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Aloha to Free -- Where the Marriott Platinum Breakfast Perk Is Done Right

June 10, 2019
8 min read
Aloha to Free -- Where the Marriott Platinum Breakfast Perk Is Done Right
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Some travelers couldn't care less about hotel breakfast, preferring instead to head out and start their day with local coffee and a $2 pastry sold by a street vendor. That's awesome and I love when that happens, but it also isn't always practical -- especially with little kids involved. So, these days, I find myself caring a great deal about (free) hotel breakfasts.

In the world of travel, free hotel breakfasts vary dramatically in quality, and are not always truly free in the end. Some hotel chains provide free breakfast to all guests as a brand standard (looking at you Embassy Suites), but others provide it only to their elite guests -- often just the top-tier elite guests. The Westin Moana Surfrider and Sheraton Kona Resort, both oceanfront resorts in Hawaii, are two hotels that provide free breakfast as a Marriott Bonvoy Platinum option. Although I have had my share of rocky Marriott Bonvoy interactions recently, this month my family enjoyed stays at both of these resorts and found breakfast to be an area where the Marriott program hit the mark.

Westin Moana Surfrider (Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)

The full-service breakfast at both locations was not only good, but actually free. Which perhaps shouldn't be noteworthy, but is.

At the Westin Moana, breakfast is served in the Beachhouse restaurant, located right next to the ocean. At check-in, my Bonvoy Platinum status allowed us to choose among perks: a local amenity, some bonus points or free breakfast for two. We chose the latter. Although there were three of us in our room -- myself and both of my daughters, children under 5 eat for free, so breakfast for two was all we needed.

Not a bad spot for a free breakfast. (Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)

The breakfast card said free continental breakfast, but we were told we could enjoy the full buffet (normally $37 per person) at no charge, as well sip on unlimited juices and coffee.

(Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)

Food options included an omelet station and multiple hot dishes, such as bacon, eggs, sausages and root vegetables.

There was also a bar devoted to miso soup with all the trimmings.

(Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)

Next up was the fruit station -- papaya being an absolute standout.

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(Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)

If you wanted some cheese, salmon, etc. to start your day, the restaurant had you covered there, too.

(Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)

I was all about the coffee, but my daughters were especially fond of the island juice selections, which, of course, they mixed their own custom creations.

(Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)

At the end of the meal, there was no check. I asked to be charged for something so I could add a tip but the server politely declined saying Marriott took care of that, too. I was totally confused. I am used to paying to upgrade breakfast to a full buffet and adding a tip at the end. This was free breakfast done right -- and surprisingly, 100% free.

(Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)

Thinking this was somewhat of a fluke, we eventually continued to our next hotel: the Sheraton Kona on the Big Island. I didn't have high expectations for this Sheraton, and while the hotel itself wasn't five-star, the free Marriott breakfast pattern largely repeated itself.

Sheraton Kona Lobby (Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)

At the Sheraton Kona, we again opted for breakfast as our Platinum check-in perk and received coupons for free breakfast for two at its Rays on the Bay restaurant with each room I booked. This meant grandma and grandpa could eat for free, too, which was even better than at the Westin Moana. Again, the coupons said continental breakfast, but we were offered the full buffet. Once again, children under 5 eat for free.

(Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)

Instead of paying $29.95 per person, there was a $0.00 bill presented at the end of our meal. This time, we were able to add a tip, but otherwise, we had breakfast with a fantastic view for all five of us each morning thanks to my Marriott status.

(Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)

The combined retail price of those meals (which we got for free) was easily a couple of hundred dollars, and although I wouldn't have spent that much on breakfast, I would have spent a considerable amount.

(Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)

When programs do things that harm customers, it is reasonable to question continuing to remain loyal to that brand with your time and dollars. Sometimes you shouldn't. However, I already have Marriott Platinum status for this year, and am too far into 2019 re-qualification to pull up at this point (thanks to the 15 elite night credits from my Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card -- also available on other Marriott cards.) I'm not putting lipsticks on any pigs here, but the free sausage and bacon were not only delicious, but good reminders of the tangible reasons that I continue to book Marriott stays when it makes sense to do so.

