Your complete guide to Marriott elite breakfast benefits
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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with current examples and information. It was originally published on Feb. 21, 2019.
Marriott isn’t just the largest hotel company in terms of the total number of properties it operates; it also has over 30 different brands across its portfolio. Ranging from classic luxury to affordable, extended stays, there are many differences between these brands, especially when it comes to elite status benefits.
There’s one benefit in particular that can be a valuable perk but has caused some confusion since the launch of the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program: free breakfast. To make matters even worse, some properties have been caught playing games with this benefit and not delivering what they’re supposed to deliver. Of course, you can only hold them accountable if you know what your elite status entitles you to, so today we’ll take a look at what each Marriott brand offers elites in terms of free breakfast.
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Despite the unification of Marriott and SPG, in many ways you’ll see elite benefits split on old party lines, with legacy SPG brands often offering more to elites. You’ll also see a huge variation in how each brand handles the breakfast benefit. For example, free breakfast at the St. Regis Saadiyat Island meant a massive buffet spread in the hotel’s main restaurant, while at the St. Regis New York, it meant a $150 daily credit for room service (and you can bet I used up every penny). On the other hand, your $10 food and beverage credit at many Courtyard properties might only get you a coffee and a pastry.
Before getting into the details, let’s start with a quick summary table for all of the brands that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program:
|Brand||Benefit for Platinum/Titanium elites|
|AC Hotels||Food and beverage credit as welcome amenity choice|
|Aloft||Breakfast as welcome amenity choice|
|Element||Included for all guests|
|Fairfield||Included for all guests|
|Four Points||Breakfast as welcome amenity choice|
|Le Meridien||Breakfast as welcome amenity choice|
|Luxury Collection||Breakfast as welcome amenity choice|
|Marriott Vacation Club||None|
|Marriott Grand Residence Club||None|
|Moxy||Food & beverage credit as welcome amenity choice|
|Protea||Breakfast as welcome amenity choice|
|Residence Inn||Included for all|
|Sheraton||Breakfast as welcome amenity choice|
|SpringHill||Included for all|
|St. Regis||Breakfast as welcome amenity choice|
|TownePlace Suites||Included for all|
|Tribute Collection||Breakfast as welcome amenity choice|
|W Hotels||Breakfast as welcome amenity choice|
|Westin||Breakfast as welcome amenity choice|
As you can see, this is quite complex, and there are several brands where the exact benefit depends on things like the individual property’s location and whether it has a lounge, among other factors. You’ll almost certainly still be able to get some type of breakfast at those hotels, but there are some exceptions.
Let’s dig in to all of the nuances so you know exactly what to expect for your next stay.
Free breakfast as a welcome amenity
Marriott Platinum and Titanium Elites are given a welcome amenity upon check-in at most participating hotels. The chart below details which brands include breakfast in the options (bolded for easy reference) as well as the compensation to which you’re entitled if the hotel doesn’t provide this benefit. I’ve also included details on brands that provide a daily food and beverage credit that could be used towards free breakfast.
(NOTE: The “Other Regions” designation includes Asia Pacific, Middle East and Central/Latin America.)
|Brand||Choice of welcome gift||Compensation|
|JW Marriott, Marriott Hotels, Delta Hotels, Autograph Collection, Renaissance Hotels||U.S./Canada/Europe (non-resorts):
1,000 points per stay or $10 food and beverage credit per stayU.S./Canada/Europe (resorts):
1,000 points per stay or breakfast for two in restaurant per dayOther Regions (non-resorts):
1,000 points per stay or food and beverage amenity per stayOther Regions (resorts):
1,000 points per stay or food and beverage amenity per stay or breakfast for two in restaurant per day
|St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, W Hotels, Sheraton, Le Méridien, Westin, Tribute Portfolio||1,000 points per stay or amenity per stay or breakfast for two in restaurant per day (including resorts)||$100|
500 points per stay or $10 food and beverage credit per day for member plus one guestOther Regions:
Hotels without lounge – 500 points per stay or food and beverage amenity or $10 food and beverage credit per day for member plus one guestHotels with lounge – 500 points per stay and breakfast in lounge (if lounge is closed, breakfast for two in restaurant per day)
|AC Hotels, Moxy||U.S./Canada/Europe:
500 points per stay or $10 food and beverage credit per day for member plus one guestOther Regions:
500 points per stay or food and beverage amenity per stay or $10 food and beverage credit per day for member plus one guest
|$50 (AC Hotels)
|Four Points, Aloft||500 points per stay or amenity or breakfast for two in restaurant per day||$50 (Four Points)
|Protea Hotels||500 points per stay or breakfast for two in restaurant per day||$50|
While these hotels require you to select breakfast as your welcome amenity (instead of points), I’ve gotten lucky at a few St. Regis and W hotels recently and been offered welcome points in addition to free breakfast. For every hotel trying to skimp on breakfast benefits, it’s nice to remember that there are some going above and beyond to treat elite members well, like the St. Regis New York.
