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Marriott Suite Night Award changes are going live — including new brands and more inventory


Higher-tier Marriott Bonvoy elite members have long had access to Suite Night Awards (SNAs) as part of the program’s annual choice benefits. Platinum members could choose five SNAs when they reached 50 elite qualifying nights in a calendar year, and Titanium members could opt to receive another five at 75 nights.

The way SNA’s work is typically straightforward: Reserve a standard room at a participating property and utilize SNAs to guarantee an upgrade before check-in.

But now changes to SNAs we first heard about last year are finally starting to roll out in a phased system this week, according to a Marriott spokesperson.

Let’s delve into what these changes entail for you.

Nightly Upgrade Awards

KYLE OLSEN/THE POINTS GUY

One of the most notable changes is that SNAs will now be known as Nightly Upgrade Awards (NUAs). Marriott has decided to make this alteration to better reflect the nature of the benefit, as each award specifically covers one night in a premium room (and not necessarily a suite).

To be clear, there have been no modifications to the number of nights each award covers. Previously, Platinum and Titanium elite members could choose SNAs for five nights at a time. NUAs will function similarly — the only difference is the name change, which aims to provide more clarity for members.

For comparison, World of Hyatt offers Suite Upgrade Awards as milestone rewards for high-tier elites (two at 50 nights, two at 60 nights and then a choice of 10,000 bonus points or another upgrade at 70, 80, 90 and 100 nights). However, these are confirmed immediately, subject to availability, and they cover stays of up to seven nights.

IHG One Rewards also has confirmable suite upgrades for members through its milestone rewards program — you can pick one at both 20 and 40 nights and then two at 70 nights. However, you can only confirm these starting 14 days in advance, though each one covers up to five nights.

Hilton Honors includes no published mechanism to confirm a complimentary upgrade before your stay.

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Five new brands

The Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay. KYLE OLSEN/THE POINTS GUY

In addition to its current brands, you’ll be able to use NUAs at five additional brands:

  • The Ritz-Carlton
  • Edition Hotels
  • Aloft
  • Element
  • Protea Hotels

This expansion is notable, especially since it includes high-end properties under the Ritz-Carlton and Edition brands. A Marriott spokesperson previously confirmed that these brands will “both fully participate in the program … depending on availability, members will be able to redeem their NUAs for both suites and premium rooms.”

Most entry-level suites at Ritz-Carlton properties boast a living room area separate from the bedroom, along with an additional half bathroom. So, this could be a great development for your 2024 stays.

As an example, TPG’s Nick Ewen has an upcoming stay at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes, and he now sees an option to request an upgrade from his standard room (booked with an 85,000-point certificate) to a pair of suites.

MARRIOTT.COM

These rooms are roughly $600 more expensive than the paid rate for his standard room, and previously, this reservation wasn’t eligible for any kind of an upgrade. Hopefully this data point is a sign of what’s to come across these five brands.

Related: Your guide to using Marriott Suite Night Awards for upgrades

More upgraded room choices

The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara. KYLE OLSEN/THE POINTS GUY

Marriott is also expanding the pool of rooms at which you can use your upgrades. It promises to add “nearly 20% more premium rooms and suites … for upgrades across all participating brands with features like oceanfront rooms, balconies and extra space,” the Marriott spokesperson told TPG.

The spokesperson added that the 20% increase is based on the five new brands and the increased number of rooms eligible for the awards. “Our goal from the outset was to make more rooms overall available for our members,” he noted.

Of course, it remains to be seen just how this will look as the program changes begin to roll out this week.

One of the biggest frustrations for TPG staffers (and readers) is when a given property restricts the room types available for these rewards. For example, family travelers may not want a room on a higher floor or with a better view. Having extra space (including some separation between the bedroom and living area) is more important, so it’s great to have full suites available as a choice for these awards.

Hopefully, we’ll see this reflected meaningfully in the expanded inventory.

Related: Marriott Suite Night Awards: How TPG staff has used them this year, and how they can be improved

A shorter confirmation window

Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa, Waikiki Beach. KYLE OLSEN/THE POINTS GUY

In the past, Marriott Bonvoy used to check its upgrade inventory and confirm SNAs starting five days before your scheduled arrival. Now, you will receive a notification regarding the status of your NUA request starting three days before your arrival.

Unfortunately, this adjustment may pose some challenges when redeeming NUAs. As the check-in date approaches, the availability of upgraded rooms typically becomes more limited, as last-minute guests may book those rooms.

Related: 8 tips to help you upgrade your hotel room for free

Bottom line

We are pleased that Marriott is including five additional brands as part of its transition from SNAs to NUAs, and it’s also committed to making more rooms available for members to request upgrades.

However, it’s not all good news. Marriott is adjusting the starting confirmation window for these awards from five to three days before the scheduled check-in date.

It remains to be seen just how much this will impact your ability to redeem upgrade awards across the portfolio, but we’ll keep you updated now that these changes are starting to be implemented.



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