Gold Elite members should be alerted that Marriott Vacation Clubs do not honor the upgrade policy, free breakfast or happy hour etc that is available to members at Marriott's own properties. These are owned in a separate business that shares the Marriott name and reservation system. I was surprised to learn this on a recent arrival and am not sure if it adequately disclosed in the reservation system.
This information is listed under the terms and conditions of Marriott Rewards. Here's the snippet on upgrades.
Note the last line. Disappointing as it is, Marriott does make this clear on their website. As for the breakfast, that benefit is not available at resorts (most Vacation Clubs are categorized as resorts).
While there might be a better way of communicating that benefits normally available to Golds and Platinums aren't granted at MVC, the information is out there. It is unfortunate that we have to seek it out. I agree with you that it's a surprise (not a good one) to find this out upon arrival. That's one great feature of Marriott Rewards Insiders. Learning from others what to expect at certain brands and properties.
I have no doubt others who are unaware of how MVC properties work will be glad you posted this message.
(Below is info from a discussion with a MVC staff member at Desert Springs Palm Desert (not the hotel staff but the MVC Staff)
I recently stayed with friends (not on my account) that secured a three bedroom unit at Marriott Desert Springs (Palm Desert CA) MVC - (this property is attached to the Deluxe JW Marriott Resort of the same name)
I inquired as to what advantages, if any, would a Platinum Premiere be afforded at the Vacation Club. She told me, quite frankly, that they were aware of the special perks that the JW offered to Elite members but this service was simply never part of their training. The only special treatment they were to offer was the standard acknowledgment "than you for being a loyal Marriott customer).
They explained that the majority of elite members being business frequent travelers are not their market or their normal everyday guests. Most of their guests are "owners" i.e. Club Members with accompanying families. Additionally, the space available that is offered to Marriott Reservations are units that are allotted to non Club owners (through Marriott reservation, that they know will not be occupied based on predictions. In many cases they are bedrooms locked off from the main "villa". Bottom line, she said, we just courteously advise, an upgrade is not available.
Jokingly, she told me, the biggest problem they have with guests that are reserved as day by day hotel guests is remembering to advise housekeeping that the room is to receive daily complete service. Daily complete housekeeping is only available at MVC at an additional fee.
Hope the above is helpful and please understand this information came from a front desk supervisor at one MVC.
I would assume it's a vacancy situation at MVC. If the place has a vacancy factor during a specific period they will probably upgrade anyone to an Ocean View (or THEIR definition of an Ocean View which is some cases is bazaar!)
I am an ocean view owner at Waiohai on Kauai - when it was traded for a different club where I was not an owner I ended up with villa that could be categorized as the worst location in the resort.
Please don't get the wrong impression - I think the world of MVC - when the kids were young and even into early teens it was a terrific vacation in a spacious up to date villa that always delivered comfort.
My only problem now is that I'm old!!!! (damnit) - and staying at a resort with thousands of kids running around, (even with an adult pool area that isn't policed and therefore full of kids also) is not as relaxing as it used to be.
Next trip to Waiohai will be during an off period when kids should be in school - I have been told the "youth problem" isn't an issue during the school year.
Even without the elite benefits, I'm a fan of staying at MVC properties for vacation. It is not everyone's idea of a perfect vacation, but it works for us. The fully furnished villas definitely help us stretch our vacation budget. Also, we've never had an issue with housekeeping not cleaning our rooms and have stayed at various MVC's throughout the US. We are strictly day-to-day guests and not owners.
I've have had in the past a front desk clerk say something to the effect of, thank you for being platinum, we were able to give you a room close to the pool, etc.
At my last stay at MVC Newport Coast, I had requested a room with an ocean view, which I received. We were celebrating my son's 11th birthday and they surprised us with quite a nice gift basket full of goodies for him.
I stayed at a MVC on Oahu in July as a "pre-business" vacation. I used points and was "upgraded" ahead of arrival due to being a Platinum member. The upgrade was a view of the pool and if you looked really hard you could see the ocean. I knew what the deal was when I reviewed and ultimately made the reservation that an upgrade was not a guarantee as well as the associated resort fees. Not only did the website point this out, the hotel sent me an email several weeks in advance reminding me of these items.
I agree, that loyalty should be rewarded, but at the same time I understand the business side of it, and if you are not an owner of the MVC it is more likely than not that you will not be treated any different regardless of a Gold or Platinum status on your profile.
Just one man's experience and opinion......