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AirMiles2001 Dec 17, 12 7:17 pm

If I care about a room upgrade I will call ahead and often get exactly what I wanted.

The rest of the time I am on my own for business and could care less about an upgrade, I just want a bed, hot water and good service...which often means leaving me alone.

I almost wonder if it should be more like United where you get some upgrade vouchers to use for a guaranteed upgrade when you want it, the rest of the time you just take your chances.

USirritated Dec 18, 12 6:11 am


Originally Posted by sammyindc (Post 19853640)
Marriott Bethesda North - wanted $150 for a suite upgrade on a weekend when the hotel was full.
Was told "we don't do platinum upgrades because we still try to seel the suites" when I checked in at 9:30pm!
They instead "upgraded" me to a executive room on the concierge level because I was a Platinum ... even though that was the room rate I had.

In nearly 20 years of staying at Marriott brands, and since 1994 with elite status, I have only been asked for $$ for upgrades twice, and both times I talked them out of it rather easily, and basically found that those particular FD staff members I was checking in with weren't familiar with elite member benefits and rules.

There are a couple of exceptions to this, though not an EXACT comparison, such as needing to spend additional points in the higher end resorts, such as Hawaii, Aruba, USVI, where points reservations required additional points for GUARANTEED upgrades, which I suppose I can understand, since points reservations are basically non-revs to begin with. I have always refused to spend additional points for guaranteed upgrades, and felt I would take my chances that an upgrade would be available at time of check in. The ONLY place where I was disappointed and got into an argument about it was at Marriott Kauai, which was a disappointing hotel all around for me, and it was so bad that they ultimately refunded ALL of the points I used to make the reservation, AND the assistant manager, who was the MOD on the first two days of my stay, was disciplined for how the MESS was handled. I would NEVER go back to that hotel in Kauai!


Originally Posted by TomBrady (Post 19864770)
Ive gotta say, i don't really know what I would even do with a suite upgrade.

I use my room to watch tv and work on reports. If I was going to be at a place for a month or two then I would see the benefit.

I don't usually care if my stay is for one or two nights, especially if I was staying on biz, but if the stay is for longer, I tend to get a bit claustrophobic in the typical 12-15 foot wide hotel rooms, and especially for stays of a week or more.


Originally Posted by repcool (Post 19876238)
If I care about a room upgrade I will call ahead and often get exactly what I wanted.

Zigactly! I have employed this method many times over the years, with considerable success. I have found it especially important if I am going for a conference when the conference is taking over the entire hotel. In those instances, I have usually said something fairly simple to the person I was speaking with, along the lines of "I know that our conference is taking all 900 rooms in your hotel for that week, including the suites, so I would just like to request that as long as you are giving out all of the rooms at the same rate, since I am Plat, you might as well block me into one of the suites, rather than putting someone without or with less status by chance." Over the years this has gotten me some incredible suites, such as the Presidential Suite at the SF Marriott Marquis (1,362 rooms, including 137 suites), and the second largest suite they have at JW Marriott Desert Ridge (950 rooms, including 81 suites) outside of Phoenix, all at no extra anything from me. Again, they have to give them to someone!

hungarianhc Dec 20, 12 11:26 am

Enjoy SPG - it's a great program. I think you'll find that while some benefits are better, some are worse.

I've been an SPG Plat for many years, and I have just as many frustrations w/ SPG as I do w/ Marriott. For example, getting upgraded to a suite w/ SPG properties is great. However, they are VERY inconsistent with how they do upgrades, from property to property. I get very sick of arguing with them about these.

You mention the lounges being poor. That varies from property to property. If you think there isn't a large variety between property to property at SPG, you've got the wrong idea! They have a much larger variance - some are way nicer. Some are awful. I actually really like lounge access at Marriotts. It's better than "free breakfast" for me as I can go to the lounge whenever I want, grab a quick breakfast, bring it up to the room, etc. Also, if I have down time on a work day, I can work from the lounge and not feel stuck in my room. Most SPG properties don't have lounges, apart from Sheratons, and I don't really like Sheratons.

