Marriott Suite Night Awards have been the butt of jokes since their introduction. An option in their Choice Benefit Award, they’ve been difficult to use, especially for their intended purpose. As a result, Marriott rebrands its Suite Night Award to, I don’t know, make it a little more realistic?
Suite Night Awards (SNAs) were introduced as an option in Choice Benefit Awards, which are awards members can choose when they attain 50 and 75 nights in a year. SNAs were the only useful option at the 50-night threshold and were often everyone’s default choice. Unfortunately, despite their name, SNAs rarely ever got you a suite, and that’s only when they cleared to begin with. Naturally, the awards bred more frustration than anything, with many reporting that the awards were virtually unusable.
Like the rest of Marriott Bonvoy, SNAs became the butt of many jokes – just another way Marriott was Bonvoying you. But it seems like they’re getting tired of the jose, as Marriott rebrands its Suite Night Award to something a bit more honest.
Marriott Rebrands Its Suite Night Award
If a Suite Night Award doesn’t actually get you a suite, what the hell do you call it? Well, Marriott rebrands its Suite Night Award as Nightly Upgrade Awards to, I guess, answer than question. The name is ambiguous enough to let hotel owners continue to offer the “better room” upgrades they were offering instead of, you know, suites. But the name isn’t all that’s changing.
On the negative side of things, Marriott is changing the request confirmation window from five days before your check-in date to three. This is ostensibly so that hotels have more time to sell suites rather than give them to you for free. It’s worth noting that the program terms also state that the system will only check up until 2 pm (local time) on the day before you check-in. If it doesn’t find an upgrade that matches your criteria, your award will be returned to you.
Not all of the changes are negative – there is a positive one, too. And that’s that the awards are now valid at more hotels. Specifically, you can now use them at Aloft, Element, Protea, and Ritz-Carlton properties. That last one is especially great, though it’s worth noting that The Ritz-Carlton Reserve, The Ritz-Carlton Destination Club, Design Hotels, all-Suite Hotels, Marriott Executive Apartments, Marriott Vacation Club, Marriott Grand Residence Club properties and Vistana properties still aren’t eligible for the award.
Personally, my track record with SNAs has been very good, especially when redeeming them here in Hawaii. I even got a monstrous suite at the Waikiki Beach Marriott and the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, with the Marriott staying being during a particularly busy weekend. But, I have experienced some of the same frustrations as others, and its partly why – aside from the overall value – that I’m not longer a hardcore Marriott person.
In fact, the fact that Marriott rebrands its Suite Night Awards to Nightly Upgrade Awards doesn’t mean much for me. After attaining Lifetime Platinum status, I haven’t come close to hitting 50 nights with Marriott and, thus, haven’t participated in their Choice Benefit Awards in a couple of years now. And that’s completely fine with me.