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I recently wrote a popular post about achieving Platinum status with the new Marriott loyalty programme – simply by booking five meetings that can cost you as little as £300. But is Platinum status going to be worth it? I certainly believe so… but what really matters is definite quantifiable benefits. And here’s where Marriott becomes a minefield… benefits vary, depending on the brand in question. Since Marriott now has 29 brands, this provides a clear example of why additional brands are clearly not in the best interests of the consumer. Moreover, benefits can vary depending on whether the hotel is deemed a “resort” or not. Yikes…
The Easy Part
These Platinum benefits are going to be reasonably standardised across the entire brand portfolio:
- 50% bonus points
- Guaranteed 4 p.m. late check-out (except at resorts where it is subject to availability)
- Room upgrades (subject to availability but potentially including suites)
- 5 Suite Night Awards – a confirmed-5-days-in-advance request for an upgrade to a suite or premium room
- 1 SNA equals one night in a suite and you must request a suite upgrade for the entirety of your stay
- An additional 5 Suite Night Awards are available to 75-night Platinum Premier members
The Tricky Part… Lounges
If the hotel has an executive lounge, the Platinum member will be entitled to access it. However, the following exceptions apply:
- Certain hotels that are considered to be “resorts” do not have to offer lounge access to Platinum guests (if there is a lounge). This only applies to legacy Marriott brands such as:
- JW Marriott Resorts, Marriott Resorts, Delta Resorts, Autograph Collection Resorts, Renaissance Resorts
- If the hotel lounge happens to be temporarily closed (weekends, holidays, etc.), the hotel must offer breakfast in the restaurant to the member + one guest OR 750 Marriott points. Click here for the chart provided by Marriott.
It is worth noting that the Courtyard brand is not normally associated with executive lounges. However some Courtyard hotels – especially in Asia – do indeed have a lounge and a Platinum member would accordingly receive access.
The “My Head Hurts Thinking About It” Part… Breakfast
Marriott has provided a chart that attempts to outline the Platinum Elite Welcome Gift Options. For many of us Platinum elites, that really means whether or not we get a free breakfast… But since some travellers can either reclaim their breakfast costs on corporate expenses, or prefer a quick coffee, many hotel chains offer an alternative.
That chart is simply too unwieldy. Here’s my take…
Platinum members are not going to be fed at these brands – Design Hotels, EDITION, Ritz-Carlton, Marriott Executive Apartments, and Marriott Vacation Club.
LEGACY SPG BRANDS
No confusion here. It might be in the lounge or it might be in the restaurant, but all Platinum members will receive breakfast at: St. Regis, Luxury Collection, Westin, Sheraton, W, Le Meridien, Tribute Portfolio, Four Points, Aloft.
Platinum members will now receive complimentary breakfast in the restaurant at Protea Hotels. Simple and straightforward.
BREAKFAST AS BRAND STANDARD
Marriott’s chart doesn’t place a dot against breakfast for certain brands, but only because breakfast is brand standard (i.e. like we all know that breakfast is free at Holiday Inn Express or Hampton Inn hotels) and is already included in your room rate. The brands where this policy applies are: Element, Fairfield, Residence Inn, TownePlace Suites, Springhill Suites.
BRANDS ASSUMED TO HAVE A LOUNGE
Marriott could be far clearer, but it is my understanding that these brands are expected to have a lounge. Therefore Platinum members are supposed to eat their breakfast in the lounge (rather than the restaurant): JW Marriott, Marriott, Delta, Autograph Collection, Renaissance. If the hotel doesn’t offer a lounge, then it is supposed to offer breakfast in the restaurant and you would still be entitled to the 500/1,000 bonus points or the local amenity.
$10 CREDIT PER GUEST / DAY
Apparently it was simply too difficult for Marriott to agree with its franchisees to offer complimentary breakfast to Platinum members at these brands: Courtyard, AC Hotels, Gaylord, Moxy.
As a result, Platinum members should receive a $10 credit per day (£7-8) to apply against food and beverage expenses charged to the room. In most hotels, this won’t cover the entire cost of a restaurant breakfast. But it should cover a couple of drinks in the bar, which might make some InsideFlyer contributors happier… 😉 Of course, some hotels might also decide to offer complimentary breakfast instead of messing about with the $10 credit.
For any Platinum member more accustomed to the standard benefits offered by Starwood Preferred Guest, the new combined Marriott programme will require some adjustments. But hopefully this post has helped make some sense of what will be offered starting in August 2018…