Marriott’s transition to reset member expectations away from upgrades to suites, and to shorten the time period for upgrades, is now rolling out.
- Suite Night Awards are now Nightly Upgrade Awards
- Those clear starting 3 days prior to arrival, rather than the previous 5 days in advance
- They can now be used at more brands, with the inclusion of Ritz-Carlton, EDITION, Aloft, Element and Protea hotels.
Suite at Las Alcobas, Mexico City
Suite Living Room, Sheraton Denver Tech Center
These awards remain choice benefits that members can select after 50 and 75 nights each year, to gain priority for upgrades into a selected room type for a limited number of trips. With the push towards upgrades to more room types, the drive is both to clear more upgrades and to clear them into lower room types, renaming the benefit to align member expectations away from suites even as other chains do a better job of delivering suites to elite guests.
I first broke the details of this change last summer.
Marriott Bonvoy is a huge program. They mint Platinums just by obtaining their premium credit card, and members can earn 40 elite nights out of 50 for platinum (that qualifies for a choice benefit of these upgrades) with two credit cards. And – unlike Hyatt and IHG – Marriott capacity controls their upgrades.
- Just because a room is available to book, doesn’t mean Marriott makes them available for upgrade through this program.
- In fact it’s only the rooms that a hotel doesn’t expect to sell, including through buy ups at check-in, that get allocated.
- As a result customers who want suites with ‘suite night awards’ are frequently disappointed.
- Hence the attempt to shift expectations for what an upgrade is.
IHG now offers confirmed upgrades into suites out of revenue inventory starting within 14 days of check-in. Hyatt offers this at time of booking. Marriott is moving in the opposite direction, making less-than suite upgrades available out of restricted inventory starting 3 days prior to arrival. That’s a huge disappointment, though on the plus side these advance upgrades can now be claimed at Ritz-Carlton and EDITION properties which were previously excluded.