Marriott’s elite benefits guarantee is back

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During the pandemic, Marriott had previously suspended their elite benefits guarantee, but as of today (January 11, 2021), the guarantees are back!  Here is the message from Marriott:

We are reinstating the elite guarantee compensation which had been temporarily suspended due to COVID-19. Please note that based on day-to-day business conditions at individual hotels and/or government regulations, properties may offer a breakfast alternative when lounges and restaurants are closed such as grab and go or credit for food and beverage purchases on property. As always, the Lounge and Welcome Gift elite benefit depends on brand and geographic regions.

Pictured above: The St. Regis Llasa Resort, China

One of the most interesting aspects of the Marriott Bonvoy program is that they guarantee certain elite benefits.  In certain situations, participating hotels must pay you if they fail to deliver benefits.  Thanks to this benefit, I was once able to collect $100 when the resort I stayed at failed to offer me a Platinum welcome gift (see: Marriott pays up when they fail to deliver elite benefits).  More recently, I was due compensation when a hotel I had booked was unable to fulfill my reservation.  In that case, I told the hotel not to worry about the compensation since they had already treated us extremely well (see details in caption, below).

Above left: Roomers Baden-Baden Germany (a Marriott Autograph Collection hotel). Above right: Brenners Park-Hotel & Spa, Baden-Baden Germany. I had booked one night at Roomers using a free night certificate from my Chase Marriott card, but the hotel contacted me a couple of weeks in advance to let me know that they weren’t able to fulfill my booking due to a large group reservation. At my request, they put us up, at their expense, at the luxurious Brenners Park Hotel instead. It was awesome.  Marriott returned my free night certificate, and Roomers sent me a new free night voucher for a junior suite!

The rules vary by brand and location (and fine print)

Before we dive into the various elite benefits guarantees, it’s important to note that the rules vary by brand and location.  And, in some cases, specific hotels have been given exceptions.  This post is designed to give you an overview of Marriott’s elite benefits guarantees, but if you want to know which guarantees apply to your specific stay please see our resource page: Which Marriott elite benefits apply?

On our “Which Marriott elite benefits apply?” page, you can filter to specific hotel brands to see what benefits you are due. Plus, you can search for your specific hotel to see if there are any noted exceptions.

Summary of Elite Benefits Guarantee

The quoted text below was copied directly from Marriott’s Elite Benefit Guarantees page. In some cases I bolded and/or underlined text for emphasis:

All Elite Tiers (Silver and higher):

  • Ultimate Reservation Guarantee: “If for some reason we’re unable to honor your reservation, we’ll pay for your accommodations that night at a nearby hotel and compensate you for the inconvenience. To be eligible, you must provide your member number when making a reservation. Compensation varies by hotel brand.”
    Ultimate Reservation Guarantee More Info

    Greg’s explanation: If you get walked (.e.g you had a confirmed reservation, but they can’t honor it) from a Marriott hotel they not only have to put you up somewhere comparable, but they will also compensate you with cash and points for your trouble.

Platinum Elite & Higher:

  • Guaranteed Platinum Elite/Titanium Elite Welcome Gift: “As a Platinum or Titanium Elite member, you’ll receive a special gift upon arrival at participating hotels, with a choice of an amenity gift or points. If guarantee is not met, guest compensation applies.”
    Guaranteed Platinum Elite/Titanium Elite Welcome Gift More Info

    Greg’s explanation: Platinum guests are supposed to be offered a welcome gift upon check in.  If you weren’t offered one, you can go to the desk during your stay and request compensation.

  • Guaranteed Room Type: “When making a reservation, be sure to note your Member number and room/bed preferences. We’ll always honor your bed type request at our locations throughout the U.S. and Canada. Everywhere else, smoking/non-smoking preferences are honored based on availability; exact bed sizes may vary, and only Titanium Elite members will have guaranteed priority for their requested type of bed and room. If guarantee is not met, guest compensation applies.”
    Guaranteed Room Type More Info

    Greg’s explanation: Except when voluntarily upgraded, if you get stuck in the wrong type of room, request compensation during your stay.

  • Guaranteed Lounge Access: “Access to lounge for member plus one guest. This benefit only applies to the guest room that the Platinum Elite/Titanium Elite member is staying in.”
    Guaranteed Lounge Access More Info

    Greg’s explanation: This one seems self explanatory.

