In this forum, I have noticed a lot of interest in achieving and maintaining platinum status and I don't understand why. I became a platinum member a few months back and I haven't noticed any improvement in my Marriott experience. In fact, I stayed at the Saint in New Orleans several time before becoming platinum and really liked the hotel. The first time I stayed as a platinum member, I was given a tiny room a million miles from the elevator on a lower floor with a lousy view. For my "gift," I received a bottle of water. When I complained in an online review, I rec'd the managers regret that my experience was disappointing, and nothing else. In other experiences as a platinum member, I have never been given an room upgrade and never rec'd any sort of meaningful "gift." I know this sound like another complaint, but I am sincere in wondering what the attraction is. Am I missing something? Or perhaps it's just that my experience is atypical. Thanks for your insights.
It all depends on the individual property. While the policy is to upgrade and treat Platinums well, I find the major factors in your experience have to do with the brand (Renaissance/JW/Marriott), the attitude and training of the staff at that property, the number of nights your stay is, how many elites are at the property while you're there, and when you check-in.
You can have a FS Marriott in a major city, or airport location where literally 100 rooms have a Platinum guest in them. The upgrade you expect and desire may simply not be there due to the fact there are many elites at the property. On the other hand, you can have a Residence Inn at some podunk middle of nowhere town that goes out of their way to greet you, give you a two bedroom room (even if you don't need it), a warm cookie, a rundown of local events and greet you with a very friendly and outgoing attitude.
All in all, I have to imagine many Platinum elites here on MRI think their status is worth having and have many examples of when it really helped them. I know it seems like you had a couple "lousy" experiences but look at it this way, a general member will never get that upgraded room, never get free breakfast, never get CL access, never have staff go the extra mile for them. As for Platinum, they will at least try to and on most cases, deliver.
It varies with the property. Check in gifts can range from a bottle of wine and cheese to a bottle of water. It varies with your status and the property you check into. But, the real benefit comes in collecting bonus points. Also, the more you become platinum, you can see gifts in the mail from Corporate; I have gotten numerous little gifts from travel bags to speakers. I was asked if I wanted to have lunch with Mr. Marriott at one property.
I have also been upgraded to presidential suites on occasion. So, the perks are nice, but, as most hotels are franchisee owned, the varying degrees of service towards platinum's can be confusing.
ericwynn - You are lucky for Presidential Suites upgrades - as you say, on occasion. In my last 12 years of earning Platinum (last 9 as PP), not once did I get the Presidential Suite in the ~2200 paid nights across years. LUCKY for you.
Benefits do vary by property. In general, most of the benefits of Platinum also apply to Gold, but there are some big benefits.
1. The first is the extra points.
2. I seem to do much better with upgrades since I have Platinum status.
3. I do feel that I am often treated better by hotels since I attained Platinum.
4. Welcome gifts vary, but are sometimes valuable. Some hotels provide unlimited bottled water and occasionally there is a bottle of wine.
The biggest perk for Gold, seems to me, is the CL at those hotels that have them.
I hope this was a local decision and this won't spread system wide - to be quite candid, there is no one guiltier than yours truly in abusing the free water bottles (when available).
Please keep this admission between us - thanks -
One major benefit as a platinum, and one I have had to use a few times, is that you are guaranteed a room at a property so long as the reservation is made 48 hours ahead. Without my platinum status, I'd have been at a much less conveniently located Marriott property. The few times I've had to take advantage of this benefit were for emergency situations that came up at the last minute. Even if it's just once or twice, that makes platinum worth while. In addition, as a platinum, you do get the bonus points that helps you get to free nights more quickly.
I guess that benefit is valuable, at times, but I have found that when you need to take advantage of this guaranty, the price can be exorbitant. In 2013 I needed to extend a stay in Boston and my hotel was heavily booked due to the then recent Marathon bombing. (I realize that this was an unusual time.) My reservation was at the Government rate in the low $200s. The rate offered under the Platinum guaranty was over $500.
Definitely must be the routes. I was UA Platinum for 5 years, made about 95 flights/year and was upgraded at most 20% of the time. Of course I am out of United's main hub of Chicago where just about everyone is Platinum or 1K. If I was not on the consulting train (Monday morning returning Thursday evening) my odds went up.
