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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Behind the Scenes: Marriott Bonvoy Welcome Gift Guarantee (An Ethical Dilemma)

I’m usually pretty confident at asserting my rights when facing unfair treatment or not receiving benefits I’m entitled to.

and it’s no exception when this happens within a brand I’ve worked hard to earn loyalty status with.

However, what I went through over the weekend has given me a pause.

I’d like to hear your thoughts….

Quick Glance on Marriott Bonvoy Elite Benefit Guarantee

One of the best things by being a Marriott Bonvoy Elite member is being safeguarded by the elite benefit guarantees, which offer a consistent standard to be met on my stays.

And when these conditions are not met, I’m entitled for a compensation.

There are a number of guarantees under this benefit, but the one I’m going to talk about in this post is the one that not many people give thoughts to.

It’s the Welcome Gift Guarantee for Platinum Elite and above members.

The gift varies depending on the brand and region but basically you’re entitled to receive either points or F&B credit upon check-in.

And the verbiage of terms and conditions on this exact same page states:

Can you spot the crucial word here?


That’s right.

You’re supposed to be given a choice between points or F&B credit during your check-in process.

So if the hotel has selected one or the other for you by default, the guarantee was not met even if you’ve received the welcome gift.

You see where I’m going with this?

So, What’s the Story? ☕️

Last weekend I checked into a Marriott property, and I wasn’t offered a welcome gift.

Well, to be more specific, I wasn’t given the option to choose one.

This wasn’t the first time it has happened to me.

Previously, I let it slide because I didn’t know such policy existed.

But even when I became aware of it, I simply chose not to address the issue.


Think about it, it’s a such an uncomfortable interaction you have to go through just to point out a near-negligible “mistake”.

Don’t you agree?

It’s quite ironic that I printed out the page from a printer from their business center 😂

But this time, I decided to push myself forward to see if this compensation can actually be claimed.

Part of it was driven by genuine curiosity, but the other half of me was thinking…

Given that inflation is at an all-time high, is a little bit of uncomfortable interaction worth $100 USD?

With my favorite author Tim Ferriss’ quote flashing in my head, I thought I’d give it a try.

The worst-case scenario is they simply say no, and I end up looking like a bit of a prick.

After the conversation above, a manager from the back office walked out and started apologizing. (I already started feeling terrible from this moment 😬)

I tried my best to be as polite as possible, explicitly implying that my aim wasn’t to express frustration, but rather to understand the claiming process precisely.

From there, it was a pretty straight forward conversation.

He proposed two solutions:

A $100 USD compensation converted to $120 CAD (I wasn’t going to ask what kind of non-sense FX rate they were implementing)

Or Marriott Bonvoy points as settlement (subtly implying that I take this option)

I was honestly willing to accept the points until he offered…. 1,200 points.

A measly 1,200 Bonvoy points that you can’t even book a basement room with complimentary cockroaches.

This triggered me to firmly insist on the cash compensation.

I’m already a jerk at this point, so why not just push all the way.

After informing the manager that I will take the cash option, he went back into the office for a few minutes and came back with $120 and a simple form for me to sign.

And that was it.

I also checked out immediately to escape from this awkward scenery as quickly as possible.

On the way home, I had mixed feelings.

While the extra cash was quite nice, I couldn’t shake the memory of the front desk staff who had been exceptionally friendly and kind during my check-in.

I couldn’t stop thinking about whether the staff would get in trouble or penalized due to my actions.

It seemed almost inevitable. 🥲

I wonder if I’d feel less guilty about this if the front desk staff was a jerk.

Final Thoughts

Marriott Bonvoy Platinum members and above are entitled to choose a welcome gift.

If it’s not offered “during check-in”, you’re eligible for cash compensation of up to $100 USD.

While the compensation looks great on paper…

I couldn’t help but feel like a jerk for requesting the $100 for a small “mistake” that’s near-negligible.

This will likely be the first AND last time I ever claim this compensation.

But at the same time, Marriott is a giant corporate.

Should I really feel bad about claiming $100 from a $67 billion dollar company?

What are your thoughts on this?

Let me know in the comments below!

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