At the beginning of the year the JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort announced at Marriott.com that they do not upgrade elites to suites, in bold contravention of program terms.
Marriott didn’t let them get away with that. It was just too blatant. Whether or not they’re actually going to deliver suites is another matter, but they cannot actually say they’re gong to ignore program terms.
Marriott’s terms say say the Platinum upgrade benefit is “to the best available room” and that “includes suites.” There are exclusions, but they do not include J.W. Marriott hotels generally or this resort specifically.
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. At The Ritz-Carlton, suites are only included for Platinum Premier Members and rooms with direct Club access are excluded. Enhanced Room Upgrades are subject to availability and are identified by each Participating Property. The Complimentary Enhanced Room Upgrade for Platinum Elite Members is available at all Participating Brands except at Marriott Vacation Club, Marriott Grand Residence Club, Aloft, Element and participating Vistana properties.
Marriott’s Autograph Collection Waterline Marina Resort has followed the lead of the JW Marrriott Guanacaste and declared that they do not upgrade Platinums. And they’ve brashly done so at Marriott.com:
@andrewfordjr flags this situation.
@MarriottBonvoy @garyleff yet another property playing games with Upgrades as laid out in T&C, what does hotel size have to do with anything, if there’s a room there’s a room. #waterlineresort pic.twitter.com/4ebM5VqEN6
— Andrew Ford (@andrewfordjr) April 18, 2019
It turns out though that this hotel is allowed to deny upgrades to Marriott elites, just not for the reason they say they can.
Waterline Marina Resort appears to be an all suites property. As a result they aren’t required to further upgrade elites. Each hotel determines what suites are eligible for upgrade into and they aren’t required to include suites that are higher than their base suite type.
The hotel’s explanation for why they do not upgrade — that they are a small hotel — is not actually a permissible reason.