Now if only these stays would post to my Marriott account (it's been a week and counting for both) ...

I'd love to know where your hotel elite status has taken you further than expected in the quest for (a good) free breakfast.

All images by author.

Featured image by (Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG featured card

Best for Marriott perks at a reasonable cost
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 17X points
17XEarn up to 17X total points per $1 spent at over 7,000 hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy® with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Card.
3XEarn 3X points per $1 on the first $6,000 spent in combined purchases each year on grocery stores, gas stations, and dining.
2X2X points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.

Intro offer

Earn 3 Free Night Awards (each night valued up to 50,000 points)
Earn 3 Free Night Awards (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after qualifying purchases.

Annual Fee

$95

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent/Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless carries a $95 annual fee but offers plenty of ways to get more value from it year after year. You'll get automatic Silver elite status, which awards 10% bonus points on stays, and enjoy a pathway to Gold status (with 15 elite night credits each year) to lock in some even better benefits. Cardholders also receive an annual free night certificate (worth up to 35,000 points) each cardmember anniversary. Those who are able to maximize this certificate can lock in a room with a rate that far exceeds the $95 annual fee.

Pros

  • Annual free night certificate (up to 35,000 points) each cardmember anniversary
  • Automatic Silver elite status with pathway to Gold
  • 15 elite night credits annually to help earn a higher tier of Bonvoy status. Plus, you can earn one credit towards elite status for every $5,000 you spend.

Cons

  • There are better Marriott cards if you want higher tier status or no annual fee
  • Doesn't make sense if you don't stay at Marriott properties
  • Earn 3 Free Night Awards (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after qualifying purchases.
  • Earn 3X points per $1 on the first $6,000 spent in combined purchases each year on grocery stores, gas stations, and dining.
  • Earn 1 Elite Night Credit towards Elite Status for every $5,000 you spend.
  • 1 Free Night Award (valued up to 35,000 points) every year after account anniversary.
  • Earn up to 17X total points per $1 spent at over 7,000 hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy® with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Card.
  • 2X points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Receive 15 Elite Night Credits annually, automatic Silver Elite Status each account anniversary year, and path to Gold Status when you spend $35,000 on purchases each calendar year.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
Best for Marriott perks at a reasonable cost
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

17XEarn up to 17X total points per $1 spent at over 7,000 hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy® with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Card.
3XEarn 3X points per $1 on the first $6,000 spent in combined purchases each year on grocery stores, gas stations, and dining.
2X2X points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 3 Free Night Awards (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after qualifying purchases.

    Earn 3 Free Night Awards (each night valued up to 50,000 points)
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless carries a $95 annual fee but offers plenty of ways to get more value from it year after year. You'll get automatic Silver elite status, which awards 10% bonus points on stays, and enjoy a pathway to Gold status (with 15 elite night credits each year) to lock in some even better benefits. Cardholders also receive an annual free night certificate (worth up to 35,000 points) each cardmember anniversary. Those who are able to maximize this certificate can lock in a room with a rate that far exceeds the $95 annual fee.

Pros

  • Annual free night certificate (up to 35,000 points) each cardmember anniversary
  • Automatic Silver elite status with pathway to Gold
  • 15 elite night credits annually to help earn a higher tier of Bonvoy status. Plus, you can earn one credit towards elite status for every $5,000 you spend.

Cons

  • There are better Marriott cards if you want higher tier status or no annual fee
  • Doesn't make sense if you don't stay at Marriott properties
  • Earn 3 Free Night Awards (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after qualifying purchases.
  • Earn 3X points per $1 on the first $6,000 spent in combined purchases each year on grocery stores, gas stations, and dining.
  • Earn 1 Elite Night Credit towards Elite Status for every $5,000 you spend.
  • 1 Free Night Award (valued up to 35,000 points) every year after account anniversary.
  • Earn up to 17X total points per $1 spent at over 7,000 hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy® with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Card.
  • 2X points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Receive 15 Elite Night Credits annually, automatic Silver Elite Status each account anniversary year, and path to Gold Status when you spend $35,000 on purchases each calendar year.
  • No foreign transaction fees.