Marriott Bonvoy elite members are eligible for a number of guarantees that are backed by a cash payment to ensure property compliance.
One of the guarantees is the Elite Welcome Gift, one that I have exercised several times this year. Hotels should offer Platinum, Titanium and Ambassador members a Welcome Gift-choice at the time of checking in. If they forget, you can exercise this guarantee and collect the cash or negotiate bonus points as a compensation.
You can access Marriott’s page for elite gift guarantees here.
Here are the Platinum, Titanium & Ambassador Elite Welcome Gifts:
Guaranteed Platinum Elite/Titanium Elite Welcome Gift
Check out this when you check in: As a Platinum or Titanium Elite member, you’ll receive a special gift upon arrival at participating hotels, with a choice of an amenity gift or points. If guarantee is not met, guest compensation applies.
WELCOME GIFT CHOICE/POINTS
Marriott Hotels, JW Marriott, Delta Hotels, Autograph Collection, Renaissance Hotels
1,000 points per stay or $10 Food & Beverage credit per stayAP/CALA/MEA:
1,000 points per stay or Food & Beverage amenityRESORTS only:
1,000 points per stay or breakfast in restaurant per day. Member + 1
|Gaylord Hotels||1,000 points per stay or $10 Food & Beverage credit per stay||$100 USD|
|St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, W Hotels, Sheraton, Le Méridien, Westin, Tribute Portfolio||1,000 points per stay or amenity per stay or breakfast in restaurant per day
|The Ritz-Carlton, EDITION, Marriott Vacation Club, Design Hotels™||1,000 points per stay||N/A|
500 points per stay or $10 Food & Beverage credit per dayAP/CALA/MEA:
Hotels without lounge – 500 points per stay or Food & Beverage amenity or $10 Food & Beverage credit per dayHotels with lounge – 500 points per stay and breakfast in lounge (if lounge is closed- breakfast in restaurant per day)
|AC Hotels, Moxy Hotels||U.S./CAN/EU:
500 points per stay or $10 Food & Beverage credit per dayAP/CALA/MEA:
500 points per stay or Food & Beverage amenity per stay or $10 Food & Beverage credit per day
(AC Hotel)$25 USD
|SpringHill Suites, Fairfield by Marriott, Residence Inn, TownePlace Suites||U.S./CAN/EU:
500 points per stay or Food & Beverage itemAP/CALA/MEA:
500 points per stay or Food & Beverage amenity
(SpringHill Suites, Residence Inn)
(Fairfield by Marriott, TownePlace Suites)
|Four Points, Aloft||500 points per stay or amenity or breakfast in restaurant per day||$50 USD
|Protea Hotels||500 points per stay or breakfast in restaurant per day||$50 USD|
|Element||500 points per stay or amenity||$25 USD|
Here’s what you need to keep in mind:
1. The stay must be qualifying.
2. You must have your Marriott Bonvoy number attached to the reservation.
3. You should NOT check-in using the app (defaults to points).
4. Compensation only applies if they don’t ask for your welcome gift choice at the time of checking in or forget to deliver the chosen F&B amenity.
5. You need to exercise this guarantee while still at the hotel.
6. The guarantee doesn’t apply if chosen amenity points fail to post. You just need to follow up with customer service.
This benefit doesn’t apply for Ritz-Carlton, EDITION, Marriott Vacation Club, Design Hotel brands because they only award 1,000 bonus points per stay (no other options).
Some members wrongly believe that this guarantee applies if they are not “welcomed” as an elite member which is incorrect. The Elite Welcome Gift-guarantee only applies if it is not offered at the time of checking in.
How To Request
Some members may feel uncomfortable when exercising the guarantee. If the hotel has a lounge, just request to speak with the Manager on Duty, Loyalty Champion or Front Desk Manager while there. If not, give the operator a call and ask to speak with one.
They likely argue first that the guarantee doesn’t apply yet because they can offer it until you check out (wrong). This is a Welcome Gift that needs to be offered at the time of checking in.
Another argument that I often hear is that everyone chooses the points and hence they have selected it for me. Wrong again. It is my choice which option I prefer and a hotel needs to offer it, again, at time time of checking in.
Cash Versus Bonus Points
Once a hotel agrees to pay the guarantee, they will likely suggest just taking the amount off the folio. Don’t accept this. It won’t work for those whose employer reimburses for the stay and you will also earn less points.
You can most of the time negotiate a bonus points deposit in your account in lieu of the cash. Based on my personal experiences, hotels have trouble handing out $100 bills but are happier to post points.
Marriott affiliated hotels pay $60 for every 10,000 points issued as a compensation. I tend to request 10K to 20K points for the $50 guarantee or 20K to 30K points for the $100 one (depending on the mood).
