The topic of upgrades has been the source of much frustration and the topic of more than a few threads around here. Having been around the block a few times and reaching the high end of the loyalty status bar, I have found that getting "upgraded" really varies widely based on a number of things. The property type, location & availability certainly play into it but mostly it seems by how the hotel management/staff view loyalty/status within the MR program.
I know many of us are a little jaded, if we do not get a suite or some incredibly wonderful super star type room we don't really think we got an upgrade, I'm as guilty as anyone on this one . As a point of reference, just the other day I was at the Renaissance Orlando Airport property. I checked in mid evening, the staff was great but when I inquired about an upgrade I was told "well in fact you were upgraded to the concierge level". I know I looked at the guy with the "really, that's the best thing you can do" look but it was only for one night and as it turns out the rooms on that floor were really quite nice, in fact the room I had appeared to be a standard size for the floor but it felt as large as the suite I had once at an all suite property in southern California.
What I have observed here and at properties is that our expectations as travelers and loyalists to the Marriott brands vary wildly from what the hotels consider an upgrade. The littlest thing that a property can differentiate a room by in some places seems to count as an upgrade (can't see the parking lot, can see the parking lot, balcony, tub & shower vs just shower, etc). While these little things matter, they seem rather petty when you travel as much as most of us seem to do year in and out. For me, averaging 100+ nights for the past 6 or so years, I have grown to expect that with my platinum or PP status I should automagically be placed on the concierge floor or executive floor. I should automatically be provided with the things that come with my status [access to the lounge, free internet, breakfast (if applicable by rules), etc] and not have the staff treat it as a bonus or upgrade of some sort. If the a room is not available on the executive/concierge floor, they should not treat access to the floor as "special" since its part of the perks of status. Perhaps I'm more jaded than others but I do think loyal members should be rewarded with at least friendly staff, a better than standard room and of course the due and proper of their status level.
My question to all of you is what do you think should count as an upgrade? Do you think there should be certain automatic upgrades that come with a level of status, such as a guaranteed room on the executive/concierge floor? Are there other things that maybe the hotels are not doing that could be considered an upgrade or perk if there is no upgrade available (such as an all suite property)?