Annoying: Marriott Has Made Suite Night Awards Officially Harder & More Expensive To Use


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I’ve had mixed fortunes with Marriott’s Suite Night awards this year with great success at stays in Sydney and, most recently, in Venice, but I’ve also had my fair share of frustrations with various properties choosing not to allow me to apply a Suite Night award to my reservation because Marriott allows them to opt-out of offering that particular benefit (the London Edition and the Langley both spring to mind).

Now it looks as if Marriott has officially made Suite Night awards officially harder to use.

Marriott Makes An Unofficial Policy Official

There are few things that annoy loyalty program members more than when a program employs rules that it doesn’t bother to publish, and a good example of this has been Marriott’s policy of not allowing Bonvoy members to apply Suite Night upgrades to prepaid reservations despite no such restriction appearing in the Marriott Bonvoy rules and regulations…until now.

I’ve been of the opinion that the inability to upgrade a Marriott prepaid reservation with Suite Night awards has more to do with Marriott’s IT systems not being able to handle the request than it being a Bonvoy policy as I know a number of people who have successfully had upgrades added to prepaid reservations by phone agents…but it looks as if I was wrong.

In a recent update to the Marriott Bonvoy terms and conditions, one of the clauses relating to Suite Night awards was changed to expressly prohibit the use of Suite Night awards on Advance Purchase Rates (bolding is mine):

(1)     Suite Night Awards may be used only on Loyalty Program eligible paid stays (excluding Advance Purchase Rates) as well as Free Night Award stays and Cash & Points stays.

Link to the Bonvoy terms and conditions

Thoughts

I really, really resent this.

While there are a good number of Marriott properties that don’t actually offer Advance Purchase rates, some of the better deals I’ve booked (in locations like Singapore, Hong Kong, and London) have all been Advance Purchase rates and I don’t see why I should have to pay a higher room rate to use a benefit that’s supposed to be a reward for my loyalty to Marriott.

Just as an example, on a randomly selected night, the difference between the cheapest Advance Purchase rate and the cheapest Standard Rate at the JW Marriott Singapore South Beach is almost 18% …

…and I don’t see why I (or any other Marriott Bonvoy member) should have to pay 18% more for a room just for the chance to use a Suite Night award (don’t forget that the upgrade isn’t guaranteed regardless of the room rate you pay).

As we approach the end of the calendar year more and more Bonvoy members will be reaching status levels where Suite Night awards are one of the benefits on offer for next year and, if you happen to be one of these people, you should think long and hard before you choose Suite Night Awards as your benefit of choice.

Yes, if you’re staying at a property that will honor Suite Night Awards and you’re not paying an Advance Purchase rate then it’s great when you get upgraded to a nice big suite…but that’s not how things are always going to be.

Not only do a lot of overseas Marriott properties offer good rates that are now officially ineligible for Suite Night award upgrades (so you’ll have to pay more just for the chance of being upgraded – there’s no guarantee the upgrade will come through), but we still don’t have any way of knowing which Marriott properties will honor Suite Night awards when we’re booking online (even if we book an eligible rate)

Bottom Line

I’ve had the option of choosing 5 Suite Night Awards for 2020 (for spending 50 nights at Marriott properties this year) for over a month and I still haven’t committed to selecting them as my benefit of choice for next year. That should tell you all you need to know about how easy and economical they are to use.

11 COMMENTS

  1. Marriott has already said this is temporary due to an issue where their system isn’t allowing it. They said they’re in the process of fixing it and it will be changed back. You’re a few weeks behind on the news my friend.

    • Edited to add: I realize that this has been reported as being “temporary” elsewhere but…

      If it’s temporary why put it in the terms and conditions? Or, if they absolutely have to put it in the terms and conditions, why not include the information that it’s a temporary measure?

      I’ll believe that this is temporary when I see the current wording removed from the t&cs and when I can book an Advanced Rate and apply a Suite Night award.

      • I agree: why put it into the T&C if it is only temporary?
        I work for Marriott Intl. and to me it seems like it is here to stay. Like so many other “perks” that have been decimated in the past.
        And since when is “Larger room with King bed” considered an upgrade worthy of hard earned SNA? (Suite Night Awards)
        If I could insure to keep my anonymity (and my job) I would go into more details of what has been changed in the past – and what is a raw deal for loyal guests.

  2. I’m trying to recall the last time Marriott did anything that was purely for the benefit of the customer but I’m coming up empty. Sadly, this is just one more example in a very long list of ways Marriott is choosing to hurt loyal customers.

  3. No wonder I’d booked a room at Marriott Burbank CA at an advanced purchase rate but the suite nights awards weren’t available. The hotel said they’d take it if Marriott reservation customer service could add it, but obviously the CSR couldn’t do so. It was so annoying!

  4. Marriott’s Loyalty program continues to go downhill. Suite nights are unusable. I have 10 suite nights for 2019, and so far only been able to use 1. I will have 10 more in 2020, but Im not planning on using them. They are nothing more than a marketing scam.

  5. I have 10 Suite Night Rewards that were just rejected for my next 2 week stay. All the other reservations either didn’t allow them or property didn’t have suites. 124 nights so far this year and 20+ to go. Sydney isn’t even allowing them.

    Won’t bother next year.

  6. I remember when Marriott treated me better. Other hotel chains would do things to attract new customers at the expense of their loyal customers but Marriott made me feel like I was valued as a loyal customer. Keeping me as a loyal customer was more important than attracting new customers.

    Now I feel like I’m being offered less for my loyalty. I have Suite Night Rewards. They expire at the end of the year. I will not be able to use them.

    I feel less and less like a loyal customer. Add to that, when I stay at a former SPG property I don’t feel like a valued customer. So the SPG merger exposed my credit card information, messed me up for lifetime status and for nothing really. I’ve booked SPG properties to be sadly disappointed and now only book the old Marriott properties. But even that might change.

    If Marriott is going to treat me the same as other hotel chains, why bother preferring them over others. I might was well stay at the hotel with the best rates.

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