfast (which includes one entrée or standard breakfast buffet, juice, and coffee, as well as tax, gratuity and service charges) for each registered guest in the room, up to a maximum of two (2) adults and two (2) children. T

When The Points Guy defended a U.S. Hilton charging extra fees to pay by credit card – which Hilton confirmed to me was against their brand standards – that was, incidentally, a DiamondRock-owned hotel as well.

The infamous Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort which tried getting away with the credit card fee trick is also a DiamondRock property, and it too squeezes elies on breakfast.

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. It is bad enough that they have a fake breakfast menu that other guests don’t get, but how can breakfast not include coffee? That is just outrageous. Elites staying at this property should invoke the $100 compensation benefit. Shame on you Bill Marriott for letting Arne and his successor ruin your company.

  2. “And here’s the important context. Hotels can get away with virtually anything at Marriott, and hotels in this particular ownership group usually try.”

    So what’s wrong with that? Our economic system encourages, if not requires, businesses to give customers as little as possible and charge them as much as possible. Otherwise they aren’t maximizing profits. And maximizing profits is the name of the game, baby.

  3. It’s just the core issue that Marriott advertises free breakfast for certain elites, and some places don’t want to actually offer the free breakfast. In the US, it is generally not allowed to deceptively advertise. If the hotel offered a piece of toast, they could call that breakfast right now since it doesn’t seem that Marriott has any authority to manage what a breakfast is. It’s a shame. I’ve really liked the Marriott properties we have stayed at, but company clearly has some major issues in both the IT side, and how they deal with franchises on issues like this and “resort fees”.

  4. Most Americans would be better off if they skipped breakfast (or maybe had something very light like a few items on the elite menu). Gary you could drop a few pounds.

    Also why are people so fixated on “free” breakfast at hotels and airline food? Are you that cheap you won’t actually go somewhere to eat that is better? SMH!

  5. Unfortunately, Marriott has become the Motel 6 of frequent guest programs. The guest ranks a distant third after the property owner and stockholder.

  6. question is how did M became the worlds’ largest chain? is it a case of bad money drives out good?

  7. @AC says:
    “Also why are people so fixated on “free” breakfast at hotels and airline food? Are you that cheap you won’t actually go somewhere to eat that is better?”

    This is because companies in the US have not kept up on Per Diem allowances for decades. Most folks will blow though that in one decent meal.

    American workers are under the thumb of corporate accountants and more and more the squeeze here and there is becoming a full blown financial crush.

    @John is so fed up, his comment literally burned with sarcasm… but he’s not wrong.

  8. @ktc says:
    “question is how did M became the worlds’ largest chain?”

    Back when a crazy Mormon family owned all the hotels, they knew that loyalty and predictability mattered.

    When you checked into a Marriott, you knew what your room would look like and what to expect.

    That moderately bland predictability (with a focus on service and cleanliness) helped build that loyalty, and the Rewards program really did offer fair exchanges for points earned.

    Now? Not so much.

    (I’m lifetime Titanium)

  9. @Daryl Higgins: At my last Motel 6 stay, Motel 6 offered complimentary coffee. And, they left the light on. To be competitive with Motel 6, I expect Marriott properties to provide complimentary coffee and charge all guests $10 to $20 for a biodegradable recycled paper cup so you will have a container for your free coffee and not burn your hands.

  10. @Gary: To be really helpful, publish a list of “DiamondRock Hospitality”properties.

  11. @Gary – sadly , you could probably write a story like this every day and just change the property name . It is hard to actually fathom how far Bonvoy has fallen.. At one time , the Marriott name meant something in hospitality .

    I could give hotels who offer a watered down breakfast benefit a bit of slack IF they were consistent in delivering the other status benefits.
    Unfortunately, this is not the case . Soooo many blogs and comments about failure to provide upgrades , no late checkout at applicable properties etc etc .

    I gave up on Marriott a few years ago . I didn’t like the way things were trending and as a less frequent but high daily rate guest , there is no way to advance tiers via spend ala Hyatt , IHG , ACCOR , Hilton .

