Marriott extends suspension of brand standards and elite benefits guarantee through September 15, 2020

Jul 8, 2020

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Editor’s note: This post has been updated to reflect Marriott’s extension of its elite benefits guarantee and brand standards suspension through September 15, 2020

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has upended nearly every element of the travel experience and made it harder for hotels to deliver the experience that guests expect. Properties have been forced to deal with supply chain issues, staffing shortages, and various local and federal health regulations.

As anyone who’s stayed in a hotel recently will tell you, things are far from normal and travelers are noticing the difference.

For more travel tips and news, sign up for our daily newsletter

In order to ease the burden on struggling properties, Marriott announced on its first-quarter earnings call in March that it would be suspending brand standards.  Normally hotels (especially upscale, luxury properties) have strict standards set out by Marriott corporate that they have to adhere to or they could be fined or potentially even removed from the brand. These brand standards cover everything from the toiletries in your room to the benefits offered to elite members and much more.

Further Reading: Your ultimate guide to Marriott hotel brands

St. Regis Abu Dhabi Saadiyat Island. Photo by Ethan Steinberg / The Points Guy
Rigid brand standards allow hotels like the St. Regis Abu Dhabi Saadiyat Island to differentiate themselves from other luxury properties. Photo by Ethan Steinberg / The Points Guy

Loyalty Lobby is reporting that in addition to suspending brand standards, Marriott has also suspended its elite benefits guarantee. While both suspensions were initially set to run through July 5, 2020, Loyalty Lobby has also reported that these suspensions have been extended through September 15, 2020.

The elite benefits guarantee entitles Marriott elite members to a specific amount of compensation (in the form of cash or points) if certain benefits like free breakfast or lounge access aren’t offered. Here’s what John Wolf, Marriott’s VP of Loyalty, had to say about the situation:

“The evolving situation caused by COVID-19 is creating a very challenging business environment, therefore the request for compensation for our Elite Guarantees (Ultimate Reservation Guarantee, Lounge access, Guaranteed Room type and Elite Welcome gift) are currently being waived… “

Together these moves will allow property owners to cut costs and hopefully prevent more hotels from going out of business as the pandemic and associated travel restrictions stretch on. However, this is also a stark reminder that if you’re staying at a luxury hotel in the near future, you might not be getting the full experience. One of the easiest areas for hotels to cut costs, thanks to these changes, is by closing down executive lounges, bars or restaurants when the hotel is at low occupancy.

Hopefully, Marriott’s hundreds of luxury hotels will take it upon themselves to offer their guests some form of alternative, such as room service breakfast if the lounge is closed, but without the elite benefits guarantee they’re under no obligation to do so.

Bottom line

It goes without saying that hotels need to cut costs and adapt in order to survive a prolonged drop in business, and I don’t begrudge them that. However, as a long time Marriott Titanium elite member, I’m not thrilled that the elite benefits guarantee was suspended without any notice to members. Many luxury hotels are charging the same rates they were before the pandemic started, but without corporate brand standards to follow or an elite benefits guarantee, you may end up getting significantly less than you pay for.

Featured image by Ethan Steinberg / The Points Guy

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,600

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.