Does anyone know or have thoughts on the "real" methodology used to determine room upgrades? I know it says based upon availability at check in, but what if you are a platinum member and you are arriving later that day? Does that mean all the gold members get upgrades before you? I'm just wondering if they might look at their members checking in and auto upgrade them in their system so that platinum members get upgraded before other members. Seems like they would want to reward their most loyal members first. Does anyone know how they "really" upgrade?
The primary property I use reserves an upgrade for me at time of reservation. I always get moved up. But I've stayed there well over 1,000 nights so they know me well.
Another property (JWM, Bangkok) doesn't reserve it that early but if they don't have an upgrade when I arrive they will move me up later in the day when a room clears out.
I've had decent luck with room upgrades by doing the mobile check-in as soon as I am notified that it's available. Once I check in on the app, I call the hotel and request the upgrade, it has worked well.
I think that it is still a bit of a hassle, I wish that there was a way to request the upgrade when checking in on the mobile app.
I think a lot depends on the individual hotel and your relationship there. I make it well known on Insiders that there are 2 hotels in the UK that look after us very well indeed. But we are very well known to them, never make a fuss, and treat the staff as human beings not slaves. All that counts with hotels you go to regularly.
IMHO it is more important in hotels that you are well known at than Elite status. But then, there are not so many Marriotts in the UK, so they are glad of our continued custom, as they also know we recommend them to our friends etc.
When I book a room, no matter how far in advance, I email the general manager, tell them I'm platinum and ask kindly for a complimentary room upgrade at that time (and not waiting until check-in). I also request a specific type of Suite after looking at the types they have online. It works about 90% of the time with the other 10% saying they can't guarantee anything until check-in. It sometimes takes sleuthing to find the general manager's email address, but it's always out there somewhere. I realize I'm probably being annoying, but I simply do not care.
What I usually do, I call the hotel directly one week before arrival and request for the upgrade.
They tell me that they have recorded my request and it is upon availability.
And when I arrive, I get the upgrade.
But to make sure that you will be upgraded, it is better to call the hotel one day before arrival and request the upgrade again. Here, you will be upgraded for sure.
There are a long list of variables involved when talking about room upgrades.
I find they are generally:
The property layout (actual number of suites and better rooms, sometimes a property has 400 rooms and only 6 suites)
Your elite status
The time you arrive at the property (a 2PM arrival will often yield better results than a 6PM arrival)
The policy/staff of the property (some front desk staff strive to look for upgrades for elites, others don't, if that property has a rooms coordinator or not)
The duration of the stay and days of the week (1 or 2 nights is much easier than say a week, how busy the hotel is, and if a property is a business hotel that is vacant on weekends will yield upgrades on the weekends)
The frequency you are there at that location/if you have a relationship with front desk staff/management there
My advice is this, if you are traveling on business and aren't in the room much, either take what they give you, or politely ask if any are available. When you ask, more often than not, they can get you something better like a corner room or high floor if not a suite. If however it's a vacation or say a week long trip, and you will be spending a decent amount of time in the room, contact the property in advance. Call or email the concierge, GM, or front desk manager and explain your situation and give them the relevant info like your reservation number. I have asked for upgrades for special occasions lots of times (anniversary, spouses birthday, honeymoon, etc.) and almost always receive either a suite or a room with a great view.
Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace upgraded to corner Junior Suite. (Also received champagne and strawberries)
Pittsburgh Airport Marriott Executive and Presidential suite several times
New York Marriott Downtown Executive Suite (also received a goody basket of sodas and snacks)
San Juan Marriott and Stelaris 18th floor corner room
JW Marriott Ko Olina (now becoming a Four Seasons) top floor oceanfront room
Lodge at Sonoma Renaissance upgraded to a Cottage
It's amazing what can be done if you ask for it. The hotel doesn't know why you're there, but I find they really strive to make your stay great when they know you chose their property to celebrate a special occasion.
ks77 nailed it - when you call the hotel, explain why you want special treatment.... special events are easy, and the hotel wants to know - they want you to remember your experience in their property (and tell everyone about it)... Our community offers plenty of examples:
yes, sometimes, your status is enough - I've had plenty of examples where, as soon as you say Lifetime Platinum, or whatever, they simply say, it's my pleasure, thanks for your loyalty, etc...
but keep in mind - timing (and occupancy) and length of stay and who is staying in the hotel (conferences, events, business travelers, leisure travelers) - it all matters... I've typically enjoyed the most over-the-top upgrades for short stays (of one or two nights).
