Home Hotels Marriott Unveils New 'Work Anywhere' Plans (Good Deal Or Not?)

Marriott Unveils New ‘Work Anywhere’ Plans (Good Deal Or Not?)


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Marriott has followed in Hyatt’s footsteps and is now offering guests the chance to book three new rate options which will allow them to use select Marriott properties as a “home office”, either for a day or as part of a stay of one or more nights. In theory, this sounds like a nice idea, but is what Marriott is offering a good deal or not?

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That’s the wording that Marriott is using to tempt guests into booking one of its three new packages and, if like me you’ve been working from your kitchen table for most of this year, the chance for a change of scenery while still being able to work will probably seem pretty attractive. It certainly sounded attractive to me, so I decided to see if there was any real value on offer – this is what I found.

The New Marriott Packages

First, let’s take a look at what Marriott says that it’s offering.

Day Pass

This is a plan that aimed squarely at the person who needs an office for the day and who doesn’t want to spend the night away from home. In brief, this plan offers the following:

  • A 6am check-in and a 6pm check-out (12 hours inclusive).
  • A guest room including a functional desk, private bathroom, and exposure to natural light.
  • Enhanced connectivity with premium Wi-Fi and “ample power outlets”.
  • Complimentary bottled water
  • Full use of on-property business facilities such as printing, fax, and scanning equipment (where available).

For guests who are members of the Marriott Bonvoy program there are a few additional benefits offered:

  • A complimentary assortment of snacks
  • Earn 10 points/dollar spent on eligible hotel charges, except at Element, Residence Inn, and TownePlace Suites hotels, where guests will earn 5 points/dollar.
  • Platinum Elite, Titanium Elite, Ambassador Elite members get lounge access (where available).
  • A 10% discount on retail merchandise at the property gift shop. This includes clothing, gifts & souvenirs, imprints & logo, jewelry & accessories, facial & body care products.

Marriott has confirmed that Day Pass bookings do not qualify for Elite Night Credits or select Elite Benefits.

At the time of writing, it would appear that the Day Pass option is only available in the following select cities: Atlanta, Dallas, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, London, New York, Phoenix, Singapore, and Toronto. See here for more.

Stay Pass

This is, essentially, a Day Pass + overnight stay with a few extra benefits thrown in but without the 10 points/dollar earning rate. It’s also a rate that’s available in considerably more destinations (around the world) than the Day Pass. In brief, this plan offers the following:

  • A 6am early check-in and a 6pm late check-out at the end of the stay.
  • Overnight accommodation in a standard guestroom, including functional workspace, private bathroom, and exposure to natural light.
  • Enhanced connectivity with premium Wi-Fi and “ample power outlets”.
  • A $10 (USD) food and beverage voucher to be redeemed on-property at participating dining outlets or via room service (where available).
  • Complimentary bottle of water
  • Full use of on-property business facilities such as printing, fax, and scanning equipment (where available)
  • Unlimited access to public spaces, hotel amenities, and fitness facilities (where available)

Guests who are members of the Marriott Bonvoy program will earn points and elite night credits for Stay Pass bookings and will have full access to the usual benefits that accompany their elite status (where those benefits are currently being offered).

Stay Pass rates appear to be available in most major cities – I’ve checked 10 cities on 4 continents, and while the number of hotels that are offering this rate varied considerably from city to city, in every instance there was at least one property in the city offering this rate. See here for more.

Play Pass

As the name suggests (sort of), this is a rate plan that’s aimed at people/families who want to go on vacation but where at least one of the guests needs to be able to work while they’re away from home.

As things stand, this rate plan is available in more locations than the Day Pass but in considerably fewer locations than the Stay Pass (partly because this is mostly limited to resort properties) – see here for more.

Here’s what the plan offers:

  • Business Concierge to assist with all of your work needs.
  • Supervised kids’ activities.
  • Booking access to semi-private workspaces and meeting rooms (where available).
  • Enhanced connectivity with premium Wi-Fi and “ample power outlets”.
  • Full use of on-property business facilities such as printing, fax, and scanning equipment (where available).
  • Access to public spaces, hotel amenities, and fitness facilities (where available).

Guests who are members of the Marriott Bonvoy program will earn points and elite night credits for Stay Pass bookings and will have full access to the usual benefits that accompany their elite status (where those benefits are currently being offered).

Initial Thoughts

Before looking into the cost of booking these three rate plans there were a few things that occurred to me as I was looking through the details of what each plan offers.

  1. A significant number of Marriott properties in the US are currently not offering a wide variety of Bonvoy benefits (like breakfast) and a significant number of Executive Lounges are currently closed, so whether or not one of these rates offers elite benefits doesn’t really matter (if you’re planning on making a booking in the US).
  2. How many people are genuinely going to see the 10% discount on offer at the hotel gift shop (Day Pass) as a genuine benefit? I have no idea why Marriott even bothered including this in the rate – a 10% discount on on-site dining would have been a lot more useful.
  3. Why are so many major world cities not offering the Day Pass plan? Where are Berlin, Cape Town, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Paris, Sydney, etc…? Don’t most hotels worldwide need all the income they can get?
  4. Is the Stay Pass actually offering anything more than what a regular rate will get you at most major Marriott resort properties? There are kids clubs at most Marriott resorts, most people don’t need a “business concierge”, it’s usually very easy to find somewhere to work at a resort (most rooms have a desk and wi-fi is usually available across the whole property) and you don’t have to book a special rate to have access to the business center where you can fax, print and scan however much you need to.

All in all, and after considering what each plan offers, I came to the conclusion that the rates on offer would have to be an obviously good deal if I was to seriously consider a booking.

