Are There Too Many Marriott Elite Members?

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Marriott Bonvoy officially launched last year in August, so it’s been almost a year since the start. Previously there was Starwood Preferred Guest, Marriott Rewards, and Ritz Carlton Rewards all which have been combined.

As a result, there’s a bunch of Marriott Bonvoy members, but even more there are a TON of elite members in the program. As a result, it seems like more and more complaints from elite members (specially Platinum, Titanium and Ambassadors) who aren’t receiving their benefits.

Specifically for this post, the focus is on Platinum Elite, Titanium Elite and Ambassador Elite members who all receive 4pm late check-outs, lounge access, suite upgrades (based on availability).

At a recent Marriott property, the front desk agent made mention that of the 100 arrivals, there were 7 Ambassadors, 15 Titaniums and 18 Platinum members arriving. 40% of the days arrival held Platinum status or higher for this specific example, and it’s not just a one off. Most popular city center and resort properties are in the same spectrum.

Hotels just don’t have the amount of suites in inventory to provide suite upgrades, so it seems over the course of this year so far, that suite upgrades aren’t being given as often.

The other challenge is the 4pm check-out. Not so much as if it’s being honored, but upon arrival, I’ve been told a handful of times this year that the reason my room isn’t ready is the previous guest is also a platinum member and isn’t leaving until 4pm.

Marriott does have their Ultimate Reservation Guarantee, which ensures if you booked a room your reservation will be honored, however that doesn’t help with any sort of room upgrade guarantee.

Have you noticed a lack of elite benefits with Marriott this year so far as a Platinum Elite, Titanium Elite and Ambassador Elite member? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

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  1. Ambassador and lifetime titanium. Tried to use a 5 night suite upgrade at Westin Grand Cayman; received notification before I left home that’s my request had been honored, called my ambassador to thank her. Checked in to the hotel and got a regular room with pool view.
    To the point of this article, the manager said they have a total of 5 suites and can not possibly accommodate all the suite upgrade requests they get.
    I asked why I got the OK notice and was told that was because I had at least been upgraded. They gave me my suite nights back, but doubt I’ll have any Morten’s luck anyplace else using them…Marriott has a real problem here…FIX IT!

  2. There are also properties that aren’t complying with their obligations. Had a stay at a Courtyard in Newark, DE where upon checkin at around 10pm, was told there were no upgrades available for me as a Titanium…this despite multiple suites being available to book online for the duration of my 2 night stay.

    Followed up via Twitter…offered screenshots. Marriott “investigated” and booted the complaint back to the property…which predictably has remained silent on the matter.

  3. I wish I had a good one. I did a hundred nights last year to get Ambassador, but if I recall got the suite nights at either 50 0r 75…maybe both. Someone, maybe Hyatt will guarantee your suite at time of booking….worked great a couple of years ago at Park Hyatt Paris at Christmas.

    Marriott has so many properties that if one does any traveling its hard not to get some level of status and of course that just dilutes the value.

    Somehow they have to bite ther bullet and make these rewards more difficult to earn because right now they are worthless…

  4. When you make a reservation at a major property one should expect not to get their hopes too high for major upgrades after all reading between the lines of your article they all appear to be at highly trafficked properties.

    Now have said that I have found that not all properties honor the system some just plain lazy and others hold out to possibly sell that room/suite. Internationally one stands a far better chance of getting that (entitlement) suite than domestically as many of the domestic properties hold those suites like they’re golden. Which is BS.

    Finally Marriott is so damn afraid of offending their franchisee’s there is little to no policing , of anything . Marriott today is but a shell of what it once was, but then most others are the same.

    Are there too many elites you never answered your question.

  5. @Albert,
    The solution? It will be self correcting. I am “just”Platinum but I stopped all Marriott stays after Q1. Moved to Hyatt/Hilton.
    One less elite member in the competition.

  6. As @Ghostrider5408 points out, Marriott is frightened of the hotels and when hotels don’t honor promised benefits, there’s just no recourse for the customer. As this has been happening a lot, there will be less elites because no one wants empty promises, and nobody beats Marriott at empty promises.

  7. Agree with above comments. Benefits are now next to useless. Lifetime Titanium and have stayed at only a few Marriotts this year. Moved virtually all of my spend to other brands that still have, you know, benefits.

  8. I earned Platinum via the challenge this year and have stayed at numerous resorts since across various brands. In every hotel they have made a clear effort to give the benefits as much as possible but I would note that the more premium the brand the less likely you are to get the top level benefit. That said I have almost no complaints other than a non suite upgrade at St Regis.

    I think the way to manage this would be to put more emphasis on amenity and discount benefits for some tiers Wh platinum. Maybe take the upgrade focus away and give it as more of a treat but replace it with free massage or dinner voucher or something tangible that the member feels rewarded.

    I would also note that there is a clear communication to continuously thank you for your loyalty. At almost every touch point I get thanked for being platinum. It’s quite incredible.

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