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Marriott Bonvoy is one of the most popular, if not the most popular, hotel reward program. Every year travelers of all types, especially business, rack up hundreds of nights in hotels around the world.
It’s easy to see why. Marriott has properties everywhere and the quality of brands under their umbrella is top tier.
Marriott Gold and above are offered room upgrades with Marriott Bonvoy Platinum, Titanium, and Ambassador members are eligible select suites, available at the time of checking in for the duration of their stay.
Have you ever wondered how often this happens? In our experience it can vary greatly and also how you ask for an upgrade will have a huge impact.
Marriott Elite Tiers
As a reminder, Marriott has 5 elite tiers with Platinum being the most common breakthrough tier that starts to get you the best room upgrades. Often time tiers such as Gold Elite can be offered complementary with premium travel credit cards.
Of course the higher tier you are on Marriott the more likely you are to get upgraded. If you are traveling to a business city and a prime hotel they will most likely have many elite memberships checking in on any given night, making upgrades awarded in priority order.
Marriott has an official policy on upgrades and maintain the following statement regarding offering a better room.
We’ll do our best to upgrade your room (including Select Suites), based on availability at check-in. Upgrades are subject to availability identified by each hotel and limited to your personal guest room.
The good news is upgrades to rooms is available to all members Gold and above. The downside is it is totally up to the hotel’s discretion on whether to offer an upgrade.
Here are the official ways you can be upgraded at a Marriott property.
Complimentary upgrades are entirely at a hotels discretion and a lot of factors play into whether they grant it or not. This includes but not limited to your status level, hotel capacity, and how many higher tier members are checking in. In fact some hotels also consider their house keeping capacity since a larger room will require more cleaning time upon check out.
A complimentary upgrade is what most people bank on when traveling to a property to keep their suite night awards and points save for a future trip.
Here are some tips to consider to give you the best chance at getting an upgrade upon check in.
Check the hotel capacity about a day or so from arrival to determine if higher rooms are available. This will help you understand if the hotel is full or if there are even rooms available to be upgraded into.
Do not use the mobile check in feature on Marriott Bonvoy App. In our experience once you check in this will assign you a room in the hotels system making it much more difficult to change your room upon checkin.
Consider asking the hotel in advance via the Marriott Bonvoy App chat feature and remember to be nice. Mention you noticed the space available and would like to be considered for an upgrade.
Don’t forget to ask politely upon check in. Consider asking your check in agent if there is any chance for an upgrade and they will surely check the system.
The last tip and by far the most important, be nice! Many times an upgrade is at the discretion of the check in agent and being nice goes a long way.
Lastly, consider the number of days you are planning to stay at a particular hotel. If it is a short stay you are much more likely to get an upgrade so you are not occupying a better room for a long period of time.
Suite Night Awards
A Suite Night Award is a one-night confirmable upgrade to a standard suite or select premium room, depending on the hotel’s availability of those rooms. These are available as your choice benefit if you reach Platinum tier or higher and will be decided upon starting 5 days prior to check in.
Note if you are within 24 hours of your check in time you will no longer be able to request a suite night award upgrade.
Many Marriott Bonvoy members have had a hard time getting upgraded using this method but we had a great experience getting one of the best suites at the JW Marriott Istanbul Bosphorus.
You can always check in with the hotel with a simple email in advance but if you absolutely need a bigger room don’t always bank that a suite night award will clear.
You can also use your Marriott points to upgrade a paid or award stay rather than paying cash. Upgrades are charged in blocks of 5,000 points, subject to hotel availability, with some properties and rooms requiring multiple upgrade blocks.
In our experience we haven’t seen this offered much in advance and will usually be at the time of check in.
Summary & Takeaways
So exactly how often do Marriott Elite Members get upgraded? Frankly, it depends. But if you follow the steps above you can increase your chance of scoring a complimentary upgrade on your next visit.
If you have found a strategy that works feel free to share with us in the comments and we will add it to the list.
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