Didn't see a thread on this so thought I'd start one to give other Marriott elites a heads up on a change Marriott made recently to elite T&Cs re: European breakfast options for hotels w/ no lounges (no notice to elites). To date if Marriott elites stayed at a European property without a lounge they received (traditionally) a full breakfast in the hotel's restaurant.
Recently Marriott tweaked the verbiage & added the following (bolding & underlining mine)
4. Guaranteed Concierge/Executive/Club Lounge Access* for Platinum and Gold Elite members plus one guest at JW Marriott®, Autograph Collection®, Renaissance® and Marriott® Hotels during normal hours of operations. Continental breakfast is available 7 days a week. For JW Marriott®, Autograph Collection®, Renaissance® and Marriott® Hotels in the U.S. and Canada: any time the Lounge isn’t open, Platinum and Gold Elite members are entitled to a choice of continental breakfast for two in the restaurant or 750 points daily.
In Europe, hotels without a lounge offer a choice of breakfast for two in the restaurant or 750 points daily.
* At JW Marriott®, Autograph Collection®, Renaissance® and Marriott Hotels® (resorts excluded)
On Flyertalk there is the first report of a European property switching to the new policy. The FTer had stayed at the property previously a number of times & always received a full hot breakfast in the hotel's restaurant. When he checked in recently, the FDC told him he had the option of points or continental breakfast for his Platinum Arrival Gift; obviously the FDC was confused by the new policy as the PAG policy hasn't changed. But the hotel is switching from offering a full breakfast to offering a cont'l breakfast.
It looks like Marriott is trying to align the European breakfast policy to the US/Canada one. Since a # of European properties have traditionally provided a full breakfast, switching to a cont'l breakfast is a bit of a downgrade. Granted properties can still offer it, but I wouldn't be surprised if a # of them decide to switch to cont'l. I'll continue to provide updates in this thread on Flyertalk re: what properties do, as FTers report.
I was emailing another Lifetime Platinum elite re: the change (she's also top tier at Hyatt & mid or top tier at Starwood), and she replied (again, bolding mine):
"Hyatt does it right. No club, then you get breakfast 7 days a week in the hotel restaurant. And it can be very very good. Marriott pushes me away with all its gamesmanship on breakfasts, weekends, resorts. ugh."
There is a very serious difference between the policy in the US/Canada and the rest of the world. You can easily get a cheap breakfast anywhere in the US. But most Marriotts abroad charge non-elites anywhere from 25-35 euros for breakfast (up to $50 or more). If you're lucky enough to stay next to a bakery or sleep in, all is well, but not if you're an early riser.
Every time I have booked on expedia, orbitz, hotels, tingo, etc., I have ALWAYS gotten free breakfast and free wifi, so it's become a no-brainer for me.
In fairness they're not eliminating breakfast entirely, just potentially downgrading it from a full breakfast to a continental breakfast. I think that properties that are customer service-oriented will continue to offer the full breakfast & those that aren't as much will embrace the downgrade to continental (similar to US/Canada).
If anyone stays at a property that downgrades, please post it here or (preferably) in the exec lounge thread in the Marriott forum on Flyertalk so that I can update that sticky.
And if you encounter a property that downgrades, let them know of your dissatisfaction with the change. If they say it's Marriott's policy, remind them that Marriott says that that's the minimum that they have to do but that the Insiders folk have always said they can do more.
Those that don't eat breakfast will probably like the 750 points option.
That is a serious downgrade, at least to me. I mostly only ever eat breakfast and a late lunch when in Europe both to save money and because I'm usually there less than a week and still on EST. With a real breakfast and a dinner like lunch I'm set, but don't give me a croissant and orange juice! I'm doing just fine at my independents, where I get full hot breakfast meals. I think all loyalty programs are taking a huge leap of faith that will benefit them financially in the short run, but which may cost dearly in the long run. I too watch Flyertalk. Delta has been eroding every single benefit over the course of the past year. So I'm gonna take my trips and run come 2015! And since Amex doesn't even bother to answer my letters about SkyClubs that I am entitled to, they're a casualty too.
PS -- Haha. Let's see how all that works out in the long run for both . Sure, the .001% will be delighted, but the long distance Platinum and Diamond members will not.
I agree with you professor this is a big downgrade for me. I prefer to do the same, have a decent hot breakfast and late lunch which is normally sufficient when travelling.
I have never encountered this in any Marriotts in the UK that I have stayed at. I note the original poster on flyer talk mentioned it happened at the Marriott in Portsmouth. I was going to stay there previously, that one will be crossed off the list now!
erc lucky you have all that toast and fruit in belgium to look forward to, enjoy!
