My family and I are heading to the Marco Island Marriott for a vacation next week. This is a great resort and our 5th year in a row vacationing there.
Being a platinum member for all these years we were always upgraded to the best available room, which was a suite.
I am now being told the owners of the hotel changed the policy and suites are not included in room upgrades. After speaking with the reservation staff at the hotel they are in agreement that this is a bad policy and has been upsetting customers.
Is this a problem that is now occurring across all Marriott Hotels, If so, why have not the elite member benefits been changed to reflect this change?
Thanking you in advance for your comments.
Thanks for the heads, up! That is bad news, as I have had the luxury of the upgrade the past 2 times we stayed at this property. That is a shame because it is a great property.
Unfortunate fact is rewards programs are trending in the opposite direction. They are putting up more roadblocks and making it harder to stay loyal.
No problem. I sent an email to the hotel directly letting the owners know this policy is a very bad idea. What irks me most is the response of "suites are available and you can pay extra for it".
It completely defeats the purpose of a hotel loyalty program. Marco Island Marriott owners don't have to reciprocate in loyalty, only us.
I just stayed at Frenchman's Reef, and the front desk made a very interesting statement, that they were giving me the best room that they were authorized to give, which was an oceanfront room. I think Klaus is right, that if you want a suite, its best to contact the GM in advance as the front desk is not authorized to do this.
Thanks for informing on this Marco Island Marriott's new policy. I WAS considering on booking my family vacation there this summer but not I'm NOT. We're a family of 5 and my Platinum upgrade to a Suite makes all the difference in comfort for all of us. Feel free to email them that they're losing business with their new policy. Another frustration is many Marriott Vacation properties with Villas including kitchens and living rooms (ideal for larger families) also make it difficult to use or accept Marriott points.
This definitely will deter me from booking a room at this beautiful resort. I am just about to get upgraded to gold status and feel there should be some recognition for those of us who make Marriott our first choice for an out-of-town stay. Someone in the Corporate Office of Marriott needs to contact local management in Marco Island and tell them of our dissatisfaction. If that doesn't work then booking somewhere else and having them lose the revenue should send the message.
I'm planning on dropping my Marriott Rewards credit card because of this, and I've been staying at a lot more of their competitors lately. It's fairly easy to use the points, but I always get the worst rooms. When I'm paying for travel (200+ nights last year), I RARELY get upgrades. I'm not even talking suites, I'm talking any upgrade at all.
Maybe it's because I'm young and they assume I don't care, but I spend tens of thousands a year at Marriott hotels....pretty upsetting to feel no benefit.
I am a Gold member and have been given poorly located rooms when using points and at the Shelbourn in Dublin I was told this is what you get when you use points. I think some managers forget that the points are not free but are accumulated from the money you spend at Marriott propertie, etc. Maybe some more customer education from corporate is needed.
Thanks everyone for your comments. I know there are far greater problems in world than this one but when you are loyal to the Marriott brand it is reasonable to expect be rewarded for it. It is very dissapointing that the most loyal patrons are treated this way by this hotel.
The mid level management person at this hotel was really nice, but it was clear she was not empowered in her position to make this situation right (and not just for me, but all reward members). I asked that the GM call me to discuss and of course I was ignored. After the amount of views I have had on this post I am sure when I check in next week I will get the room next to the generator and adjacent to the sewage treatment facility.
My only request was that on the hotel web site an annoucement is made that suites are not available as upgrades to elite Marriott Reward Members. If this is your policy, you should have the courage to defend it in writing and let people decide before their vacation plans are made. This is the right thing to do.
I seriously doubt this annoucement will be posted.
Good night all....
I got this email today. Notice the fine print at the end:
More Views for You
Redeem in Paradise, Get a Room Upgrade
Use your points to get away this Fall, and enjoy an upgraded room.
No need to register. Simply redeem to stay between September 15, 2011 and December 15, 2011 at any of our participating properties and you'll be eligible to receive a free room upgrade,* compliments of Marriott Rewards®.
Choose from top resorts in Hawaii, the Caribbean, and Latin America. Browse locations from Maui to Aruba, Costa Rica to Cancun.
They're your rewards. So enjoy them with extras. Book and enjoy.
