Reflections after 3 months as Marriott Platinum

Discussion in 'Marriott | Rewards' started by tommy777, Jul 25, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. tommy777
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    tommy777 Co-founder

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    All,

    After paying for a bunch of rooms at a couple of Marriotts for work in addition to the Marriott rooms we sold at the FT Awards in NYC in March, I was persuaded that I should get some points for all this activity (duh), so I signed up for Marriott Rewards and was comped Gold. The agent I talked to told me about an 18 night stay before August 30th challenges I could do, as the events gave me a lot of nights already, I thought I'd take I'd take the challenge as I already had qualified for top status at the programs I care about (Hyatt and SPG).

    I wanted to try to figure out WHY Marriott Rewards members are so happy with their hotels and loyalty program.

    So there I was, top tier status and started to book a few nights to try it out. I've had 11 stays since May 30th and my conclusion is that I'm puzzled why someone would stay 75 nights a year to get a top tier level that gives you close to nothing. So here are some observations, pros and cons.

    Upgrades -- absolutely no upgrades -- not even close to any upgrades. I signed up for the Ritz Carlton part of the program to get Platinum, I do stay at some every once in a while. (not that there's any difference from Marriott Rewards). I got treated better as an Amex Platinum than a Ritz Carlton Platinum :)P). What do you get at RC? Free internet. That's it. No free breakfast, nothing.
    Brands takes a while to get used to, but I quickly found out to stay away from Courtyards. As a Platinum, you don't even get free breakfast. Really??

    I will admit that some of the clubs I've visited have better offerings domestic US than anyone else.. But I would have access to those as Gold as well. And the properties? Well, I've tried all the brands and they are not standing out as giving better service, newer/cleaner rooms, some have beds that suck (important to me), toiletries are very low quality across the board.

    So what does Marriott do for their best customer? 25% more points, a lame welcome gift and 48 hour availability guarantee. That's pretty much it.

    So Marriott is kind of like Hilton Honors: Being at the top level is pretty much useless
     
  2. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    When I was Gold I had similar feelings, I thought plat would be a much bigger deal. Guess not. :(
     
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  3. kenbo
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    kenbo Silver Member

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    Like Marriott, Hilton also requires an increased number of stays/nights over Hyatt and SPG in order to reach status.
     
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  4. roadwarrior365
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    roadwarrior365 Silver Member

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    There really isn't any value to being Platinum over Gold. I have received a totel of 7 upgrades in about 200 nights.This weekend I was given a bunch of attitude from the FD agent when I asked for a better room. If my preffered chains would be in the cities where I visit Marriotts. I would dump this status in a second.
     
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  5. sithlord
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    sithlord Silver Member

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    I enjoy my bogo stays at cosmopolitan :)! Customer service is outstanding as Corporate rules with an iron fist versus spg hands off approach.

    For hotel stays I stay based on best promotions,price,property.

    Silver offers you enough to skip gold,plat as most lounges arent worth it.
     
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  6. tommy777
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    tommy777 Co-founder

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    I base it on property, promotions and then price

    Don't agree. The free breakfast, extra points and free internet are pretty good differentiators between gold and silver
     
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  7. RestlessLocationSyndrome
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    RestlessLocationSyndrome Silver Member

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    Alas, the reason people stay at Marriott is because they are lazy, don't want to hop around and want lots of locations. For those that do the next level of research into reward programs, they like the fact that the highest status is only earned through number of nights and not stays, they can redeem 5 nts for the price of 4, and that they can stay at JW and Ritz-Carlton properties. These are the reasons my friends / acquaintances give me for being loyal to Marriott.

    I honestly don't see the point of staying at Marriott for 75 nights to earn Platinum. For that kind of investment, you can earn top level status at Hyatt, Starwood and Hilton (assuming nightly hops + 3 more stays/nights). Or you can pull in Priority Club instead of Hilton and probably earn Plat there in even less time with all their point bonuses (assuming you need to have one mega chain w/ tons of locations).
     
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  8. tommy777
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    tommy777 Co-founder

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    First of all, I've stayed at two JWs and they were at Westin standard at best. Not impressed

    On redemption, let's see.. I wanted to redeem the new RC in Hong Kong for a couple of nights. It's flippin 70K a night for a standard room! And my favorite RC in the US, Laguna Niguel, requires 50K points per night for the crappy pool rooms in the basement, no upgrade awards available --- for the next 12 months.

    Oh, and SPG also gives you 5 nights for the price of 4.. And upgrades you even to a suite when you redeem...

    Nah, not impressed, MR
     
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  9. sithlord
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    sithlord Silver Member

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    I agree on property being first choice and for lounge. Spg is better if you can get a suite at the higher end properties,lounges and credit card. The St Regis Monarch Beach does not offer lounge to plats.
     
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  10. sithlord
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    sithlord Silver Member

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    Hilton and Conrads can be worldclass overseas,just not stateside.
     
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  11. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    Many of those reasons seem rather bizarre.

