Home Miscellaneous Trying To Use Marriott's Suite Night Awards Continues To Be Incredibly Annoying

Trying To Use Marriott’s Suite Night Awards Continues To Be Incredibly Annoying


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Marriott’s Suite Night Awards are supposed to be one of the best benefits that the Marriott Bonvoy program offers as they’re only offered to members who credit a minimum of 50 nights to their Bonvoy accounts in a calendar year, but the more I try to use them the more convinced I am that they’re not a particularly useful benefit at all.

There are a variety of issues with Marriott’s Suite Night awards (not least the issue that upgrades are not confirmed until 5 days before check-in…at best) but the fact that they appear to be useable at fewer and fewer properties is the biggest issue of them all.

The terms and conditions of the Marriott Bonvoy program make it pretty clear that a significant number of properties don’t have to honor Suite Night Awards…

Not all Participating Properties participate in Suite Night Awards. Suite Night Awards are not redeemable at the following brands: The Ritz-Carlton, The Ritz-Carlton Reserve, The Ritz-Carlton Destination Club, The Ritz-Carlton Residences, EDITION, Protea Hotels, Aloft, Element, Design HotelsTM, all-Suite Hotels, Marriott Executive Apartments, Marriott Vacation Club, Marriott Grand Residence Club properties and Vistana properties. In addition, Suite Night Awards are not redeemable at select Participating Properties.

…and they also make it pretty clear that the only way to know whether an individual property (that isn’t attached to one of the brands named above) will honor Suite Night Awards before you actually make a booking, is to get in touch with Bonvoy customer services:

Contact a Customer Engagement Center for individual Participating Property Suite Night Award participation.

That’s not good enough. Every Marriott property’s webpage should make it explicitly clear whether or not the property will honor Suite Night Awards as guests shouldn’t have to contact customer services to find out.

I’ve been frustrated by not being able to use my Suite Night Awards in the past, but my annoyance at Marriott allowing hotels to pick and choose which parts of the Bonvoy program they want to adhere to and which they prefer to ignore has been tempered, to a degree, by the fact that most of the properties that have refused to honor my suite night awards have been high-end properties (e.g. The Langley), and the fact that I’ve still manged to score great upgrades at some very nice properties (e.g. The Gritti Palace).

In the past few days, however, I’ve started to question why I still bother choosing Suite Night Awards as one of my Bonvoy Annual Choice benefits.

Just like most people, I don’t spend a lot of my time at very high-end properties so I don’t think it’s too much to ask to expect to be able to use my Suite Night Awards when I’m booking my stays. To be clear, I don’t expect my Suite Night Awards to clear every time I try to use them – I fully understand that properties get full and that suites get booked up by paying guests – but I do expect to be able to apply them to my mid-tier reservations in the hope that they’ll clear.

Of late, this has simply not been happening – 3 mid-tier properties in a row have turned out to be properties that don’t honor Suite Night Awards – and my latest failure was the one that finally really, really annoyed me.

The Lexington Hotel is a Marriott property in Midtown Manhattan and as it’s a Category 6 property…

…I think it’s safe to say that it’s not particularly high up on the luxury scale. And, as it’s part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection, it’s not part of a brand that refuses to honor Suite Night Awards.

Whichever way you look at it this property is unremarkable. It’s not a high category property, it’s not in high demand, it doesn’t get rave reviews (although a few of the reviews are very good), and it’s often one of the cheaper Marriott options in central Manhattan. But as soon as I confirmed my reservation and went to apply a Suite Night Award, this is the message I saw:

Grrrrrrr…..

The question that I wish Marriott would answer is this: If I can’t be sure that a middle-of-the-road property like the Lexington in NYC will at least let me try to apply Suite Night Awards to my reservation, what is the point of me selecting them as a benefit?

Yes, it’s great that wonderful properties like the Gritti Place honor Suite Night Awards, but as someone who spends most of his travels in mid-tier properties the occasional superb upgrade doesn’t work for me.

Suite Night Awards are meant to be a perk that make future stays more comfortable after a guest has put a lot of business Marriott’s way the preceding year so, unsurprisingly, I want to be able to at least try to use my Suite Night Awards when I book Category 5 and Category 6 properties during my regular travels. Is that too much to ask?

Apparently, it is. And that’s annoying.

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14 COMMENTS

  1. I agree that these things are very frustrating to use, at the point of almost being worthless. the challenge I often experience is let’s say I select the 5 SNAs for my annual award. Great. First biz trip is 3 days, I put in for the upgrade and the magic happens. So now I have two left. My next biz trip is also for 3 days. Do I make a res at the property for 2 days, apply to use the 2 SNAs I have left and then hope the property won’t make me move for the last night, which is on another reservation? Or do I pocket the two and hope I have left and hope for the magic to happen on another trip that is magically 2 nights and the SNAs clear those nights? I have 10 nights SNAs that I am applying for a 10 night stay in November…I’m guessing the odds are slim to none that the hotel will give up 10 nights. Even as a LT member, the normal upgrades are tough to get for a 10 night stay. I suspect what will happen is Marriot will turn SNAs into another revenue opportunity….want us to confirm 30 days out your SNA, we will do so for a “convenience fee” of $20 per night or ??? Mark that you heard this idea here first! LOL

  2. In my experience, if a hotel participates in the SNA scam the upgrade I am offered is near worthless. I am usually offered a room on a higher floor (high floor is in my profile) or a room with a preferred view, both of which I would usually receive anyhow as an elite member and sometimes these aren’t even priced differently. I don’t think I was ever offered an actual suite or anything close to it, even though there was plenty of availability for those.

