Back in August of last year, I took advantage of a generous promotion where I Went From a Marriott General Member to a Platinum Elite in Less Than One Minute. I status challenged and was granted Marriott Platinum elite status without any questions. Granted I only had 4 months to complete the challenge, I never intended to complete it. I solely wanted to take advantage of the status because I had an upcoming stay at the Cosmopolitan Las Vegas Hotel and Casino which is part of the Autograph Collection.
My Marriott Platinum experience was fantastic at the Las Vegas Cosmopolitan Hotel. I wrote a full review about it here. I was treated with VIP check-in, free internet, free bottled water, 2 buffet vouchers to Wicked Spoon, and the best suite upgrade (Wraparound Terrace Suite). They even granted me a late check-out.
My second experience as Platinum elite was at the Marriott Tijuana hotel back in November of last year. I didn’t intend to stay at any more Marriott hotels after the Cosmopolitan, but they launched a generous promotion called the Megabonus where if you stayed twice, you would get 1 free night (cat 1-5 award). I haven’t written my trip report about Tijuana/Rosarito/Puerto Nuevo yet, but I will give you a run down on how my stay went. During check-in, I was given a Platinum amenity (half bottle of red wine), Upgraded to the executive level, executive lounge access, and free internet. Upon entering the room, I was also greeted with a dessert plate.
I only had one out of four stays for my Megabonus and I needed three more stays to get two free nights. Since my Marriott Platinum status expired in early December, I decided to see how I would be treated as a non-elite and book another night at the Marriott Tijuana.
On New Year’s Eve, my first experience as a non-elite at a Marriott hotel was pretty bad at the Marriott Tijuana. I wasn’t greeted enthusiastically as I was previously, but shouldn’t they treat all guests with enthusiasm? I wasn’t expecting any upgrades, but I was shoved into a low floor room next to the elevator. Internet was $9.95 per device and I have about four devices. I don’t remember the last time I paid for internet, let alone per device. I was pretty bummed at no executive lounge access and no free breakfast since I’ve been spoiled by Starwood.
Okay, so I stayed at two Marriott’s and received my Category 1-5 award voucher. I needed another two stays and thought to myself if I could stand any more non-eliteness (if that’s a word). I sucked it up and booked two more stays just for the MegaBonus as a non-elite.
Last night I stayed at the Courtyard Marriott in La Jolla, San Diego and had my expectations at an all-time low. I checked in and was placed in a lower floor with two queen beds. Occupancy was pretty low as I only saw five cars in the parking lot at 11pm. I asked the front desk agent for 1 King size bed and was refused. I wasn’t asking for a room with a balcony or even a suite upgrade. Anyways, I joked around with the front desk agent saying that I used to be a Platinum member and he said I’ll give you the Platinum breakfast voucher. I looked the voucher given and it was only a 20% off coupon that’s good at the hotel restaurant.
I was dumbfounded at how Marriott treats their Platinum members with a 20% coupon. Like I said, I had low expectations and empathize with Marriott Platinums staying at that hotel. My room was right across from the hotel gym on the first floor. The room had no free bottled water, so I went to the lobby “Market” where there was bottled water for sale. The front desk agent said you know the bottle water is cheaper in the room? I saw the bottled water in my room and it said $2.50. He said the water out here is $5.00. I said okay, I might as well consume the ones in my room. I totally forgot that hotel gyms provide water, so I went into the gym and grabbed some bottled water.
Overall, I’ve been so spoiled by elite status from Hilton and Starwood. It really does pay to have elite status, but so far it’s been treacherous for me staying at these Marriott hotels with no status. I have one more night at the Marriott Tijuana and I am going in with an all-time low expectation. The one good thing about all these properties is that I’ve paid less than $85 per night. I can’t wait to redeem the two MegaBonus awards at a nice Category 5 property.