The St. Regis New York Knows How to Do Platinum Breakfast
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One of the most confusing aspects of Marriott Bonvoy elite status is the free breakfast benefit for Platinum and Titanium elites. The published policies are all over the place across the program's 29 brands, running the gamut from breakfast in the hotel's club lounge to breakfast in the hotel's restaurant to no breakfast at all (we're looking at you, Ritz Carlton). Even then, you might have to deal with individual properties playing games and withholding breakfast from qualifying elite members.
The shining star of the legacy SPG program (and in my opinion, the entire Marriott portfolio now) is the ultra-luxurious St. Regis brand. With less than 50 St. Regis properties worldwide, the brand screams exclusive luxury, and outside of tropical locations such as the St. Regis Maldives and St. Regis Bora Bora, there isn't a more iconic hotel in the brand than the soon-to-be Category 8 St. Regis New York.
After reading Summer Hull's review of this incredible property, I jumped at the chance to book it myself, spending 60,000 points for a one-night stay that would have otherwise cost me a little over $1,000 ($2,500 if you factor in the suite upgrade I received). At St. Regis hotels, Platinum and Titanium elites have the option to choose free breakfast as their welcome amenity instead of 1,000 Marriott points. TPG values 1,000 Marriott points at just $9, and I had a feeling a St. Regis breakfast would be worth a little more. Boy was I right ...
A Breakfast to Remember
I slept a little too much on my China Eastern flight from Shanghai (PVG) the night before, and much to my chagrin, I woke up at around 5:00am. I paged my St. Regis butler to order a cappuccino, but I wasn't really feeling up to breakfast in the hotel's Astor Court restaurant, so I decided to order room service instead. I called downstairs to ask how the free breakfast amenity worked with room service, and was told that I could order the American breakfast.
I'll chalk it up to the jetlag, but apparently my voice betrayed a little too much confusion for someone who was staring at the menu. The lady on the other end of the phone paused for a minute and then said, "How many people are in your room?" When I answered that it was just me, she responded, "Oh, then you can order anything you want off the menu." While my mind quickly jumped to some 6:00am champagne and caviar, she quickly clarified that I actually had a $135 credit I could spend towards my room service breakfast.
Let that sink in for a moment. While $135 at the St. Regis New York doesn't buy as much as you might expect, it was more than enough for me to indulge in an absolute feast. And you can bet I used up every cent of that credit, ordering the 5th Avenue Breakfast (eggs, caviar, breakfast potatoes and asparagus) and a yogurt parfait. I also tried to order a side of bacon, though that $16 (plus taxes, tip and service charge) would have put me over the $135 limit, so the lady on the phone kindly suggested I hold off. She was right as I ended up with enough food to feed a small village.
Caviar is a treat that (for me) is normally reserved for first class flights, as I'll never pay the exorbitant price to eat it on the ground. In this case the egg/caviar dish alone was an absurd $75, and eating it in my $2,500+ a night suite was a great reminder of why I continue to pursue Marriott elite status, a pursuit in which I am not alone.
If you're trying to stretch your credit a bit further, you can do what Summer did and order two American Breakfasts. With the bread basket, coffee and juice, you'll have enough food to feed several people.
Unfortunately this policy isn't consistent across every St. Regis, and it varies heavily by property. I contacted the St. Regis Houston and St. Regis Atlanta, both of which said that Platinum breakfast could only be served in the hotel restaurant. The St. Regis Washington, DC, meanwhile, said room service was included and you could order anything off the menu. I couldn't get the agent on the phone to clarify what that meant, but I'm assuming there's some limit on the dollar value or number of dishes you can order.
Based on the experiences of various TPG staff members and online reports, it seems like room service is more the exception than the norm, though with the majority of St. Regis properties offering some type of expansive breakfast spread, you shouldn't feel let down if you can't take your first meal of the day in the comfort of your room.
Book Now, Pay Later
Even though we're just a few days away from the St. Regis New York (and another 11 properties in the brand) climbing from 60,000 points per night to 85,000 points per night, don't cross this redemption off your list if you don't have enough Marriott points in your account. The program's Points Advance feature allows you to book award stays at any participating property, even when you're short on points. You'll then need to earn enough points for the stay at least 14 days before arrival.
Marriott has confirmed that it will honor the pre-March 5 rates for Points Advance reservations, though I'd highly recommend reading TPG Editor Nick Ewen's article on this topic for tips on ensuring this happens.
Once you've booked, if you need help earning enough Marriott points to cover the stay, now is a great time to add one of the program's cobranded credit cards to your wallet.
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card: Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $200 in statement credits for eligible purchases made on your new card at U.S. restaurants within the first six months of card membership.
- Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card: Earn 75,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after you use your new card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first three months. Plus, earn up to $150 back in statement credits on eligible purchases made on your new card within the first three months of card membership.
- Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card: Earn three free nights (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after spending $3,000 on purchases in your first three months from account opening.
Just be sure you're eligible for one of these cards before pulling the trigger on an application. We've put together a handy reference chart to help, though you'll also want to make sure you won't fall victim to Chase's 5/24 "rule" if you're considering the Boundless card.
As one of only 60 or so future Category 8 Marriott hotels, the St. Regis New York already has a larger-than-life history and reputation. If you didn't have enough reasons to book this hotel before its award pricing goes up in March, the absolute feast that Bonvoy Platinum and Titanium elites can enjoy for breakfast is a huge selling point. In my opinion, the value of upper level elite status is felt the most when staying at a high-end hotel, and one night at the St. Regis New York was more than enough to reinforce my loyalty to Marriott for the coming year.
But hurry! This property will jump from 60,000 points to 85,000 points per night starting March 5, giving you a limited window of time to snag a luxurious stay at an incredible price.