I am currently planning a trip to the UK this year, and was wanting to stay at my favorite Marriott in London. Marriott County Hall. It is a gorgeous hotel, and the service was impeccable. I stayed there two years ago on points and we got a Big Ben view. I was treated exceptionally well, and thanked for my loyalty. Well, This time, I was wanting to use my points, and not only are they a Cat 9, they are also charging cash as well to get a good room. I find that this is a cheapening of the loyalty that I have had for this company for 12+ years (practically my entire career thus far). I am very upset about this, and am wondering why I continue my loyalty to a brand that won't reward me for it.
I think you'll find all basic redemption-rate rooms are for standard rooms in almost all hotel chains and I think thats always been the case. Like other chains, Marriott offers the opportunity to upgrade to more desirable rooms via points or cash. But Marriotts upgrade offerings differ from hotel to hotel, some offer many options, most none. Hilton and SPG do better at this (Hilton particularly offers most rooms inc suites for redemption, albeit sometimes at astonishingly inflated rates). IHG, with no opportunity whatsoever to upgrade redemption from basic rooms, does worse.
It is certainly the case that just 7 years ago the County Hall was a 35k/nt cat7 (then the top category) and remains top category, but thats now 9 at 45,000 points per night. Mind you, I remember central London's 5-star Marriotts being commonly available in 2009/10 below £200, today that's nearer £300. I think broadly speaking the 29% category redemption increase has kept pace with London's soaring hotel rate inflation.
Hotel loyalty schemes still offer good value, and I find plenty of value in Marriotts.
brightlybob you are correct that "Marriott offers the opportunity to upgrade to more desirable rooms via points or cash." It has always done so. If you choose, not to pay extra, you may still be upgraded (and I often am) but to guaranty the upgrade you must commit to pay, in advance.
People often get an upgrade at no cost and then return to the same hotel and find that such an upgrade is not available this time, for free. Next time they might get it, but today they are upset that the upgrade was not available for free. They confuse the changes in the market with cheapening of the program.
As far as the changes in categories go, how is this different from any other price increase that one encounters every day? As hotel rooms increase in price (and this is happening at every chain) the price in points will also increase. This is simple economics. Even the room at Motel 6 that once cost $6 per night (43 years ago) has increased more than 600%. Why wouldn't prices increase in points as well as in cash? On my wedding night in 1966 my room at the Key Bridge Marriott cost somewhere around $20 - $25. For my daughter's wedding night, in 2009 rooms at Key Bridge ran significantly above $100.
As you say Bob, "Hotel loyalty schemes still offer good value, and I find plenty of value in Marriotts."
homoviator, I have noticed that once and awhile the Marriott website will let you upgrade during or after making the reservation. This follows Hilton's model if you ever book with Hilton - they usually offer you a discounted upgrade during or after the reservation process. Or you can ask the front desk for a paid upgrade and they may be able to accommodate that. The RC properties offer paid upgrades at check often.
I'm not sure if I've ever seen that, whereas I feel like I have seen it with Hilton. I am guessing, however, following the Hilton and Delta model, we will start seeing this more and more for better or worse.
This is slightly off topic but useful to think about: you can generally guess if you are going to get upgraded or not. Low season and low occupation tends to get great upgrades. I've also been to hotels that are packed where I've understandably not gotten any upgrade. By just paying attention to that, I think once can get a good idea what will be waiting for him/her or what one can reasonably request nicely.
I am still staying there. Even with the cash supplement it is less than anywhere else I would like to stay. I have been traveling on points for years, and this is the first time I have had to pay a supplement. I could get it without the extra, I know, but I admit I am a bit of a hotel snob. I like a nice view. I have stayed at the Renaissance Chauncery Court (back when it was Marriott), Marriott County Hall, and the Shelbourne in Dublin. I understand about inflation, and yes, London is a very expensive city, I totally get that. I was just a bit disappointed. I wasn't meaning to sound like a ungrateful brat. I am just seeing the benefits get whittled away a bit at a time. Fewer hotels with a concierge lounge, welcome gifts for platinum members...
pharmgirl77 Welcome to our forum
I have heard this statement in some form or another for a very long time: Platinum elite doesn't mean what it used to.
Would you, or some other member of this opinion let me know what benefit has disappeared over the last few years? Otherwise I have no idea of what isn't the same as it was, say, five years ago.
The only deterioration of perks I have noticed is caused by the amount of Plats not the change in benefits.
Looking for to find out what I should be missing.
Maybe the increase in Platinum is the issue. I usually stay in a hotel on average 100 nights out of the year. I wouldn't say anything has disappeared completely in the 12 years I have been Platinum, but some of the perks just aren't as plentiful as they used to be. I used to get a platinum arrival gift when I would check in no matter what chain I would check in to (Fairfield, Courtyard, etc). Then it fell off dramatically for several years. I will admit that I now stay mostly at Courtyards, and I am offered an arrival gift for being a platinum member. On the occasion that I stay at a Fairfield, I may be offered something about 50% of the time. Another thing that I have noticed is a lot of the hotels are getting rid of their concierge lounges. Having access to the lounge is a major perk that I enjoy, but now it is getting harder to find hotels that have one. I do seek those hotels out when I am on vacation. It is a nice place to unwind from a day of sightseeing. A nice view, a cup of tea, and comfy couch and I am in heaven.
Forgive me but I have a few questions to understand completely what you are describing: "Another thing that I have noticed is a lot of the hotels are getting rid of their concierge lounges. Having access to the lounge is a major perk that I enjoy, but now it is getting harder to find hotels that have one" .
This is the first time I've heard of this - to make sure I understand what you are saying - You have encountered Marriott full service properties (not resorts) that have closed their CL's?? That is astonishing and I don't believe many of us were aware of it.
