Marriott (Partially) Rolls out Suite Night Awards via Mobile App
Top-tier hotel elite status confers an array of valuable perks, and one of the most popular is the chance to score an upgraded room at check in, and this often includes suites. Within the Marriott program, for example, Platinum Elites and higher are entitled to complimentary, space-available suite upgrades at most properties in the combined portfolio (only Platinum Premier Elites are eligible for upgrades at Ritz-Carlton hotels). But if you have a special trip coming up — an anniversary getaway, an important work meeting or some other occasion you really want to remember — you might want to confirm an upgrade in advance.
That's where Suite Night Awards come into play. As a holdover from the legacy SPG program, Platinum Elites who stay 50 nights in a year get to pick a Choice Benefit from Marriott (reaching 75 nights and qualifying for Platinum Premier gives them another selection). While there are several options from which to choose, the most valuable Choice Benefit is likely the five Suite Night Awards you can select. If you apply these to a reservation, the hotel will begin looking for enhanced room availability five days before your stay and do their best to confirm your upgrade before you check in.
Since the Marriott merger began in earnest a few months ago, the only way to apply these upgrades has been to call in or use the Marriott website for very select stays. Now, Marriott has begun rolling out the ability to request these upgrades in its app from your mobile device. However, it still seems to be limited. Best I can tell, it's only for recently created reservations, and it doesn't appear to be working for all brands. Of the hotels I tested, I found that JW Marriott, Courtyard and Four Points worked, while St. Regis and W did not. This means that brands from both "legacy Marriott" and "legacy SPG" are included in these changes, but it also means that there's no consistency at this point.
How To Apply Suite Night Awards
Once you've made your reservation, pull it up on your SPG or Marriott app and click on the info tab in the top right corner:
If you've already selected Suite Night Awards as your Choice Benefit, you should see the "Take an upgrade" banner on the info tab of your reservation:
You'll be able to see the applicable room categories for your upgrade, and this is entirely up to the individual hotel's discretion. Not all of the rooms listed will be suites, but they will all be enhanced room categories. Your upgrade will only clear into the room types you select, so the more you pick, the better the odds.
The value of the upgrade will vary based on the property you're visiting, but the difference between suites and base rooms at higher end properties can be a decent amount. For example, at the JW Marriott Shanghai at Tomorrow Square, one of my all-time favorite hotels, the options for Suite Night Awards include both Executive Suites and Studio Suites. In addition to providing stunning views of the Shanghai skyline, these rooms cost almost twice as much as base rooms (~$350 vs. ~$200) and include access to the executive lounge, which features the highest library in the world.
It's great to see another piece of the Marriott merger start to fall into place. Suite Night Awards are one of the most valuable benefits of Platinum Elite Status, and the ability to seamlessly apply them without having to wait on hold is a great improvement. Hopefully Marriott will begin to add this functionality to older reservations and expand it to more brands soon. In the meantime, if you've already earned these upgrades and don't see the option to apply these in the app, you can still call customer service to utilize them the old-fashioned way.