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Hotels: welcome gifts received by milesopedia members

When staying in a hotel, whether it’s a 1-star or a palace, milesopedia community members often arrange for gifts to enhance their stay. Discover many examples!

The welcome gift from the hotels

For several years, hotels have been scrutinized by Internet travelers. Indeed, we have entered an era of reviews and comments, available on many platforms.

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Thus, when possible, hotels compete with each other to satisfy their customers… and hope, eventually, for a positive review in return.

Renaissance cake

A few days ago, we created a small contest within the milesopedia community:“share with us the most beautiful gift you received during a stay in a hotel“!

And it is clear that many readers regularly receive nice welcome gifts! This is another facet of“travel hacking“!

The reasons for a welcome gift

There can be many reasons to receive a welcome gift at a hotel:

Loyal customer of the establishment

The most obvious reason: you are a loyal and regular customer of the establishment. The reception desk recognizes you and often calls you by name upon your arrival. In these cases, it is not uncommon to be offered a welcome gift or an upgrade.

Loyalty program customer

You have reached a high level of status in the loyalty program to which the establishment belongs: you are then in a position to receive various attentions from the establishment:

  • upgrade,
  • Welcome gift in your room,
  • credits for meals and beverages in the facility,

As a Marriott Bonvoy Titanium Elite member, I can’t count the number of times I’ve received great welcome gifts.

The last one to date… this one, received during our stay at The St. James. Regis Bahia Beach Resort hotel in Puerto Rico,:

  • A bottle of Moët & Chandon champagne (large size)…
  • … and a cheese platter for the parents
  • 2 glasses of milk…
  • … and cookies and fruit for the kids

the st regis bahia beach resort puerto rico 252

But even in the days when I had Marriott Bonvoy Elite Gold status – a status that can be earned directly with the Platinum Card® from American Express – it was common for “my loyalty” to be recognized.

For example, here is an upgrade to a suite overlooking Central Park during our stay at the JW Marriott Essex House New York.

jwmarriott essexhouse29
View from a Central Park Suite – JW Marriott Essex House New York

Special occasion

Traveling is often an opportunity to celebrate something:

  • a birthday
  • a memorable date (wedding, engagement…)
  • the trip of a lifetime (honeymoon… or “bachelor party”…)

Inform the hotel of this special moment for you at the time of booking or 24-48 hours before your arrival!

It is not said that you will necessarily receive something… but“nothing ventured, nothing gained“!

Take for example this couple, Angelique and Matthew, who got a beach villa upgrade, 60 minutes at the spa and lots of champagne on their honeymoon in the Maldives. While the initial reservation – in points – did not grant this kind of accommodation:


Sometimes things don’t work out:

  • the room is not the one you booked
  • you are disappointed with a service
  • you are not satisfied with the cleanliness

Claim and let the reception know your dissatisfaction! Here again, “nothing ventured, nothing gained”.

Here is the example of Matthew, for whom his iron did not work – and even “blew the fuses” of the whole floor.

What a surprise to find a cake… in the shape of an iron in his room at The Ritz-Carlton Istanbul!

iron ritz istanbul
A cake in the shape of an iron

Examples from the milesopedia community

Let’s get to the “crunchy” part: the examples experienced by the members of the milesopedia…. community and there are many of them!


Jérémie won the first place of our little contest.

I paid 68€ for the room on expedition… upgraded to a 5600$ US room. It was at the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas. I even went back to the front desk to see if it was a mistake. No hotel status, I got it by chance. The room was 2 floors high. A sitting area, a dining area with silverware. An office. On the second floor, there was the bedroom, dressing room, huge bathroom with a view on the strip. I specify that we were only two…


Richard won second place in our contest.

I had Platinum status at Fairmont because of my Platinum Card® from American Express. On my last trip last January, I used my last upgrade vouchers before transferring to ACCOR program. I booked a week at the Fairmont Mayakoba in Cancun and had to upgrade to a suite. The hotel was full with a convention and the manager notified me upon arrival that he had made a change to my reservation but I was going to be happy. I had the presidential suite which is actually a house on a small island in the resort with private pool and 24 hour personal service. WOW. I’ve always had surprises with Fairmont but this time was the ultimate.

Vivi Ann

Vivi Ann won third prize. Not for the value or originality of the gift received, but for the surprise of his spouse!

We are ex back packers so the luxury for is a category 0 or 1 accommodation Last December we went to New York by car with a stop in Queensbury. My spouse received 2 bottles of water. He was so happy to read his name. I swear, he was so happy!

vivi ann bottle
Credit: Vivi Ann



St Regis Bali Hotel – June 2016 – No status – Upgrade to STRAND Villa from a Gardenia Villa. (For me). For the record: having organized my parents’ 10th wedding anniversary trip the following year in the St Regis suite for 4 nights, my mother told me that her room was noisy. I contacted the hotel, the next day at breakfast she was received by the general manager and upgraded to a strand villa for 3 nights with late checkout. It has no status.


A VIP ribbon on the bed and a tray of chocolate offered…that we had to leave! It is too hot in South Africa… Hotel Protea Nelspruit, 2nd stay, Gold Elite member :)…really enjoyed it ! 🙂

joelle protea
Credit: Joelle L.


