When the new Marriott program launched their terms and conditions said that Platinums would get an upgrade if available at check-in to an ‘enhanced room’ and,
Enhanced rooms may include rooms with desirable views, rooms on high floors, corner rooms, rooms with special amenities, rooms on Executive Floors, or suites.
In other words though Marriott had been trumpeting that the Starwood upgrade benefit would prevail — that a Platinum member would be upgraded to a standard suite if available — the program terms said that a hotel was compliant as long as the member was upgraded even to a higher floor or corner room and not an available standard suite.
St. Regis Bangkok – Upgrade to Caroline Astor Suite Even Though It’s Not a Standard Suite
The new Marriott program’s terms have been updated and they’ve fixed this.
Platinum Elite Members receive a complimentary upgrade to the best available room subject to availability for the entire length of stay at the time of check-in. Complimentary upgrade includes suites, rooms with desirable views, rooms on high floors, corner rooms, rooms with special amenities or rooms on Executive Floors.
The terms now say that a Platinum is to receive an upgrade to the best room available up to and including suites. Of course there are some limitations:
- Only 75 night elites (Platinum Premier) should be upgraded to suites at Ritz-Carlton properties. Lesser upgrades should be available to Platinums. That’s not what Marriott trumpted when they announced the new program in April and the upgrade benefit.
- Each hotel gets to decide what rooms are in the upgrade pool. So if a hotel designates a room as upgrade inventory, it has to offer the room to Platinums. But there will certainly be hotels playing inventory games defining rooms out of the upgrade pool.
- Upgrades are not available at Marriott Vacation Club, Marriott Grand Residence Club, Aloft, Element or Vistana properties.
Presidential Suite, Sheraton San Diego Marina… Not a Standard Suite
In practice we’ll watch to see how each hotel handles upgrades. There were always Starwood hotels that were more generous than others, and properties that ignored the upgrade benefit. The SPG program though was generally good at responding to complaints, at least after the fact, where it was verifiable that a hotel wasn’t meeting its obligations under the terms of the program.
At least the Marriott terms no longer suggest ‘anything goes’ and as I’ve reported previously Marriott is now compensating hotels based on elite guest satisfaction, which is new this year. So there’s an incentive to keep Platinums happy.