In any case, SPG is a great program. You'll enjoy it. I don't think it's leaps and bounds better than Marriott - it is worse in a few ways and better in a few. I'm fortunate enough to have been top tier status with both programs for some time now, and I'm pleased that the two somewhat offset each other. I love Marriott for the huge number of properties, the lounge access, the consistent experience I get, and the great credit card (signature visa). I use SPG because they have much nicer high end properties, cooler resorts in more interesting places, suite upgrades, and the flexibility of the SPG points program.

jkburns1 Dec 20, 12 5:22 pm

I shall only echo other thoughts to the OP that the grass is not necessarily greener. Each has advantages and disadvantages and being top tier with SPG, MR and HHonors I can speak from experience. My experience is fairly limited to US properties though.

The mention of lounges - SPG is by far the worst in comparison to Marriott and Hiltons. Marriott prob slightly better than Hilton lounges. Sheraton Lounges particularly with SPG I've experienced are inferior to Marriott and seems they are on the downswing. Many are not staffed, run out of food in evening very quickly and if they're serving hot food it's often powdered eggs or something similarly unappetizing.

As for the biz travel piece I find Marriotts and Hilton to be the most consistent and find SPG to the most inconsistent and often have no properties in places I travel too.

All in all I could ramble bout tons of negative and positive experiences but as a whole the top tier levels are mostly diluting their rewards and experiences rather then improving them and none are flawless, nor are any of them 100% lacking depending on what suits your individual taste best.

I would not use this particular experience and run off in a huff on emotion without doing some research into the browning grass you're headed for though.

TallestHotelInJapan Dec 20, 12 6:14 pm


Originally Posted by keloutwest (Post 19820359)
...and called MR. They confirmed that indeed that's a new policy. ...


Oh, wow, I didn't know about that. If this is true, I will save the money for buying back my gold status this year and leave Marriott completely and even stronger focus on SPG. Thank you for your warning about the new rules.

USirritated Dec 20, 12 10:15 pm


Originally Posted by keloutwest (Post 19830825)
Easy, people. The hotel was Renaissance Amsterdam near central station. Hotel is okay otherwise (good rooms), but horribly tiny gym and small lounge with no windows.


Originally Posted by SkiAdcock (Post 19831142)
Thanks for mentioning the property. It helps others when making decisions on where to stay. FWIW - I prefer the AMS Marriott.

Cheers.

Sharon and I have a friendly disagreement about these two hotels, I prefer the Ren, and Sharon prefers the Marriott. But, bottom line, they are both nice places, it is just a matter of personal preference, right Sharon? However, there are two or three things at play here which you might not be aware of.

First, Dutch people are all about, "One moment please, I must ask my colleague" and then in that hotel in particular, they turn around, go up the stairs, and five minutes later, then come back down and tell you what they found out from their "colleague" who is really the MOD. They do this even when the answer is obvious, such as one time when I stayed there for six nights and was charged for eight nights of broadband access and I asked them to credit me for the extra two nights. This is not an "ask the colleague" sort of situation, but they made a production out of it, whether they needed to or not, and sometimes, depending on who is working there, I get the impression they make it up as they go along. German's are often quite similar.

Two, the Ren AMS is VERY short on suites, only six in the whole hotel, so when they say only 1 step up for upgrades, that might be their way of saying, we don't have any suites, without saying that explicitly, and whether or not there is an actual rule such as that, or not. I will reserve opinion on that as a new rule until I hear it from a few others, just to make sure.

Third, I am betting that if you called MR or Plat rez 10 times, and asked about the upgrades rules, you would get AT LEAST 8 different answers, and if you followed up with "Is there a new rule about only 1 step upgrades?" you would also get at least 8 different answers, and most of those would be along the lines of "I am not aware of that, so no.) That may just be the policy of that hotel, and MR or Plat rez may just be saying yes because they are trying to back up the hotel, which is a bad idea, but that does not mean it doesn't happen from some agents we all speak with.

