Marriott Still Having Trouble With New Late Check-Out Benefit

Starwood has long had guaranteed 4 p.m. late checkout for Gold and Platinum members, in fact I think it’s the best benefit of SPG Gold status. It’s ‘subject to availability’ at resorts and conference hotels, but otherwise there’s no question that it should be available to elites. Period.

I know that some people have reported problems with this benefit, but I never have. Not once.

I like Hyatt’s 4 p.m. late check-out benefit for Diamonds (and 2 p.m. for Platinums) even better: I’m proactively offered late check-out at nearly every hotel when I check in.

Back in April Marriott Rewards announced three new benefits similar to offerings of Starwood Preferred Guest.

  1. Experiential redemptions like SPG Moments
  2. A member concierge trial like Starwood Ambassador
  3. Guaranteed late checkout for Golds and Platinums


Marriott Boca Raton

This was great news — with Marriott acquiring Starwood hotels they’ve gone to some lengths to begin improving the loyalty program. These new benefits seemed like a start.

However the devil was in the details. Marriott quickly clarified that guaranteed late checkout wasn’t guaranteed after all.

Late check-out was guaranteed, and late check-out ‘could be as late as 4 p.m.’. They oddly explained this meant:

  • Guaranteeing late checkout of some time to be determined by the hotel
  • Late checkout won’t be later than 4pm but it may well be earlier.

After much blowback they clarified late check-out again and declared that it would be a real, firm benefit.


Renaissance Boca Raton

Reader Daniel stayed at the Triada Hotel in Palm Springs and requested 4 p.m. late check-out as a Marriott Rewards Gold member (matched from Starwood Gold).

He writes,

I asked the front desk about having my check-out moved to 4pm, but was told that this is subject to availability, and was offered 12:30pm.

Since the website seems to make clear that 4pm is guaranteed, I spoke with a manager on property who confirmed that the policy is subject to availability. Since the hotel is not a resort, it seems like I should have been given the 4pm check-out…

The Triada is a downtown boutique hotel, but I still wanted to check to make sure it isn’t considered a resort or convention property where late checkout is subject to availability. Marriott’s resorts and convention hotels are listed online. The Triada isn’t one of them.

Daniel emailed Marriott Rewards customer service to learn what he should have expected, since the hotel denied him the checkout that is supposed to be guaranteed. And they told him there is no such guarantee: “Gold and Platinum members are guaranteed late check-out. The time-frame is up to the hotel. They can allow late check-out up to 4 PM, but it can also be earlier.”

Here’s the old policy that was replaced,

Priority Late Checkout
Call the front desk the morning of your check out, and let us know your planned departure time.

Late checkout is based on availability and offered at all participating Marriott hotels, except Marriott Vacation Club®.

Here are the actual terms and conditions of the new benefit:

Guaranteed Late Checkout: Gold and Platinum members may check out as late as 4 p.m. This benefit is guaranteed at all hotels, except at resort and convention hotels, where it is based upon availability. Marriott Vacation Club is excluded from this benefit.

Here’s how the benefit is supposed to work,

The benefit can be requested through voice reservations, on the Marriott app via the mobile check-in process, at the front desk during check-in, or on the day of departure.

There is no ambiguity and hotels that are not honoring 4 p.m. late check-out for Gold and Platinum Marriott Rewards members are acting contrary to the terms and conditions of the program. Marriott Rewards customer service agents who are telling members this benefit is at the discretion of the hotel are mistaken and doing members a disservice.

There’s a long thread on Flyertalk with over 500 replies reporting on late check-out experiences at different Marriott properties. Judging from that thread, results are mixed. However I assume that people are inclined to post about outlier denials of benefits than they are when things work exactly as expected.

Have you requested late check-out using this new benefit? Did the hotel honor it?

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. I had no issue at an AC hotel in Maryland – just called down, told them what I needed, they said no problem and did not blink when I actually checked out at 4 PM. Not a convention or resort hotel, in this case.

    Thus, my first experience asking for it was as I would have expected. However, I am sure there are hotels that will bristle at it, as I’ve been at other places where I get a call to the room at 12:05 if I am just slow-moving or something.

