When I’m reading posts from upset travelers online, the one company that gets its fair share of hate is Marriott. Surprisingly, many of the posts are from people who have Marriott Bonvoy Elite status and are upset they didn’t get room upgrades.
My first thought is “What did they expect from a loyalty program that spawned its own word, Bonvoyed.”
To set the record straight, I’m not talking about the Suite Night Award upgrades you receive when reaching Platinum and Titanium Elite status. Even those aren’t confirmable upgrades but will only clear on a space available basis a few days before your arrival date.
While those are disappointing enough, I’m referring to the Marriott Bonvoy Elite Member Enhanced Room Upgrade benefit. Here’s where some Marriott Bonvoy members are shocked to learn that complimentary upgrades are a stated program benefit because they’ve never received one.
It’s true. Marriott Gold Elite members and above are entitled to Enhanced Room Upgrades. Gold Elite members can get a better room, but not a suite.
Complimentary Enhanced Room Upgrade for Gold Elite Members. This benefit is subject to availability on the day of arrival and is limited to a Member’s personal guestroom at no additional charge. Enhanced rooms may include rooms with desirable views, rooms on high floors, corner rooms, rooms with special amenities, rooms on Executive Floors. At The Ritz-Carlton, rooms with direct Club access are excluded. Upgrades are subject to availability and identified by each Participating Property. The Complimentary Enhanced Room Upgrade for Gold Elite Members is available at all Participating Brands except Marriott Vacation Club, Marriott Grand Residence Club, Sheraton Vacation Club, Westin Vacation Club, The Phoenician Residences, a Luxury Collection Residence Club, Scottsdale, Aloft, Element, and Ritz-Carlton Reserve.
Platinum, Titanium and Ambassador Elite Members are told that they will receive a complimentary upgrade to the best available room, including suites.
Complimentary Enhanced Room Upgrade for Platinum Elite Members. Platinum Elite Members and above receive a complimentary upgrade to the best available room, subject to availability on the day of arrival, for the entire length of stay. Complimentary upgrade includes suites, rooms with desirable views, rooms on high floors, corner rooms, rooms with special amenities or rooms on Executive Floors. At The Ritz-Carlton, suites are only included for Titanium Elite and Ambassador Elite Members and rooms with direct Club access are excluded. Enhanced Room Upgrades are subject to availability and are identified by each Participating Property. The Complimentary Enhanced Room Upgrade for Platinum Elite Members and above is available at all Participating Brands except at Marriott Vacation Club, Marriott Grand Residence Club, Sheraton Vacation Club, Westin Vacation Club, Aloft, Element, The Phoenician Residences, a Luxury Collection Residence Club, Scottsdale, and Ritz-Carlton Reserve.
The catch is that the benefit is subject to availability on the day of arrival for the entire length of stay. In addition, Enhanced Room Upgrades are subject to availability and are identified by each property. So if a hotel makes its upper-level suites unavailable for upgrades, there’s nothing you can do.
With Marriott leaving it up to each hotel to make its own upgrade rules, there’s no enforcement if a hotel chooses not to provide upgrades to Marriott Bonvoy members.
Based on what I’ve read, you’re more likely to get a complimentary upgrade based on your status outside of the US, with the best chances at hotels in the Middle East and Asia. That’s because there are fewer people with status in those areas and hotels there generally treat guests better than in the US or Europe.
There are exceptions to the rule and some properties in the US are excellent at providing upgrades to Marriott Bonvoy Elite members. You can search for individual properties to see how generous or stingy they are about delivering upgrades and which members are most likely to receive them.
In addition, the squeaky wheel often gets grease. I’ve read that asking for an upgrade by using the Marriott App Chat Feature the day or so before your stay might increase your chances.
If you’re upset about not getting a better room because of your Bonvoy status, always remember there’s one way to get an upgraded room 100% of the time.
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