Once again, we need to dust off our Insiders motto - Improvise, Adapt, Overcome, and we shall.
This continues the trend of Marriott laying out the Least Common Denominator of benefits and the properties with the protection of the floor, playing the game at their level of service (Ghent Marriott, I'm counting on you living up to the professor's praise ).
The trend makes forums like FlyerTalk and the superbly skiadcock moderated thread of Lounge/Breakfast benefits (worldwide!) and our own cuddly little warm and fuzzy forum, Insiders, so invaluable for finding out where the 'sweet' spots of customer service are provided.
Keep on keepin' on Insiders, this too shall not pass .
ps - Different Customers, Different Prices, Thanks To Big Data - Forbes this is the future change that concerns me the most, and it's probably going to happen, if not already in place. We're already seeing it in mobile discounts. Ooh boy, that's why when the more optimistic Insiders like to play the game of "let's tell Marriott of the perks we want, KatieC and The specified item was not found. will listen, appreciate our input, and pass it along to The Greater Team and all will be fine", my first response is along the lines of a Hippocratic, "first, let's keep what we already have".
IAHFLYR Don't forget about challenges. If you are serious about HH or Hyatt, and have a decent amount of travel in a 90 day window, go for it. No reason earning it the hard way.
I've already done the HH challenge, with being Lifetime Platinum they wanted all my stays for the previous 12 months....whooooowho, there were all 14 nights last year so that was a no go. And the 90 day travel schedule is not going to allow for the challenge to be met, but have no fear, I've accumulated quite a few HH points regardless and found a few ways to work the room upgrade system as well. Thanks for the thought for sure.
I was able to get Hilton and Starwood Gold due to my Amex Platinum membership. Since I am lifetime platinum at Marriott, I now choose based on price, specific hotel services, location, and fitness center. Marriott loyalty no longer means much, unfortunately. Corporate is ruining the program.
This is nothing new, at least for the Marriott Champs-Elysees. They do not have a CL and downgraded their free breakfast policy for golds/plats from a full hot buffet to a continental buffet as of at least 18 months ago. Below are some old posts which make reference to this, as well as an email reply I received to my inquiry on March 29, 2013. Maybe they are just now catching up on updating their posted verbiage?
Dear Ms. Pluto77,
Thank you for your kind words about our hotel. We are delighted you and your friends of the Marriott Rewards community have good memories of our breakfast and we look forward to welcoming you all back soon!
Yes, you are correct, there have been changes to our breakfast offerings in the last few months. To improve our levels of service, we have switched from buffet-style to plated hot food items. These items are in supplement to the complimentary cold buffet breakfast we extend to our valued Platinum and Gold Elite Marriott Rewards members. We have upgraded our cold buffet to include more items, including our home-smoked salmon, a larger array of exotic fruit, a Bloody Mary bar for the adventurous among you, etc., etc. In addition, for 8 Euros, you may now order as many helpings of scrambled eggs, omelets and bacon rashers as you wish, which will be brought to your table by one of our lovely waiters or waitresses.
I agree that our omelet chef Hassan was delightful in the restaurant and I shall certainly let him know that you think so too! He is still with us but working from the kitchen, which has helped us create a more pleasant breakfast experience for our guests, free of cooking odour and noise.
Please feel free to contact us for more information for yourself and your community. We are at your service.
Jérémie and the Paris Marriott Hotel Champs Elysées team
pluto77, that's a single property. The recent (unannounced) change in the Marriott T&Cs re: European properties means that multiple properties in multiple countries can now downgrade to a continental breakfast. If you look at the exec lounge sticky in the Marriott forum in Flyertalk (which I think you have contributed to! thank you) you'll see that there are a LOT of European properties without lounges that provide full breakfast.
I am curious as to how a single property - a Marriott flagship property no less - was able to exempt itself from the elite breakfast policy.
I don't require a hot breakfast (unless toast is considered hot), as meat and potatoes slow me down and not a fan of anything sweet (waffles and pancake syrup) in the morning, but I know many people do. (And at some full service properties, the scrambled eggs in the CL and sometimes even in the restaurant are just terrible. The scrambled egg frisbee and the sausage frisbees at SHS's are so bad that I don't even like to stay at SHS's any longer for that reason. What good is a free breakfast if it is not edible? The one time I stayed at a TPS recently, and never again, 6 cold cereal offerings and ALL of them were sugary junk cereals, not one healthy offering.) Toast, cheese or plain yogurt and perhaps a hard boiled egg along with coffee and I'm a happy camper.
The main thing for all of us is:
1) Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
2) It is inexpensive to produce.