Looking At The Rates

Day Pass

When it comes to the Day Pass there probably isn’t very much to be gained from comparing the “day rate” to the regular rate that the property is charging for an overnight stay as those are two very different offerings. A more helpful thing to do it to ask “would I pay this rate for an office for the day?”

I decided to check the price of 5 randomly selected properties from 5 different destinations and this is what I found (all prices are for 4 November 2020):

  • Courtyard Dallas Allen – $79
  • JW Marriott Hong Kong – $161
  • Sheraton Grand London Park Lane – $179
  • New York Marriott Marquis – $109
  • Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel – $113

I may be tempted to pay $79 for an office for the day if I’m desperately looking for a change of scenery (or some peace and quiet!), but I cannot imagine a scenario in which I’d pay $100+ for the use of a hotel room for the day if all I needed it for was to do some work.

As it happens, I did end up checking to see how much a night at each of these properties cost on the same date (just out of interest), and in all but one case the cost of a night was considerably more expensive ($88 – $127), but that doesn’t make these day rates any more tempting. Considering most of these properties are probably almost empty, these day rates are closer to what I’d expect to be paying for a 1-night stay.

In summary, there may be some good deals to be found if you hunt around and get lucky but, overall, my searches didn’t reveal anything that suggested that there are a lot of nice deals to be found here.

Stay Pass

With my Stay Pass search, I chose to check the cost of a Stay Pass stay at random 5 properties in 5 random locations for 11 November 2020 and I compared the cost of the Stay Pass rate to the cheapest flexible rate that I could find (the Stay Pass rates can be cancelled up to 23:59 on the day before check-in). This is what I found:

All rates are in USD and the rates at each property are for the same room type.

The first thing to note is that by choosing to book a Stay Pass rate rather than a regular rate you will be limiting the properties available to you significantly. Still, that aside, the results of this search were interesting.

The way I’ve chosen to evaluate what the Stay Pass is offering is to consider whether the premium guests are being asked to pay is worth being able to check-in super-early and being able to check-out at 6pm. As far as I can tell, those are really the only key differences between the regular nightly rate and the Stay Pass rate (keep in mind that Platinum and Titanium Bonvoy members are entitled to a 4pm check-out as part of their benefits package).

What my 5-property search told me was that there are good deals and bad deals on offer here so the Stay Pass may be worth consideration.

If you’re a Bonvoy Elite with late check-out privileges you’re unlikely to be tempted to pay the $100+ premium that’s being charged by the Renaissance Paris Republique Hotel but, depending on your plans, you may well be prepared to pay all the other premiums being charged. $69 may seem a bit expensive for an early check-in, but if you happen to be arriving into town early and you’re planning to leave town after 6pm the next day, that may be a cost worth paying for the added convenience that it buys you.

If you’re not a Bonvoy elite you’re effectively being asked to pay between $4 and $115 (in these examples) for an unusually early check-in and a very late check-out and, for a lot of people, that may be a price worth paying. Ordinarily, a hotel’s check-in time isn’t before 3pm and non-elites are usually asked to vacate their rooms by 12pm on the day they’re due to leave, so these premiums are effectively guaranteeing a non-elite an extra 15 hours of room-time. If you’re due to arrive early and wish to depart late, even a premium as hefty as $115 may be worth it.

Play Pass

With my Stay Pass search, I chose to check the cost of a Play Pass stay at random 5 properties in 5 random locations for a 5-night stay. I compared the cost of the Play Pass rate to the cheapest flexible rate that I could find and this is what I found:

All rates are in USD and the rates at each property are for the same room type.

As expected, if you choose to search for a Play Pass rate you’ll find that the number of properties open to you is significantly lower than if you were just searching for a regular rate. As I’ll show in a moment, there can be advantages in booking a Play Pass rate but considering that what Marriott has said the rate will offer doesn’t seem all that impressive, I strongly suggest that you concentrate on finding a property you truly want to visit before considering whether or not it offers a Play Pass rate.

Having said that, if you happen to want to stay at a property that’s offering a Play Pass rate there’s one very key thing that you need to know: Some properties are offering guests more than the list of Play Pass benefits that Marriott has published.

Take, for example, the JW Marriott Phoenix. On the face of things the property is charging a $44/night premium for the Play Pass rate and if all that was on offer that would seem excessive (I can’t see $44 of value in the list of benefits that Marriott has provided)…but that’s not all that the Play Pass rate offers at this property. It also offers guests a $100/night resort credit that the cheapest flexible rate doesn’t offer – that makes the Play Pass the best deal on offer.

In the case of the Sheraton La Caleta Resort in Tenerife, the $97 premium that’s being changed for the Play Pass rate looks more than a little ridiculous but, upon closer inspection, you’ll find that the Play Pass rate includes breakfast and dinner while the cheaper rate just offers breakfast. The cheapest flexible rate of offer that also provides guests with dinner is just $7 a night cheaper. I’d happily pay $7 extra per day if I was guaranteed to have someone else to entertain the kids while I work 🙂

Essentially, what I found in my searches is that you need to be careful to make sure that you’re comparing like with like. In a good number of cases the Play Pass rate is simply not worth what little it offers, but there are also a significant number of examples that I can cite where the Play Pass rate offers more than you may expect it to offer and, in those cases, it can make sense to pay the premium being charged.

Bottom Line

Marriott is now offering three new packages for guests who may wish to use Marriott properties around the world as “home offices”. From what I’ve seen it looks as if the day rates being charged are a little excessive for what they offer so, unless you specifically need a hotel room for the day, they’re probably not worth considering. However, in a surprising turn of events (I certainly wasn’t expecting this), the Stay Pass and Play Pass options appear to have their uses. They may be limited uses, but they are uses nonetheless.

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