I read with great interest Stepping's recent post wherein he recounts the experience of being denied an upgrade at the Charleston Marriott, even when he presented the hotel with the hard copy of his confirmation of that same upgrade. The research that Stepping has done and the quote from the hotel's response would seem to indicate that the property is simply following Marriott corporate policy. In my opinon, an upgrade should not be dependent upon what rate you are paying. Who among us today does not shop for the best rate, whether it's a corporate rate, govt, Marriott Senior, AAA, or any number of other discounted rates? I had an experience similar to Stepping's a few years ago at the only full service Marriott in another famous, historic Southern city (not Charleston). My polite request for an upgrade was responded to by the FD person with an abrupt, "NOT at the rate you're paying!" I was embarrassed, and walked away from the desk, hoping that nobody had overheard my "second class citizenship" being confirmed so vehemently and so loudly. I thought about it for a long time afterward, and decided not to switch to Starwood, but I have been suspicious ever since that time when my request for an upgrade gets a response of "Not available." I know there are times when this is legitimate, so I try not to be a skeptic; however, I have returned to that historic, Southern city where I had this bad experience several times, and it is the only city in the world in which I do not book a Marriott/Rennaissance hotel. Kudos to Stepping for following up on this, as it sounds like a policy that perhaps needs addressing at a higher level than that of the individual property. Be sure to let us know what happens, Stepping.
I think whats even more interesting about his situation is that I believe Stepping is a Plat Premier member. Premiers have as the big perk, guaranteed upgrades to the best available room. Either way there is a process break down at that property. If I experienced the treatment you did with the front desk person, I would have immediately been up their backside and on the phone with the general manager or operations manager explaining the lack of service and situation.