Some Marriott Hotels Finding Ways Around Elite Breakfast Benefit

Full service Marriott hotels in the U.S. were supposed to have their restaurants open July 1 which means where elite member benefits include restaurant breakfast that’s now supposed to be honored. Some hotels, though, are working angles to avoid offering it.

Consistency used to be the sine qua non of Marriott. Now it’s inconsistency. And not every hotel abided by the guidance. For instance I noticed this tweet about the J.W. Marriott Indianapolis,

I reached out to Marriott, and the hotel now confirms they’re honoring the elite breakfast choice benefit in their High Velocity restaurant.

The worst part of this, though, is that Marriott’s customer service defended the hotel and propagated wrong information – par for the course in my experience.

The J.W. Marriott Indianapolis isn’t the only example that’s getting flagged by elite members. The Tribute Portfolio property Reikart House in Amherst, N ew York has its restaurant open.. it appears just not during breakfast hours at least on certain days. As a result elites are still offered a grab and go bag. I contacted Marriott several days ago about this hotel’s compliance and am awaiting a response.

With Marriott hotels, compliance with program rules is a whack-a-mole process to say the least… and it seems like customers are the ones getting whacked.

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. Especially with Hilton’s pilot program significantly cutting breakfast (which used to be its strongest point), Marriott would be crazy to waste this opportunity to gain elites who value breakfast.

  2. Does Daniel know business and economics? Marriott would be crazy to offer a better breakfast than Hilton. Marriott have been handed on a silver platter a cost-cutting opportunity. Breakfast isn’t as important of a meal as you think, especially if you’re overweight, as the author of this blog is.

  3. Yeah that big 7/1 “properties must comply w/breakfast!” note internally seems to have gone nowhere

  4. Does anyone really expect things to return to “normal” as for elite traveler benefits ? The owners have a lot of ground to recover as well as boring down into micro managing elite benefits. I think I have wasted all those years of being loyal to Marriott, since 1983 over 4400 room nights should have moved on after 200 nights getting lifetime with Hyatt / Hilton

  5. Breakfast is an even more important meal for people who want to eat healthy so as to avoid obesity or to work on reducing the degree of being overweight. It’s drinking calories during the day and eating too heavy meals at the end of the day that causes health issues to be as bad as they are.

    Breakfast is the most important meal of the day for the productive, but nowadays the hotels just want to go extra cheap on breakfast even as it may cost them long term business from such customers.

  6. Going cheap on breakfast guarantees a hotel more income now. The prospect of long term business is unproven and uncertain. Want certain money now vs uncertain money some time in the future – even a Tulane MBA (very low IQ) should be able to figure that one out.

  7. Sensing a pattern? The JW Marriott in Indianapolis is operated by White Lodging, which also operated Hotel Distil, Autograph Collection in Louisville. That’s the property that provides elites with a voucher that doesn’t cover the cost of breakfast.

  8. @Nick, thanks for that info. The franchising way of business is ghey, as they say on EJMR.

  9. Le Meridian Santa Monica last week, “sorry no breakfast due to covid… here’s 1000 points” next day, all restaurants open breakfast is $30 per person. We were pissed, orders door dash to the pool rather than patronize the hotel restaurants.

  10. They have gone downhill for years
    Get more for your money at Holiday Inn Express and not having to play three card Monte at Marriott
    Seems as though Hilton is on the cheap seat too
    They could care less about their customers let alone their elite members- why waste your time

  11. Most travelers understand some cost cutting but it would be nice if hotels offer something that’s not overly expensive or as an extra gesture such as early or late check out when it’s not busy. Stayed at a hotel this past week and hotel made me feel like I was an unwelcome intruder. I’m fine with my room not getting service but let me know where to get fresh towels, coffee packets, empty my garbage can, etc. A platinum elite shouldn’t need to beg for check-out past 11:30am when hotel admitted it has low number of guests.

  12. @jp president of IT (engineering is the same)
    why don’t you go read another blog barbie? you seem to know it all

  13. I stayed at the Sheraton Denver West last week and they failed to mention that they are still not honoring the elite breakfast. I found out when I went downstairs the next morning to eat. They told me Denny’s was open across the street. For ~$300/night I expected full service was back.

  14. Earlier this year Hyatt provided full breakfast in restaurant, so did Hilton (both free as elite benefits). Have not stayed in a Marriott since they discontinued elite benefits. If enough people avoid Marriott they will figure it out.

  15. Gary, thank you for your blog. You do a great service to the community by bringing awareness to what’s happening in industry. Abe Lincoln said that one does not become a bigger man by tearing down another. Yet, those with a poor self-image do so cowardly via anonymous blog comments. Soldier on.

    Turning to a positive note . . .

    Property owners in all networks — not just Marriott — POSITIVELY don’t care about tier status or elite benefits. Hotel tier status has little meaning and its benefits are promises not kept. A top-tier service team representative said to me that properties resist giving room upgrades (even when available) BUT WILL SELL YOU AN UPGRADE. Everyone should just resign themselves to the reality of the situation. It’s now about points — earning rate and redemption rate — and nothing more. https://www.youtube.com/embed/AceKJoL3QaM?start=71&end=76

  16. As far as escalation, don’t bother with the ambassador desk, they could not have cared any less

  17. It’s not only Marriott, Many Hilton hotels have also skirted the benefit. You never know until morning. In some cases they give 500 points, in others a bag with cold stuff, in others the cut or eliminate the hot items.