Due to decreased travels, I have gone from platinum to gold this year and will be silver next year on United. Happy to be home more but boy that really hurts when I fly.
boldie24, I agree it's the routes. I get upgrades when flying out of airports where there are not many fliers with status on that particular airline. For example, I flew out of MIA on DL and got a first class upgrade because MIA is an AA hub and doesn't have that many DL flights and consequently not a lot of MIA flyers have status at DL. Same principle applies with UA at my home airport which is a DL stronghold with many DL platinums and diamonds but very few UA Platinums or 1Ks. I have silver on both DL and UA. I've also noticed upgrades are more frequent on tourist destinations such as MCO or HNL especially when flying times/days that don't attract business travelers. I've even gotten upgrades out of LGA on early Saturday morning flights as there are few business travelers to compete with.
Not on purpose - just watching the telly and though I would comment.
I would never go out of my way to get on your bad side - you are one of the few that hasn't put out a "contract" on me.
At all hotels:
1. 20% extra points over Gold - This is worthwhile, In the stays it takes a Gold to earn 125,000 points a Plat will earn 150,000
2. 48 hour guaranteed availability - as seen above it can be expensive, but then agai it can be most reasonable. I actually make use of it a couple of times a year on a busy day when I mostly find its a little cheaper, or the same price as the very few other similar-quality hotels available in the locality. A few years ago found my New Years Eve arrangements had changed and I had the opportunity to attend Edinburgh Hogmanay, assuming I could find accommodation. Well it was available, at £300-£1000 for the night in at a very few hotels in the city centre, or at the Marriott Edinburgh Country Club with a free minibus in and out on Plat 48-hour availability for £100. Brilliant! I actually make use of it probably twice a year
3. Platinum arrival gift. This varies by brand. Taking the main brands its 1000 points at Ritz, $10 F&B credit or 500 points at Marriott, Ren, Autograph and JW, 400 points and pantry item at Courtyard and 200 points at FFI.
I take the view that Plat is worth some effort, on say 50 $150 one night FS stay it's extras over Gold are worth the following:
a) $10 for the arrival F&B credit... $500pa
b) As I value MR points at 1.2UScents the extra points are worth about $5, so that's $250pa
c) The 48 hour guarantee is best valued as an opportunity to earn points in circumstances where I'd receive none, that as I say occurs maybe twice a year, so $75
SO the total is $825pa, or $17 per stay, plus whatever value you get from that one-off Hogmanay! I would say it's worth some effort over
I agree with most of the comments. As a platinum member for over ten years and 1500 nights, I can say I have seen both the platinum program and the rewards program go significantly down hill. On the positive side for many customers, it is now much easier to reach platinum than it used to be, but with this has come a large dilution of the benefits. The stay gift used to be GREAT, often a full tray of various fruits and sometimes cheeses and a bottle of wine. That would cost $25.00 or more now. There is still the benefit of the two day reservation guarantee (most of the time) and upgrades (depending dramatically on the hotel), but the upgrades have certainly decreased. I used to get a suite almost half the time, but have not had one now for at least four years. The rewards program has deteriorated even more. It costs much more for everything and the reduced rates are rarely available. Just checked two hotels in the Virgin islands. They only have anytime rates for the entire year of 2016. Seems like false advertising to me.
What you describe as the benefits in the past is pretty much what I was expecting it would be like today, thus my disappointment, especially since I virtually never travel on short notice such that the 48 hour guarantee is is of no use to me. Anyway thanks for your insights.
craig749 - It appears that you have had similar instances in downgrades of having P or PP status over the last several years. The key point you make is, "it is now much easier to reach platinum than it used to be, but with this has come a large dilution of the benefits." You take the words right out of my mouth. I oftentimes argued with other MRI members that the ease of becoming P with rollover nights, bonus nights, VISA nights, etc. was ultimately going to "dilute" the benefits one receives as the status tiers are so easily attainable now. Check out this post from Aug 2011 Diluted status finally biting our backsides? which supported many of the posts I made after the rollover nights was announced (many of those posts I deleted).
Prophesy - hmmm . . . maybe I should play PowerBall?