Titanium Elite and Ambassador Elite:

  • 48-Hour Guaranteed Availability: Traveling on short notice? We guarantee you’ll always have a room for any paid stay. Just make your reservation 48 hours before arrival at any of our participating hotels, excluding Resorts, Marriott Vacation Club, participating Vistana properties, and Design Hotels. 48-Hour Guaranteed Availability: Limited to Titanium Elite and Ambassador Elite Member’s personal guest room. Guaranteed room availability for reservations booked at least 48 hours prior to arrival. 48-Hour Guaranteed Availability may not be available on certain limited dates (e.g., special events). Benefit cannot be used in conjunction with award usage or any type of promotional or discounted rates. For Residence Inn and TownePlace Suites, 48-Hour Guaranteed Availability applies to studio rooms only.Greg’s explanation: If you want to stay at a particular Marriott hotel, but it is sold out for your desired stay, they’ll let you book the stay anyway, but at standard rack rates.  This benefit doesn’t include compensation if it is not met.

Reminder

Please visit our “Which Marriott elite benefits apply?” page, where you can filter to specific hotel brands to see what benefits you are due. Plus, you can search for your specific hotel to see if there are any noted exceptions.

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TRiggs

The 48 hour guaranteed availability does include compensation if not met. In fact Marriott will pay for your stay at a comparable hotel AND compensate you in cash.

[…] If you are into Marriott I guess this is good: Marriott’s elite benefits guarantee is back. […]

AC NYC

Are you so cheap you actually shook them down for $100 because someone failed to offer you an arrival gift? REALLY? I’m lifetime Titanium (plus top level of a number of other programs) and if they don’t recognize my status or offer a gift I let it go. This is why people hate bloggers – they all come across as wanting something for nothing. Fine to post news and reviews but PLEASE refrain from how you weaseled your way to payback for something as minor as not offering an arrival gift or Amazon not meeting their delivery promise. That is just petty.

You remind me of my sister in law. Practically every time she goes to a restaurant something isn’t right and she ends up sending food back. In her case it is a pathetic attempt to get the restaurant to comp her food. You remind me of that. As a TRUE road warrior for 35 years I don’t lose any sleep over not getting an arrival gift, an upgrade not being available (been upgraded hundreds of time but fully understand hotels holding those back to sell), etc. SMDH

MAC

So you feel the two day Amazon PRIME delivery pitch they charge $119 annually is okay not to delivery what they sold to consumers? Wow, so let’s all be loyal consumers to build their businesses so they can decide whether or not they want to honor their sales pitch. It is a sales pitch in reality. If that’s the case, I would not buy a new car without having someone with you just to make sure you get wheels with that new car!

TRiggs

Yeah, being Titanium w Bonvoy should have some perks. 4pm checkout is often ignored by properties. If denied I have no problem asking for compensation. I work nights and a 4pm checkout can often be ideal. If not honored and I bring it up I’m a Karen like your sister in law? If my steak is burned I should just shut up and eat it? In this day and age of empty corporate promises and diminished value for my dollar I fully expect corporations to honor agreements like this and have no problem forcing the issue.

rjb

I’ll believe it when they actually deliver.

disheartened

Titanium Elite with Marriott. Terrible customer service since they have gotten so big. They used to be wonderful and very customer service friendly. Called for a reservation almost a month in advance. They have a 48-hour reservation guarantee. Spoke to representative. She contacts the hotel and is advised there is no availability and that there is no special event or anything going on that weekend. Comes back to me and advises as such. I ask about the 48-hour guarantee. She puts me on hold again, contacts the hotel again. She comes back to and now tells me there is a special event, which wipes out the guarantee. I question how this was not the case prior to my requesting the guarantee and she states that the person she spoke with must not have been aware of the event. I contact Marriott’s consumer affairs division. I get nothing but, well, I’m sorry, but we cannot control the independent hotels availability. And, there may be a graduation or something, etc. Hello, it’s October. There are no graduations going on. What is the purpose of having a 48-hour guarantee? It makes no sense. As a long time Marriott Vacation Club owner as well as being a very loyal Marriott Hotel customer, I am very, very disheartened.

[…] Guaranteed benefits. Elite members may collect points or cash compensation when certain elite benefits are not met.  See this post for details. […]

Lisa Roy

Just stayed a couple of nights at the new Westin Carlsbad, San Diego and was told at check-in that they have a “corporate lounge” and that my LTP (lifetime platinum elite in Marriott now) did not include lounge access. Not having traveled in a while and unfamiliar with the crossover I asked several times if she was sure and she told me it would have come up on my file at check-in. I did get the 1000 points in lieu of breakfast option. Now I see lounge access as one of my tier benefits. Can you advise me on this hotel specifically?

Sean

Checked in to Westin Austin last night and wasn’t offered an amenity. Went this morning and showed the concierge terms and received free breakfast for both nights of our stay. When I mentioned the $100 compensation, she said she’d talk with her manager. Five minutes later, she came back and said manager’s interpretation was that the $100 only applies if they couldn’t offer the amenity. I just let it go since it was my first time and didn’t want to push too much. In retrospect I should’ve asked to see the manager but oh well.