* Upgrades are subject to availability and cannot be guaranteed at time of booking. Room types and views vary by hotel. Members receiving upgrades will be contacted by phone prior to their arrival date. Click 'Book' to see Terms & Conditions and full details.
Understood. What I was trying to convey was the frustration with all the fine print. Don't advertise "no blackout dates" when in fact there are. Don't advertise that you'll give a free room upgrade but then go on to say that I need to blindly book it and hope that one is available when the time comes for my vacation...
Unfortuntely the operational excellence that drew us to the Marriott brand is begining to fade. It's sad when a so called "elite" rewards meber has to negotiate with the hotel in order to get what was promised in the contract when we signed up and commited to be loyal. Without exception I have to ask (beg?) for my "automatic" upgrade at every hotel.
(Recent stays St. Louis and Seattle Renessance hotels, > 20 nights in the last month.)
Tweet your sentiments, the world needs to know in order to make good travel choices! Who knows, Marriott management may re-engage and return to thier former excellence.
I've had a similar experience at the full service Marriott in Provo, Utah. When I asked about an upgrade to a suite, I was quoted rack rate. I was informed that placing me on the Concierge Level was an upgrade! This on more than one occasion. I don't travel to Provo any more.
This is interesting to me to see this thread as I have experienced the same thing a lot recently, to the point of going through the process for recipricol level at Hilton and Starwood.
I've finally reached my limit of having to add to the challenges of travel fighting for upgrades 'guaranteed' by my level. I have even gotten into the habit of checking availablility prior to check in to have the info to discuss with the front desk--this is ridiculous.
In the past month, four full service Marriotts have either not been able to upgrade (they say nothing available despite open rooms on the reservation site) or have 'upgraded' me to a concierge level room no different than a colleague's with no loyalty status except my view of the neighboring building's rooftop ac system was a bit better :-). The worst were the Winston-Salem Marriott and the Vancouver Pinnacle; at the latter I was told no upgrades with even just a better view were available and 30 minutes later a colleague received just that--without even asking and with gold status.
It's not the cure for cancer or the end of the world, but what it comes down to is I spend a lot of money and time with Marriott, and they have established a program where this loyalty is rewarded, at least on paper. They are not keeping up their end of the deal and I, quite frankly, have choices. I'm writing to corporate as well but they will simply ask the hotels I have stayed at recently to address it, which will mean a note. Doesn't solve the problem. And dont even get me started on treatment of the most loyal Marriott customers who stay on points--that is so inconsistent it's not funny.
I wonder if Laura or any other Marriott types who look at this site would comment on the general degradation of program implementation that many, many loyal customers have commented on?
If your planning on staying at the NEW Fairfield Inn in West Covina DON'T. Marriott should rename this property Motel6, no wait that's too good for them, try Motel 11/2. Even though it's a new property they need retraining, no wait, FIRING, and starting with a whole new staff, from the "General Manager" on down.
Being a platinum member you expect better from Marriott, even when I called JW's complaint line, this is a line you call when customer care says you should escalate to "higher ups" all you get is lip service.
Can you imagine, they promote their "suite" rooms with microwaves, fridges and more. They make it sound like the whole hotel is minisuites, yet only 29 out of 81 rooms is. They promote on their room fact sheet they have "some" rooms with fridges yet when I had made reservations well 2-3 weeks before and requested a fridge, upon check-in, imagine 1 hour before their check-in time of 3PM they couldn't fine one. they said "you checked in EARLY so we didn't have any. They didn't have any at 3 or at 4, imagine that!!!!
We called customer care and the outright LIED to us saying that if we waited till the evening they would have one for us. My wife called the front desk and she overheard the "GM" say to the front desk rep., "if she thinks that I'll pull a fridge out of one of my suites, she's crazy" and that was the end of my stay.
They should go to Europe and try the new AC Hotels chain that Marriott just purchased. What a difference. As a platinum member they scrapped and bowed from the moment you walked in the door. Service was the #1 priority and it showed. Free upgrades, gifts, etc.
We stayed in Victoria BC Tonight....
Hey listen to this not only no upgrades but tonight for the first in over 10 years our room we reserved a king size suite,ended up a standard room with 2 doubles because it was sold out.
