One Mile at a Time published a guide to Marriott Bonvoy elite breakfast benefits, which vary by brand – and can involve whatever is being served in the club lounge, continental breakfast in the restaurant, or a fixed-dollar credit to be used on property. Of course some hotels are more generous than this.
Marriott specifies that the benefit is for a continental breakfast in the U.S. for hotels part of a brand that provide the benefit in the restaurant rather than a club lounge, and that it’s breakfast (undefined) outside the U.S. Some hotels push the definition of ‘continental’.
One of the commenters on this breakfast benefit guide writes,
[R]ecently at Westin Fort Lauderdale – booked a night with points and got charged almost $100 for resort fee + parking. When we gave our waiter the breakfast voucher we got as platinum members, he said it covers a fruit bowl and croissant. We ordered eggs too. On the check, it appeared as two $20 charges + eggs order. At their printed menu, there was “fruit bowl + croissant” item listed for $8. So, they give people $8 menu item and put $20 on the check, with taxes and tips calculated for the full amount.
Two things stand out about the property in question. First, it is infamous for charging guests an extra fee to pay by credit card – even a Marriott credit credit card. Second, the 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 should be no surprise that this issue comes up at a DiamondRock property, because the Westin Fort Lauderdale isn’t their only one that was scamming guests with extra fees to pay with a chain’s own credit card. The Points Guy defended another DiamondRock property doing this, the Hilton Burlington Lake Champlain, even though Hilton says doing so violated their brand standards (as it now does with Marriott).
When there are bad practices in the industry, they often aren’t isolated to a single hotel. Marriott seems to let owners get away with a lot. And you’ll find the same practices across properties within a single ownership group like adding unexplained sustainability fees to guest bills.
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
Give ’em an inch and some of these bad actors will give you a stale bagel, every time.