FACT: It is impossible to upgrade all members entitled to that benefit on any given night at a full service property.
FACT: The non-receipt of upgrades is the number one complaint/opinion/discussion on our "insiders forum".
FACT: The level of Platinum has far too many members and should not be the "main" top elite level (placing Premier to the side for a second).
FACT: Marriott is making it easier and easier to achieve Elite status adding to the numbers and exacerbating the problem.
FACT: Joint marketing programs are an additional dilution of possible benefits on arrival and add to the CL crowds experienced at many properties.
I am posing this question with the following credentials: I am far from the most experienced traveler. I do though believe that I am in the top 5% of business travelers with over 50 years experience as a hotel guest.
Here is my opinion and a suggestion that I would appreciate the forum's members to comment on.
I estimate my average stay on a business trip (not vacation stay at a resort) is between 1.5 and 3.0 nights. I want a comfortable room and the benefit of lounge access. Give me that and I am a "happy camper".
It is my opinion that the verbiage of benefits that state "upgrade based on availability" is idiotic - it opens up to discussion of "why didn't I get upgraded" etc.
The "elite system" has caused more complaints than it has satisfying many members and has turned into a "bragging contest' among members. (forgive that statement, but those who know me are aware diplomacy is not my strong suit).
WHAT CAN BE CHANGED: I suggest that each level be awarded a certain amount of upgrades that can be reserved in advance. Furthermore I suggest additional levels that would in detail list what "you are definitely entitled to" irrespective of occupancy levels etc.
I could go on and on. What is most annoying are those members that are staying one or two nights at an FS property and complain that they didn't get upgraded. They have access to CL's where they receive food and beverage that other guests don't - they usually are treated/acknowledged with respect and (normally) have an overall satisfying stay.
Simply, if a hotel has 50 superior accommodations/suites and 60 Platinum members reserved ......well you do the numbers.
Okay, I have my "Kevlar vest " on start shooting!!!!
Very good idea to start this thread, Misterchk.
For me, i travel alone for biz and pleasure. Mostly do not need CL as i can do my work peacefully in my own room (no kids bouncing around, etc.) and prefer to have my meals out of the hotel to enjoy local food.
I am toying with the idea that Marriott , perhaps, can offer incentives for members to downgrade to address overcrowding at CLs, etc.
Perhaps half a million points from Plat to Ordinary member?
Call me nuts, but this sounds good to me, even if 75 Elite Nights that count towards Lifetime Elite were wiped out.
Asked and answered misterchk in many other threads!
Exec lounge overcrowding is a problem limited to a few Marriotts most days but more Marriotts on many fewer days. In all cases overcrowding occurs only at peak periods, 8-9am and 6-7pm, usually caused by large groups entering with one elite. I admit I bring my family to the lounge when they're staying with me at a Marriott. During one stay just before Christmas I bought 12 family members, for whom I'd booked rooms, in with me. Luckily the lounge was deserted because it was a very quiet period there. Where this causes overcrowding it should be dealt with by applying the elite+1 rule. A few properties already do, more may need to do so.
As for upgrades, again, a few hotels may see more elites than there are upgraded rooms available but it'll be a mixed problem. For instance the New York Marquis suffers from terrible lounge overcrowding issues, but with an entire CL floor, larger rooms, corner rooms and Times Sq rooms, it has lots to upgrade to. We were there for 2 nights in the summer in 2 rooms and both were upgraded even though the hotel was slammed full.
I very strongly suspect many of the "I never get a room upgrade, never. Not ever. Never!!!" posters don't recognise an upgrade when it happens. Many believe only a suite qualifies as an upgrade and will be destined for long term disappointment as there are some guests who actually pay for their suites (yes - it does happen, if it didn't hotels would build them in - they're not built for our upgrades!) leaving the few remaining to be divided between the much larger number of Plats. Upgrades are the normal plat experience here in the EU, and I don't intend to bore everyone with my lifetime upgrade list, because EU upgrades are not really the subject here. This is about the North American experience. Well I have to say my small NA upgrade experience has been almost as strong as my EU experiences:
Toronto Airport Marriott - upgraded to corner room
Ottawa Marriott - upgraded to exec room
Albany Courtyard - no upgrade
NYC Marquis - upgraded to Times View CL floor
Niagara Marriott - upgraded from low floor suite to high floor suite and extra adult charges of $120 removed
Oakville FFI - no upgrade
Toronto Eaton Centre Marriott - upgraded to corner room
I didnt ask for any upgrades, I never do. Even so, the only suite upgrade was from a suite I paid for to a higher floor suite. If I was expecting suite upgrades I'd be disappointed. But I don't. They do happen occasionally, and it's great when it does, but i recognise that the maths are unfavourable. More elites need to do the same.
