I was thankful one of our members recently posted something that has irked me for two years -- upgrades at a cost of anywhere from 50 pounds to 100 euros for PLATINUM MEMBERS. This first happened to me at the London County Hall two years ago, when I used points. I noticed that after my points were deducted I was also being charged 50 pounds per night for 'an upgrade'! I immediately contacted Marriott and said I did not want or plan to pay 50 extra pounds a night. Upon my arrival, without having paid the fee, I got a suite with a view of the London Eye and the Thames.
My first reaction to that situation was, 'is this a mistake?' followed by 'are you kidding me?' My spending and nights earned me status as a Platinum member and I am not about to pay a ridiculous price (esp converted to US dollars) for an upgrade to which I am entitled by the contract between Marriott Rewards and its members at various levels. I don't know if this problem is endemic to Europe or is worldwide, but I have increasingly found it is automatically tacked on, especially with reward points.
Are any of the rest of you angry about this? Hilton Honors does this too, offering you a 'possible upgrade' of various levels based on whether they are available upon your arrival. However, since I am not the equivalent of Platinum Elite at HHonors, I don't know if that was because of my status.
I personally think this is an outrageous way of far more than nickeling-and-diming members whose stays and pays have earned them such perks. When I paid in advance for such an extra fee at the Porte de Monaco (as mentioned in my reply to the question), it was because the alternative was said to be dire by Tripadvisor and I simply did not want to take that chance.
I think Marriott should address this issue, because this should be what is stated in the conditions of the loyalty program.
Sic Transit Gloria Gratis, or so it seems. Professor, every program changes and not always for the better. Recall that we got something and gave something when blackout days ended a few years back. A program as large as Marriott Rewards obviously changes over time, and we are almost powerless to prevent it (terms and conditions make that ability to change or even end the program very clear).
That being said it is unfair to charge for something that should be free. Airlines struck gold with their bag fees and pay for food on board. This change is always lurking and I fear that one day we'll all be pining for the good old days.
Thanks for the post. Count me in as a no fee for upgrades person-not now, not never!
I have never had to pay for an upgrade, even though I was willing to!
This April, I got an upgrade at the CE that they could have charged me but didn't. It was greatly appreciated.
I am headed to County Hall next month in London and do not want to pay for a "Hidden" upgrade!
Thanks for sharing this information with me. I will be prepared to change hotels if that happens.
I saw the Prof comments. I can tell you my experience with the HHonors. I am an HHonors Elite as well and they do not charge me for an upgrade when I used points.
I tried using my Hyatt GP points - at the Paris Park Hyatt. They wanted to apply an upgrade fee. I turned them down. However, I do not have enough on the Hyatt GP hence I am going with Marriott Rewards with this trip. We'll see.
Seems to be a European thing.
I was surprised to read this. Since February, I've been upgraded on stays on points at the Chancery Court and Heathrow properties, and also on a low weekend rate at West India Quay. In each case, I've been on the Concierge level with access to the lounge. And I'm a mere gold member.
In the states I rarely get upgraded on either low weekend rates or my company's rate at the Courtyard near our office outside Boston.
This doesn't happen everywhere in Europe. I have never been asked to pay an upgrade fee when using rewards anywhere in Italy, Greece or Belgium. In fact, I am currently at the Brussels Marriott (2 blocks from the Grand' Place, a lovely hotel) and my entire PAID night's fee is 100 euros, the same as the Rive Gauche is apparently now asking for a Rewards upgrade. In fact, a few years ago when I stayed 5 nights at the Grand Flora I was upgraded to the Presidential Suite on Rewards without any extra fees tacked on. My experience at the County Hall is that the first time I stayed there on Rewards there was no automatic tack-on of an upgrade fee. The other time 50 pounds was added and I successfully got it removed after calling Marriott and was upgraded anyway.
