Marriott Resort Charges Elites A Cash Co-Pay For Breakfast, Complimentary Doesn’t Mean Free

Marriott offers complimentary breakfast at most of its brands to Platinum elites and higher. Hoewver they don’t really say what breakfast means. And some hotels have figured out that the terms and conditions of the Bonvoy program don’t actually define ‘complimentary’ so they interpret it to mean “charged to the customer, but just for less money.” The Tribute Portfolio Royal Palm South Beach Miami is one of those hotels.

Reader Steve shares his experience at the Royal Palm South Beach,

The Royal Palm South Beach Miami also state explicitly on their breakfast voucher that gratuity is not included and the Royal Palm is not a cheap hotel. Room run as much as $800/night.

..I’m lifetime Titanium not that it matters except that to note that they said it would cost me $150 (later reduced to $100) for an upgrade to a suite.

Notice how they’ll only let you order juice or coffee, too?

The CEO of this hotel’s management group says guests need to be trained to tip more, so he doesn’t have to raise wages. It’s no surprise his hotel finds a way to squeeze a few extra dollars out of a guest.

It would be really helpful for Marriott to be more explicit in its terms about what’s actually required of hotels, though I take their not doing so as strategic ambiguity. Many hotels will be more generous that the minimum that some properties figure out they can get away with. But they do let properties get away with a lot, because Marriott’s key motivation is keeping owners happy – and part of paying fees to Marriott.

In contrast, though, Hyatt is clear both about what breakfast means and that the cost of breakfast means the actual cost that might be charged to a guest (emphasis mine):

Globalists will receive daily complimentary full breakfast (which includes one entrée or standard breakfast buffet, juice, and coffee, as well as tax, gratuity and service charges) for each registered guest in the room, up to a maximum of two (2) adults and two (2) children.

Tax and gratuity is part of the cost of having breakfast so for a breakfast to be considered complimentary guests must not be expected to pay cash out of pocket to eat it. But the Royal Palm South Beach Miami has figured out a way to charge elite guests a cash co-pay for their ‘free’ breakfast.

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