I'm finishing my first year as Gold Elite, and have usually enjoyed the benefits including upgrades. I don't go into a stay expecting an upgrade, and have often been pleasantly surprised. (The grand prize was a six room presidential suite at the Gaylord National Harbor, from a discounted standard convention room !)
But at many hotels I am told that there is no upgrade "available". While I know that can be true at a really busy hotel, sometimes I'm looking around at a deserted property.
Last weekend I stayed at the Residence Inn Times Square, and the hotel certainly was reasonably busy, but again I was told no upgrade available. I had the basic studio room, so even a 1 bedroom or an Empire State Building view Corner would be an upgrade. I was skeptical, and checked online for the same nights and discovered that all higher level rooms were still available on the website, and for exactly the same price they were at when I had booked several weeks earlier. My understanding of the Marriott room rate system tells me that they weren't close to full occupancy (as several other Marriott's nearby had their rates triple over the same timeframe). Frankly I think the clerk just wanted me to move on as we got there past regular hours, and there was no one there to argue with.
Bottom line- Is there a way to enforce the upgrade policy?