Even Hotel Employees Are Confused Following the Marriott-Starwood Loyalty Program Merger
Signing up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.
I recently had my first Marriott stay following the merger of the Marriott and Starwood loyalty programs. My wife and I spent a few nights in Portland at The Nines, a Luxury Collection Hotel. We used points for 2 nights and booked the 3rd night through AMEX Fine Hotels & Resorts.
As many folks have already noted, the technical glitches during the Marriott-Starwood integration were annoying. But I figured once we got past the IT upgrades, things would be back to normal and I could continue enjoying my free award stays and Platinum status perks.
Unfortunately, I think the merger of the loyalty programs has created confusion for hotel employees as it relates to what perks elite status guests can enjoy. Specifically, I’m referring to lounge access.
As a guest with Platinum status, one of the benefits I enjoyed most in the past was access to hotel lounges. Instead of eating outside of the hotel, it was nice to enjoy a free hot breakfast in the lounge. So I was somewhat surprised to learn I couldn’t use the lounge at The Nines.
During check-in, I was advised by the front desk associate that following the loyalty program merger, lounge access was reserved exclusively for Platinum guests staying on the same floor as the lounge. And because no lounge floor rooms were available during our stay, we’d have to miss out on the benefit.
I certainly realize missing out on a croissant and cappuccino in the lounge is not the end of the world. But what frustrates me is that the changes to the newly integrated loyalty program do not appear to be properly communicated to hotel employees. For example, the Marriott webpage dedicated to summarizing Platinum status perks clearly states lounge access is a benefit. And the fine print doesn’t have exclusions about which floor you’re staying on.
Even more irritating was the fact the hotel did actually have available rooms on the lounge floor during our stay as the below screenshot shows. If I wanted, I’m sure I could have made my case to the hotel manager. But my wife and I didn’t plan on spending much time in the hotel anyway. To me, it was more about the principle.
I’ve reached out to Marriott for clarification regarding the lounge access benefit. Perhaps I still have a bit to learn about the lack of benefits for guests with status.
In any event, I’m definitely rethinking my hotel elite status strategy moving forward. As my colleague, Joseph, recently wrote, switching to Hilton certainly seems compelling.
Have you had any negative experiences after the Marriott-Starwood integration? Let me know in the comments below.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® CardAPPLY NOW
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash’s subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)