  2. Oh, boy, here we go again.

    There is absolutely nothing to be gained by having late checkout “guaranteed.” The ONLY reason a program would want to “guarantee” a perk when it does not have to is to limit its benefit. It is why DSUs were “guaranteed” to just 4 per year, and then when WOH made their top elite status hard to get, they suddenly made complimentary UNLIMITED suite upgrades a perk, clearly telling you which suite upgrade policy they believe is the more valuable.

    This is not rocket science. “Guaranteed” perks matter only because self-anointed travel gurus believe they should. But the reality is that pretty much every property, which has the final say in most things, would approve a timely request for a late checkout most of the time. As a HH Diamond, I have NEVER been denied a late checkout request although the program does not “guarantee” it. In fact, most of my late checkout requests that have been approved have been for after 4pm (6pm x 3 at Hilton Buenos Aires; 5pm at the iconic The Drake hotel in Chicago).

    Here are at least two downsides to pushing the meme that late checkout has to be “guaranteed”: (a) if elites are guaranteed a 4pm checkout, they are likely to be denied a request for a later checkout (e.g., 6pm) when they truly could use it because, remember?, the “guarantee” is only to 4pm? (b) I arrived at Hyatt Regency Tokyo around 4pm on 12/23/2016 and my club room was not ready. Official check-in time was supposed to be 3pm.Why wasn’t my club room ready? I was told why, by an embarrassed desk agent: some Diamond had requested a late checkout and, as a result, my PAID time in that club room was being infringed upon. I made precisely that point, which must have made an in impression because before the beverage I ordered in the lounge cafe to wait for the room was served, the agent came to tell me that the room was ready and apologized profusely for the delay.

    Any program that purports to “guarantee” perks is asking for trouble. The sensible thing to do is to make most perks contingent on AVAILABILITY, which is what HHonors has done quite successfully for years, as had Marriott Rewards until they bowed to pressure to make their stable program look like the very unstable and now kaput SPG program. Already, things are NOT looking pretty!

    G’day!

  3. After visiting front desk at Marriott Stellaris resort twice I got late checkout first at 1 pm after the evening visit then at 2 pm in the morning.
    I was also able to use the Tradewinds lounge for the lunch.:).

  4. Recently at SF Marriott Marquis I called to request a 2pm checkout (I am Gold, and asked specifically for 2pm as I had a flight). I was told they would make the request and call me back with a checkout time. They called back and offered 12:30. I explained about the guarantee and why didn’t they honor that…I took an argument but they relented within 3 minutes. Perhaps firmness is what’s inorder?

  5. I’m waiting until all the kinks are worked out. As an SPG Lifetime Plat, I’m being treated pretty well. As most of the places I stay are resorts (though I think that term is thrown around loosely, as Sheraton on the Falls proved this week) I’m already dealing with the devil I know when it comes to late check-outs. But I’m watching the Flyertalk threads with interest.

  6. @DCS

    The late checkout perk is the most important one to me for several reasons. And I’ve had the opposite experience with HH that you report.

    As a Hilton Diamond I’ve been denied late checkout requests many times when I reallly needed it. As a a lowly mid-tier Hyatt member, I’m guaranteed a 2 PM checkout and always get it- actually have it offered to me at check in.

    Because of this, in 2017 I am top tier with Hyatt and have quit chasing status with Hilton.

  7. I did did 76 nights last year with Marriott (I don’t stay much more than the 75 nights required to maintain platinum status because, as of now, Marriott doesn’t really offer any incentive to stay with them beyond 75 nights year). Since the 4 p.m. late check-out was rolled out, I have taken advantage of it a dozen or so times. (I almost always ask for a late check-out, but seldom past 2 o’clock.) I’ve never been refused 4 p.m. as a platinum. A couple of times, the front desk asked if I’d accept 1 p.m. (their stated check-out time was 12 p.m.). I replied, asking for 4 o’clock and it was granted. As someone else suggested, be firm and confident. I normally do it as follows:

    [Ring, ring ring.]

    “Hello, Mr. Smith …. This is at your service. How may I help?”

    “Good morning. I’d like a late check-out please — 4 o’clock.”

    [Typing sound]

    “No problem. 4 p.m. is fine.”

    “Thank you. Have a nice morning.”

