This is what you get when you redeem Marriott points for a VIP Manchester United package

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A few weeks ago Marriott Bonvoy announced a new partnership with Manchester United.

Members can now redeem their points for a number of exclusive Manchester United VIP packages such as the ‘Stadium Announcer’ Experience, ‘Welcome the Team’ on arrival at Old Trafford, a ‘Kit Manager’ Experience as well as hospitality packages.

As Marriott didn’t have enough time to auction off tickets to the Manchester United vs Liverpool game, they invited a number of top tier Marriot Bonvoy members living in the area to experience the Ambassador Lounge hospitality package. HFP reader Jamie was one of them and he was so kind to take some pictures and write a few lines, so we could share his experience.

One key thing to note in this review is how the Ambassador Lounge package, which Jamie had, differs from the VIP Centennial Suite private box package.  Marriott is offering both options for games and it is not very clear online how they differ, although there are substantial variations in what you get.

Marriott’s Manchester United hospitality package

Jamie’s VIP Manchester United hospitality package included a three course a la carte menu in the Ambassador Lounge and very good seats to watch the game.

Guests were advised to arrive three hours prior to kick-off using a private entrance within the Munich Tunnel in the Sir Bobby Charlton stand, just beside the directors box entrance.

(Rob adds:  a friend of mine was at the Manchester Utd v Southampton game this weekend in the VIP box / Centennial Suite.  He was also told to arrive three hours early.  As the Centennial Suite box only has a buffet which you can eat at your leisure – and you only get main courses before kick-off with desserts at half-time –  he felt this was totally unnecessary.  When I redeem for Emirates Box packages at Arsenal, which also have a buffet, I tend to arrive one hour before kick-off and that is about right.)

Upon arrival guests were given a glass of champagne and shown to their table. There were about 16 tables which seated six people each. Marriott had a few of the tables and so did a number of other sponsors including DHL and Adidas.

Marriott Bonvoy Manchester United partnership hospitality

On every seat was a Paul Smith goodie bag with a programme and a Manchester United style notebook.

Marriott Bonvoy Manchester United partnership hospitality

Food and Drink

This was the match day menu in the Ambassador Lounge:

Starters:

  • Green pea and ham soup with caper and shallot dressing
  • Sun blush tomato and mozzarella ravioloni with wild rocket, red pepper pesto and pumpkin seeds
  • Oak smoked salmon pickled fennel salad, king prawn and cusabi dressing

Mains:

  • Char grilled 28 day aged fillet steak, twice cooked jenga chips, Bearnaise sauce, mushrooms and confit baby plum tomato
  • Roast tandoori supreme of chicken, fragrant rice, naan bread and coriander yoghurt
  • Seared fillet of sea bream, chilli and sweet pea risotto, stem broccoli, paprika oil
  • Smoked tofu, basil and lemongrass broth, rice noodles

Dessert:

  • Fresh fruits and mixed berry pavlova, crushed mint cream
  • Chocolate and clementine cheesecake, orange syrup
  • Sticky toffee pudding with thick Devonshire clotted cream custard, Madagascan vanilla pod ice

Cheeseboard: (Post game)

  • Artisan cheeseboard, chutney and crackers

Jamie chose the Ravioloni as his starter:

Marriott Bonvoy Manchester United partnership hospitality

…. the 28 day aged fillet steak as his main:

Marriott Bonvoy Manchester United partnership hospitality

and the sticky toffee pudding as his dessert:

Marriott Bonvoy Manchester United partnership hospitality

All three courses were delicious and everyone agreed that the food was exceptionally good based on the usual standards for an event like this.

The wine menu had three red, three white and one rose listed. Other drink options at the table were draft beer, cider, gin & tonics and some brandy. There was a fully stocked bar at the far end of the room that had a fairly diverse selection.

During the meal Manchester United legend Quinton Fortune and Liverpool legend Alan Kennedy did a Q&A. They also came back during halftime and after the game to give their opinions as the game progressed, which Jamie felt was great.

In addition there was also a live singer (!) who filled the gaps in between.

Marriott Bonvoy Manchester United partnership hospitality

Just before kick-off Jamie was brought out to his seat and given a little pick and mix of sweets to enjoy during the game.  The seats were just to the left of the director box with fantastic views. The seats were padded leather which is a lot more comfortable than the standard seats. However, space wise it was still a bit tight.

Marriott Bonvoy Manchester United partnership hospitality

Before the match he were asked what he would like to drink during half time and when Jamie went back into the lounge his drinks were waiting.  There were also some steak pies and other snacks.

Marriott Bonvoy Manchester United partnership hospitality

At full time there was another hour or so to enjoy the facilities with coffees and more drinks coming in abundance before heading home.

VIP Centennial Suite seats

Marriott Bovoy also offers VIP box seats in a Centennial Suite if you want a direct view of the pitch from your table with complimentary food and drinks.

You can either watch the game from inside the suite at the dining table or sit in a seat directly outside, on a private terrace which is exclusive to the people in the box.  The terrace has a TV screen on it which allows you to watch replays without having to go back into the box.