On another subject from above, about the lounge there, unless they moved it from where it was the last time I was there, I did not think that it was small at all. I do remember they always have a nice selection of food and drink, for breakfast and dinner, and the staff is always very accommodating, and I remember the room being well lit, with the big window in front, looking across the hall into the atrium, or whatever it is. I always found the lounge quite pleasant.

dayone Dec 20, 12 11:50 pm


Originally Posted by USirritated (Post 19878346)
they have to give them to someone!

Yes, very often to the executives and VIPs of the company holding or sponsoring the conference.

USirritated Dec 21, 12 12:47 am


Originally Posted by dayone (Post 19897940)
Yes, very often to the executives and VIPs of the company holding or sponsoring the conference.

For many of my conferences, there were only 5 or so execs, and since the conference was not responsible for doing the hotel bookings for the attendees, there were essentially no VIPs, other than Plats (NO, I am NOT a DYKWIA!) if you could call Plats that. So I just called and followed my own advice, "If you don't ask, you don't get."

NJUPINTHEAIR Dec 21, 12 8:04 am


Originally Posted by USirritated (Post 19897611)

On another subject from above, about the lounge there, unless they moved it from where it was the last time I was there, I did not think that it was small at all. I do remember they always have a nice selection of food and drink, for breakfast and dinner, and the staff is always very accommodating, and I remember the room being well lit, with the big window in front, looking across the hall into the atrium, or whatever it is. I always found the lounge quite pleasant.

Totally agree with you on this point as well as my having a fine stay in a regular room at this property. ^

USirritated Dec 21, 12 8:20 am


Originally Posted by NJUPINTHEAIR (Post 19899344)
Totally agree with you on this point as well as my having a fine stay in a regular room at this property. ^

I am glad I am not alone on this one, thanks NJUP! The hotel got even nicer once they did the room rehabs back in 2007/2008. Are you there now NJUP?

NJUPINTHEAIR Dec 21, 12 9:24 am


Originally Posted by USirritated (Post 19899447)
I am glad I am not alone on this one, thanks NJUP! The hotel got even nicer once they did the room rehabs back in 2007/2008. Are you there now NJUP?

No, but I was there post-renovation and the lounge is actually quite large, as I recall. In addition, I was able to get a BRG at this property sub-$100!

Merry Christmas, by the way! :)

USirritated Dec 21, 12 10:18 am


Originally Posted by NJUPINTHEAIR (Post 19899865)
No, but I was there post-renovation and the lounge is actually quite large, as I recall. In addition, I was able to get a BRG at this property sub-$100!

Merry Christmas, by the way! :)

WOW, sub $100? That is truly great for a hotel which is often (no, not always) in the range of $350/night!

Merry merry and Happy happy to you too!

SkiAdcock Dec 21, 12 10:30 am

Uh US & NJ, you do realize there's a thread re: AMS properties you two can post your reports in, don't you? ;) :p :D

This thread is more about general fails which would cause some to leave Marriott, or in some cases, posting which properties that do point blank say that you need to pay for because they won't offer them for free.

Cheers.

USirritated Dec 21, 12 10:35 am


Originally Posted by SkiAdcock (Post 19900342)
Uh US & NJ, you do realize there's a thread re: AMS properties you two can post your reports in, don't you? ;) :p :D

This thread is more about general fails which would cause some to leave Marriott, or in some cases, posting which properties that do point blank say that you need to pay for because they won't offer them for free.

Cheers.

Come on Sharon, the messages about AMS were in response to someone saying they were leaving Marriott because of a FAIL at AMS Ren. It is not a stretch to have a little back and forth about that. Besides, I think that messages about the AMS Ren are kind of over now.

SkiAdcock Dec 21, 12 10:42 am


Originally Posted by USirritated (Post 19900379)
Come on Sharon, the messages about AMS were in response to someone saying they were leaving Marriott because of a FAIL at AMS Ren. It is not a stretch to have a little back and forth about that. Besides, I think that messages about the AMS Ren are kind of over now.

:rolleyes: Obviously you missed the :p :D part. I was kidding (although FTers would look for more detailed reports such as yours & NJ's on the property thread vs. a leaving Marriott thread).

Cheers.


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