  18. The whole “no breakfast because covid” is such BS. Recently stayed at the holiday inn express in Barcelona with a normal buffet. Windows open, spaced out tables, plentiful hand sanitizer, and plastic gloves (for covid, this last is a bit of theater, but honestly not sure why buffets don’t always provide plastic gloves). Since it is obvious to everyone that breakfast stinginess is just a money grab, why don’t hotels just give up the charade?

  19. How about we all start filing credit card chargebacks to enforce elite guarantee payments that we know damn well won’t be honored?

    I wish I didn’t just think of this now.

  20. I’ve started calling in advance asking “what can a titanium elite expect as far as elite benefits on” such and such a date. If I don’t like the answer I have them cancel the reservation and tell them why. If more folks start doing this and similar things (and make sure the hotel knows), I rethink numbers will get them listening.

  21. The worst part is hotels have had a year and a half to figure things out. Even now, websites aren’t updated to provide current operational information.

  22. @RunningAaronds: The Sheraton Denver West is managed by Pyramid, which runs the Laylow, Autograph Collection in Waikiki. That place is notorious on FlyerTalk for selling club level rooms even though it has no club lounge and claiming a muffin and water was breakfast. It also manages the Le Meridien and Sheraton in Charlotte. Gary wrote about these properties last year:
    https://viewfromthewing.com/clever-price-discrimination-and-elite-benefits-denial-strategy-from-marriott-in-north-carolina/

    I would probably avoid all Pyramid hotels unless you know a particular property is good: http://pyramidhotelgroup.com/properties/

  23. I called prior to booking Le Meridien in ATL – 2 suite ROOMS, 5 NIGHTS. mid July. They told me.over the phone bkfast option was available but when I checked in they said no bkfst. Although they were.offering bkfst in the restaurant/lounge all week… Great stuff!

  24. This model has turned itself inside-out. Marriott (and other large chains), don’t own the properties (Real Estate/REITs do) and they don’t operate them (franchised). There are becoming just a paper brand. Without consistency and enforcement of their guidelines, they will implode…the brand is only as good as the “product”. If you “outsource” it all without SLA’s and enforcement, it’s not a viable brand anymore. Will be interesting to see how this plays out once business travel picks up again.

  25. Chicago Renaissance does not have their lounge open yet and is only giving points- no food. Cancelled reservation.

  26. It’s happens to me at Marriott Jacksonville. The restaurant was open for breakfast but not for elites . I created a case with the issue . Of course Marriott did not attend it saying me that I had accepted the a the points, Really ??? I .

  27. @Mikey B: Ask Tommy Hilfiger. He licensed his name and didn’t enforce quality.

    Marriott does manage a minority of its properties. I think that’s the real flaw in their business model. They should have held the line and not allowed franchisees to manage full-service brands or hire third-party management companies to operate for the franchisee. Marriott, Sheraton, Westin, Renaissance, Le Meridien, Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis, Edition and W should be managed by Marriott International. As bad as Marriott is, I’ve at least found Marriott-managed properties to be [generally speaking] good.

  28. Marriott really like to Bonvoy it’s customers. People should switch to another hotel chain.

  29. You guys are all so funny. You’re so entitled as elite members that you don’t realize the impact COVID has had on these hotels. Do you understand how much revenue these hotels are trying to make up for? Do you understand that some of these people properties are franchised? Do you understand how hard it is to staff restaurants? It’s your inconsideration that we experience daily. It’s why most employees from Marriott, Hilton and Hyatt do not care about you- you’re entitled snobs.

  30. I stayed at the JW Marriott in Chicago. Upon checking in I was told no breakfast at Chicago area Marriotts due to pandemic. Upon pressing further they said no breakfast in the restaurant because Marriott doesn’t own the restaurant. Upon elevating to Bonvoy Customer Service I received a response back from the hotel stating the following:
    “At this time, we are not offering breakfast on the weekends due to temporary standards set forth by Marriott in response to the pandemic regarding Executive Lounge hours.”

    I contacted Bonvoy again, only to then be told “they are standing by the hotel’s efforts to resolve this concern and do not feel the situation rises to the level requiring additional compensation.” If they are not going to honor Elite benefits, or quote other policies, then they clearly need to update the terms/conditions of the program.

  31. As of today, this is the response from Marriott to my inquiry regarding hotels that have their restaurant open, but only offer 750 points and no breakfast choice:
    “At this time, it is not a choice of the guest. Platinum, Titanium and Ambassador level members are provided with 750 points, because no full service breakfast is available. You should also be offered $10 credit voucher for F&B or gift shop. All Loyalty Program benefits, amenities, offers, awards and services are subject to availability and may be changed by the Company at any time without notice.”

  32. Second tier and cheap Charlie- easier to stay at Holiday Inn express where you get a full breakfast and not all the nonsense that the Big M is the best- those days are long gone with this hotel chain

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