So far I spoke to the night manager (and all I got is we are sold out tonight) but will be speaking to the daytime manger to rectify our second night plus we better be compensated something for this problem....if this treatment continues I will no longer use marriot and be a loyal customer.
This policy has been in effect for at least three years - i.e., upgrades do not include suites, which includes all Marriott properties. It is up to the property whether to grant a suite as an upgrade.
Just to be clear on the policy cited in this string or any other wording where "upgrade" is used ===> this can be as simple as moving you up a couple of floors in a multi-story property (which the hotel categorizes as an "upgrade"), or it can be a pool view versus a parking lot view. Same room, same square footage, etc. just a different hotel definition of "upgrade."
What makes the above even worse is that using points, you start at the lowest tier of rooms based on the property's definition. So an "upgrade" is not going to do you much. This is why (and I consider the policy absurd) extra cash is often promoted to get a "real" upgrade.
Thanks again everyone for these comments!
I feel very deceived. There is a partnership that exists when you enter this program. We agree to stay at only Marriott brand hotels, and in exchange Marriott rightfully rewards our loyalty with upgrades and a few comforts which costs them nothing but allows them to benefit financially repeatedly. Our role in this partnership far exceeds the responsibility of Marriott. To treat their most loyal customers with this type of behavior is unacceptable and not smart business. We do have other choices and will excecute that option.
With 94 days in Marriott hotels this year already, and the same amount of days estimated for the second half of this year, I am rethinking staying in this program and moving to another brand.
Bill Marriott does have a blog. I will write to him and express the displeasure, customer loyalty and reputation damage these practices are doing to his company. This is probably all that I can do. "Lip Service" is the right term that has been used on these comments for this subject because that is the only response we get. Fortunately there are other hotel options available and after I get back from vacation in 2 weeks I will explore them.
Have a great Holiday weekend everyone!
Thank you Bigdogbill and others. We certainly appreciate your continued loyalty and feedback on the subject. Many people have noted their personal experiences in receiving upgrades to suites in the past, some even repeatedly, but I should make the distinction that these upgrades were not part of the room upgrade benefit, but were instead a generous acknowledgement of your Elite status and patronage by the individual property. Gold and Platinum Reward members are guaranteed a room upgrade upon check-in at no additional cost, but the exact room type and accommodations can vary on factors like brand, location and availability, while explicitly excluding suites. Upgrades are not available at Marriott Vacation Club, and upgrades from studio to one- or two-bedrooms are not guaranteed at Residence Inn and TownePlace Suites.
I can see how there would be confusion due to some hotels going above & beyond and upgrading members to suites. We don't want to discourage them from continuing to do this, if they are able, because although it may set unrealistic expectations it certainly is appreciated and enjoyed by members. We figure you'd probably rather have a suite sometimes then never have one at all.
I trust (or hope!) that even without a suite upgrade you will enjoy your beautiful vacation!
There goes another property down the drain...I was set to book a stay there, but now I am deterred. I can't say all marriott's are doing this, but it is getting tougher. Vacation clubs and Residence Inn's are the worst right nwo for upgrades.
RI Treasure Island flaunts the attitude that they don't give upgrades on points.
Why is there such a discrepancy at these properties, both from a policy and attitude stand point.
My family and I stayed there the the third week of June for a few days and was upgraded to a penthouse. I don't know if it's a blanked policy. I do believe for a resort it might be going against Marriott's own policy for Gold/Platinum members.
Aside from that, the Marco Island resort is easliy one, if not my favorite resort; great hotel. great staff, great beach.
Thanks, Andy. In my case, I commented on the general inconsistency regarding any upgrade at all. I don't consider a room exactly the same as I booked but on a different floor an upgrade. I don't consider getting a king instead of a double an upgrade. And I certainly don't enjoy being told the same room with a better view is not available and having a non Plat colleague get said room (we booked the same city view) 30 minutes after I checked in.
I have been generously upgraded to suites a number of times, although NEVER on points or when traveling with my family, when I need it most. But it's still nice. the problem is the upgrade policy in general is widely interpreted and inconsistently implemented by the properties and I'm often made to feel as if the hotel is doing me a favor by "letting" me stay--no matter how I'm treated-- instead of them providing a service I pay for.
