I recently had an unpleasant experience while searching for reward travel at the Residence Inn in Treasure Island. This is a nice hotel on a beach and has excellent reviews until recently. This hotel is different than most RI's in that its base room is a studio (sleeps only 2, no stove, small refrig, no sleeper sofa). The 1 BR king suite is therefore an upgrade at this hotel. Reward travel in a 'typical' king suite is considered an upgrade, costing Category 5 points plus $100/night. I contacted the GM regarding platinum upgrade policies, and he informed me that Marriott has implemented a policy of never offering room upgrades at RI and TPS properties.
I checked two other RI's I stay in on a regular basis, and both stated they had no such policy. I am curious regarding others' experiences.
I have no problem paying upgrade fee or extra points to confirm an upgrade, but point upgrade options are currently not offered at RI, and these upgrade fees are exhorbitant (room rate difference was no more than $20. )
Regrets to hear that you're encountering a less than satisfactory reservation experience redeeming a reward for the Residence Inn Treasure Island. We enjoyed an incredible stay back in April/May 2009 - and it was on points.
I do not recall the policy you outline being strictly observed. At the time I booked my reservation, there were no 1 bedroom suites available. Persistent, I kept calling and that paid off. Two days prior to check-in, the room I was hoping to get became available. To ensure that I got it, I called the morning of arrival and checked in early - as it was ready.
The upgrade policy varies by property, which accounts for the differences you outline: Marriott's Room Upgrade Information
If you prefer not to throw the dice, then a point or paid upgrade makes a lot of sense. If I recall, the room to book is 901. It's on the southwest corner of the building facing the Gulf and overlooks Treasure Island Beach.
Above: Corner suite Living Room at the Residence Inn Treasure Island
Above: Living/Dining/Kitchen in the corner suite of the Residence Inn Treasure Island
Above: King bedroom at the Residence Inn Treasure Island
You were very fortunate to have stayed in this hotel prior to the change in upgrade policy. I asked the GM if I could get an upgrade as a platinum member, and he informed me that there was no chance of receiving an upgrade due to the new policy. Recent reviews on Trip Advisor confirm the enforcement of this policy and lack of recognition of loyal members. This is very disappointing.
As a test, I booked a reservation for 3 days in June. Meeting expectations, the Studio king required 75K. A 1 Br suite also required 75K plus a $100 cash upgrade/night. While a 1 BR suite with a fully loaded kitchen on the beach for 30K points/night is an unmistakeable value; the cash requirement which guarantees the upgrade is affordable. The only sting is the 5 points per $US. If you decide to move forward, which I hope you do - make sure to get 901.
I would be willing to spend 180,000 points to confirm the 1 bedroom suite for 7 nights, but this is not an option. The option is 150,000 points plus $700 +tax. As a comparison, for my 2 bedroom condo on the beach at MVC Ocean Pointe, I would receive 100,000 to deposit my 1 week. Where is the fairness here?
Superchief - Aside from the fact, that that's a whole other discussion which I am willing to engage in, comparing the value of one brand to another across business models may not be fruitful in providing a vacation solution at Treasure Island. Let's stay focused?
Have you considered combining paid with points across the different rates the RI offers? Checking this morning, there is a non-refundable Advance Purchase Rate of $159/night for the 1 BR Suite. With 12% tax, that's roughly $178 or less than $200 for oceanfront. IMO, it's not only an affordable upgrade solution, it's sensible.
For my wife and I, staying a couple of nights in Treasure Island on points was a way to extend our timeshare vacation, get a better airfare for the return trip, and enjoy discovering a destination we had not been to before. The Advance Purchase Rate was not available to us then, only points. Since we were unfamiliar with the property, we felt 'safer' using points rather than paying rack rates. Turns out the property exceeded expectations.
Back to 'fairness'. As good as RI Treasure Island is, I would not trade my 3 Br for points to stay there. IMO, the value is not the same.
Thanks for all of the great feedback and suggestions. My main complaints regarding this issue are:
1. The GM insisted that the policy (T&C) for RI has been changed to 'no upgrades' from studio to 1BR or 2BR for Platinum/ Gold mebers, and upgrades would never be given at his hotel regardless of availability. I have learned that the true policy is there is 'no guarantee' of an upgrade.