It makes no sense for properties to skimp on this.
Note that this applies only to properties with no lounges. A number of European properties do have exec lounges.
It will be interesting to see how properties with no lounges handle it moving forward now that the policy has been formalized. I think the customer service-oriented ones will continue to offer full breakfast, and the others will embrace the downgrade.
Those who benefit from the program are those who don't eat breakfast & now have the option of getting 750pts/night.
When traveling I like a hot breakfast. I am one who doesn't like sweets and continental breakfasts are all carbs which I try to stay away from. Often all the cereal choices are sweetened and they usually only offer sweetened yogurt. In my opinion, this is really bad. I stayed at the LAX Renaissance in the past and was given a full breakfast. The last time, it was continental for 2. A $15 charge to upgrade to a full breakfast. I pointed out that I was only eating one breakfast and the price of 2 continentals is more that a full breakfast. NO go. I took the points and may never return.
I am in the process of planning a trip to Italy and the breakfasts have made a difference in my choice of hotels. I may have to rethink where I will stay.
I agree with others on the bad eggs. I watched when fresh eggs were brought our and they dumped them on top and stirred them in so it was impossible to get the fresh. They could have taken the dried, cold eggs and put the fresh out.
Re: rethinking where you stay in Italy. My recommendation would be to contact & ask if they provide full breakfast or cont'l before just deciding to stay elsewhere.
We've had reports of some properties downgrading due to the new policy, but we've also had reports that some properties are still offering full breakfast. So it's not yet a universal or automatic downgrade.
I'll update the exec lounge thread in the Marriott forum on Flyertalk re: what properties do moving forward, but of course I'm dependent upon FTers reporting.
Also since this policy is so new (this month?) we may need some time to see how it shakes out.
The Grand Flora Rome brought fresh full-breakfast to the room each morning, no charge!
It really stated the day out wonderful, and the only meal I had to buy then was dinner!
This is the way you may want to start your day! The same thing at Ren. AdT in Paris!
This brings a question. Grand Flora or Boscolo? Boscolo, available on points, offers king beds, closer to points of interest but reviews not as good. Flora, some days not offered on points and only queen beds are offered on points. Should I keep trying to get the Flora or be satisfied with Boscolo Palace?
The reviews on the Marriott site are not that great. Much about extra and over charges. Not good. From what I read, it is near the train station but Google maps shoes it being farther from some attractions that I would walk to. I am a walker and get the feel of a city while walking through and also enjoy sites. The other 2 seem to be closer to walk from. Thanks for the suggestion.
Yes, that is "Not good"!
During my stay in December, it was a full breakfast!
I would check directly with The Grand Flora. They had a lovely dining area for breakfast and I just can't imagine them going to "Continental" only!
If the Grand Flora is going continental breakfast only, then I think this has been handed down from on high, rather than property by property. If IAHFLYR finds the same thing at Ghent, I would say that it is irrefutable. My decision to go off the grid two years ago is looking better and better!
We don't know that the Grand Flora is going to cont'l & we won't until someone stays there & reports back.
But regarding it coming down from on high, yes Marriott made the change in policy (quietly) - which is why I started this thread in the first place, to give a heads up to Insiders.
However, it is up to each property to decide whether they'll offer cont'l or offer full. At minimum they must offer cont'l, but each can go above that & offer more. Same with when the exec lounges being closed on weekends policy went into effect several years ago. Some stuck w/ corporate policy & closed/no coupons, and some either kept the lounge open or offered breakfast coupons even if they weren't required to do so.
With the US/Canada policy that went into effect last year (that Europe is technically matching), some properties now offer cont'l brekkie in the restaurant, some offer cont'l w/ an upcharge to full, some offer full w/ no upcharge, some open the exec lounge for brekkie only (cont'l or full), so while HQ policy said cont'l only, there is leeway by the individual properties.
Folks, Marriott reservations & Rewards are going to tell you what the 'policy' is; unless they've stayed at the property or call it while you're on the phone with them they have no way of knowing if it's cont'l or full.
We've had a report on FT that one property (in the UK) has cut back & we've also had a report that another property is still offering a full breakfast even with the new policy.
Just as when this got rolled out in the US/Canada, some properties will drop to cont'l & some will continue to offer full breakfast. My guess is the more customer service-oriented will stay with full.
The addition of the policy means that European properties have the leeway to make the change, not necessarily that they will do so. It also means that those who don't eat breakfast will have the option of 750 points - an option they didn't have before. Not everyone is a breakfast person.
I'll continue to update the exec lounge sticky in the Marriott forum on Flyertalk as people report experiences. Of course I rely on FTers & Insiders to provide the updates.