Marriott Bonvoy elite members are eligible for several guarantees backed by a cash payment, sometimes combined with points to ensure property compliance.
There are many guarantees; some are open for all elite members from Silver up while others only apply for Titanium-member and higher members.
You can access Marriott’s page for Elite Benefit Guarantees here.
ULTIMATE RESERVATION GUARANTEE (ALL ELITE TIERS)
Ultimate Reservation Guarantee only applies when the hotel walks you (meaning they don’t have a room available for you) to an alternate property when you are checking in.
However, it does not apply when a hotel contacts you in advance and tries to tell you to cancel your stay and book another hotel or if the hotel is closed.
It literally only applies when you are at the front desk, and they don’t have a room for you.
The agent usually doesn’t offer you the compensation or even volunteer to pay for the alternate hotel, so you absolutely need to know what you are entitled to.
The hotel is required to pay for your accommodation at a similar or higher quality nearby hotel (they pay – not you) and offer the cash or cash + points compensation applicable to your elite level.
They may try to deduct the cash part from your folio (don’t allow them to do that – it lowers the number of points you earn and won’t work for those that expense their stays), but it is required in CASH.
PLATINUM, TITANIUM & AMBASSADOR GUARANTEES
Hotels often screw up the elite welcome gift. They need to offer you an option (one of the options listed above) UNLESS you have done an online check-in when it automatically defaults to points.
The guarantee also won’t apply if the points don’t happen to post.
Agents are often misguided and forget to offer this. I then tend to have a word with a manager a couple of hours later and exercise the guarantee and collect the cash.
The bed type guarantee has quite a bit of ambiguity. You need to check your email IF the room type is actually guaranteed or not. It is unclear what is guaranteed outside of the US, if anything.
You can choose the restaurant breakfast at former Starwood brands as an amenity if the lounge is closed.
TITANIUM & AMBASSADOR ELITE ONLY
I am surprised that this is now only Titanium or higher member benefit. It used to apply also for Platinums.
The expanded availability should be automatically displayed when you are logged in. Don’t be surprised if the price required is eye-watering.
Here are examples of compensation cases related to these benefit guarantees:
I like how Marriott backs up the guarantees with cash or cash + points compensation, but it is occasionally a challenge to get the property to comply. It can create friction between you and the hotel employees.
You need to exercise any of the guarantees while at the hotel. Contacting customer service afterward won’t yield anything. I suggest that you summon the Manager on Duty or Loyalty Champion to deal with the issue.
My other tip is to negotiate a point compensation instead of a cash one. Hotels rather compensate in points than give you fresh notes (easier for them accounting wise). Just make sure that the points compensation is crystal clear and that you get the manager’s business card.
I collect the gift guarantee-compensation a few times a year and the bed type guarantee only once in my thousands+ nights with Marriott. Also, I don’t ever remember being walked (very expensive for a hotel).
These guarantees were suspended for close to a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic but were reinstated in January 2021.
Have you ever exercised any of them? Leave your comment below!