This attitude is especially bad when I stay on points, because they tend to stick you in the basement by the boiler or overlooking the HVAC unit that runs all night. I'm in a Marriott somewhere most weeks--Degradation of loyal customers treatment is a worsening trend based on this member's experience.
I've never subscribed to the 'Hilton or SPG is out there' threat that often comes up here (well, hardly ever ) but I'll be honest with you--traveling for business constantly can get stressful, and I used to feel when I arrived at Marriott, my home away from home, that I'd be well, "home" and be treated as a very special customer. There are still some properties, usually in areas I frequent, that take that travel stress right off starting at the check in desk. But it's becoming less and less that way and being told no upgrades (of any kind) are available because I check in later, or am on points, or am staying too long (how oxymoronic is that??) means that I'm just any one who came in off the street and my loyalty to the brand is not valued. Policies are fine, but implementation of the policy is what keeps us coming back---or leaving. So when SPG and Hilton court you and offer recipricol status and benefits, you start to wonder if maybe you being 'new' to their programs will accord the level of service you used to get routinely from Marriott when you were new to them.
Deep musings today, but am starting tomorrow 10 straight weeks of travel, so it's on my mind. Again, thanks Andy for your reading of this forum. I appreciate it.
ENGINEERGIRL - I echo your comments completely.
After nearly 50 weeks a year in Marriott properties on business, nothing irks me more than when I wish to "pay back" my family for my absence with a nice vacation using points (assuming I get past the no blackouts issue) and not getting the BEST AVAILABLE ROOM including SUITES for my loyalty.
The worst part is when I "validate" that a suite or better room is available when I go through the motions (not logged in as myself but as a "guest" so no status recognized) to reserve with ca$h and see that suites are available for the whole week covering my vacation stay.
Yes, that one has bitten me several times lately. I've been told 'no upgrades available' (90% of time as a paying customer, and I'm talking upgrades, not suites) that I've started checking availability before I check in and with a variety of nicer rooms available for Joe (or Josephine, as it were!) Generic customer, there still seems to be no room at the upgrade inn. Some great exceptions have occurred, but it's the rare exception when it used to be more the rule.
I've often wondered (but never been outright told) about the stay length like you mentioned. Since the upgrades are based on "availability", I'm wondering if a week long or Mon-Fri stay will not get you an upgraded room when you check in because they are being held for the later days in case someone happens to reserve a room at the higher rate...
Versal - "nice try" but I check for room upgrade availability for the whole length of my stay when using points to cover just the scenario you suggest. In this light, I would NOT expect to get the upgrade if the very last upgradeable room were already reserved for a cash customer during any day of my week-long stay.
I have also talked with several hotel GMs and they all have a policy that is similar for cash guests. For simplicity, assume a property has but one suite available for an upgrade and 4 platinum premiers are planning a stay during the same week.
Management is going to give PP2-4 the suite upgrade before giving PP1 the upgrade as this gives three distinct PP elites the opportunity to get the suite versus only one PP elite. This is true even if PP1 shows up before PP2 for the Sunday check-in. The only way PP1 gets the suite is if PP2, 3, & 4 all cancel prior to PP1's check-in. (Edited): The only way PP1 gets the suite is if PP2 & PP3 cancel prior to PP1's check-in. PP1 will then get precedence over a single night stay for PP4.
In summary - management would rather "share the opportunity" among multiple elites rather than one getting special treatment.
One of the issues I have with alll this is the Plat/Gold automatically get to the Concierge Level. In almost all domestic Marriotts, the Concierge Level means nothing, since the room is normally dark from Fri night to Sunday. So, if you are on a weekend stay, they just put you in a reg room, albeit on the Concierge Level. In Richmond in May, we were there on a weekend, and asked what being on the Concierge Level meant is the room is closed. The deskclerk said, "sorry, I get this question all the time and don't have an answer. Some Marriotts at least give you a breakfast chit, others don't. As many of you have stated, inconsistency is the order of the day.
I have been either Gold or Plat for at least ten years. Over the course of time I have been on the Concierge Level a whole lot times. The rooms add nothing really, except the requirement to use your key in the elevator.
