yogib

Is Lounge Level upgrade really an upgrade?

Discussion created by yogib on Jan 21, 2019
Latest reply on Jan 22, 2019 by yogib

It's something that I've experienced before and often leaves a slightly bitter taste. A recent post from clebert actually inspired me to start this as a wider discussion.

 

clebert wrote (in Where was your last Marriott stay and were you upgraded to a Suite???):

 

JW Marriott Chicago - upgraded to executive level floor, even tho I'd have access as a platinum regardless.

 

This is the thing. Hotels sell Executive Floor / Club Level / Concierge Level rooms at a higher rate, since they include lounge access. This is a nice option for those people that don't have a high elite status, but want to use the lounge and are ready to pay for it. However, if an elite member (Platinum / Titanium / Ambassador) should have the lounge access as an elite benefit, is the room (same square footage / features, just on a different floor) actually an upgrade?

 

Here's how an upgrade is defined under the Marriott Loyalty Program Terms & Conditions (for each of the elite levels):

4.3.b  Gold Elite Membership Benefits.  In addition to all of the benefits Silver Elite Members receive, Gold Elite Members and above are eligible to receive the following benefits:

[..]

iv.      Complimentary Enhanced Room Upgrade for Gold Elite Members.  This benefit is based on room availability at check-in and is limited to a Member's personal guestroom at no additional charge.  Suite upgrades are excluded for Gold Elite Members.  Enhanced rooms may include rooms with desirable views, rooms on high floors, corner rooms, rooms with special amenities, rooms on Executive Floors.  At The Ritz-Carlton, rooms with direct Club access are excluded.  Upgrades are subject to availability and identified by each Participating Property.  [..]

4.3.c.  Platinum Elite Membership Benefits. In addition to all of the benefits Gold Elite Members receive, Platinum Elite Members and above are eligible to receive the following benefits:

[..]

ii.      Complimentary Enhanced Room Upgrade for Platinum Elite MembersPlatinum Elite Members receive a complimentary upgrade to the best available room subject to availability for the entire length of stay at the time of check-in.   Complimentary upgrade includes suites, rooms with desirable views, rooms on high floors, corner rooms, rooms with special amenities or rooms on Executive Floors.  At The Ritz-Carlton, suites are only included for Platinum Premier Members and rooms with direct Club access are excluded.  Enhanced Room Upgrades are subject to availability and are identified by each Participating Property.  The Complimentary Enhanced Room Upgrade for Platinum Elite Members is available at all Participating Brands except at Marriott Vacation Club, Marriott Grand Residence Club, Aloft, Element and participating Vistana properties.

4.3.d.  Platinum Premier Elite Membership Benefits.  In addition to all of the benefits Platinum Elite Members receive, Platinum Premier Elite Members and above are eligible to receive the following benefits:

[Not defined, so defaulting back to the description in "Platinum Benefits."]

4.3.e.  Platinum Premier Elite with Ambassador Membership Benefits.  In addition to all of the benefits Platinum Premier Elite Members receive, Elite Members who reach 100 nights and $20,000 U.S. dollars in qualifying spend annually based on Qualifying Charges earned on Stays are eligible to receive the following benefits:

[Not defined, so defaulting back to the description in "Platinum Benefits."]

 

The thing that seems to contradict is that it promises members in the 50+ nights level and up that they will get "a complimentary upgrade to the best available room," only to state later that the property can determine which rooms are defined as "upgradable to."

 

So, if the Presidential Suite is available, it would count as "the best available room [which] includes suites," but the hotel can "define" that it's not available as an eligible enhanced room?

 

It begs a more precise definition of "available". If it's available for direct purchase through any Marriott sales channel, it doesn't follow the definition of "available" with regards to whatever the hotel can "define" / interpret as "available."

 

Should we offer one of these to each hotel?

 

I can understand that if there is only a hand-full of suites in the building and there are far more high-end elites checking in, that the hotel doesn't can't really discriminate (especially if they all attend the same corporate event and are likely to compare upgrades). But, just like the Marriott Chateau Champlain here in Montreal does, a hotel shouldn't refuse if the elite member specifically asks for a suite and it shows as available.

 

So why are certain hotels giving a hard time about upgrading elite members to the best available* (yes, it's asterisk time!) room/suite? What gives with hotels that literally tell the member that they only give a one room-type upgrade over the original reservation? An empty room is an empty room and a paying guest is a paying guest. What better way to get social media attention (or at least: returning business) by offering that "wow" experience to the elite members and upgrading them to the best available (no asterisk) room/suite?

 

Feel free to join in to the conversation.

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