2. The surcharge for an upgrade from studio to 1BR is $100/night, while the price difference is usually less than $40/ night for a multi-night stay. There are no point upgrade options.
3. To TJC's point, this is not an issue with this hotel, but is with MVC. When I purchased my timeshares, an attractive feature was the ability to trade my week for points which would enable me to stay in almost any Marriott resort worldwide for 7 nights. Now, my points can't even get me a 1BR at a Residence Inn without paying an additional 50,000 points plus $700.
I don't stay on points. I take my points and convert 135K points to $1000 in Marriott Cheques. I've found that to be a better deal in many cases, especially since I qualify a government rate. And it gives you another hotel night credit. As a Plat, the $1000 usually ends up costing only 120K points, since you get 10 pts/dollar plus a 50% Plat bonus - that doesn't work for RI and TPS (5 pts/$).
Thanks for the great suggestion. I was not aware that the $1000 cheques were only 135,000 pts for platinum. This is a great alternative to avoid MR availability problems or to take advantage of lower room rates. The nightly rate for a 1BR is $139 for 7 nights, so this would cover most of my room charges. This is much better than using 150,000 points plus $100/ night. Do you know how long I would have to use the certificate once issued?
I may still avoid this hotel due to the attitude of the GM.
I had the same problem in Dec'09 with the rI Treasure Island - and the GM stating that it was MArriot's policy, yet MArriot kept flip flopping - I was told the policy cme in affect in Aug'09 that there are NO upgraded at this property NO MATTER WHO YOU ARE
I wrote a similar POST about this issue, which is an issue at more "luxurios" RI properties - RI Charlotte Uptown (I fough tand eventually got the upgrade), but it wasn't easy--they gave the same "We are a unique RI and don't do upgrades"
AS far as the RI Treasure Island - I heard the same issue - Platinums get no recognition--you are just another guest--so BEWARE!
"I was told the policy cme in affect in Aug'09 that there are NO upgraded at this property NO MATTER WHO YOU ARE"
Thanks for posting that and reconfirming what Superchief posted earlier. Reports of a policy change were very puzzling to me, because I stayed there in late April/early May 2009 and enjoyed a complimentary 1 bedroom upgrade on 25K MR points per night which is the standard Category 5 award.
Nailing down the timing of the policy change makes sense. In July 2009 Marriott announced the integration of Marriott Vacation Club properties into the Hotel Category framework. This enabled Marriott Rewards members to redeem awards for stays at Vacation Clubs:
Properties that are part of Marriott Vacation Club are now assigned category levels, which means that the points required for a free night at Marriott Vacation Clubs resorts have changed.
For upgrades, here’s how the new hotel categories work for Marriott Vacation Club room types:
Deluxe Guest Room = Standard Award
1 Bedroom Villa = Standard Award + 1 upgrade
2 Bedroom Villa = Standard Award + 2 upgrades
3 Bedroom Villa = Standard Award + 3 upgrades
The Residence Inn Treasure Island features deluxe rooms plus 1, 2 and 3 bedroom suites striking a parallel with MVC villas. While the alignment of policy makes sense, it doesn't take away the sting of sticker shock. But, as several have pointed out, it's not just sticker shock, there is an actual loss of Elite benefit. If a 1 bedroom suite is available, the new policy negates complimentary upgrade based upon Elite status.
"I contacted the GM regarding platinum upgrade policies, and he informed me that Marriott has implemented a policy of never offering room upgrades at RI and TPS properties."
Cash-only upgrades at RI/TPSundermines 'complimentary upgrade' based upon availability. A cash-only upgrade is an evasion of Elite member benefits. It's in the same bucket as a hotel packaging rooms that would ordinarily be available for point redemption under special promotional rates.
Regarding the Residence Inn Treasure Island, have you considered contacting MRW.Redemption.Questions@Marriott.com regards the broader issue of hotel adherence or lack thereof to policies designed to reward guest loyalty?
The complimentary upgrade is truly an Elite benefit that has not changed. If a property fails to honor this benefit reasoning that Marriott changed policy, isn't that an internal conflict? Do consider asking MRW.Redemption.Questions@Marriott.com. Corporate scrutiny may compel RI Treasure Island to rethink evasive practices, book you and waive the 5,000 points upgrade to offset the disappointment and inconvenience.