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

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When you stay 50 and 75 nights in a calendar year at Marriott properties, Marriott Bonvoy members can select Choice Benefits. For lots of travelers, Suite Night Awards (SNA) have been a popular Choice Benefit pick.

Marriott space-available suite upgrades are offered complimentary to Platinum Elite, Titanium Elite and Ambassador Elite members at most brands. However, if you want to confirm an upgrade in advance — perhaps for a special occasion — you may be able to apply SNAs to your reservation.

I’ve used my Suite Night Awards to stay in specialty suites that likely wouldn’t have been extended to me with a standard space-available upgrade (not applying Suite Night Awards). Just because you apply one doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to actually get an upgrade, though.

Once you request an SNA, the hotel will look for available upgrade inventory, starting five days before arrival. The award will be redeposited to your account if the upgrade cannot be confirmed for your desired room(s).

Marriott hotel
The Tasman, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Hobart. MARRIOTT

Unfortunately, TPG’s staff hasn’t had the easiest time getting SNAs to clear at some properties. Here’s a look at the staff’s data:

Hotel Brand Location Region No. of nights SNA confirmed? How many days out?
The Ben. Autograph Collection. West Palm Beach, Florida. U.S. One. Yes. Five.
Ambassador Hotel. Autograph Collection. Kansas City, Missouri. U.S. One. Yes. Five.
Grand Bohemian Hotel. Autograph Collection. Orlando. U.S. One. Yes. Five.
Domes of Elounda. Autograph Collection Crete, Greece. Europe. Five. Not eligible. N/A.
The Mayflower Hotel. Autograph Collection. Washington, D.C. U.S. One. Yes. Five.
Palacio Santa Clara. Autograph Collection. Valencia, Spain. Europe. Two. Yes. Two.
Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. Autograph Collection Waimea, Hawaii. U.S. Two. No. N/A.
Courtyard Hutchinson Island Oceanside/Jensen Beach. Courtyard. Jensen Beach, Florida. U.S. One. Yes. Five.
Delta Toronto. Delta Hotels. Toronto. Canada. One. Yes. Four.
Four Points by Sheraton Jaipur, City Square. Four Points. Jaipur, India. Asia. One. Yes. Five.
JW Marriott Frankfurt. JW Marriott. Frankfurt. Europe. Two. Yes. Two.
JW Marriott Mauritius. JW Marriott. Mauritius. Middle East/Africa Three. Yes. Five.
Le Meridien Mauritius. Le Meridien. Mauritius. Middle East/Africa. Five. No. Five.
The Chatwal. Luxury Collection. New York City. U.S. One. No. N/A.
Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino. Marriott. Aruba. Caribbean. Five. No. N/A.
Jaipur Marriott Hotel. Marriott. Jaipur, India. Asia. Two. Yes. Four.
Jaipur Marriott Hotel. Marriott. Jaipur, India. Asia. Three. Yes. Five.
Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa. Marriott. Waikoloa Beach, Hawaii. U.S. Two. No. N/A.
Toronto Marriott City Centre Hotel. Marriott. Toronto. Canada. One. Yes. Four.
Renaissance Washington, DC Downtown Hotel. Renaissance. Washington, D.C. U.S. Two. No. N/A.
Sheraton Gateway Hotel in Toronto International Airport. Sheraton. Toronto. Canada. One. Yes. Five.
Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino. Sheraton. San Juan, Puerto Rico. Caribbean. Two. Yes. Five.
Sheraton Grand Rio Hotel & Resort. Sheraton. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. South America. Seven. Yes. Five.
Sheraton Anchorage Hotel & Spa. Sheraton. Anchorage, Alaska. U.S. Two. Yes. Five.
Sheraton Princess Kaiulani. Sheraton. Honolulu. U.S. Three. No. N/A.
SpringHill Suites Amelia Island. SpringHill Suites. Amelia Island, Florida. U.S. Two. No. N/A.
SpringHill Suites Fishkill. SpringHill Suites. Fishkill, New York. U.S. Two. Not eligible. Two.
The St. Regis Langkawi. St. Regis. Langkawi, Malaysia. Asia. Three. Yes. Five.
W Philadelphia. W Hotels. Philadelphia. U.S. One. No. N/A.
The Westin Cape Town. Westin. Cape Town. Middle East/Africa. Four. Yes. Five.
The Westin Dragonara Resort, Malta. Westin. Malta. Europe. Four. Yes. Five.
The Westin St. Francis San Francisco on Union Square. Westin. San Francisco. U.S. Two. Yes. Five.
The Westin Siray Bay Resort & Spa, Phuket. Westin. Phuket, Thailand. Asia. Two. Yes. Five.