Even more than the Platinum "benefits" the rewards program itself has gone dramatically downhill with far fewer benefits for the same points. The "discounted" "pointsaver" program is worthless, and you now can basically only book in 5 day increments unless you want to waste the points. I have also sent an email to Marriott about the "pointsaver" program asking them how it really works but have not had a reply. If the monitor actually reads this, I would appreciate you letting Marriott know that I would lkike a reply.
Interestingly, their phone help apparently has no clue about the program. Here is a chat record I had recently.
You have been connected to Alexis H.. How may I help you?
Customer: As a long time platinum member I have seen the rewards program deteriorate over time. I now find that the ONLY rewards rates available ALL 2016 for Frenchman's Reef is the anytime rates. Seems to me your listing of the reduced reward rate is false advertising, since they are NEVER available.
Alexis H.: How may I assist you today?
Customer: Can you respond to my statement. Am I wrong that the only rate available ALL 2016 is the anytime rate?
Alexis H.: All the hotel rates will vary based upon the occupancy of the hotel.
Alexis H.: We do strive to make everything about your stay more than perfect! If you would like to discuss this with a member of our Customer Care team, they can be reached at 800-535-4028.
Customer: That is not an answer. I find it hard top believe there is NEVER a reduced rate available out to the very end of the period you allow reservations to be made.
Alexis H.: I'm really not sure exactly how you would like me to respond.
Customer: I would like to know if there is any hotel in the Virgin islands that has a reduced rewards rate at any point in 2016.
Alexis H.: I would need to check date by date for the entire year. How many nights are you looking to stay for?
Customer: You do not need to bother. I was looking for five nights. I have already checked for two of the four and suspect it is the same for the rest. I will call Customer Care about this.
Alexis H.: Great ideal! Have a Merry Christmas!
I am sorry but IMHO, it is unreasonable to expect a meaningful response to your issue/complaint through an online chat representative. As the suggested, pick up the phone and call customer care. Email/Chats, your mileage may very. Nothing works better than getting a voice on the other end to listen to your concerns/questions.
You should be ashamed of your self .
Who gave you the authority to post a statement that is so straightforward and logical it will upset those that think that this forum can solve complaints or even something as simple as missing points.
Your statement, "Nothing works better than getting a voice on the other end to listen to your concerns/questions." , is insulting to those of us looking for ways to waste our time.!
Now, why am I chastising you? Simply put you are treading on my "turf" - I have accepted the responsibility creating trouble -
If you think for one minute I will let you take my badge of "chief trouble maker" away I will use everything in my power, including contacts at your favorite hotels to insure you are placed in rooms far away from elevators and last on the list for housekeeping.
You have been warned! The next logical response you post will be "strike two"!
That is exactly the kind of response I would expect of any online chat rep for any company. They are pretending to be positive and energetic but never have any real answers to questions. They always refer you to a policy, or a website, or some other generic lame answer you either already knew or could have retrieved on your own in seconds. They are not real customer service reps and have no real knowledge of policies and offer very little help in my experience.
Hi craig749. Sounds like a very frustrating experience. Can you send me a private message with your Rewards number? I would like to reach out to our greater team regarding this. Thanks in advance.
Not sure how to send a private message. Are you a monitor/work for Marriott? At my firm in which I was a senior partner, I also urged everyone to use Marriott for over ten years. Marriott must have had over 15,000 nights because of me. In a word, the program was "great!" Not so much anymore. I realize I no longer travel to the extent I used to but shouldn't loyalty go both ways. How about some recognition for the stalwart old members who have not used the card to gain the status? What really irks me, however, is the dilution of both programs. I congratulate the ones who can now gain Platinum, but it really does not mean that much now except for the points which then go to a vastly decreased rewards program. Another question, What is with having to pay in addition to points? How can a hotel in the Carribean not have rooms in the summer for point saver points (not the I would want to go there if they did). It seems that Piint saver is only for hotels that have very low occupancy rate. It gives Marriott the chance to have people use points (and other money) at locations that would otherwise be vastly under occupied. With the increased use of franchise owners the service has also gone downhill in many cases. I now find myself disappointed more than pleased. Please do not think I simply rant a lot, this rant has been a long timne coming. I praise Marriott people much more often than I complain about the increasing frustrations.