Related: Aloha to free: Where the Marriott Platinum breakfast perk is done right
In addition, it’s worth noting that for properties offering a $10 daily food and beverage credit (many Courtyards plus AC Hotels and Moxy), this is $10 for the member and another $10 for one additional guest staying in the same guestroom. As a result, traveling as a couple to these locations would get your $20 per day towards breakfast (or another meal if you so choose).
Guaranteed lounge access
The other way to receive free breakfast as a Platinum or Titanium elite member is through access to a hotel’s lounge. Take note of which brands (and properties) have lounges you can access — if you’re already getting free breakfast this way, you wouldn’t need to select it as your welcome amenity and could pick points or a food and beverage credit instead.
The following brands guarantee lounge access to Platinum and Titanium Elites:
- JW Marriott
- Marriott Hotels
- Delta Hotels
- Le Méridien
- Autograph Collection
- Courtyard (only outside the U.S./Canada)
However, certain properties have lounges that aren’t open seven days a week, and there are a handful of exceptions in certain regions and at individual properties, so here’s a chart with those details (as well as compensation if the perk isn’t offered):
|JW Marriott, Marriott Hotels, Delta Hotels, Autograph Collection, Renaissance Hotels (excluding resorts)
*Exceptions noted below
If lounge is closed or hotel does not have a lounge/approved alternative, member will receive daily breakfast in restaurant for two or 750 points/dayEurope:
If hotel does not have a lounge/approved alternative, member will receive daily breakfast in restaurant for two or 750 points/day
|$100 If no breakfast or breakfast alternative offered to member (all continents)|
|Courtyard (outside U.S./Canada, excluding resorts)||If lounge is closed, member will receive breakfast in restaurant||N/A|
|Sheraton, Le Méridien, Westin (including resorts)||No alternative offered when lounge is closed||N/A|
This list is much shorter because many brands don’t have lounges or don’t have them consistently at all properties. It’s worth noting that the compensation requirements are much weaker here, but Sheraton, Westin and Le Méridien are all required to offer breakfast in the restaurant as a welcome amenity, so you’re covered even if the lounge isn’t open during your stay.
*As noted in the above chart, there’s a list of specific properties in the U.S. that do not provide breakfast if the lounge is closed, instead offering 1,000 points. You can find this information in Section 4.3.c.iv.A. in the Marriott Bonvoy terms & conditions, but here’s the current list:
- The Algonquin Hotel Times Square, Autograph Collection
- Boston Marriott Copley Place
- Boston Marriott Long Wharf
- Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile
- JW Marriott Essex House New York City
- JW Marriott New Orleans
- JW Marriott San Francisco Union Square
- JW Marriott Washington, D.C.
- The Lexington Hotel, Autograph Collection
- Monterey Marriott
- New York Marriott Marquis
- Philadelphia Marriott Downtown
- Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel
- Renaissance Chicago Downtown Hotel
- Renaissance Los Angeles Airport Hotel
- Renaissance New York Hotel 57
- Renaissance New York Midtown Hotel
- Renaissance New York Times Square Hotel
- Renaissance Washington, D.C. Downtown Hotel
- Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina
Given that most of these are in larger cities, this may not be the biggest drawback, as there are likely better (local) options nearby. However, it is worth noting if you are visiting one of these properties and are expecting complimentary breakfast.
Brands with no breakfast benefit
Unfortunately a number of Marriott’s most iconic brands are missing entirely from this list. The following brands don’t offer any form of free, daily breakfast (though I’ve included the welcome amenity choices):
- The Ritz-Carlton (1,000 points per stay)
- EDITION (1,000 points per stay)
- Marriott Vacation Club (1,000 points per stay)
- Marriott Grand Residence Club (1,000 points per stay)
- Design Hotels (1,000 points per stay)
- Gaylord Hotels (1,000 points or $10 food and beverage credit per stay)
Brands with breakfast for all
Finally, there are several brands that offer complimentary breakfast for all travelers, regardless of elite status. These properties include:
- SpringHill Suites
- Fairfield by Marriott
- Residence Inn
- TownePlace Suites
Flow chart for your next stay
Confused? You’re not alone, as there are many layers of complexity to a seemingly simple benefit. To help, here’s a simple set of questions to help you figure out what to expect with breakfast on your next stay:
Are you staying at a SpringHill, Fairfield, Residence Inn, TownePlace Suites or Element?
