Marriott Clarifies New Suite Upgrade Policy

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Marriott’s new loyalty program launches today, and so far it looks like the transition is going pretty well. It seems like both the Marriott and SPG sites are back up, and you can see points rates, but you can’t yet actually book award stays. Given the scale of this project, I think it’s great news that their sites aren’t just down altogether.

Earlier I wrote about some concerning updates to Marriott’s Platinum upgrade policy. Specifically, on Marriott’s new Platinum benefits page, they state the following regarding room upgrades:

We’ll do our best to upgrade your room (including Select Suites), based on availability at check-in. Upgrades are subject to availability identified by each hotel and limited to your personal guest room. See terms and conditions for details.

All along we’ve been told that Marriott’s new suite upgrade policy would mirror Starwood’s. As a point of comparison, here’s what Starwood’s Platinum upgrade policy was:

An upgrade to best available room at check-in — including a Standard Suite

There’s a big difference between the two — Marriott is saying they’ll upgrade you, and that upgrade could include a suite (at the hotel’s discretion), while Starwood’s policy had said that you are entitled to a suite upgrade subject to availability.

Vineet was perhaps correct in calling me out in the comments section:

Were Marriott not confirming to you that this was indeed how they were implementing it? I ask because this has been up since April (launch announcement), I heard David state things to the contrary just like you did, however they also confirmed in writing that this was how it was. Since this is literally months old, why wasn’t it covered earlier?

It has left me genuinely confused and bewildered.

Maybe I’m crazy, but virtually all of us had been told repeatedly that Marriott’s new policy would mirror Starwood’s, so I was taking their word over any leaked terms & conditions.

Well, I just had a chance to speak to a Marriott spokesperson about this issue, and he provided me an update.

He assured me that Marriott’s intent is to offer upgrades to the best available room at the time of check-in for the duration of the stay, including standard suites.

This was made crystal clear to me, so the claim is that Marriott’s upgrade policy will align with Starwood’s upgrade policy. It’s not that hotels can upgrade you if they want, but rather that if a standard suite is available then it’s a benefit.

They tell me that they’re working on updating the terms & conditions to reflect that this is their intent. It could take them a few days to update this, given the scale of their current project.

I don’t want to speculate any further on this, personally, as to how this happened (was this an honest oversight, an attempt to pull a fast one, or what?). They’ve doubled down on the intent of their policy, and now we just have to wait for the terms to be updated.