  3. Can’t speak for others but got an incredible one bedroom suite at the JW Marriott in Hong Kong in 2019 using a suite night upgrade for a 3 night stay that overlooked the harbor and Kowloon.

    Hit or miss I know but I’ve been able to get great value from them (which is all that really counts in my opinion). Lifetime Titanium so maybe that helps me get the upgrades..

  4. As far as I am concerned, the MARRIOT loyalty program is pretty much gone. Always so disappointing to try to use suite awards or even a decent upgrade.
    The breakfast benefit is no longer provided at most high end locations. That took about
    1 year to disappear after MARRIOT took over.
    For MARRIOT, it is now 100% about the money. No room for loyalty.

    So why is it still called a “Loyalty Program”.

    I was a Westin Premier Member back in the nineties. Than it became the SPG loyalty program.
    I always felt I was receiving great benefits.

    When MARRIOT came along, it all went out the door. Realistically, is it still worth having.
    I don’t think so.

  5. These awards are a crapshoot for sure, but I’ve had good luck getting them to clear the last three years. I DO save them up for aspirational properties.

  6. One thing to clarify, it’s my understanding that the properties do not decide what rooms to make available, it’s done by corporate. Whether the individual properties can opt in or out I don’t know, it appears that could be the case from the weasel language in the T&C’s.

  7. So much whining. There are thousands of hotels in the 20+ brands that do participate in SNAs even with the tiny fraction of hotels that don’t. Most of the hotels choosing not to participate don’t have many suites in the first place, or have many suites booked outright often enough — so they actually opt out of SNAs to preclude the inevitable disappointment (and often conspiracy theories) that result from SNAs being declined. That’s exactly why the Prince Gallery Tokyo (small number of suites) and Langley (41 total rooms) Luxury Collection hotels opted out of SNAs as it were.

    So the Lexington doesn’t participate in SNAs — choose one for the other 50-60 Manhattan hotels that do if that’s a major priority to you.

    One of the overlooked benefits of being Ambassador and even Titanium status is that the LACK of SNA participation at such brands or properties actually INCREASES our elite chances for complimentary upgrades at check in (and even earlier for Ambassador elites) since we don’t lose any suite opportunities to Plats or even other Titaniums using SNAs. Oops — an unintended benefit for those with higher elite status. Turns out Marriott isn’t quite the evil empire that entitled bloggers believe it to always be.

    • Always amusing when a Bonvoy apologist (Hey! Look at that. We can both do the name calling thing) tries to spin the inadequacies of a published benefit as a positive.

  8. While I share your frustrations, I think that your expectation of Marriott to act in a clear and consistent manner regarding the customer is unfortunately unrealistic. If the company truly cared it might be different but since it’s pretty apparent that they don’t you’re left with a wildly variable hodgepodge depending on what an individual property decides.

  9. Why play the lottery when can just book a fabulous apartment with AirBNB? Yup, I miss the SPG days. Going to give Marriott Plat a try (I am at 48 nights right now through card benefits) for a year but don’t hold out much optimism that it is worth trying to keep.

  10. Is there any benefit to try to upgrade early. I have a trip planned at the beginning of next year and I dont know if a duaghter will be travelling with us or not. Some of the suites (that I would prefer) have only 1 king bed, but other options for a “suite upgrade” is 2 queens (but they are not really suites and as a Titanium level should be getting that room anyhow). Does anyone know how they do the suite requests ? I know they are not confirmed until 5 days out at the earliest. Do they just take all the requests they have and the highest elite level gets filled first, then titanium, them platinum, etc. Or is it when you request the upgrade that puts you on the top of the list. Not sure if doing it early is helpful or doesnt matter. And I might not know until a month before the trip whether the daughter can get the time off of work. Thanks for any insights

    • There’s nothing in the terms and conditions which would suggest that there is any advantage in requesting an upgrade early but there’s no harm in requesting one as soon as you can. Marriott says that upgrades will not be considered until 5 days before the day of check-in and at that point I would expect the upgrades to be confirmed by status level. However, it’s unclear what happens when two members of equal status are left competing for one upgrade. What metric does a property use to differentiate between the two? There’s a reasonable chance that the person who requested first will get the upgrade…but that’s just my speculation.

  11. Marriott keeps changing our # of guest from 2 to 4–only reason I can think of is that we’ve asked for SNA’s for our upcoming 5 night stay at Marriott Boston Long Wharf, and they’re changing our number of guests on us to exclude us from the upgrades we requested. We already called Marriott and they “supposedly” fixed it over the phone, but my account still says 4 guests in the room!!

  12. Even though at reservation it says “Suite Night awards cannot be applied to this reservation”. I called into the toll free number and they were able to add it to the reservation.
    I received email that they will start looking for a suite 5 days prior to arrival. I kept checking for suite availability during those days. There were many available and my suite night awards kept showing “pending” status. Are they not supposed to confirm the suite if one is found during the 5 days prior to arrival? Otherwise what is the meaning we will start looking for a suite 5 days prior to arrival?

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