Hi craig749. I am one of the moderators here on the Insiders forum, along with deannad and lindseyh. We're here to answer your questions and make sure things are running smoothly. Sounds like you've been a member for some time now and have a wide view of what this program is and hows its changed. While I can understand your frustrations, I'd like to provide some clarity. Cash + Points is a great way to book a stay when you do not have enough points available to cover the entire stay or save some of your points if you do not want to use them all. Point Savers options allows you to get the best points redemption for stays. Room rates are always subject to availability, same with points. I hope I've provided you with some clarity, but please let me know if you have any additional questions.
Cara, still not sure how to send a private reply, which I would gladly do if I knew how. While it may be true that using money with points is a great way to reserve a stay, that is not the case in my instance. The only way I could book the stay this year was with points and money. I had plenty of points, but was not given the option of purely using points.
My dispute with point savers is not that you cannot use them because of room availability, but that they are never available at certain hotels. can you truly say that St Thomas hotels completely fill up during the summer? I have been to Carribbean hotels in shoulder seasons and they are not usually fill even then. Point Savers simply seems to be a way to get customers to use points at hotels which are vastly undercooked. If that is the case, just say so, don't make it appear to be a way people can get reservartions at hotels they want to stay at.
I have now had a reply from Marriott's customer care and will see where that goes. I have been an extremely loyal customer for over well over thirty years and am extremely disappointed in the direction the program is going. It does not matter a whole lot to me anymore, so I am not sure why I am being so fervent in my comments. I guess disappointement in one of the few companies I felt really cared about people as individuals and recognized its most loyal customers.
i would gladly write a complete retraaction of much of what I have written if Marriott would truly respond, rather than just PR double-talk which is what most companies do. This is not to say that your replies have been doubletalk.
To me, there are really only two things:
1. welcome gift - i.e. more points
2. 50% versus 25% bonus - i.e. more points.
I have seen no difference in how I am treated or my upgrade options. And only once have I used the guaranteed room benefit, for a very late requirement.
That being said, would still rather be platinum than gold. By I am what I am, after four years at Platinum.
Just to pile on...as everyone has said, it really just depends on the hotel on what they offer as a welcome gift. Some hotels are generous, others are not. In fact, at several hotels I was never offered a gift and only received one after I asked about it. I'm PFL and have yet to have a room upgraded. I still prefer Marriott to other hotel chains, but I too am seeing an erosion of reward benefits. I'm staying at the JWM in Chicago next week, so I'll see if they'll offer me an upgrade or at least a room on the concierge floor.
Keep piling it on! It doesn't accomplish much but feels better after venting a little.
As to you posting - the absolute minimum, is access to the CL but not necessarily a room on the actual floor. Additionally, many hotels such as the JW Essex and Marriott East Side in NY have their CL's on floors without rooms at all (and closer to catering facillities).
I know that this is repeating myself but this scenario is an example of why it is harder to get upgrades to superior rooms or suites.
I checked into the Essex House a few months ago and a manager was called to the reception to welcome me (Essex House told me that was their practice when a Plat Premiere checked in)
When thanking me for loyalty and being a Plat Premiere I said "I appreciate the honor I wish it came with extra benefits. He answered ".......we have 50 Plats in the hotel tonight - and only one Plat Premiere - You are the only one of those 51 that has been upgraded to a suite"....
So, 50 plats that probably went to bed that night mad because they weren't upgraded - what it tells me is all the programs out there have created too many plats.........It is simply impossible to upgrade everyone.
OH, go on, Jerryl, I just can't resist. SPG provides more benefits for its members in an environment where Plat recognition begins at only 25 nights. They have a higher % of high end properties and FS meaning that mathematically theres likely to be more big upgrades available and more lounges per elite. Don't forget, the airlines own the metal, keeping supply closely in tune with demand is imperative. Marriott is a hotel franchiser, the more hotels it's franchising the better it's doing. Keeping the balance between inventory and occupation is a much bigger headache for the franchisee. I foresee an improvement in elite experiences across the FS brands
We all must hope that Mr. Bob's projections of "more" comes to reality!
