I'm currently a Hilton Diamond, a Starwood Platinum, a Hyatt Platinum and a Marriott Silver.
However I have stayed in a number of Marriott properties recently and I must say I'm impressed.
Marriott is the Delta airlines of the hotel world. It's easy to earn loyalty points but the redemption rates/ options are rather ridiculous and on first glance not worth it.
However both companies have something running for them – the actual product is pretty good. Delta has business class lie-flat seats fleet-wide and almost all people you interact with are knowledgeable and friendly.
Marriott properties are strikingly well managed. I stayed in a number of Courtyard which impressed me by a modern design, comfortable rooms and well working though simple amenities. In fact every Courtyard worked perfectly. The check-in was quick and smooth. The mini grocery shop well stocked. The rooms very spacious and had a great bed. The wifi worked flawlessly without complicated authentication.
The full service Marriott and the Renaissance in Shanghai were both great properties were again everything worked the way it should be. Rooms and views were fantastic.
So is Marriott the best managed hotel chain in the world?
Marriott status is after the demise of the Gold/Platinum challenges hard to achieve. It also does not get you much (but hey Starwood only gave me one night in a suite at 29 check-ins this year!)
Marriott has the best BRG program out there, hands down. They are quick to respond. The don't mess around with terms forever and they apply it in the spirit not word by word. It 'just' gives you 25% off but he simple process make it a joy.
MegaBonus promotions run every quarter – the current one gave you 2x Category 5 certificate for every second stay. Given that most of my stays are under $100 and most redemption are at $350 this is fantastic value for me – as each stay to get the certificate gives me $75 in cash 🙂
In most properties employees seem empowered and have the tools to make it a lasting guest experience. That's really in different in say Hyatt properties where friendly but hapless employees seem to be the norm in several hotels I visited lately.