    I became an IHG Royal Ambassador and have NEVER had to fight for any benefit at any hotel . Never been denied early checkin or late checkout , never had to argue for breakfast , never had a stay not credit, and the upgrades have been 100% – usually in advance and a few times to named suites that were not technically in the upgrade pool . Sure , nobody has the coverage that Marriott has but I am very happy with Intercontinentals ,Regents , and Kimptons . I don’t look in the rear view mirror and wonder if I am missing out on anything at Marriott because I know I am not and I am treated very nicely at IHG.

  12. Same exact issue at THE BEN in west palm beach. Great hotel but coffee, juice and tip are extra. Continue to value my Hyatt relationship.

  13. Doubletree Gallery One Ft Lauderdale. We are lifetime diamond. Ordered bfast. Separate charge for cup of coffee. I did not read the menu. (Could have brought coffee from coffee maker in the room at no cost.) The overused excuse as covid and post covid is actually cheapness by property owners and I am tired of these excuses.

  14. This is not accurate. Two weeks ago this property has vowed to include buffet breakfast at no additional charge for platinum, titanium, and ambassador. I received full Buffett breakfast with coffee and juices for me and 3 other guests at no additional charge. The information about the upcharge is not accurate and I would highly consider you to call the property directly and confirm my statement. Not good to publish articles that are misleading.

  15. Marriott will gladly get in bed with the likes of DiamondRock Hospitality who has ZERO regard for loyalty members. Marriott has lost all credibility in ensuring standards among its properties and in delivery of loyalty program benefits.

    Please continue to name and shame these properties!

  16. Maxie Dean, I appreciate your comments across various posts. You note “Soooo many blogs and comments about failure to provide upgrades , no late checkout at applicable properties etc etc .” You’ll find that other articles refer to poopy antics among owners in chains other than Marriott as well. In spite of all of the articles, soooo many individuals still play Marriott’s game . . . and others’ games. These owners know exactly what they’re doing and they don’t care.

    I’m pleased that you found something that works for you. An article on a different blog by Benjy says that tier status comes to own a person. Rather than take action as you did, individuals cling to their enslaving tier status and never take action.

    Peer through the looking glass Neo, said Morpheus.

  17. Not surprised the TPG aka Woke Points Group would support that.

    He’s been a shill since he started his blog.

    Typical hypocrite, he supports every lefty woke cause of the moment then he moves his residence to Florida to avoid New York State/City taxes as much as possible.

  18. Hey “John,” you’re absolutely right about what our economic system “requires.” And then guess what… I don’t have to stay at Marriott anymore and can CHOOSE a different hotel. It’s called competition… baby.

  19. Another big middle finger from the Marriott family to loyal customers. They’ve certainly become a lot more forthcoming on how they value those loyal customers over the last several years.

  20. Ugh! I was anxiously waiting for clubs to open post restrictions only to hope they’d shut down again. Disappointment making me long for the card for free breakfast in the restaurant in lieu of the ‘alleged’ club. Even that revealed frozen waffles and greasy hash browns w/ no meats.
    One club had two hot plates with just dried eggs. When asked what’s was on the other plate a surly worker snapped oatmeal; but we’re out. Whata way to start the day.
    The Internet wasn’t working so I called the 800 number on the error page. The hotel hadn’t paid the Internet bill! I was told I could use the internet in the hotel business office.It can only get worse!

  21. I achieved Lifetime Titanium status from the SPG side and rarely stay in any Marriott.
    Hotels say we have to many Ambassadors in house so we can’t deal with all you elites
    Why don’t you come stay with us on weekends when we are slower?
    Typically you will find me in brands like Hyatt, Hilton or Intercontinental
    where I trust the company to reasonably deliver

    Just tired fighting with properties for extended late checkout and benefits.Told at an Autograph collection property in January to vacate the property @ noon as the room was blocked for an important incoming guest.Couldn’t be to important the rooms wasn’t all that great
    After a heated call they gave me an hour extra to get out and I agreed to go early
    The front desk misinformed after their amenity charge and they never posted my stay or welcome amenity points after calling Marriott and the property 3 X to facilitate
    Marriott after purchasing SPG simply fell into the toilet and still has their fat bloated greedy corporate head stuck in the bowl.Sad because the company has unlimited potential but yet nothing has improved only gotten worse 🙁

  22. Hey dwondermeant, I completely agree I am a Marriott Platinum Elite and have Hyatt Globalist and Hilton Diamond, and find both to be superior in delivering Elite benefits, especially Hyatt. Just wish that Hyatt had a bigger footprint.

