With the impending merger of the Marriott and Starwood programs looking more imminent, I wanted to write a post about the benefits of Platinum status at both chains. Members love the fact that they can redeem hard earned points at the fancier hotel properties where they can treat their family to nice vacations. But, you may feel less rewarded at Marriott top tier properties then the rest. In particular, the Ritz Carlton. Let’s look at the benefits of Platinum status at both Starwood (25 stays or 50 nights) and Marriott (75 nights) with particular look at how Ritz Carlton treats Platinums.
Dear Ritz Carlton, Why Don’t You Treat Marriott Platinums Better?
- A 50% bonus on base points earned through hotel stays
- Guaranteed room type
- 48 hour guaranteed room availability
- Complimentary premium in-room internet access
Thats great, but what about breakfast and lounge access?
One of the best benefits of being top tier status is free access to lounges and complementary breakfasts. Both Hyatt and Starwood do this right in my opinion. At Marriott it is not as simple or rewarding.
Marriott Platinum members get guaranteed lounge access for themselves and one guest at:
- JW Marriott,
- Autograph Collection,
- Delta Hotels,
- Marriott hotels, excluding at resorts.
So what about at Ritz Carlton or resorts? That’s right no breakfast for Marriott Platinum members. With Marriott, you don’t get free breakfast or a welcome amenity (only 1,000 points) at Ritz Carlton properties.
At Starwood, you can get complementary breakfast no matter what hotel you stay at and that is nice.
- Your choice of welcome gift upon arrival — choose from bonus Starpoints, continental breakfast or local amenity.
Ritz Carlton’s lounges tend to be a lot better then your normal hotel chain lounge club. You don’t get complementary access to those either. Not even a discounted rate for Platinum members is offered across the board.
What about room upgrades?
Marriott Platinums are eligible for a room upgrade but, that is solely up to the hotel. Which is unlike Starwood. Starwood Platinums get a suite upgrade if the suite is available. Marriott Platinums may get a suite but are not entitled to it. Many travelers report that at the Ritz Carlton, not only do they not get an upgraded room, they tend to get one of their smallest, low floor, no view rooms; even after a request for Platinum level, available upgrade.
Complimentary Room Upgrade: Based on room availability at check-in and limited to a Member’s personal guestroom. Upgrades may include rooms with desirable views, rooms on high floors, corner rooms, rooms with special amenities, rooms on Executive Floors, or suites. All upgrades are granted on a space-available basis, as determined at the time of check-in. Upgrades are subject to availability and identified by each hotel. Not available at Marriott Vacation Club.
I have a lot of advice for how Ritz Carlton could treat Marriott Platinum members better. I’d much rather burn my points at a St Regis, or Park Hyatt then the Ritz Carlton for these reasons. I’d love to see Marriott institute Starwood’s benefits when they combine programs because Starwood treats loyalty right.
Marriott’s (top hotels) particularly Ritz Carlton in my opinion could offer the following to Platinums:
- Offer a flat breakfast amenity across the chain, for free or even at reduced rate
- Offer a discounted rate to access the lounges
- Institute Starwood’s take on upgrades, if a suite is available offer it
Loyalty should have its rewards. With Ritz Carlton, Marriott’s benefits are far less rewarding for Platinums as other chains (Starwood and Hyatt in particular.)