    Don't want to hop around? Still qualify with fewer nights at Starwood, Hyatt, Hilton...
    5/4 and similar - available most everywhere.

    I can see liking the Ritz-Carlton, but every group has their halo properties, for the most part.
     
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  12. LIH Prem
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    LIH Prem Gold Member

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    I've stayed at some really nice JW's, Tommy. Other than that comment, I agree with you.

    I asked similar questions on Flyertalk after the FT awards last year, and the answers I got came down to 2 things: Consistency and number of participating properties. Marriott (and Hilton) brands are everywhere for the most part.

    -David
     
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  13. tommy777
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    Oh, I'm sure there are nice JWs, outside the US most of the chains have much higher standard. I just haven't found them yet.

    I get that there are more properties, but at the end of the day, from what I've seen so far, I dont see any difference between my HH Gold status and Marriott Platinum, except the lounges, but Hilton at least gives breakfast consistently at all their brands.

    And yet, Hilton does not win any awards, while Marriott wins a bunch.

    Btw, the RC part of the program is pretty :rolleyes: you get better perks T RC as an Amex Plat than a RC Plat w an RC credit card.
     
  14. sithlord
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    sithlord Silver Member

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    Jw Hk is a pretty outstanding property!
     
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  15. MyTravels
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    The Platinum bonus is actually 50%

    50% Bonus on Marriott Rewards Points
    Platinum Elite members who choose to earn points are credited with a 50% bonus on base points earned during stays at our 3,500+ hotels in the Marriott family of brands. Stays at participating The Ritz-Carlton locations are also eligible.
     
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  16. MyTravels
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    MyTravels Silver Member

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    I've written a longer thread about this somewhere but here are a few off the top of my head:
    *Weekday breakfast/lounge (at non-resort properties)
    *The fundamentals (website works, easy to view rates at multiple properties at the same time, easy to post missing domestic stays, can mix award and paid nights in the same reservation, etc)
    *Coverage
    *BOGO (although these values are continually diminishing)
    *Lifetime status
    *Ability to switch to the Mega Bonus offer of your choosing
    *Brand Consistency (I stay at Hiltons too so clearly this is not the end-all-be-all)

    The first five all take priority over upgrades in my book, but to each their own.

    Oh by no means is Marriott perfect, including lack of upgrades, no breakfast/lounge on weekends or at "resorts", and only discounts for 5 night award stays (I prefer the old system of discounts for 2-7 nights).
     
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  17. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    I wish corporate did exert more control over Marriott family but all of their annual or whatever corporate inspections are a cynical joke. I've seen--in fact, more than once in the same property--hotels make changes for the day the corporate inspector visits in order to meet brand standards and then change back when the corporate inspector leaves. In one case, they didn't even maintain the brand standards through the end of breakfast on inspection day. I tried to call and report this to corporate, suggesting strongly that the inspector make a surprise visit the next day and nothing happened. No one cared about the ethics of this behavior.
     
  18. tommy777
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    Pls read my post. I was referring to the difference between Gold and Platinum, which is 25% ;)
     
  19. MyTravels
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    MyTravels Silver Member

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    ..um, I did read your post, and even quoted it..

    If you reread your post it's definitely not clear that you came back to compare Platinum vs Gold and not Platinum vs Joe-No-Status.
     
  20. tommy777
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    OK, here's my quote, I meant compared to Gold. My main point was that the difference between Gold and Platinum is 25% points, a lame welcome gift and 48 hour guarantee

     
  21. bmvaughn

    bmvaughn Active Member

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    Been wondering why I have so much allegiance to Marriott. Stayed in a Renaissance much of last summer while traveling for work and still only have enough points for a couple of nights at a nice property. The mileage game is much more fun than the mattress game.
     
  22. SkiAdcock
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    SkiAdcock Silver Member

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    I'm Lifetime Platinum with Marriott. I prefer Marriott for a variety of reasons:

    * Pretty much properties and brands wherever I need them. Starwood & Hyatt have no comparison in terms of # of properties. Actually Hilton beats *wood & Hyatt in this as well.

    * A variety of brands at different price points, so that if I have a client on a smaller budget I can still stay at a Marriott property/get my points yet meet their budget or stay at a higher end, full service property. Again, Starwood & Hyatt are sorely lacking w/ multitude of brands across price points.

    * Suite upgrades - while not guaranteed, since I've been Platinum I've been quite lucky in getting them. Didn't have that luck when Gold. And rumor has it there are rumblings on the other forums re: not always being available, even on the revered Starwood forums. ;)

    * Automatic lounge access (granted, Golds get it as well - which to me is a BIG benefit over the other chains). Once Hilton went to you have to be on the exec level or you don't get access to the lounge for its Gold members, Hilton which used to be my 2nd choice got dropped. I actually use lounges more in the evening than in the morning.

    * Free internet worldwide for Golds & Plats - and in Asia, all members of Marriott Rewards gets free i-net, regardless of level.

