HomeHotel LoyaltyMarriott BonvoyMarriott Bonvoy changes to suite night awards for 2024

Marriott Bonvoy changes to suite night awards for 2024

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With the deadline for Marriott’s Annual Choice Benefits approaching (7 January) and with the default option for those not meeting that deadline being 5 Suite Night Awards, this seems like an opportune time to remind TFM readers that Marriott Suite Night Awards will be getting a new name and will work in a slightly different way this year.

Suite Night Award changes

Name change

The most straightforward of the changes coming to Suite Night Awards is the change to what they’re called – from some (yet undetermined) point in ‘early’ 2024, Suite Night Awards will be called Nightly Upgrade Awards.

This appears to be a logical change to make as the new name more accurately reflects what this benefit offers – a single upgrade award is only valid for a single night and the awards can be used to request and upgrade to a better regular room category as well as to a suite.

More brands will honor Nightly Upgrade Awards

As things stand, not all brands participate in Suite Night Awards and not all hotels in the brands that participate will honor Suite Night Awards and this is one of the major limitations of this supposed high-end Bonvoy benefit.

Suite Night Awards are not redeemable at the following brands: The Ritz-Carlton, The Ritz-Carlton Reserve, The Ritz-Carlton Destination Club, EDITION, Protea Hotels, Aloft, Element, Design Hotels, all-Suite Hotels, Marriott Executive Apartments, Marriott Vacation Club, Marriott Grand Residence Club properties and Vistana properties. I

In addition, Suite Night Awards are not redeemable at select Marriott properties which, somewhat unhelpfully, are not listed anywhere online. Bonvoy members have to contact member support to find out which individual properties have chosen to opt out or make a dummy booking to see if their chosen place to stay will consider a Suite Night Award request.

From ‘early 2024’ properties in the Ritz-Carlton, EDITION, Aloft, Element, and Protea Hotel brands will accept Nightly Upgrade Award requests.

On the face of things, this is an improvement, but Bonvoy members should probably not be getting too excited about this change.

On the grounds that Marriott currently allows numerous properties from brands that claim to honor Suite Night Awards not to accept Suite Night Award requests, there’s little reason to believe that various Ritz-Carlton and EDITION properties won’t be given the same leeway when Nightly Upgrade Awards are introduced (I doubt if many people care that Aloft, Element and Protea Hotels will soon consider Nightly Upgrade Award requests).

I think we will have to wait for the new Nightly Upgrade Awards to go live and see which properties will consider upgrade requests before making a definitive judgement on how useful (or not) this change actually is.

More room types will be requestable

I must admit that among the many reservations that I have about Marriott’s current Suite Night Awards, the number of room types that I can choose from when requesting an upgrade isn’t one of them.

Nevertheless, Marriott seems to think that people want more options so starting ‘early’ this year, Nightly Upgrade Award requests will include a bigger variety of room types from which to choose, “with features like oceanfront views, extra space, balconies, and more.”

Note: Marriott isn’t saying that more Suite types will be offered. The extra room types that will be offered will all be below the level of a standard suite.

I guess that I’d have to say that more choice is always a good thing (no one will be forced to request an upgrade to a room type they don’t want) but in practice, I can’t see how this will have any real meaningful positive effect for Bonvoy members – if you’ve earned enough elite night credits to lock in some Nightly Award Upgrades, you’ve almost certainly earned a high enough elite status to be upgraded to one of these better room categories on the day of arrival anyway (which is pretty much when the hotel will decide whether or not to honor the Nightly Upgrade Award request).

Upgrades will be confirmed closer to check-in

At the moment, the rules surrounding the use of Suite Night Awards state that a “hotel’s system will automatically check for availability five days before arrival. If availability is not confirmed five days before arrival, availability is checked each day before arrival, up to 2:00 PM hotel time one day prior to arrival.”

When the change to Nightly Upgrade Awards is made, upgrade requests will only be considered starting three days before arrival.

This looks like a negative change that we should all be up in arms about but in reality, this will have very little effect on most people’s upgrade requests because most properties are not clearing upgrades as far out as 5 days before arrival.

I’ve been making Suite Night Award requests since the benefit was first introduced and I can think of only one occasion on which my request was honored more than a day before check-in (that was when the Sydney Harbour Marriott Hotel at Circular Quay upgraded me to a nice suite a full 5 days before I was due to arrive – it felt like I’d won the lottery!)

In fact, I’ve often noted that a room that I had requested an upgrade to was available to be booked on Marriott.com within the 5-day window only for my upgrade not to clear as the property then sold that room in the days leading up to my arrival.

In practice, hotels (mostly) leave it as late as possible to confirm Suite Night Awards (because they want to give themselves the best chance of selling the suite/high level room before they clear the upgrade), so the fact that upgrades will now not be considered until 3 days before the day of arrival will almost certainly have minimal impact on most requests.

Final thoughts

In my experience, fewer and fewer Suite Night Award requests (for suites) clear every year (I ended 2023 with all 5 of my SNAs still in my account) so I don’t really place much value on the benefit anymore and I can’t say that any of these changes really make any difference to how I view Marriott’s upgrade benefit.

Yes, if you’re lucky enough to score a nice suite upgrade with one of these awards that’s great, but I can’t help but feel that the change of name and the addition of more room options under the level of a standard suite are good indicators that Marriott is trying to condition Bonvoy members into accepting that suite upgrades are not really a thing anymore and that an upgrade to a better view is a good use of what’s supposed to be a top-level benefit.

The fact is that Bonvoy Platinum and Titanium members (members who earn Upgrade Awards) are told by the Bonvoy terms and conditions that even without using an upgrade instrument they should expect to be upgraded to the best available room when they check in (this includes suites) so, from my point of view, as Upgrade Award requests are often unsuccessful and as the rules tell me that I can ask the person checking me in to upgrade me to the best room that I can see the hotel is offering for the nights of my stay, there’s little reason to bother with Upgrade Awards at all.

In fact, by using them I’m just setting myself up for disappointment so it’s better to simply take my chances at check-in when any kind of decent upgrade feels like a win.

Bottom line

At some point in early 2024 Suite Night Awards will be changing. Nightly Upgrade Awards will be their new name, more brands will be open to considering Upgrade Award requests, more rooms will be offered when an upgrade request is being made, but requests will now only be considered in the 3 days leading up to the day of arrival.

For some, the apparent opportunity to use these awards at high-end brands like Ritz-Carlton and EDITION will be seen as a big positive. Personally, I can’t see much changing, in practice, at all.

For Your Consideration

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Currently, if you successful apply for the card_name (Amex's high-end premium Marriott credit card), you can bonus_miles_full.

(Annual fee annual_fees - rates & fees).

Select Benefit Highlights (terms apply & enrollment may be required):

  • Annual free night award worth up to 85,000 points
  • Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status
  • 25 elite night credits every year (limitations apply per Marriott Bonvoy® member account).
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck
  • Priority Pass Select membership
  • Up to $25/month in dining statement credits

Click for more details on the card_name

For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card, please visit rates & fees

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