    [Hang up]

  8. Requested (4pm) thru the Marriott app at time of checkin, granted and confirmed when I arrived (Delray Beach Marriott- gold). First time using the benefit.

  9. @DCS Hilton simply doesn’t promise or regularly deliver 4pm late checkout for most members. Hyatt proactively OFFERS 4pm late checkout to Diamond and 2pm late checkout to Platinums.

  10. I’m Platinum or Diamond in all of these programs and did over 300 nights last year. Hyatt and Starwood have never denied me a 4pm checkout in my recollection. So I’m not sure what’s confusing about the “guarantee”. Hilton has many times, so has Marriott. Both make you feel like they’re doing you a favor at some properties. That and the generally more desultory feel of the Hilton and Marriott elite programs seems to be what the author is referring to. For sure Hilton front desks can be really helpful, especially for me in China. The real problem with Hilton isn’t that their rewards program or elite perks are a disaster, it’s that Hilton hotels suck. They’re tasteless. If I’m lucky, they’re old and weird. My most vivid memories of Hiltons are of having to wait on line at checkin and club lounges where I’m asked to go back to my room and wait for a phone call when there is some free space in the lounge for me to sit. Hyatt hotel design can get utterly monotonous as you travel around the world but at least you’re not reduced to just another Diamond customer. I would actually take my girlfriend to a Hyatt if I had to stay at a American business hotel chain. I would never take my girlfriend to a Hilton. The better Hilton brands are a step up but I find them overpriced and I’m rarely paid to stay in them.

  11. DCS is a Flat Earth Society member who rants and rails against all non Hilton hotels and hates guaranteed benefits…and no one of course ever, ever agrees with him. Doesn’t stop him from presenting his (very minority) opinions as facts.

    DFTT everyone…

  12. Recent stays as gold at Marriott New Orleans, The Saint Autograph New Orleans and Renassaince Blackstone in Chicago have all granted late check-outs up to 4:00 without issue. Each one made during check-in via the Marriott app.

  13. “However I assume that people are inclined to post about outlier denials of benefits than they are when things work exactly as expected.”

    Assume a hotel offers a 4pm late check-out upon my request, how am I supposed to know “things are working as expected”? It might be that the hotel decided in that specific instance they are willing to grant a 4pm check-out, and not that they are required to grant a 4pm check-out all the time.

    Because of this, it is impossible to know if things are working as expected unless one knows a hotel grants late pm check-out all the time and for all requests (not only from their own one-time or multiple-times experience).

  14. I had an epic drawn out battle with the newly opened Westin Buffalo to convince them 4pm late checkout is a guaranteed benefit, not subject to availability. I can forgive a new hotel for not being 100% up to speed, but was very alarmed by the SPG Platinum customer service line telling me the “subject to availability” line.

    I incredulously explained to the Platinum agent that it is a guaranteed benefit, had to escalate to a supervisor, and had to disconnect to go to a business meeting before the supervisor picked up.

    I had left my cell with the front desk and they eventually called me apologizing and saying they would do the 4pm check out, but I had never experienced such a quixotic struggle to explain SPG’s own benefit to itself, to the Platinum help desk no less!

  15. Data-points as Gold-matched from SPG:
    SF Union Square Marriott accepted 4pm request no issue.
    Milan Marriott countered with 2pm as the latest possible check-out.
    Moxy T2 Milan didn’t want to even associate with being a Marriott property.

  16. Here is the problem. At one place in the T&C’s under “Platinum, Gold and Silver Membership Benefits:” there is this item “5. Priority Late Checkout: Based on availability, call the front desk the morning of checkout and let them know your planned departure time. Available at all Marriott brand hotels except Marriott Vacation Club.” This clearly conflicts with the later provision posted earlier that comes from further down in the T&C’s. It’s an ambiguity in drafting of the T&C’s IMHO.

  17. @ DCS – If the hotel couldn’t check you into your room on time and blamed the previous guest for checking out late, it’s pure baloney. Blame the late checkout guarantee all you want, but that’s simply a poorly managed hotel that overbooks its rooms knowing that even one late checkout could mess up their availability.

  18. @Gary sez: “@DCS Hilton simply doesn’t promise or regularly deliver 4pm late checkout for most members.”

