Marriott has been busy the last few weeks formalizing their new loyalty program. As yet unnamed, we still have lots of details about it. After the announcement, I spent some time with travel guru Gary Leff discussing the changes on my podcast.
At the outset, Marriott initially announced that they would be grandfathering existing Marriott Platinum members into Platinum Premier status. They also tried to stick it to SPG Lifetime Platinum members in the new program. Marriott pivoted and finally did the right thing. That follows an earlier pattern where they appeared to half-heartedly roll out guaranteed late check-out for elites. Shortly thereafter they appeared to pivot and make it a guaranteed benefit.
These sorts of changes make members nervous. They certainly make me nervous. Look, I never want to lose a benefit I once had. But, I understand that’s par for the course. It’s the back-and-forth that gives me pause.
What Is Free Breakfast?
Marriott originally announced a pretty broad expansion of the free breakfast benefit. Frequently, the devil is in the details. And, we appear to have found one hiding in the details on this one. It seems Marriott plans to offer a $10 credit per guest per day (up to a maximum of 2 guests) at Courtyard, Moxy and AC Hotels. For the purposes of this discussion, I’m focusing on Courtyard.
Courtyard is a big brand for Marriott. Frequented heavily by business travelers, there are almost 1200 Courtyard hotels nationwide. That means over 20% of all the combined Marriott hotels consider $10 enough to cover breakfast. For comparison, here’s how the Hyatt website details the free breakfast benefit for top-tier Globalist members:
- Relax in the Club lounge with continental breakfast and evening hors d’oeuvres daily. Or, enjoy complimentary full breakfast daily for each registered guest (up to 2 adults and 2 children) at Hyatt hotels and resorts without a Club lounge.
Courtyard hotels don’t have Club lounges, so the only choice is the $10 voucher. And, it’s only for 2 guests. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that one of the largest brands Marriott manages sees a pretty lean breakfast benefit.
Here’s a look at the free breakfast at one of my favorite Hyatt hotels, Park Hyatt Sydney:
The Final Two Pennies
There’s two separate points I want to make before you move on with the rest of your day. The first is on Marriott’s process here. This breakfast benefit may always have been the plan. Or, maybe they just got around to figuring out the math. If this was the plan when the original announcement was made, I would have expected more clarity around this benefit. I find it hard to imagine Marriott didn’t field a question about the specifics of the Courtyard breakfast benefit from a blogger or three. I would have hoped for at least a bit clearer description early on.
My second point is on the relative value of the benefits across various chains. Hyatt’s breakfast benefit is much more rewarding for their top elites, especially for elite members who travel with their families. You could argue that some folks would rather have the option of a few points or the ability to use the credit towards an appetizer or drink in the bar. I see some truth there. I’d guess there are quite a few more folks interested in bonus points than an appetizer.
Still, I prefer a breakfast benefit. And, a generous one.
What about you? What do you think of Marriott’s new breakfast benefit strategy?
The post Marriott Has A Different Definition Of Free Breakfast Than I Do. What About You? was published first on Pizza in Motion