We've also found that - if you've booked multiple rooms - your best bet on that upgrade is if you ask for the upgrade on one room (whether for your or your mother-in-law) rather than asking for the entire party to be upgraded...
more thoughts - on this heavily discussed issue - on this from the community here:
So I had a fantastic upgrade last weekend in Las Vegas at the Renaissance. I didn't even ask for the upgrade but when they saw my status they thanked me and upgraded me to a VIP Suite which was unbelievable, especially for the $99 room rate that I paid. I am new here so where do I go and publicly recognize that excellent service? The stay was great and the staff was fantastic, I will definitely stay there again.
ks77 I agree with your post. Most times when I travel on business, I typically take what they give me. It is usually a room on the CL floor(s) which is just fine. If I have my wife traveling with me, or if its some occasion with the family, I typically contact the property as soon as I can. I try to find the email for the general manager, front desk manager, or front office manager by googling or looking on linked in. I email them and every time I have been able to get a very nice upgrade. Last week, my family met me in DC and we stayed at the JW Marriott. We had a fabulous high floor, oversize, corner room with a view towards the Washington Monument and the Tidal Basin. Couldn't have asked for better.
1. Stayed at a FFI recently and wouldnt upgrade me until the day of checkin and when I asked said they couldnt upgrade me until later in the day though at the CY I am at now, when i arrived they had written on the little key card envelope the word "upgrade" before I even could ask for it.
For me, it seems to depend on the quality of customer service and care about the customer the front desk agent gives.
without knowing the situation, it could be that the hotel was full. Travel seems to be going great guns recently.
My feeling is that it may not be just the front desk, but the hotel policy. There's not too much of an incentive for a franchise owner to give away too many of the expensive rooms if three is a chance that they can be sold. Your happiness isn't worth as much to them as a somebody paying full rack rate for the room.
Also, there's just not too much to upgrade to in a FFI. They have bigger rooms with an extending work/living space, but if you aren't there for too long it don't amount to much. Sometimes I seem to get them and sometimes not. I don't ask unless I'm traveling with the family then it matters. the rest of he time, take what I get. I feel karma will pay me back when I really need it--which has so far been the case.
Well, at the FFI - i wanted a room with a couch and wasnt able to get it until later in the day. You may be right about not giving away the premium rooms but I didnt feel like I was given a decent level of customer service that I just received at the CY where without asking I was upgraded to a 1 bedroom suite. I travel for 10 days at a time for my job so the couch to sit on at night is important to me. That is why I made another reservation at the CY for my next 10 days next week.
Like you said, maybe my happiness isnt worth it and I guess my business isnt either.
I check my reservation on-line when my stay is inside of 24 hours. I find that more than 50% of the time my room has already been upgraded. When they upgrade is not reflected on the reservation, I find that the majority of the time when I arrive to check-in I am upgraded.
I have noted on the Insiders before that since I became Platinum in 2015, I am almost always upgraded; when I was Gold I found that less than 50% of the time I received an upgrade.
Not sure how others have fared and if anyone else has recently become Platinum and has received upgrades more frequently.....
One thing to consider is the type of property where you're staying. A couple of the properties I visit regularly are primarily high end tourist hotels (JWM in Bangkok, Royal Garden Resort in Pattaya) and I always get upgraded. But if your stays are at hotels that are more business oriented, particularly domestic US, you're going to find full hotels (fewer rooms available for upgrades) and half the guests or more are Platinum or Gold (more competition for upgrades). Fewer rooms + more competition = rare upgrades. Nothing Marriott or any property owner can do to change that math.
I have had several discussions with Marriott GMs on their upgrade policies. Generally speaking, the venue attempts to upgrade the maximum number of members for the rooms available. In other words, the shorter your stay, the more likely you are to be upgraded.
Example: for simplicity assume a venue has only one room considered an "upgrade" for the week Sun - Sat. Further assume that 3 PP members plan to stay at this venue during the course of this week. Assume the following reservations:
PP1 will fail to get upgraded as the reservation overlaps on days where PP2 & PP3 can be upgraded. Since 2 MR members can get upgrades versus only 1, PP1 loses.