So I returned from a trip around the world (ok, like 3 weeks ago). In the course of this trip, my wife and I stayed at three of the primary hotel chains–SPG, Hyatt (x2), and Marriott. Of those 4 hotels, 3 out of the 4 provided us with beautiful upgraded rooms. I suppose that makes sense, since we only have SPG Gold status, vs. having top tier status with Hyatt and Marriott. As for the Marriott hotel, we had e-mailed the JW Marriott Khao Lak weeks in advance to request an upgraded room which they graciously agreed to. I’m still left feeling like there are some hotels you must fight to get an upgrade that is clearly a benefit in the elite status terms.
To that end, I thought I would highlight what hotels say they offer, and offer any of my (or others that I can link to’s) experiences. I think that’s important as you choose where to be loyal too. I don’t believe its the only qualifier, really, price and location matter a great deal more, but its still important, especially as you gauge the marginal cost to make that next status level. So, with this post, I’ll cover the three hotel chains that I visited on the trip, and will follow-up with a second post to cover additional hotel chains/groups.
Starwood Preferred Guest
Full disclosure – we were staying at an airport hotel, for a single night and had pretty much zero expectations. Here we were provided a perfectly reasonable room, with access to the lounge. It was not upgraded (aside from access to the lounge), but we had no expectation. I’ve also heard most of folks needing to “fight” for upgrades at SPG properties – which is something I don’t want to deal with if I can avoid it.
We stayed at two Hyatts – the Grand Hyatt Dubai, and the Grand Hyatt Singapore. Both times we were upgraded, without using suite upgrades. Hyatt, so far as I can tell, makes no guarantees of suite upgrades, aside from the 4 suite upgrade certificates. The do say “Enjoy the best room available upon arrival, excluding suites.” That said, both of our stays were in suites. I’m not complaining. In fact, this is quite the opposite. I had no expectations of anything other than lounge access, and both Hyatt’s far exceeded my expectations. If I had to weigh the two against each other, I would say the Singapore Hyatt wins because of their expert use of technology and checking us in, in our suite.
Marriott’s Platinum benefits include the Gold benefits, which specifically speak of complimentary room upgrades. That said, if there was a hotel chain that I haven’t had a good percentage of upgrades, it would be Marriott. Ironically, I’ve been a Marriott Platinum for the longest that I’ve held elite status of any hotels. I dare say, that I could count on less than 2 hands the upgrades I have received over the past 6-7 years of being a Marriott Platinum member. That said, in the case of this trip, I specifically e-mailed the hotel requesting an upgrade and they were able to oblige.
As far as SPG – I know, folks complain most about SPG, with respect to upgrades. Most of the folks that post about SPG are Platinum, I’m a gold, so my expectations are lower. With respect to Hyatt, I pretty much expect lounge access but nothing more, so, my experiences on this past trip far exceed my expectations. With respect to Marriott, well, I think I said my peace in yesterday’s Saturday Special. I was happy to have the upgrade, but other aspects were lacking.