It is during this trip, our first mini-tour of the world, that we make for my 50th birthday. I wrote to most of the hotels or B&Bs to tell them that this was my birthday trip. The Tea House hostel in Phnom Penh thought it was our “anniversary” and although we asked for 2 beds, they gave us 1 with a nice wink from the receptionist! As we are 2 women it was a mixture of discomfort and connivance I guess!

maryse reads
Credit: Maryse B.


Fairmont Le Château Frontenac (Platinum) Cosmetics with my name on it.

laurent fairmont
Credit: Laurent


Siem Reap, Cambodia, October 2012 at the perfect Golden Temple Hotel… on the occasion of my real honeymoon, we were treated to a superb floral decor… and what about the waiters who came to bring us drinks and snacks the moment we sat down by the pool… or the welcome every day when we came back from Angkor, with drinks and fresh towels as soon as we stepped into the lobby…. the 2 hours of Thai massage per day (not easy to travel)… all this for less than 100$ US per night…

virginia cambodia
Credit: Virginie


Fairmont Copley in Boston. We got a second room for free for my parents because they didn’t have a room with 2 beds. We also had access to the VIP lounge with free breakfast and snack as well as a small gift in the room…

caroline fairmont
Credit: Caroline P.


Obtaining a suite on the top floor on the city side of the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, while we had booked a basic room on the 3rd floor on the Bay Gardens side – All this while mentioning at check-in that these 3 nights were the “final bouquet” of our honeymoon!!!

ludovic marina bay sands
Credit: Ludovic B.


Marriott Toronto City Centre (Gold Elite Status) – After one night in a street side room I went to complain about the noise (construction), I was upgraded to a 2 story stadium side suite! Too bad there was no Blu Jays game tonight… on the other hand, the security sniper was practicing shooting a small target with live ammunition from his box (fortunately not too late).

laurent toronto marriott 2
Credit: Laurent D.
laurent toronto marriott
Credit: Laurent D.


Hotel: Las Vegas – Hilton Elara Grand Vacations in 2014 with Hilton Honors Diamond status via a status match. Upgrade to a suite (reason: bachelor party…). The red part of this room gives you an incredible view of the Strip.

jm suite las vegas
Credit: Jean-Maximilien


At the Delta de Sherbrooke, upgrade to a suite and a bottle of wine (from Quebec) as well as a duck terrine and blinis. An e-certificate that we really liked! Marriott Bonvoy Platinum status.

murielle delta
Credit: Murielle D.


For me it’s at the St-Regis of Bali. I mentioned by email that it was my spouse’s birthday. We both have Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status.
First gift is an upgrade to the Plunge Pool Suite (about $1100 a night!), hats and beach bag, followed by a beautiful bouquet and delicious cake, a fruit basket, 1 hour massage at the Spa ($180 value) and to finish a set of chocolate beauty products A truly exceptional experience and an unforgettable stay!!!

pierre st regis 1
Credit: Pierre C.
pierre st regis 2
Credit: Pierre C.

Ludovic B.

Not really a gift from the hotel (the room was not upgradeable – to have better, we should have slept in the lagoon), but an advantage obtained in the plane with landing next to the pilots, just by saying that I was a fan of aviation, and on my honeymoon (this time it was true!!!)



ludovic maldives
Credit: Ludovic B.


I’m quoting myself 😀

JW Marriott Phu Quoc(which you can read about here), with Marriott Bonvoy’s Gold Elite status at the time – I had mentioned that this was my kids’ first big trip (actually their first mini-tour of the world). 24 hours before arrival the reception asked me the first name of the children… this is why!

jm phu quoc
Credit: Jean-Maximilien V.


In Florence, small hotel David, rated #1 on Tripadvisor, for my 50th birthday we were upgraded to a huge suite with a terrace overlooking the Duomo, a bottle of Prosecco and chocolates. A wonderful stay!

emmanuelle florence
Credit: Emmanuelle L.


Obtained a suite at a Marriott in Washington DC, when we had booked at 40USD per night with the function “Name your own price” of Priceline, for 5 nights. Free breakfast and snacks, and almost a selfie with Barack Obama on his way to Easter mass the next morning! Reason for the upgrade: we laughed with the receptionist at check-in because Priceline ‘s terms and conditions said we had to arrive before midnight, and flight problems to Washington DC caused a delay in departure, making us arrive at the hotel at 2am!
For the record, before this flight, it was euphoria at YUL when passing through US customs. With my wife, we did not understand what was going on, and it was the US customs officer who told us that in front of us and behind us in the line, there was the entire Canadian team!!!

ludovic marriott
Credit: Ludovic B.

Bottom Line

Like what… it is not necessary to be a “blogger” to get something from a hotel (something we never say during our stays…)! As we always say: “nothing ventured, nothing gained”.

But having status in a loyalty program can certainly make a difference!

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To that end, the Marriott BonvoyTM American ExpressMD Card grants you 15 status nights” per year, which automatically gives you Elite Silver status… and only 10 nights away from Elite Gold status!

But if you want to earn Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status right away, you’ll need to get the Platinum Card® from American Express, which is one of the many unique benefits for travelers!

Come to discuss that topic in our Facebook Group!
Audrey Voisine
Mother of two young children, pharmacist, travel hacker's wife and frequent traveller, Audrey shares her advices and destinations recommendations on milesopedia.

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