Marriott hotels were allowed to close down their club lounges and restaurants during the pandemic. Even where they re-opened restaurants they might not honor elite breakfast, claiming that they weren’t fully staffed or hadn’t fully re-opened.
Bonvoy properties in the U.S. were “given the flexibility to offer food and beverage alternatives” in the words of one Marriott executive, and that meant “grab-and-go breakfast” (perhaps a brown sack with an apple and some granola) or a food and beverage credit that could be spent towards a breakfast in the restaurant – an odd flex, considering the reason for allowing the credit in the first place is that closure of restaurants.
It was common to see food and beverage credit that didn’t actually cover breakfast, working like a discount coupon that might get a member to pay for breakfast rathe rather than honoring the spirit of the program. Properties took full advantage of the flexibility and then some.
However things are supposed to return to normal at U.S. properties by July 1. A Marriott spokesperson tells me that “the flexibility granted hotels for opening of food and beverage outlets based on occupancy will end July 1.”
Hotels without club lounges, or whose lounges are closed, generally have to provide an amenity choice benefit for breakfast although what that means varies by brand and in a few cases does mean credits to buy breakfast. The breakfast experience varied tremendously even before the pandemic.
We can expect then that hotels will have been told to stop playing games with breakfast benefits July 1. What that looks like on the ground may vary by hotel, and we’ll have to wait until next month to see. But since hotels are expected to honor their in-restaurant breakfast benefit for Platinums and above, where that benefit applies, if you don’t get it you should complain – and expect compensation.