Marriott Platinum Elite Guarantee – What if they don’t honor it?
In a post merger world between Marriott and Starwood, there are a lot of new Platinum members trying to navigate the complicated world of Marriott Rewards (soon to be Bonvoy). One of the best benefits that Marriott offers their platinum members are the guarantees, but they can be hard to understand and even harder to master
There are several different types of guarantees
Marriott keeps a list of the guarantees on this page, so you should keep that bookmarked and show it to the hotels when need be:
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.
Guaranteed Platinum Welcome Gift: As a Platinum or Platinum Premier Elite member, you’ll receive a special gift upon arrival at all participating hotels, offering you a choice of an amenity gift or points. If guarantee is not met, guest compensation applies.
Guaranteed Room Type: Platinum Premier Elite members will have guaranteed priority for their requested type of bed and room. If guarantee is not met, guest compensation applies.
Guaranteed Lounge Access: Access to lounge for member plus one guest. This benefit only applies to the one guest room in which the Platinum Elite/Platinum Premier Elite member is staying.
The One that gets Missed Most Often
The one that is the easiest to get missed is the Platinum Elite Arrival Gift Guarantee. Let’s take a deeper dive into this one, and talk about what it is, how you can claim it, and what to expect.
Here’s the very simple black and white of the guarantee. Bolding is my own:
Get more when you check in. As a Platinum or Platinum Premier Elite member, you’ll receive a special gift upon arrival at all participating hotels, offering you a choice of an amenity gift or points. If guarantee is not met, guest compensation applies.
This is very clear. When you check in, if you’re not offered a choice of your amenity gift or points, you get compensation. There’s not a whole lot more to it. When we check in to the hotel the front desk associate has to give you a special gift and give you a choice of what that gift is. The options are typically breakfast, points, or a local gift.
If the hotel just gives you points, you may claim the guarantee. If the hotel just gives you breakfast, you may claim the guarantee. If the hotel offers you nothing, you can also claim the guarantee.
How much compensation should be offered depends on the brand. Here’s a handy chart to break down all the specifics.
WELCOME GIFT CHOICE/POINTS
Marriott Hotels, JW Marriott, Delta Hotels, Autograph Collection, Renaissance Hotels
1,000 points per stay or $10 Food & Beverage credit per stayAP/CALA/MEA:
1,000 points per stay or Food & Beverage amenityRESORTS only:
1,000 points per stay or breakfast in restaurant per day. Member + 1AP/CALA/MEA:
1,000 points per stay or Food & Beverage per stay or breakfast in restaurant per day. Member + 1.
|Gaylord Hotels||1,000 points per stay or $10 Food & Beverage credit per stay||$100 USD|
|St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, W Hotels, Sheraton, Le Méridien, Westin, Tribute Portfolio||1,000 points per stay or amenity per stay or breakfast in restaurant per day
|The Ritz-Carlton, EDITION, Marriott Vacation Club, Design Hotels™||1,000 points per stay||N/A|
500 points per stay or $10 Food & Beverage credit per dayAP/CALA/MEA:
Hotels without lounge – 500 points per stay or Food & Beverage amenity or $10 Food & Beverage credit per dayHotels with lounge – 500 points per stay and breakfast in lounge (if lounge is closed- breakfast in restaurant per day)
|AC Hotels, Moxy Hotels||U.S./CAN/EU:
500 points per stay or $10 Food & Beverage credit per dayAP/CALA/MEA:
500 points per stay or Food & Beverage amenity per stay or $10 Food & Beverage credit per day
(AC Hotel)$25 USD
|SpringHill Suites, Fairfield by Marriott, Residence Inn, TownePlace Suites||U.S./CAN/EU:
500 points per stay or Food & Beverage itemAP/CALA/MEA:
500 points per stay or Food & Beverage amenity
(SpringHill Suites, Residence Inn)
(Fairfield by Marriott, TownePlace Suites)
|Four Points, Aloft||500 points per stay or amenity or breakfast in restaurant per day||$50 USD
|Protea Hotels||500 points per stay or breakfast in restaurant per day||$50 USD|
|Element||500 points per stay or amenity||$25 USD|
Notice the glaring difference in brands. Aloft, Moxy, Element, Fairfield and Towneplace hotels are the lowest at $25 each. Protea, Four Points, Springhill, Residence Inn, AC and Courtyard offer $50. The other brands offer $100 with the exception of Ritz, Design, Vacation Club and Edition which don’t offer a damn thing. Womp womp…
How and when to claim your guarantee?