Marriott doesn't need to adjust its policy, Elites need to adjust their expectations!
brightlybob We must work to get past this language barrier.
Seriously, I am confident that you feel as I do that it is difficult to express yourself in email, posts like these, etc...
I apologize causing you the time spent on your post - but you might have misunderstood my purpose.
"Ask and answered" - yes! My post was an attempt to tell everyone to move on to something more important! I attempted with an objective approach using "numbers" to explain why most will not be satisfied. You simply can't get two reservations into the same room on the same night!! Surprisingly, many awarded elite status don't understand that concept!
Also there is solid evidence that in many properties there is overcrowding in CL's. If this wasn't an issue there wouldn't be the policing at entrances of CL's. These "guards" are appearing at entrances to CL's at more and more hotels each week.
Your list detailing your recent upgrades confirms that you understand what an upgrade is and most don't.
Being moved to the CL level, or receiving CL access is an upgrade. The complaints, are from those that want the Presidential Suite every time they show up at a Marriott. They refuse to understand that there are just so many rooms on the CL level and if the number of elites exceeds the number of rooms you will end up on a different floor.
You and I, regularly, repeat ourselves on this subject and still the majority of contributors are not going to get the point.
Five minutes after reading this there will be those that will immediately post "I never experience crowding etc etc etc to "ad nauseaum ".
If it will make you more comfortable I will refrain from this day on from attempting to explain upgrades and crowding. This certainly will free you up to comment on more important issues as well as time necessary planning the "get together".
(the comments above were written with affection)
Then we are agreed. No need to change the scheme just to accommodate those who don't understand it, especially as when they open the door to their pre-reserved upgraded CL room to find it's not the presidential suite, they'll return back here/Flyer-talk/blog-commenters (where I hasten to add the majority of these knuckle-draggers hide) to complain that they weren't upgraded on a RESERVED upgrade.
One last comment/thought - Airline and government regulations preclude me from bringing dueling pistols to our "get together" - consequently we will have to acquire weapons once we arrive at our destination.
Please note I will not engage in a fist fight - my father always instructed me never pick a fight with someone "bigger than me" and that includes most as my family tends to be small in physical stature.
So misterchk, you've thrown down the gauntlet, eh? So I get to choose the weapon.
Now, I know about silly airline regulations about guns, I brought back a plastic parachute toy which 'fired' the parachutist from a catapult, and it was taken off me at airport security as an "imitation firearm". I commenced a particularly robust defence upon the behalf of my 'stocking filler' as the bored security-gestapo lady gradually seemed to gain interest, snapping on her marigolds and flexing her fingers as my wife dragged me - foaming at the mouth - towards the departure lounge.
So, Yes, you're right I can't choose guns. And as I anticipate you'll be flying in as well, neither can you. I am sure you can buy one on landing, but alas I cant. And we can't bring plastic parachute toys either. It has to be something we can both carry in the air.
So I choose.... LOUD Shirts!
Be afraid misterchk Be very afraid
I will be arriving with bodyguards!
(I mentioned earlier that I would provide custom tee shirts - I have made the decision to produce the shirts in two colors - one color for those rooting for you and one for my side - members MUST choose sides! - my worry is that I might have to order only one shirt for my team and the balance for yours)
What may help since most travelers don't recognize what an upgraded room is over what they paid would be for the person at front desk at check in to say you have been upgraded to fill in blank - a better view, a bigger room , concierge floor, a suite etc . I am one of those that likely stays 1-2 nights so a suite doesn't really bother me. I do like being on the concierge floor for convenience ( safety also as usually you need a concierge floor key) . I think Misterchk as you said Marriott has reduced the requirements that is United deal, Marriott credit card and other ways to get to 50 or 75 nights. A couple years ago they reduced the requirement for lifetime. I agree with you it maybe time to formalize the PP level
If it doesn't cover your airfare you can use the funds to cover an upgrade charge.
It is highly unlikely that there will be an adequate amount of superior accommodations when this group arrives.
Can you predict the first night at the bar/lounge - those with the superior accommodations will be bragging all the way to dinner!!!