Qualifying stay & rate:
i. A “Stay” is a stay of one or more consecutive nights at the same Participating Property by a Member who: (A) provides his/her Membership Number at the time of reservation or at check-in; (B) pays a Qualifying Rate or redeems a Points redemption Award or a promotional Award for the stay; and (C) stays in one of the reserved guest rooms. If a Member checks out of a guest room and then checks back in to a guest room at the same Participating Property within 24 hours, it will count as a single stay for purposes of calculating Stays and issuing Member benefits. A Member may only earn Points for up to three (3) guest rooms during any Stay if he/she stays in one of the reserved guest rooms and pays a Qualifying Rate or redeems a Points redemption Award or a promotional Award for all of the guest rooms.
2.1.e. Qualifying Rates. A “Qualifying Rate” is the rate a Member pays for a Stay in a guest room at a Participating Property which qualifies to earn Points or Miles. Qualifying Rates include most business and leisure rates, such as rates found on Marriott.com without an application of a discount code, Standard and Premium Retail rates, Advanced Purchase rates, Corporate negotiated rates, and national/regional/local Government rates. Unless otherwise specifically stated, Members will receive their membership tier benefits during stays on Qualifying Rates.
Elite benefits guarantees such as the Elite Welcome Gift are only valid on qualifying stays where a member uses a qualifying rate such as corporate or an award.
Note that reservations booked on third party OTAs such as Expedia or Booking.com are not qualifying and elite benefits including this guarantee do not apply.
Here’s the relevant part of the Marriott Bonvoy terms:
4.1.c. Benefits of Elite membership apply to stays on Qualifying Rates (as described in Section 2.1.e.) and are reserved for Members only and apply solely to the one guest room in which the Elite Member stays. Only one Member per guest room can earn Points/Miles and Elite Night Credit, as well as receive benefits as described in Section 2.1.d.(iv). Elite Members receive one set of benefits according to their membership tier on Stays of one or more consecutive nights as described in 2.1.d, even if they check in and check out of the same Participating Property within 24 hours. In order for an Elite Member to be eligible to receive Elite benefits during his/her stay, the Elite Member must provide his/her Loyalty Program Membership Number when making a reservation.
Elite Members will receive Elite membership benefits including, without limitation: bonus Points, priority late checkout and room upgrades. Benefits vary by Elite membership tier. More information can be found in section 4.3.
i. The awarding of Loyalty Program Elite membership benefits is void where prohibited by law and may vary outside the United States and Canada.
ii. Local policy may prevail over Loyalty Program standards at Participating Properties, and some Elite membership benefits may not be available at some locations.
4.1.d. Members with Elite Status (“Elite Member”) will receive guaranteed compensation for select Elite benefits in the event those benefits are not available during an Elite Member’s stay (“Elite Benefits Guarantee”).
i. The Elite Benefits Guarantee is the maximum compensation paid to an Elite Member during a stay that is booked at least one (1) day prior to arrival. The Elite Benefits Guarantee in the United States is $200 U.S. dollars, even if more than one guaranteed benefit is not delivered to the Elite Member. The maximum Elite Benefits Guarantee compensation paid to an Elite Member during a stay outside the United States will be the equivalent of $200 U.S. dollars paid in local currency, even if more than one guaranteed benefit is not delivered to the Elite Member.
ii. If an Elite Member believes that compensation is due with respect to any aspect of the Elite Benefits Guarantee, he/she must request payment of the compensation while still a guest at the Participating Property, prior to checking out. Failure to request such payment prior to check out will result in a complete waiver of any right to receive such compensation.
Iii. In order to qualify for the Elite Benefits Guarantee, the Elite Member’s Membership Number, Elite membership status, and bed type preferences must be included with the reservation. Reservations made through meeting planners, travel agents, wholesalers or other approved third-party sources must include this information in order to be eligible for the Elite Benefits Guarantee.
iv. Guests accompanying Elite Members to a Participating Property are not eligible for the Elite Benefits Guarantee.
v. The Elite Benefits Guarantee applies to all Qualifying Stays, including Free Night Award stays.
Here are some Compensation Clinic-series Marriott-case on this topic:
Some members believe that nobody should exercise this guarantee. Why would Marriott Bonvoy have it in place if not to ensure that hotels follow the gift-standards? Surely hotels and front desk agents quickly learn how to do it properly, once they pay the guarantee a few times.
What I have learned based on my experiences is that hotels that are disorganized (haven’t done their room allocations or paperwork in advance) are more likely to “forget” this one as well.
We may have (yet another) a Compensation Clinic-special coming up on this specific topic in a couple weeks time. I have three hotels where I had to utilize this guarantee recently. One had a Marriott Bonvoy video playing behind front desk agent who was 100% oblivious of any elite benefits.
What have been your experiences with Elite Welcome Gift-guarantee?