- YES: Stop here; every guest at these properties has breakfast included.
- NO: Continue reading.
Are you staying at a Ritz-Carlton, Edition, Marriott Vacation Club, Marriott Grand Residence Club, Design or Gaylord property?
- YES: Stop here; there’s no breakfast benefit available to you at these properties.
- NO: Continue reading.
Do you have no status, Silver status or Gold status in the Marriott Bonvoy program?
- YES: Stop here; you don’t have any formal breakfast benefit at any of the remaining brands.
- NO: Continue reading.
Are you staying at a Four Points, Aloft, Protea, AC or Moxy property?
- YES: You’ll be able to select complimentary breakfast or a daily food and beverage credit as your welcome amenity.
- NO: Continue reading.
Are you staying at a St. Regis, Luxury Collection, W, Sheraton, Le Méridien, Westin or Tribute Portfolio property?
- YES: You’ll be able to select complimentary breakfast as your welcome amenity.
- NO: It’s time to refer back to the charts above, as the remaining brands have various restrictions and exclusions.
What does all of this mean, in practice? Well, as a Marriott Titanium Elite, I have a huge preference for St. Regis hotels over Ritz-Carlton, which has very little to do with the properties themselves. Let’s say that a Platinum or Titanium member was planning a trip to Shanghai and trying to decide between the Portman Ritz-Carlton and St. Regis Jingan, two Category 5 hotels barely a kilometer apart. Both are decent properties (though by no means exceptional), but I would have to recommend the St. Regis. While I (personally) had a subpar experience at this specific Ritz-Carlton, the St. Regis will always have the upper hand in my book due to their superior elite benefits and recognition. It’s not limited to breakfast either — I like being able to use my Suite Night Awards at St. Regis hotels (you can’t use them at Ritz-Carlton), and Platinum elites aren’t eligible for suite upgrades at Ritz-Carlton hotels either (only Titanium members are).
This same logic works in other cases as well. I absolutely loved my stay at the Mira Moon in Hong Kong despite it providing no breakfast benefit to elite members as a Design Hotel. I think Hong Kong is one of the few cities where I don’t mind passing up on free hotel breakfast (I’d much rather enjoy some dim sum), but if that matters to you, you might strongly consider staying at the Renaissance Hong Kong instead. I can promise you that property doesn’t have the same eclectic and beautiful design as the Mira Moon, but if you value your elite benefits heavily, you may want to avoid staying at certain brands that don’t provide this as a perk.
However, I’d strongly encourage you to consider how much this truly matters. There are many properties in the Marriott Bonvoy program that may not offer free breakfast but still provide a phenomenal experience. And of course, you could always leverage a program like Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts to score free breakfast if you have The Platinum Card® from American Express in your wallet.
Get closer to Marriott elite status
There aren’t any cards that offer automatic Platinum or Titanium elite status, but the cards below can get you closer to the next level of status because each offers 15 elite night credits per year. Note that you’re limited to a total of 15 credits per Marriott Bonvoy account, so if you have more than one of these cards, you can’t stack them to reach higher levels of elite status. With the increased welcome offers on two of these cards, it’s a good time to earn Marriott points:
- Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card: Limited time offer: Earn 100,000 Marriott points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months. This card comes with automatic Silver elite status, and you can earn Gold status after you spend $35,000 on purchases in an account anniversary year.
- Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card: Limited time offer: 50,000 Marriott points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. The 15 elite night credits that come with the card each year qualify you for Silver elite status.
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card: Earn 75,000 Marriott points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months. This card comes with automatic Gold elite status, and you can earn Platinum status after you spend $75,000 on purchases in a calendar year. ($450 annual fee; see rates & fees) Terms apply.
- Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card: Earn 75,000 Marriott points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months. This card comes with automatic Silver elite status, and you can earn Gold status after you spend $35,000 on purchases in a calendar year. ($125 annual fee; see rates & fees) Terms apply.
The lack of consistency in Marriott’s elite breakfast offerings undoubtedly leads to confusion, and I’ll admit that I’ve checked in to a few different hotels with a copy of Marriott’s elite benefit guide up on my phone so I can double check that the hotel is offering me everything they’re supposed to offer.
While breakfast is only one of many factors that goes into a good hotel experience, I certainly find myself gravitating towards brands like St. Regis that go above and beyond in their recognition of Platinum and Titanium elites.
Featured photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy.
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