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Back in November, I wrote about how Suite Night Awards™ would be renamed Nightly Upgrade Awards. These have been tricky in the past as many members complained that they could not get them to clear and would have them expire. Changes to the program are now here with some good and some bad news.
On the plus side, participating brands will now include Ritz-Carlton, EDITION, Aloft, Element, and Protea Hotels. Marriott says that Marriott Bonvoy® members will have access to nearly 20% more room inventory when redeeming their awards for upgrades.
The downside? These are now called Nightly Upgrade Awards instead of Suite Night Awards™ for a reason. I think we’ll see lots of room choices and fewer suites. Marriott specifically calls out that rooms with oceanfront views, balconies, and extra space will be included. Many hotels offer rooms and suites now, but I always have made it a point to only select suites when trying to use these certificates.
Upgrade requests will also be confirmed closer to check-in, starting three days prior to arrival versus the current five days that these can clear. Hotels will have more time to sell suites and upgraded rooms, so I expect this might also have a net negative impact. This is speculation and we’ll have to see the new program in effect to make this call, but I’m suspicious.
As with Suite Night Awards™, Marriott Bonvoy® members can earn Nightly Upgrade Awards through the Annual Choice Benefit and Brilliant Earned Choice Award programs. Suite Night Awards™ have been one of the choices that Platinum and Titanium Elite members can select (five included) when they cross the 50-night and 75-night thresholds. These upgrades can be applied to paid, Free Night Award stays and Cash & Points stays and each one is valid for one night. Members who spend $60,000 on their Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card in a calendar year will earn a Brilliant Earned Choice Award where they may choose to receive five Nightly Upgrade Awards.
This rebranding is being phased in now, and Marriott says that it might take several weeks before this is seen across all brands.
Anthony’s Take: I’ve been fortunate to have many of these clear through the years. While I find Hyatt’s system of being able to clear requests at booking, there is value in this perk. We’ll have to wait and see what rooms and suites are included and how hotels are honoring these awards once this is fully rolled out.
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