No, your Marriott Suite Night Awards did not just get harder to use

Oct 30, 2019

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Most travelers love their hotel elite status perks. Whether it’s complimentary breakfast, lounge access or bonus points, you can make your stays more rewarding and enjoyable as a regular guest with a given chain with elite status, which you can get just by opening the right credit card. However, these elite benefits aren’t always straightforward, are often laced with restrictions, disclaimers and even the ability for certain properties to opt out entirely.

Our eagle-eyed senior writer JT Genter noticed this morning that Marriott’s terms and conditions had been updated, including two apparent changes to the Suite Night Awards perk. However, if you’re a Marriott Bonvoy Platinum or Titanium member and are considering picking these as your Choice Benefit(s) for reaching these tiers again this year, don’t stress. Marriott has confirmed that one of these changes is temporary and the other is (in fact) a positive update designed to streamline the redemption process.

Here’s what you need to know.

Advance purchase rates

You can only use Suite Night Awards (SNAs) on eligible rates, and here’s how Marriott’s terms and conditions used to describe these rates, from section 4.3.c.vi.A.(1):

“Suite Night Awards may be used only on Loyalty Program eligible paid stays as well as Free Night Award stays and Cash & Points stays.”

That same section now says the following (note the new language in bold, emphasis mine):

“Suite Night Awards may be used only on Loyalty Program eligible paid stays (excluding Advance Purchase Rates) as well as Free Night Award stays and Cash & Points stays.”

However, we reached out to a Marriott spokesperson for a statement on this change, and we were told the following:

“Members are having issues applying SNAs to Advance Purchase rates. We are working on a solution, but it will take time. Therefore, the change to the T&Cs is not permanent. When we are able to share more information, we will.”

This is heartening to know, as it seemed a bit strange to prevent those members who are committing to a given property from using an elite perk. And if you’re like me, you may never book these prepaid rates, instead electing to forgo a lower price in favor of the flexibility to change your plans. However, if you’re someone who regularly locks in your plans to save some money, you may want to temporarily rethink this strategy if you’re planning to use SNAs on an upcoming stay.

Multi-room reservations

The other change to the terms and conditions involves reservations that include more than one room. While SNAs have never been directly transferable to another Marriott member, you did have the ability to apply them to additional rooms on your stay — as long as you were present and the other room(s) were in your name. You could make a single reservation for two rooms and then request SNAs to be applied to one or both, which many families likely utilized.

Booking a multi-room reservation will now prevent you from using your SNAs. (Photo courtesy of the Marriott Waikoloa Resort)

However, the Marriott spokesperson has stressed that this is a clarification in the terms, not a change in policy. He indicated that trying to apply SNAs to a multi-room reservation has presented problems in the past, since the member has a single confirmation number. Instead, he suggested the following: “In order for it to work seamlessly, the member should book both rooms under his/her name, but separately. Therefore, each booking will have a unique confirmation number. The SNA then can be applied to each booking.”

Here’s what the updated terms and conditions now say, from section 4.3.c.vi.A.(8) (:

“Suite Night Awards may not be transferred or given as a gift or used as part of a multiple room reservation; however, a Member may use Suite Night Awards for additional single-room reservations on his/her own stay as long as the Member is present for the stay and the other reservations are under the Member’s name.”

In other words, if you want to use your SNAs for a friend, family member or co-worker who is joining you on an upcoming trip, you’ll now need to make a separate, single-room reservation in your name to avoid any potential problems in applying SNAs to both bookings.

Bottom line

Marriott’s Suite Night Awards can be hit-or-miss, as each property can designate the applicable suites for this perk — or opt out of participating entirely. However, you can get some incredible value from them, so keep these changes in mind as you’re making future reservations for which you plan to apply SNAs.

Featured photo courtesy of Marriott

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