Good news is that the free breakfast qualifies for ANY entree item on the brunch menu ($6-$16 prices) and drink included. When we asked the waiter about tipping, he said that 18% gratuity for our tab was included so that’s a good data point there that you don’t need to necessarily tip extra and the wait staff has incentive to still treat you equally.

James

I think that these hotels that have new requirements are just planning to say FU to the elites. They will make it difficult or just do the minimum to meet the requirement. As an example, Wailea Beach Resort – Marriott, Maui plan to give elites a breakfast that is a danish of the day, a fruit cup and cup of coffee. These hotels want the benefit of having Marriott in their name but don’t want to fulfill their end. At the same time award stays at resorts still pay a resort fee.
I think this blog post does not match the reality of what many elites are receiving. We did the work to become elite and now the hotels say I don’t care. Marriott should do a better job and bloggers with influence should do a better job of calling them out.

shay peleg

Just give those hotels a 1 star review and they will regret it

Andy

What about the guarantee of award night availability if a standard room is available for sale. Former SPG properties at category 7 not honoring this currently. Frustrating.

miafll

Folks, You need to go to Marriott website to get the Loyalty Program T&Cs, make a PDF file for yourself, either print it out the pertinent pages or stored it in your tablet / laptop so you can pull it up to show the ignorant properties or unscrupulous properties the Marriott Guarantee IN WRITING.

https://www.marriott.com/loyalty/terms/default.mi

Section 4, Elite Members.
Subsection 4.3 has all the details.

You really need to arm yourself with that document, and ask for compensation / solution in a timely manner. Hotels are betting you do not know or not have enough time to get it resolve before checking out. It is all a play of shenanigans, or worse, scam!

nikdro

I was not offered a welcome gift at a recent stay at the Sheraton Tribeca. I brought it up the the manager after she emailed me making sure my stay was ok. She just brushed it off and said I would receive the points. I tried to contact Marriott Rewards twitter support and they didn’t respond until over a day later when I tweeted at them a second time. The customer support at this company has gone way down hill and I don’t plan on having any loyalty to them in the future.

Glenn

I have been walked once before as a Platinum. They paid for our stay at a five star Marriott but said there was no $100 compensation in addition to that. One or the other they said. Still got a great deal, just as you did, so I didn’t complain about it.

ff_lover

What about the Gold level benefits?

Tanya Thurman

Hi, As Gold elite, I have 4 reservations at the same time for a family event. Was notified today that hotel won’t be able to honor our July reservations. Does the guarantee apply to each of the four rooms? Thanks.

Anthony

Greg, how do you get the $100 compensation for not being offered a welcome gift? Do you call out the front desk staff member immediately or do you call Marriott?

Anthony

Will we receive the welcome amenity or points in addition to the guaranteed compensation?

Josh

I also would like to know this. It may be awkward going back down to the front desk and saying you messed up?

George

I checked into the Hotel Adagio (Autograph Collection) in San Francisco on 8/19. At check in I was not offered my Platinum benefit of breakfast, and there is no lounge. Per my reading of the benefits guarantee, I should have been compensated. After my first discussion with a person at the desk, I was told that they would look into it (although I was not told exactly what they would be looking into). The following day I checked with them again, and they said that they had not looked into it yet. Having read up on the Marriott guarantee, I spelled out for them what they did not offer me (breakfast and lounge access), and requested compensation. They apologized profusely and offered me breakfast for my second night, but not the first for which I had already paid. Grumbling, I left the front desk and contacted Marriott Customer Service. The CSR apologized again and said that she would contact the hotel to straighten it out.

The following morning I checked out, and once again pointed out to the desk manager that I was not offered my Platinum benefits, and that they had not honored the guarantee. Yet again he apologized profusely and promised to “make it right”. I left.

A few days later I found that they had credited about $68 to my folio. Not the $200 that I was due, nor even $100 for either of the omitted benefits.

In short, I find the Marriott/SPG elite benefits “guarantee” to be BS since it certainly is NOT guaranteed.

Kevin

They shouldn’t have credited anything to your bill – that compensation is due, immediately, IN CASH.

Anthony

They will actually pull out $100 from the cash register and hand it to you? Also, it is $100 per NIGHT that they don’t offer the breakfast/welcome amenity?

George

Exactly. This guarantee is not a guarantee at all. Moreover, it was an opportunity for Marriott to earn the transition of my SPG allegiance to Marriott, but they’ve failed miserably by not honoring their word.

Rob

One thing that has always confused me about the Arrival gift is when is the exact deadline for them to offer the welcome gift where the compensation becomes owed? I.e. If I arrive and check in at the desk and they don’t offer the choice of, let’s say, 1,000 points or food and beverage credit, do I mention it then? Or is it when you get home a week later and review your account and see they never credited your account if you chose points, or if they never offered? I feel like even if you do that, they will just quick throw you 1,000 points and say something like oh, sorry there was a delay in posting or something equally impossible to disprove.