    * BOGO elite offers (buy one weekend night; get second weekend night free), which other chains don't have to my knowledge. Marriott offers them 3x/year for 2-3mth timeframe.

    * LNF (Look No Further) - if you book on Marriott.com & find a cheaper rate elsewhere that can be verified, then not only will Marriott match that price, they'll give you an additional 25% off. AND it can be used with the BOGOs, which means rooms can be quite inexpensive.

    * Platinum amenity gift of points or (usually) food & booze. Sometimes I take the points; sometimes I take the food/booze (and overseas the food/booze plat gift is usually pretty good/better than domestic).

    * 50% bonus points (or to quote tommy, 25% more points than Gold).

    * Platinum override; 48-hour guarantee.

    * Gold/Plat elites benefits guarantee. If Plat arrival gift isn't offered or delivered, you get a cash payout ($100 for full-service properties; $50-25 at limited service properties). Same with guaranteed bed type. Same with not getting breakfast M-F if a property doesn't have an exec lounge. To my knowledge, other chains don't have the cash guarantees.

    * I've found that overseas properties are usually better overall than domestic. My guess is that's probably true of all the chains, though. And Asia definitely seems to be better. I spend a lot of time in London, & LOVE Grosvenor House. Marriott has a # of other high-end properties in Mayfair. I've stayed at some domestic JWs that were fab, and some that were ok.

    * Marriott website is easier to navigate than other chains & loads faster. I like being able to put in a special rate & it brings up all the properties that meet the rate at one glance, & shows what the rate is.

    * Yes, consistency across brands/properties.

    * Ability to switch on the Megabonus promos.

    * Lifetime status, whether it be Silver, Gold or Platinum. To my knowledge, other chains don't have this (certainly not Hilton).

    * Weekday lounge access - and more properties are opening up the lounge on the weekend, or if not, then offering breakfast coupons. I maintain a list/stickey in the Marriott forum on FT. Pretty much all the int'l properties have lounges open 7days/week. Resorts are excluded from the breakfast, which is an irritation. Some do give them, again, usually Asia. And Marriott has amended its program to say outside of the US & Canada, breakfast is available 7 days/week, either via the lounge or in the restaurant if the lounge is closed or the hotel doesn't offer one.

    * Easy award-booking/availability.

    * Re: Courtyard. Yeah, no one can figure out why Marriott doesn't offer free brekkie for that brand. No arguments there.

    * Re: Ritz. They recently joined the rewards program & basically have their own. And nope, don't offer upgrades to Plat members. Quite frankly, my take is that if RC wasn't owned by Marriott they wouldn't be part of any reward program. Let's face it. The average Ritz customer isn't worried about rates, points, nor does s/he need to hotel hop to maintain status in mid-tier chains, which is basically what Marriott, Hyatt, Starwood, Hilton are.

    Unlike tommy, I've had some pretty good darn experiences/upgrades/stayed at some nice properties with Marriott, so they're my # 1 chain, especially now that I have Lifetime status, so to me it's worth it.

    I don't stay at a Marriott because I'm 'lazy' (a pretty rude comment btw). I stay because they've got a variety of properties that meet my needs in a variety of price points, are consistent, offer some nice properties, have a decent rewards program that allows me to get things like upgrades or stay at expensive hotels on awards. Marriott's treated me very well over the years.

    Whether all of the items I've mentioned above are enough for someone to go for Marriott Platinum over Gold depends first on their travel habits, and second what they want out of a rewards program or hotel chain. Each person is different in terms of goals, expectations & willingness to jump through hoops.

    I guess I am lazy in that I don't find hotel-hopping every single night just to get mid-tier status (or top tier) in 3 separate programs worth it. I value my time & prefer things to be easy. It's probably one of the reasons I check bags too. Life's too short to schlep.

    I've said it many times before & will undoubtedly say it many more times in the future. There is no perfect hotel chain, there is no perfect rewards program. All have pros/cons. All have fab properties & promos; all have properties and promos that are not so fab. Just because one likes a hotel chain better than another doesn't make it wrong for others, regardless of the chain.

    Cheers.
     
  23. sithlord
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    sithlord Silver Member

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    Many benefits with marriott are for the asking not just given. Great customer service unlike starwood.
     
  24. clscholes

    clscholes Silver Member

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    For someone who is not a business traveler (except for 2 conferences a year maybe) it is much easier to use Marriott because of the price point options...the lower end hotels they offer (70-120) seem to be a little cleaner then your run of the mill hotels...and as much as I love SPG, they are pricey for the most part.
     
  25. vickers

    vickers Gold Member

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    Location, Location, Location............ They are virtually everywhere. Also, like others, I really like the options. Im sure they are out there, but any Marriott property I have stayed at is consistent in terms of service and cleanliness. Corporate definitely runs the show (if you like that sorta of thing), where some other hotels, like SPG, corporate seems to have a very limited presence, and hotel experience will vary greatly from location to location.
     
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