As to the absence or deterioration of welcome gifts, there are remedies if you do not receive what you are entitled to. I suggest you review the benefits and guarantees that Marriott states on the website.
Look forward to the info on CL's as I am sure most members will be astonished upon hearing this info.
Are they getting confused with implementation of the M Lounge? I have seen in a few hotels where they have moved the lounge off the concierge floor to the main floor or conference floor. Miami Airport comes to mind and I believe Calgary. I thought it was an improvement in Miami.
The M Lounge sounds like it's just a fancy word for what we know of as the CL:
I wish there was a way to figure out which properties had CLs and the hours, other than calling the properties. Access to a CL is a major factor in which hotel I choose.
I did a search on Trip Adviser and all I found was circumstances where a lounge was closed on a specific day due to a valid reason and/or renovations.
After reading the complaints from guests (which as a frequent business traveler) the closure that they encountered were unavoidable but in no way were permanent closures.
One that I read was a unplanned "Thursday" closure at the Marquis on Time Square
HEY! Lean back and take a big breath and RELAX.
This is not an argument - no one is arguing, we are investigating what you might have misunderstood!
AND your posting of what you perceived is going to end up constructive!
The creation of the new concepts in CL's (M club to be specific) was created for various reasons. One of the (paramount) reason is the size of the existing club at many properties were inadequate due to the eligibility of access being offered to so many. (not to mention abuse by families).
The one thing I can give you is a 99% guarantee that the demise of the lounge is not happening! It would be suicidal by the corporation.
I agree that this is an excellent string. Much of what is on this site is perception. Yesterday it was a dastardly deed to erase reservation and stay details when it was just a temporary IT glitch.
Thank you for your post, all posts are helpful in clarifying things and sharing ideas and experiences.
When you get right down to it, CL's are the cornerstone of the benefits as they impact our wallet directly. Upgrades are nice but CL's avoid us in having to pay for some meals (not to mention the convenience). So it is a sensitive subject.
You could get into big trouble explaining a situation so clearly and concisely!
But, no worries, if you transfer your loyalties to the "Dark Side" yours truly and the Sargent at arms of the alternative universe ( IAHFLYR ) will protect you!
I'm sure there is an explanation - there is NO WAY there is a movement to close lounges. Hotels that are experiencing sever overcrowding (PLEASE I PLEAD - ANYONE READING THIS THAT SENDS A NOTE THAT "THEY" HAVE NOT EXPERIENCED OVERCROWDING WILL BE SHOT ON SITE) are changing over to the larger concept.
Consequently it might only be a "terminology" issue - Guest checks in, asks where (specifically) the CL is and is told "we closed it" - the inexperienced reception clerk fails to tell them it has been relocated and the name was changed.
Evidently you didn't get the email or the registered letter advising that they were closing all lounges permanent
The communication was only sent to 25% of the membership to fool them into thinking the lounges were closed to help with over crowding!
You will receive a diamond pin to wear the next time you check in to secretly let the guard at the door that says out of business to let you in - on your first visit you will also be shown the secret handshake that will be required on your next visit.
Thanks misterchk for straightening me out. I did not get that memo, but I can always count on you for the latest info! I hope to resume travel in June and be more in-tune with what's going on. Health seems to be improving steadily and my only problems, these days, involve fatigue from chemo.
Late to the party and this may have been mentioned, but could the closing of CL be directly related to the opening of an M Club at the same property and some just don't see that?
Sorry peymanagement, just read where you asked a similar question. Guess I need to be scolded for not reading all posts before my fingers get excited to type.
Message was screwed up by: IAHFLYR
OKAY now we are past the rumored demise of the lounges out of the way let's get back to
If this conception (or misconception) is based on too many elites and there is no more concrete proof I think it's a issue that (if exists in any form) can't be corrected anyway so we have to live with it.
Do me a favor - it's Friday (in California - I'm not sure what day it is where you are) it's been a long week. I don't need this confusion. I'm old and get easily confused - and I get quite concerned when I read that you will "be living with it"!
So I don't lose any sleep (will be taking a geriatric nap in an hour or two) what exactly are you living with so you don't give up your goal of Lifetime Plat that is so painful????
There was a serious delay from when I wrote that to when it posted. I was being facetious. It has been a long week. And I have been bouncing around Texas like a ping pong ball for work for the past couple of weeks, and next week is more of the same. I am really ready for a vacation. 22 days and counting. Don't let anything I say confuse you. It isn't worth it. Most of it is nonsense.
Hey, dont let our resident grinch, misterchk spoil your kvetching. He does plenty of his own!
I don't think your concerns regarding London Marriott County Hall hold well, simply because I doubt it's ever been possible to pick anything but a standard room for base points at that hotel. But, according to all accounts it has a great record of upgrading Gold and Plats on arrival, not least because here in the EU we see fewer elites in comparison to the USA where at some hotels 30% or more guests can be gold/plat leaving upgrades much harder to find. Here in the EU, where biz travel is much lower and credit cards awarding status non existent, Gold/Plat is far harder to achieve meaning hotels here see far fewer elites and hence are much more likely to have rooms to upgrade to. If you decide to gamble on a free upgrade, you have a good chance of success, just don't blame me if it doesn't happen!
I think a major complaint that does have legs however is the ease at which gold/plat can be obtained in the USA and the dilution of in-stay benefits that results. After all, if everyone is elite, no-one is! That and redemption inflation, which whilst keeping pace with runaway room-rate inflation in major go-to destinations like NYC, London or Paris, looks silly in places like Dubois, PA, and opportunistic in destinations like Miami and Key West, FL.