Did Marriott Rewards Downgrade the Arrival Gift Policy for Platinum Members?

Wine and cheese is an important welcome amenity to FlyerTalk members when arriving at a hotel room. Click on the photograph to view a discussion about what FlyerTalk members would like to see as the ideal amenity for Platinum elite members of the Marriott Rewards frequent guest loyalty program. Photograph by FlyerTalk member SkiAdcock.

FlyerTalk members rejoiced in jubilation when an official announcement heralded the return of free continental breakfast seven days per week at hotel properties in the United States and Canada for Gold, Platinum and Platinum Premier elite members of the Marriott Rewards frequent guest loyalty program — but was the arrival gift policy for Platinum and Platinum Premier elite members of the Marriott Rewards frequent guest loyalty program simultaneously downgraded?

Before we discuss that issue, a summary of the free continental breakfast policy seven days per week is in order: effective as of June 22, 2013, Gold, Platinum and Platinum Premier elite members of the Marriott Rewards frequent guest loyalty program will receive a complimentary continental breakfast in the executive lounges of participating hotel properties throughout the United States and Canada.

For each day the executive lounge of a hotel property is closed — or if a JW Marriott, Autograph Collection, Renaissance or Marriott hotel property does not have an executive lounge — Gold, Platinum and Platinum Premier elite members of the Marriott Rewards frequent guest loyalty program will have the option of breakfast for two people in the restaurant on the premises of the hotel property.

Note that this policy applies for each day, not for each stay.

You can also choose 750 Marriott Rewards frequent guest loyalty program points — 1,000 points in select hotel property locations — if you prefer to decline breakfast or if a JW Marriott, Autograph Collection, Renaissance or Marriott hotel property does not have an executive lounge.

This policy sounds great, right? It prompted FlyerTalk member PhillyPhlyer40 — a Platinum Premier elite member — to announce the cancellation of three reservations at hotel properties currently participating in the Starwood Preferred Guest frequent guest loyalty program and declare that approximately 35 more nights will be spent at hotel properties currently participating in the Marriott Rewards frequent guest loyalty program…

…but what about that welcome amenity for Platinum and Platinum Premier elite members of the Marriott Rewards frequent guest loyalty program?

The new Platinum arrival gift policy will be the choice of a minimum of either 500 Marriott Rewards frequent guest loyalty program points or a food and beverage coupon worth ten dollars to be used during your stay — although hotel properties have the option to offer additional amenities above and beyond those two choices.

Sounds great — right?

Not so fast, cautions FlyerTalk member SkiAdcock — a lifetime Platinum elite member of the Marriott Rewards frequent guest loyalty program — who argues the following:

“Basically the Platinum arrival gift $100 guarantee is going away if it’s 500 points or a $10F&B credit. The only way one would invoke it is if not asked in the first place. Note – I rarely invoked the guarantee, but it was there for a purpose: to ensure that properties a) offered & b) delivered the platinum arrival gift.

“Which raises another question that I would like to see MarriottConcierge answer: if the $10 credit does not appear on one’s bill, will the $100 guarantee be applicable?

“I frequently took the amenity over the 500 points. I enjoyed the (my choice) 1/2 bottle of wine and cheese/crackers that would be delivered at some point during the stay (ie, when I asked for it to be delivered). I found it to be a nice snack & there would be times I wouldn’t feel like a full meal or the restaurant was closed & it did the trick.

“There are very few things on the menu that are $10 or less (certainly not a 1/2 bottle of wine & cheese/crackers), which means that Marriott will get increased revenue as people order something from room service or restaurant/bar to use up the credit. Note, if they were a leisure (vs biz) traveler & were going to order food/drink anyway, this might be better for them. But odds are more biz travelers stay at Marriotts than leisure travelers.

“For the biz traveler, this doesn’t offer any benefit as meals are expensed. Yes one could say that one should reduce expenses for one’s employer, but the Plat amenity gift was supposed to be for the elite & a benefit to the elite, not the employer.

“Also, if one chooses the $10F&B but then doesn’t have time to use it, they lose out & Marriott wins.

“A very, very, very minor point is that 150 points less are earned if the $10 credit is utilized.

“While technically a property could offer more: a) 500 points or b) amenity gift or c) $10F&B credit (which I think is the optimum options), my guess is the vast majority are going to offer only a) 500 points or b) amenity gifts, as unlike the lounges open/closed on the weekends, the properties have been pretty consistent in offering up the pre-printed card w/ points or amenity, so when the new preprinted cards come out they’ll just have the 500 points or $10F&B to check.

“So I consider the change to be a downgrade.”

The majority of FlyerTalk members who responded to her thoughts and analysis seems to agree — especially the ones who enjoyed the wine and cheese. In fact, several FlyerTalk members called the rather quiet change of the amenity for Platinum and Platinum Premier elite members of the Marriott Rewards frequent guest loyalty program “sneaky” and a “huge downgrade.”

Do you agree with the thoughts and analysis posted by SkiAdcock? How will the new policies affect you? What policies do you ideally believe should have been implemented?

Comments (Showing 1 of 1)

  • Annandaler at 10:29am May 29, 2013

    And they announced this downgrade of the Platinum Arrival Gift shortly AFTER the Marriott annual shareholders meeting, and AFTER the annual FREDDY awards. Both venues would have had vocal denunciations of this change. I have to agree – the way the announcement was made, and the timing of the announcement, was rather “sneaky”. And, yes, it is a “huge downgrade” for multi-decade loyal customers.

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