A LoyaltyLobby reader who is a longtime SPG Platinum member recently tried few Marriott properties to check them out before the program merger looming next month.
Here’s the email from the reader:
I’ve been a loyal SPG since 1999.
After a disruption due to health problems I finally achieved Lifetime Platinum status, earlier this year.
With the forthcoming SPG/MR merger I considered hotels of the Marriott brand, booked 4 of them during the recent weeks.
My experience with those is pretty bad:
– I’m still waiting for the points for my stay at the Moxy Berlin Humboldtshain.
– At the Courtyard in Wolfsburg I got (at first hand) the probably worst room category (with an ugly view) although I had achieved Platinum status, at the time already. After complaining I got a better room with at least a nice lake view.
– At the Moxy Ludwigshafen I got a standard room (they probably have no better ones?). The only benefit I got was a “chip” which I could trade in for a bottle of beer from their “mini market”. Btw: the price/performance ratio was really bad: a tiny room with a tiny shower, no amenities for €100+.
– Today I checked in at the Marriott Cologne for a two night stay. During check-in I friendly asked the receptionist if he has a nice room for me. He answered “all our rooms are nice”. After entering the room I found that it was probably of the lowest category: no bathtub, no free bottle of water, very few amenities. In addition the room was very small (didn’t expect this at a Marriott). I went downstairs and complained,
The other receptionist reacted pretty professionally and gave me a better /larger room with a bathtub.
What is wondering me:Is that the way Lifetime Platinum members will be treated in general, after the merger?
PS: At Starwood hotels, I don’t get always upgrades to suites, due to limited availabiliy, what I understand. But the standard approach at Marriott brands to (try to) fob me up with rooms of the lowest category is unacceptable.
PPS: I ask myself if it’s worth to go for the “stretch goal”, i.e. 750 lifetime nights. I have currently 515 Starwood nights (with 13 more confirmed bookings) and 213 (+ the one missing + the two at the Marriott Cologne) Marriott nights. What btw was the benefit to achieve this limit?
The number of „Platinum Bonus“ points one gets is ridiculously low with MR:
a mere 500 (at the best, 250 at Courtyard, 200 at Moxy) which is worth one third of the corresponding SPG points.
You have to keep in mind that Marriott & SPG merger isn’t merger of “equals”. In essence it is Marriott’s takeover of Starwood.
Marriott has always been stronger in the select service field while Starwood’s strength has been the higher end properties.
Marriott Rewards strength has not traditionally been Platinum member treatment that is exactly where SPG excelled. Marriott started to spice up the elite member benefits once they purchased the Starwood to more closely align their program with SPG’s.
Like I wrote earlier in the week (read more here), there still is an issue (sometimes) getting Marriott stays posted from international proprieties and good luck getting help from the customer service if you contact them online.
Three of the four properties that the reader tried out are select service where the elite member benefits are very limited (Moxy and Courtyard).
Even many full service Marriott hotels are very light on number of suites they have. There is no excuse for not providing proper upgrade for a Platinum member, however.
There are Marriott properties with good Platinum member treatment but you need to stay away from these select service properties that are bread and butter of their property portfolio and also not set your foot at Ritz-Carltons.
It is interesting to see in 2019 and 2020 what will happen with the combined program and what percentage of the former SPG members will find a new home somewhere else.