Once check-in has been completed and you have your keys, head up to your room. At this point, I usually send out a tweet to Marriott Rewards letting them know that I didn’t get the guarantee, asking for their advice. For me, this serves as the official complaint.
Once I send that tweet, I’ll call back down to the front desk and let them know that I didn’t get the platinum guarantee, and I’d like to claim the benefit.
Wasn’t given my platinum amenity arrival gift at check in here at a @sheratonhotels in Orlando. I’d like to make this my official claim for the Platinum guarantee. How can you help me claim my $100 compensation? Front desk? @spgassist @MarriottRewards
— No Mas Coach (@NoMasCoach) September 16, 2018
Usually, the person at the front desk has no clue what I’m talking about, so I refer them to the Marriott Platinum Elite Guarantee. The conversation usually goes something like this:
Hey there, I just wanted to let you know that when I checked in, you didn’t offer me the Platinum Arrival gift. Since that’s the case, I’d like to claim the elite compensation for that. I know that at your property the amount to be paid is $XX in cash. What’s the best way to proceed?
I’ve never met a front desk agent who KNOWS what the policy is, so they usually act confused, offer to give me the arrival gift, and think that’s it. While I’ll happily take the breakfast or points, that’s not the point. The hotel has to give you the compensation, paid in cash, at the property. You must make the claim before you leave the property as well.
Some hotels want to give you a discount on the stay or a property credit. This never flies for me, as the number of points that I’m going to earn is dependent on the stay itself and what I pay.
The Marriott Chicago O’Hare has sent us a check, the Fairfield Inn and Suites in Sandusky paid out cash, and we even took a resort credit of double the value at a Sheraton (because we wanted to go to the spa). The choice is yours, but it needs to be paid without fail and without delay.
What if the hotel doesn’t want to pay?
In a recent stay in Texas, the situation played out just like we mentioned above. The front desk attendant didn’t know about the guarantee and asked for time to reach out to management. Hey, no problem… I’m not a savage after all! Take all the time you need.
Two days later I still hadn’t got a response, so I headed back down to the front desk to ask for an update. The response was shocking
I don’t know where you got the idea that we have to give you a guarantee, we’re not paying you anything…
Oh. Hell. No.
(Don’t forget to bookmark the Marriott page)
At this point, you’re obviously not going anywhere with the front desk staff. Calling Marriott is the best and only way to work through this scenario. We called our ambassador and explained the situation. She was just as shocked as we were, and immediately put through a claim against the hotel and charged the hotel 30,000 points. It goes without saying that 30,000 points is worth a ton more than $25, so I’m not complaining one bit.
Why does Marriott do this?
Some would ask why Marriott even has this policy in place. Simply put, Platinum Elite and Platinum Premier Elite guests represent a consistent, loyal, and constant stream of revenue for the hotels, and making sure that they’re well taken care of is paramount.
When a hotel fails to deliver on this promise, knowing that their best customers are looked after is the most important part for Marriott. Having this small “penalty” in place for the hotels is a sort of elite check-and-balance.
It’s actually an ingenious way of making sure that hotels are kept in line. Without these sort of guarantees, some hotels could go rogue, and when you’re trying to maintain a consistent experience across the brands, consistency is key.
There’s a lot of controversy around this. I’ve spoken to many people who say “Oh, I’ll just tell them and move on” and others who say “you’re hurting those on the front lines by penalizing them. They don’t know any better.” And therein lies the point, the front line employees NEED to be trained to provide a better experience.
Stand your ground and make sure that the hotel knows about the guarantee. As always, be professional and courteous, but firm. Rely on the Marriott Rewards desk if you need some additional help, but don’t give up!