With my family traveling I have been upgraded (complementary) to two bedrooms a few times at Town Place and at Residence. I am grateful for the manager when they do this for me.
jerrycoin, I'll be darned. The RI in Williamsburg was where we were upgraded by the manager and he also gave us points and market selections. I am not sure how to recognize him because I did not note his name. But he was a real example of superb customer service. I wish I did remember his name and get him the recognition he deserves.
This is really inconsistent around the country as you've seen. with 296 nights last year - probably half at RI's - I get upgraded perhaps 25% of time. topeka and Boston are best. Almost never an RI upgrade in Pittsburgh or around DC. This is my biggest frustration with Platinum programs (platinum at Starwood also). No upgrade and no breakfast (often on weekends) makes the "status" almost worthless.
I think you make a great point about some kind of recognition/comps being the minimum a Platinum should receive. What would a breakfast cost Marriott to give to a Platinum member who has spent excessive amounts of money with them. Without sufficient recognition and compensation, we would be wise to just shop best value rates without any loyalty value.
Gosh, your 296 nights should give you a level above Platinum. For folks like you, Platinum is a very insufficient recognition! You deserve a plateau which is guaranteed to be a true esteemed level.
Been platinum premier since it began, used to receive upgrades very regularly, that has stopped for over the past year. Now only place I get it is my regular Fairfield Inn in Kalamazoo Michigan. They have given me the same room for the last year(220+ nights). They give me a hot tub room. Never have used the hot tub, however right by door to get in and out to parking, so it works!
They have always forced me to use more points in Hawaii to get view. Points stay gets trash dumpster view, points added plus gave me ability to see ocean from my room if I lean up grab rail and hang out and catch a short view, or pay twice as many points get view.
I have been a lifetime plat for many years and have only been upgraded to a suite 1 time. I have been given some very nice rooms and some undesirable rooms as well. I would hope that as a plat, I am given a better room than someone who is not. If this is not happening, I would object. I stayed at Marco Island and had a very nice room but not a suite and I was happy to get the room that I did.
Reading all this, many seem to expect one. It seems that this might be what made the hotel set a policy to give no suites as upgrades.
From Marriott's Website:
Room Upgrade: At no additional charge, we’ll do our best to upgrade you to our
best-available guest room in the next room category level. Suites are excluded.
Not available at Marriott Vacation Club.
I am not sure when Marriott decided to exclude suites but it is for all properties.
I don't think if J. Willard were alive today, he would allow a policy like this!
The other surprise I encountered recently, is the Autograph Collection hotels listed in the Marriott directory are not Marriott hotels and can choose to honor your Marriott benefits or not. Recently stayed at the Carlton in NYC and they upgraded me to a room with a view of the inner courtyard roof??? When I asked about my platinum upgrade they told me I had been upgraded? Wonder what the original room was like.
Anyways I am staying away from the Autograph Collection, and sticking with the Marriott brands that value frequent traveler business.
Sounds like I need to add Marco Island Marriott to the list of hotels to avoid!
Maybe we should start a blackball list of properties that are not honoring Platinum benefits so we can avoid them.
We spent a week in Puerto Rico in Nov 2012. Booked the Renaissance LaConcha. I've been Platinum for a number of years, and have enjoyed upgrades of some sort most every time. The LaConcha has a building that is all suites - the only difference is that one side faces the ocean, the other faces the city. We booked a suite city side, anticipating a view upgrade to the ocean (this has been a standard successful practice for me for years at other properties). When we got there, we got the "Sorry, no oceanside rooms are available" story. The hotel did not look at all full. I escalated to the reservation manager and got the same story. OK, so we took the city side room. After thinking about it, we considered that maybe we could move to an ocean-front room when one became available. I went back downstairs and posed this to the reservationist. Third time's a charm. This time they came back and said, "Oh, an oceanside room just opened up!!". Amazing. Also amazing was that they wanted to charge us an extra $30 a night for the oceanside room. At this point I just said "sure".
This is not at all the way I expect to be treated as a Platinum member - negotiating for an upgrade and having to pay for just a change in view! Of course, I will never, never, never stay at this hotel again, and will never give it a positive recommendation. LaConcha, enjoy that $30...........