    That’s the usual problem with your claims: “it is true because I say it is true”, except that you are usually wrong. You have no bona fides to make the claim because there is ample evidence that you are clueless about the HHonors program. I am a HH Diamond and have been for years. I have not been denied a single late checkout request. Heck, even “Blue” members can request a late checkout [uncapped] and be approved! We will hear impostors chiming in to claim how they are HH Diamonds and have never gotten a late checkout. They would be impostors because the law of averages easily says such people are lying. The way to get a late checkout request approved is to make a timely request (I almost always do it at check-in). To wait until the last minute to make the request is to play the game with less than a “full deck”, not to mention the fact that it does not make it easy on a property to work on trying to accommodate the request…

    I notice that no one has bothered addressing the couple of downsides of “guaranteeing” late checkout, like, e.g., being denied a 6pm checkout because the “guarantee” is to 4pm, or an incoming guest not being checked in by the promised check-in time because a prior occupant was granted a late checkout request and is still in there or the room simply has not been serviced as a result. These are real issues that are being completely abstracted in the mass “hysteria”.

    Anyway, that there is already a huge thread at FT on this promised perk does not bode well. Marriott instituted a boneheaded policy to try to please SPG loyalists, which I am sure the individual properties would quite likely have refused to sign onto, and the consequences are already being felt. What we are seeing is a clash between a boneheaded “guarantee” and the sensible policy of basing perks on availability. They (Marriott) should never have touched this one with the proverbial 10-ft pole!

  19. @chancer sez: “If the hotel couldn’t check you into your room on time and blamed the previous guest for checking out late, it’s pure baloney. ”

    Please use you head for a change. It would be stupid to blame the prior occupant and I did not. The real culprit was the boneheaded policy of “guaranteeing” late checkout. Such a policy should be based on availability to avoid delays in checking in incoming guests because such a delay is REAL money that an incoming guest would already have begun paying, whereas a member who is granted a late checkout is in the room for free during the extra time. It is also how a hotel can manage not only availability, but also the expectation of self-entitled “elites”. Got it now?

  20. 博多だるま — Could you tell us which Hilton hotels in China (or elsewhere) you have been where you had to wait in line to get into the executive lounge or were “tasteless” properties? That would be useful information to have so that we can try to avoid such ‘tasteless’ properties, but having stayed at many Hilton properties in China with proactive suite upgrades and free full breakfast, I believe that you are an imposter.

    By the way, do you believe is reverse Darwinism or the survival of the weakest, where the weaker HHonors and Marriott Rewards programs are thriving, while the “stronger” SPG is kaput and Hyatt Gold Passport is about to become so disfigured ‘WOH!’ perfectly describes what it’s about to become?

    G’day!

  21. @DCS: “We will hear impostors chiming in to claim how they are HH Diamonds and have never gotten a late checkout. They would be impostors because the law of averages easily says such people are lying.”

    Why are you not assuming a bell curve here? If success is in fact normally distributed, there must be some people who ALWAYS get the benefit (you), some people who NEVER get the benefit (people you claim are impostors), and a whole bunch of people in the middle for whom it’s hit or miss.

    Once again, from a pure numbers perspective:
    If I am a Platinum at Hyatt, the chance that I will get 2pm checkout is 100%. If I am a Diamond at Hyatt, the chance that I will get 4pm checkout is 100%. If I do not get it, the property is out of compliance with the HGP T&C and I have recourse to get compensated.

    If I am a Gold at Hilton, the chance that I will get 2pm checkout is < 100%, as it is at due to availability. If I am a Diamond at Hilton, the chance that I will get 4pm checkout is < 100%, as it is due to availability. If I do not get it, the property is NOT out of compliance with the HHonors T&C and I have no recourse.

    How is a 100% chance of getting 2 or 4pm checkout better than < 100% chance of getting a 2 or 4pm checkout?

    (And please do not extrapolate to all HHonors Gold/Diamond members from your single data point of 100% success; as we know, that is just bad science!)

    I'm sure I'm tilting at windmills here. I am also a HH Diamond and do favor Hilton hotels over others (those damn Doubletree cookies are delicious) but your insistence that their late checkout policy is across-the-board amazing because it happens to work for you is a head scratcher.