As I commented before I estimate that we will be theorizing about the new "package" continually through this time next year. The merger/acquisition isn't expected to finalized until the middle of 2016 - consequently it's doubtful any of us will be taking advantage of any Starwood hospitality (as Marriott Elites) before (the earliest) the end of next year.
Let's be clear here I am not suggesting everything will be copacetic, merely that this takeover will have the effect of increasing the number of FS properties out of all proportion to others and since FS is where the meat of both schemes Gold and Platinum membership reside, Marriott members should see an average improvement in stay experiences across their FS year, especially if we stay at former Starwood properties. SPG members will see a huge increase in properties but a reduction in in-stay experiences as our elite numbers vastly dilute their pool.
From our point of view I'm rather more concerned about redemption earn and burn rates. SPG members are used to a poor earn and burn rate, they always quote the value of their points, at 2 or so cents each point but don't consider how slowly their points accumulate. A Marriott Plat accumulates at 15 per $, SPG 75 Plat is 4 per $. When I was devising my Roadtrip last year I typically found that SPG redemptions were 30% to 50% the points of a comparable Marriott. Marriott has long had the best earn and burn rate of the big 4 and it is here I expect the post-takeover beancounters to focus their avaricious gaze.
So, no. Not "more" across the board, but yes, more FS choices and better FS experiences should be the Marriott elite take-out. SPG elites will see a vast increase in property options, and an increase in earn and burn rates, but the chances are Marriott elites will pay the price in reduced earn and burn.
Yes, thanks for correcting me kiowavt
25 stays it is. Of course that can be as little as 25 nights. Whatever I can't see Marriott awarding Plat on the basis of only 25 stays in future, it's argument being that making 75 nights is easier at Marriott because of its much wider inventory. Now it's even wider too. A lot of SPG members at 25-40 nights that are currently Plats will see their status drift down to Silver unless they show Marriott more love. Of course it will be so much easier for them with Marriotts enormous inventory of FFI, CY, RI and TPS meaning theres usually a Marriott group hotel close to their US/Canadian destination.
MY point remains, Starwood is heavily weighted towards FS inventory and their FS are heavier in suites as a % of rooms, whilst Marriott is more balanced between non-FS and FS and low in suite %. Many low staying SPG plats will lose upgrade and lounge status meaning Marriotts membership will pro rata see increased suite opportunities due to the cull of SPG Plats and pro rata increase in FS and especially suites...
I forgot to update my experience at the JW Marriott in Downtown Chicago. I did get upgraded to a room on the executive level and overall my experience at the hotel was outstanding! My family and I stayed over Christmas holiday and had a wonderful time at the hotel. The staff was very responsive to all of our needs and really made this stay special for us. It definitely reassured me of why I enjoy staying at Marriott hotels and being a PE member.
In addition to the extra points over Gold per stay, I like the option of getting the F&B credit (sometimes the hotel restaurant is the most convenient--especially on business travel). Also, I find that it is much easier to get a late checkout--very nice on weekend leisure stays.
There are several variables at play that influence a member's stay such as the different level Marriott brands (JW, Renaissance, Courtyard, etc.), the geographical location and of course the general attitude of the staff at the hotel.
Unfortunately, and quite often is the case with big corporations like Marriott, they struggle with consistency and quality between properties. At one point, I was Platinum and only saw the real benefit at the JW Marriot brand, but not so much at the other Marriott brands such as Renaissance, Counrtyard, etc. At the JW Hong Kong, they would fall all over you to make you happy, putting large fruit baskets in your suite, while the following week at a Renaissance in North Carolina, I barely got acknowledged at check in.
In my opinion, the value of being Platinum (outside of the additional points bonus) is only realized at the higher category JW Marriott where the staff is trained to provide exceptional service. The other properties, well, its just a roll of the dice as consistency with regards to quality takes a significant investment to monitor operations and train staff. I hope you have some better stays in the future...
Aside from extra points, I haven't gotten much in the way of benefits. I already have status with UA through my flying activities, so no need for that. I rarely get upgrades. CL is the main benefit I care about, and I can get that with gold. Platinum guarantee is something I have used a couple of times, but only for business where someone is paying for my room and when I needed to be at the conference hotel for convenience. Otherwise it's too expensive.