Marriott chat upgrade success

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My wife and I were pretty happy with how quickly we had transitioned our newborn son to sleeping in his own room/crib. As a result, we weren’t prepared for the detrimental effect it would have on our sleep when we recently decided to make a 2-week road trip to visit friends and family — with him sleeping in a pack-and-play in the same room during the trip. After two weeks of sleep deprivation, and the ride home seeming even longer than usual because of it, I was thrilled when Marriott chat came through with a nice room upgrade over the weekend.

When we were a couple of hours from reaching our drive time limit on Friday, I was happy to find the TownePlace Suites Quantico/Stafford had a room for just 10,000 Marriott points (versus the normal room rate of $118 + tax).

A few minutes after booking, I pulled up the Marriott app curious if I could make any special requests via the app. I was hoping for a slightly larger room; while the standard room is a studio, I saw that the hotel also had 1-bedroom suites. I thought that a separate bedroom would enable us to set things up in a way so as not to wake each other up repeatedly and get slightly better sleep.

The app gave me the option to check in and choose my room. I was pretty sure that as a Marriott Gold member, I wouldn’t see a meaningful upgrade over the standard room I’d picked (and Greg has previously written about this topic – See: Marriott Mobile Check In: Does it help or hurt upgrade chances?). However, I also I saw that there was an option to “Chat with us”. I clicked through to start a chat.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t expect someone to respond — and if they did, I figured I’d be getting a Marriott rep in a call center who would add a note to my reservation at best. To my surprise, I got a pretty quick response affirming that they would be happy to arrange a larger room.

Sweet — within a few minutes, someone confirmed that they could give me a larger room.

Upon arrival, I gave my name at the desk. Niecey, the friendly check-in agent, said that they were expecting me. She informed me that she had upgraded us to a 2-bedroom suite! I didn’t actually ask if she was the agent with whom I had chatted, but I got the impression that she was the person who had responded to the chat. While the hotel itself shows a little wear, the 2-bedroom suite was exactly what we needed. We ended up being able to trade off sleeping in a bedroom alone with the door closed, allowing us to each get some uninterrupted sleep. That was awesome.

Two bedrooms with doors was much better than I expected when I pulled up the Marriott Chat.

We even had plenty of room to eat dinner. TownePlace Suites is an extended-stay brand, so I knew we would have a kitchette, but I didn’t know we would end up using it. We had picked up takeout, not anticipating what turned into a need for an immediate bath for Baby Rey. Having an oven to heat up our food and a roll of paper towels (since I forgot to grab extra napkins) turned the TownePlace Suites into a great decision.

Bottom line

Will Marriott chat get you an awesome upgrade every time? I’m sure it probably won’t. Did it help that I was staying at an extended stay property in a place that isn’t a major tourist destination? I’m sure it did.

On the other hand, I’m equally willing to bet that it gave me a better chance at an upgrade than mobile check-in. I further wonder if chatting in the early afternoon or late evening might give you a better shot at an available discretionary upgrade. For instance, by chatting a couple of hours before I got there, maybe I scored an upgrade that someone else would have taken when they arrived before me. I have no way of knowing that’s true, but it’s probably worth a shot.

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