  23. I was in a Hertz location not long ago and some guy after purchasing the manager special (the cheapest option) was ranting at the clerk at Hertz about how he was a Titanium member with Marriott and he should get an upgrade. Was rather funny he expected better treatment with Hertz due to status with an unrelated company when that unrelated company barely gives perks to its own members!

  24. Coffee, ugh!
    Why can’t we have Coca tea?
    Coca chewing gum?
    The natives down there chew the leaves.
    All natural!
    Coffee is for amateurs…..

  25. Reminder: when they storm the barricades, John is the first to be

  26. All. very true except the international hotels they have are okay
    Forget domestic- a bunch of hooey from everyone I have stayed at recently
    Their attitude is “ we do a fantastic job in spite of the guests “.

  27. Jared is correct….TPG has always been a WOKE leftist politically correct blog. But does occasionally have some useful information. You just have to read between the lines.They were big government mandate Fauci lovers, now they’re flacking for more open travel. They go with whatever is the approved narrative of their corporate landlords. You know, money always talks!

  28. I keep seeing comments on how Hyatt doesn’t have a big footprint.
    Ben over at One Credit Card at a Time wrote a story recently how that view (from the wing?) is wrong.
    They have plenty of feet in most cities (he writes), just not in backwaters like Matoon, Illinois.

  29. Well, Daryll, tpg staff sound like conservative corporate whores
    playing a role. Anyone with 2 brain cells can see that.
    Your point is?

  30. Let’s back up and reexamine the smoking gun…

    The menu offered as “proof” does not confirm that the a la carte options are served without coffee or juice in any way. Another very logical interpretation is simply that the buffet (which is presumably self-service) ALSO includes juice or coffee (which is still often served by the waiter).

    Has the property actually confirmed they will not serve juice or coffee if an a la carte option is selected…?

  31. So how do you find out what the Diamond Rock properties are in the Marriott chain?

  32. @Jorge Paez:

    Sure, if you consider Hyatt Place. But going from a full-service property like a Marriott or Westin to a Hyatt Place because you want to stick it to Marriott isn’t probably something most people would do. Especially if the limited-service Hyatt Place is as expensive as the full-service Marriott. I wish Hyatt would buy Omni and Radisson. Those brands would help. Hyatt’s growth seems to be pinned on limited-service brands and resorts. There doesn’t seem to be many Hyatt Regency or Grand Hyatt hotels in the pipeline.

  33. Devil’s advocate here – I don’t read the menu to exclude juice and coffee. Each of the menu items includes a non-bolded description slightly inset below the bolded item name. The buffet includes (requires) no description. Below the bolded “Buffet Offering” line is a non-bolded (and non-inset) line that modifies the entire menu, i.e. the entire menu includes “coffee and juice.”

  34. Bottom line is Marriott should have a uniform breakfast plan like Hyatt and Hilton – i always have to call the Marriott Branded property directly so there are no surprises about the Elite Benefit when i decide which hotel to stay at. Once my titanium status ends I will look to Other brands. Especially now that they are going to devalue the program at the end of this month. Why Ritz doesn’t offer breakfast and the St Regis does is dumb!

  35. @Jason – as I wrote at the top of the post, there’s the menu and a guest report that they were told coffee would be charged. There’s also two guest reports I’ve seen now that coffee was not charged. So the breakfast benefit is confusing to say the least.

  36. Boycott Diamond rock hospitality and similar. Choose to stay at those owned by upright owners Like Japan based Beluna which owns Westin Maldives.

  37. Any other hotel ownership groups we should avoid? I’m assembling a hotel “hit list” to publicize.

  38. I’m lifetime Titanium and stayed at the Hythe in Vail in early December for two nights. (I had surgery at the Steadman Clinic on December 9th). At that time my wife and I received the full buffet. It was about the best spread I’ve seen in the U.S., even had smoked salmon (my favorite.) At that time I believe the place was newly opened after a major remodel and rebranding to a Luxury Edition. I don’t know what the policy is now; it’s too expensive for me. (Before ski season, the price was around $250, plus a freakin’ $40 resort fee and $20 more nightly for parking. The week before Christmas their rates were over $800 a night so we stayed at a Best Western in Eagle instead for a return visit to the clinic.)

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