I am currently a Platinum Premier and Lifetime Gold Marriott member who has 0 lifetime nights at SPG, but my wife and 13 month old daughter and I are taking a trip from JFK to the Azores and Portugal in August/September where Marriott doesn't have a presence, so we booked through SPG using points. We are staying at the Azor hotel in the Azores and the Pine Cliffs Ocean Suites in Portugal (plus a couple to-be-booked nights in Lisbon).
My question is, what do I expect perks wise for SPG vs. Marriott. Will these properties provide free breakfast? I have already emailed both properties for a standard upgrade request beyond what I was able to book with points, as I do every time with Marriott with 95% success rate, and been denied by both. Not a good start. Specifically the Pine Cliffs Ocean Suite room you can book with points is not a "suite" at all. Most rooms have kitchens but this room doesn't, and we would like a kitchen to cook food for our daughter, and to a lesser extent, us. I asked to upgrade using points and was shot down too. I find the SPG website and so far customer service to be unhelpful, perhaps because I'm so used to the Marriott website and friendly people. Any insight would be appreciated. Maybe this is just a limited bad experience?