Marriott offers Platinum elites and higher upgrades to suites if they’re available for the member’s full stay at the time of check-in. The biggest problem with Marriott’s “Suite Night Awards” is that you can almost never use them.
However the second biggest problem can be getting the hotel to actually honor the suite upgrade, even once it’s “confirmed” and that is even though not all available suites are given away as Suite Night Awards. Marriott projects demand for paid suites, and holds back standard suites to sell rather than assigning these upgrades as check-in approaches.
One 75 night Titanium elite member tells the story about confirming a suite at the J.W. Marriott in Grand Rapids Michigan. They were staying for their 35th wedding anniversary. When they arrived to check in, they were assigned a regular room – the hotel gave their suite to someone else instead.
We booked our stay months prior letting them know we were celebrating our 35th wedding anniversary and I am also a long standing Titanium Bonvoy Elite member. I submitted my request for a suite night upgrade as I had that certificate option and was granted this request on the 12th of July for a stay on the 17th.
When I arrived at the hotel, the front desk attendant told me that I was in a king room but when questioned about my confirmed reservation upgrade, he had little to say besides they were sold out and it could not be granted. After he went to the back and spoke with a room manager, he then told me that I should have received an email letting me know that my reservation had changed. All I heard were excuses and poor customer service.
The story was told in a review on Tripadvisor, and the Rooms Division Manager responded – more or less blowing off the concern:
I do apologize for this as this shouldn’t have affected your stay with us. I also had explained to you that an email was sent ahead of time to communicate this error to avoid any surprises before you checked in with us. I apologize if you weren’t able to see this ahead of time.
It seems as long as the hotel claims they told a customer in advance they were being downgraded, it’s ok to downgrade a customer. No compensation was offered.
This is a franchised property. It isn’t managed by Marriott, but by Amway’s hotel division (AHC Hospitality).
When a hotel finds themselves in an oversell situation that is their fault. When a customer’s suite night award is confirmed, they have a confirmed reservation for a suite. They should,
- Use all suites. Before downgrading anyone to a standard room they should offer upgrades to any available premium suites, like Ambassador or Presidential suites.
- Offer a free stay. If a customer is effectively walked from their room, and offered a downgraded room instead, they aren’t getting what they had confirmed. The stay should be free. That’s really the bare minimum and if it’s a work stay that was being reimbursed to them anyway it’s not enough. (An choice of a free stay or points for a future stay is another approach.)
By the way I wrote about this same hotel recently for giving Platinum members and above a credit to spend that doesn’t cover the cost of breakfast.
The guest should open a customer service complaint with Marriott, but it’s understandable why they might not. In recent experience Marriott agents give wrong information (coming up with reasons to defend hotels) and the company seems to have little inclination to enforce its standards.