I don't think the new Platinum arrival gift changes has gotten the attention it should because it was bundled in w/ the offering cont'l brekkie on weekends announcement. In my opinion the new policy is a downgrade and it works in Marriott's favor.
A few things (not in particular order):
* Basically the Platinum arrival gift $100 guarantee is going away if it's 500 points or a $10F&B credit. The only way one would invoke it is if not asked in the first place. Note - I rarely invoked the guarantee, but it was there for a purpose: to ensure that properties a) offered & b) delivered the platinum arrival gift.
Which raises another question that I would like to see CommunityManager answer: if the $10 credit does not appear on one's bill, will the $100 guarantee be applicable?
* I frequently took the amenity over the 500 points. I enjoyed the (my choice) 1/2 bottle of wine and cheese/crackers that would be delivered at some point during the stay (ie, when I asked for it to be delivered). I found it to be a nice snack & there would be times I wouldn't feel like a full meal or the restaurant was closed & it did the trick.
* There are very few things on the menu that are $10 or less (certainly not a 1/2 bottle of wine & cheese/crackers), which means that Marriott will get increased revenue as people order something from room service or restaurant/bar to use up the credit. Note, if they were a leisure (vs biz) traveler & were going to order food/drink anyway, this might be better for them. But odds are more biz travelers stay at Marriotts than leisure travelers.
* For the biz traveler, this doesn't offer any benefit as meals are expensed. Yes one could say that one should reduce expenses for one's employer, but the Plat amenity gift was supposed to be for the elite & a benefit to the elite, not the employer.
* Also, if one chooses the $10F&B but then doesn't have time to use it, they lose out & Marriott wins.
* A very, very, very minor point is that 150 points less are earned if the $10 credit is utilized.
* While technically a property could offer more: a) 500 points or b) amenity gift or c) $10F&B credit (which I think is the optimum options), my guess is the vast majority are going to offer only a) 500 points or b) amenity gifts, as unlike the lounges open/closed on the weekends, the properties have been pretty consistent in offering up the pre-printed card w/ points or amenity, so when the new preprinted cards come out they'll just have the 500 points or $10F&B to check.
So I consider the change to be a downgrade.