At the Porte de Monaco (which is a lovely hotel otherwise), I used Rewards and at the time of booking I was offered paying an extra 50 euros a night or 10,000 extra points a night. Having read the Tripadvisor comments (many from Marriott members), I did not want to take the chance of being on the Riviera facing a stadium and building construction. Stupidly I used points (it would have been more economical to pay the 50 euros a night than wasting extra points). When I arrived, however, they automatically tacked on again 60 euros a night for a seaside balcony room! Fortunately I had printed out all of the reservation forms that showed I had already used points for the upgrade. They then removed it, but I would have to say that it comes close to coercion there.
My guess is that indidivual hotels are making this choice. I personally think that while it may be profitable for them, it does serious damage to their customer image, especially in the latter case. I would rethink my stays at the Rive Gauche on that basis, though I have never used Rewards points there.
I had to pay an upgrade fee at the Paris CE Marriott last month because I needed a room large enough for 4. The "standard" room's which are redeemed with points can only handle two adults. While I didn't like paying the extra 80 Euros per night, there was nothing I could do about it. I questioned it but all my protesting got me nowhere fast.
I have run into this same issue as my children have gotten older. One of the easiest, most concrete things Marriott could do is to offer a choice of rooms for points for all properties. I've seen this at Resorts but it would be helpful to be able to spend more points at reservation for a suite at a full service and/or larger rooms that allow rollaways or have sleeper sofas at other properties. This issue has made our vacations on points more stressful than they need to be due to the jockeying that takes place at the front desk (whether ahead of time or at check in). I have a philosophical issue with only being able to reserve the lowest end room at most properties and then having to fight with the front desk simply to have my family be able to sleep. But if that's the way it'll be, then we should have the choice to spend the points we've earned for more space, rather than only having a cash option for that.
I had a bad summer with Marriott with many stays, some on points and some paid, and really, really, really frustrating and inconsistent treatment. This is an issue I've given a lot of thought to.
I have generally been upgraded at no charge while using points - including ocean front rooms a number of times while staying in Hawaii. However I was at Hilton Head last month and called ahead to see if they had any oceanfront rooms available for my checkin later that day. I was told that if I wanted to guarantee a upgrade it would be $50 per night charge. I told them I'll just wait to see what was available upon checkin.
When I checked in I was told I was upgraded to a oceanfront room. Nothing was said about a charge and I didn't think to ask since I have always been given a complimentary upgrade as a platinum elite member. However I was surprised when I received my bill upon checkout and I was charged the $50 per night.
I brought it up at checkout and at first they said I had to pay but I said nothing was said at checkin so they removed the charge. It seemed to me that they normally don't give complimentary upgrades.
I wonder if this is a change from past practice or if it's individual hotel policy. I generally get an upgrade to a larger room or suite without question but in this case it was different.
I fully understand that when someone is with their family they might want to get an extra large room or suite. What I'm writing about are fairly standard upgrades or just some rooms on the 'right' side of the hotel (I'm thinking of the Porte de Monaco, which on its website boasts that most rooms have a seaside view).
The member benefits section clearly states that platinum and gold members get room uppgrades:
It does say benefits vary by participating brand, but nowhere does it say you will have to pay extra simply to get a room on one side of the hotel or the other, etc.
I am also a Platinum Member and I recently started staying at Hilton properties and I like them. Hilton told me that if I faxed them my Marriott Platinum Card they would put me in at their highest level. Worth a call to Hilton to check it out for yourself. I too am very frustrated by point use at Marriott and I am seriously consider moving all my future business to Hilton.
I could not agree more!! I just want to get a room at the standard points award level at a Marriott. So why are award rooms available for "upgrade" while there are none at the regular level?? Is it just another way of gauging the loyal customers?? Paying these upgrade fees particularly in Europe is almost the equivalent of just getting a room at say a Best Western in Paris. Which by the way are charming old hotels in convenient neighborhoods and the ones I have stayed at were pretty good plus they have a lot of these outside of Paris some of which have been outsdanding.
I always prefer to stay at a Marriott but sometimes they force you in to other choices. C'set la vie.