Out of our 33 SNA requests, 22 were approved. That leaves 11 requests where SNAs were denied — a 1/3 rejection rate.

Related: What is Marriott Bonvoy elite status worth in 2022?

When are Suite Night Awards not clearing?

Hermitage Jakarta
The Hermitage, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, Jakarta. KYLE OLSEN/THE POINTS GUY

In my experience, it’s been harder to clear SNAs since travel started to recover after the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While it’s possible that guests may now be paying outright for suites, Marriott properties can decide to hold back suite inventory if they believe that a suite could go to a paying customer, as there’s nothing to obligate a hotel to release unsold suites for Suite Night Awards.

That’s likely the root cause of the issue — even when suites are available online for booking, SNAs are occasionally rejected. Perhaps it’s time for Marriott to converse with its franchise partners to renegotiate franchise pay rates for when a property clears an SNA. Regardless, if properties were more incentivized to clear SNAs, it’s likely that the success rate would be higher.

So, where are you likely to clear an SNA?

Our data shows that we have a good chance of clearing an upgrade when redeeming an SNA, but largely when traveling off-peak or in off-the-beaten-path destinations.

Many SNA denials come from requests in Hawaii and beach destinations in Europe and the Caribbean, which is where the value of these certificates can really shine with ocean views, bungalows or other upgraded rooms. Not to mention that upgraded rooms at these properties could cost significantly more per night than a standard room.

Meanwhile, many approvals were in city hotels and lesser-visited cities and regions during off-peak travel dates. This is a great strategy for some travelers, but it makes it difficult for the average traveler to redeem. After all, most of us aren’t traveling to Jaipur, India, or to Malta in the winter, when most resorts on the island sit empty.

However, if you are willing to travel off-peak, read Katie Genter’s guide to how she redeemed 23 SNAs this year.

Related: 6 ways Marriott can improve Ambassador Elite status

How can Marriott improve Suite Night Awards?

JW Marriott Mauritius Resort
I used a Suite Night Award at the JW Marriott Mauritius this year. KYLE OLSEN/THE POINTS GUY

With the underwhelming success rate of SNAs at many properties, now is an opportunity for Marriott to revisit Suite Night Awards.

On the customer end, Marriott should clear SNAs at the time of booking. This is something that Hyatt already does with its suite upgrade awards. You can lock in a suite with a Hyatt suite upgrade award if a standard suite is available when booking an eligible rate. A change as simple as this would make SNAs a real benefit and could massively increase the value of Marriott’s elite status.

Additionally, if a Marriott Suite Night Award is rejected for a particular stay, it would be nice if Marriott extended the expiration and offered a nominal bonus for the customer as an apology — like 2,000 points for a future stay. This could act like Marriott’s reservation guarantee that pays members when a hotel is oversold.

Regardless, something needs to change. Some of our staffers and readers are sitting on SNAs that are set to expire by the end of the year, despite multiple attempts to use them. Not everyone can travel off-peak or visit off-the-beaten-path destinations, so there needs to be a way for Marriott to make SNAs more valuable.

Related: Ouch: It’s not just you, Marriott stays now cost more points

Bottom line

Marriott Suite Night Awards aren’t as reliable as they once were. When you apply an award to your stay, ticking off various room types that you’re willing to accept in exchange for your award may increase the odds of receiving a suite.

Still, it’s high time for Marriott to overhaul these awards to be more valuable for the customer. After all, those with SNAs are some of Marriott’s top elite members.