  22. Sorry, DCS, but if late checkout were based purely on availability, you would find yourself frequently without late checkout even at your beloved Hilton.

    FYI nowhere did I say that you blamed the previous guest for checking out late. I said that you blamed the late check out guarantee (which you did). If you actually read through people’s comments, instead of just rushing to say how stupid and how wrong everyone else is, you might actually say something. Right now, reading your replies is like watching a dog chase its tail.

  23. DCS lacks reason and rationale folks…he will never, ever see the other side of the story.

    Case in point – he has basically ZERO experience with all the guaranteed benefits SPGers enjoy (late check-out, strong suite upgrade language & benefits, etc.) He presents his OPINION as fact that “guarantees just limit what you can get” (using his same tired two hotels in EZE and Chicago’s 6pm/5pm late-checkouts as examples…get new ones already).

    Of course, those of us who have lived with the great benefits for years realize these guarantees give you a FLOOR and not a ceiling. It’s not too hard to realize that if you’re already guaranteed a 4pm checkout, it’s no big deal for a hotel to give you an extra hour or two. Same goes for SPG’s demonstratably stronger suite language (links provided in prior posts…not DCS’ hack job of faux-Hilton terms). Once hotels are already looking to give a Platinum a suite, no big deal to further upgrade from there if available.

  24. If DCS is such a big shot how come he has time to post so much negativity here? I say ban guy. He contributes nothing but deliberately misleading and malicious commentary.

  25. I see that the “natives” are out in full force.

    I really do not give a shit because I have NEVER been denied a late checkout request, 3x at late as 6pm!).

    I did not start this thread. The reason it was started was that things were not working as advertised. That is what you are dealing with. Taking it out on DCS is a digression and I hope you will see it is as such, unless you’d like a reminder, which I will be happy to provide (hint: other “guaranteed” perks that were not “guaranteed” at all and were assumed to be)…

    Cheers from Siem Reap in the Kingdom of Cambodia!

  26. @Andrew — Before you speak of “misleading” you have got to read this: https://goo.gl/ofiUFN

    BTW, @Gary will not ban me from posting on his site because his standards are lot higher than yours and that is a Good Thing.

    G’day!

  27. Proactively offered on check in at the Marriott Pittsburgh downtown. “It’s a new benefit, so we want to make sure you know about it.”

  28. I am about to leave Siem Reap for BKK where I am supposed to check in at Renaissance Bangkok Ratchaprasong Hotel. A short while ago I got an email from Marriott inviting me to use mobile check in: “DCS, check in now to access your Elite benefits!”

    Inside the email there is a graphic that says: “New! Mobile Check-In to get new Elite privileges”, then it tells me what I would get for using mobile check-in:

    “DCS, as one of our most loyal guests [I am a MR Gold thru RewardsPlus as a UA 1K/1MM], you’ll jump to the top of the list for:
    – New! Priority Room Assignment: Mobile Check-In and get into your room sooner.
    – New! Priority Upgrades: Get notified of a room upgrade before your visit.
    – New! Priority Late Checkout: Find out how late you can sleep in … right when you arrive.”

    All of the above was to get to that last benefit of mobile check-in. Notice the wording:
    “Find out how late you can sleep in …”

    It seems to me that’s what people have been finding out and reporting: the late checkout benefit is “guaranteed” up to 4pm, SUBJECT TO AVAILABILITY.

    I just checked how late I can sleep in at the Renaissance BKK and it offered me to select up to 4pm on a digital clock. So far, so good… 😉

  29. I was recently denied late check-out at the Courtyard Palm Springs. Clearly not a resort or vacation club property. I requested it on the app and again the day of departure and was told it wasn’t available.

    I emailed Platinum customer care and we are awaiting a response from the property since it is a “guarantee”. Although it is unclear what remedy a member should get if the guarantee is not met – unlike other guarantees that trigger compensation if not honored.

    I believe that properties should have the flexibility to best serve its customers but that needs to be balanced with a request that has a “guarantee” or face the consequences.

  30. More a data point, but as a Hilton Diamond and Marriott Platinum, I have never been denied a late checkout at either chain’s properties – although I’ve never requested anything later than 2pm. My stays are primarily in Asia-Oceania.

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