The Centennial Suite does not offer waiter-served food.  It is a buffet, with main courses served before kick-off and desserts at half-time.  The quality was reportedly very high (this came from a person who spends a lot of money in fine dining restaurants).

This package also included a ‘meet and greet’ with a Manchester United legend – there were four of them for this weekends game.  The ex-players and a photographer come into the box, you can have your picture taken and then it is emailed to you.

There are currently seven VIP box packages for two people available for the Manchester United vs Watford game (click).  As the suites seat 16, this implies that the entire suite is being offered to Marriott Bonvoy members, plus two hosts.

Conclusion

How does the VIP Centennial Suite package differ from the Ambassador Lounge?

The pros of the Centennial Suite VIP box are the exclusivity (capacity is 16 people, small compared to the large number of tables in the Ambassador Lounge), privacy, the ‘meet and greet’ with past players and a direct view of the pitch from your table.  The Ambassador Lounge, on the other hand, gets you get the Q&A session with past players – there is also potentially more atmosphere during the game as you’re out in the main stand rather than on your private terrace.

Overall Jamie felt that the Ambassador Lounge was a fantastic day out.  He would recommend it to anyone who wants to make their next match day experience special, and he was very impressed at how great the staff were and how smoothly the whole day was run.  His only comment was that the Ambassador Lounge has a very corporate vibe due to the nature of the table owners with only one or two children present.  Jamie felt he was, by far, the youngest person in the room at 25 years.

If you want to bid for a Manchester United package with your Marriott Bonvoy points, the packages currently available to bid for are :

“Kit manager” including VIP hospitality for Manchester Utd v Watford – click 

Your child is the Manchester Utd mascot for the game v Watford – click 

VIP box seats (Centennial Suite) with hospitality for Manchester Utd v Watford – click 

Shadow the stadium announcer plus VIP seats for Manchester Utd v Watford – click 

VIP box seats (Centennial Suite) with hospitality for Manchester Utd v West Ham – click 

Thanks to Jamie for the pictures and the Ambassador Lounge review, and Tom for the extra comment on the Centennial Suite.

How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points via UK credit cards

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Marriott Bonvoy points.  That page is regularly updated with the latest special offers and will still be accurate even if you are reading this article months after publication.

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

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Comments

  1. The Savage Squirrel says:

    Agree with the small comment about tight stadium seating, and Old Trafford is poor in this regard. Some stadium seating is so tight it makes Ryanair look like the Etihad Residence. which, for the price, is pretty scandalous. And I’m under 6 foot. Would sway me towards the box if I was bidding.

    • LORD CUMMINGTON says:

      Football is surrogate warfare used to control the masses and part them from their money. Anyone who falls for it gets no sympathy from me…

    • Alex W says:

      +1. I am 6 foot and I get sharp plastic from the seat in front digging into my knees or shins depending on the steepness of the terrace you are sat in. Theatre of nightmares!

      • Jamie Rennie says:

        Exactly right. They manage to cram 70,000 ‘fans’. if the attendance figures can be believed (which they can’t!) , into a space designed for about half that number to be even slightly comfortable.

        • Sussex bantam says:

          Just as a matter of interest why do you think their attendance figures can’t be believed ?

          • The quoted figure is based on tickets sold. As most are season tickets, all seats are counted as ‘sold’ even when huge swathes are empty as the ticket holder doesn’t bother to show up.

        • Sussex Bantam says:

          Rob is correct – and that’s the way it works at every football club.

        • Doug M says:

          Some clubs report attendance and not tickets sold.

  2. BlueThroughCrimp says:

    One or two children at hospo sounds like one or two too many!

  3. Mackem says:

    I bet that’s the first time Fortune has been called a legend!

    Football hospitality is probably the biggest mugs game out there. Desperate.

  4. mutley says:

    Already said my piece about corporates ruining sport in general, but regarding the Manchester Utd V Watford game, there is a long waiting list for kids who are members/season ticket holders, letting corporates jump the queue just because daddy can afford it, sums up how rotten it all is.

    • The Savage Squirrel says:

      Just sounds like every other business to me – spending more money buys you better access to goods and services. Is kids sitting in First Class on a plane rotten in the same way? Maybe private healthcare and schooling too? I see no difference – and these are a lot more important than silly football. Arguably if there is a long waiting list it shows they are keeping seat prices artificially low vs what the market would allow and should raise them until supply and demand balance (the w/l is in a fair part due to the ability to resell your ticket match by match for a profit so maybe don’t play the pure exploited fan line). Why do you expect them to operate as a kids charity or think they are rotten? Or are you looking for a socialist utopia in football?

    • It’s a business. Marriott is paying £150k + VAT for its box which (19 home games x 16 people =) £500 per seat so throwing in the odd mascot is not pushing the boat out. The fact that £150k only pays the wages of a top player for 5 days is something you should take up with the club.

  5. Brian says:

    Did Rob really say ‘kick-out’???

  6. Crafty says:

    “Manchester United legend Quinton Fortune”!??!

  7. mutley says:

    Squirrel ( yet another user name) I will bite.

    Thanks for the economics lesson, but I learnt supply and demand via a BSc in Economics over 25 years ago followed by an MBA in Finance. I agree Premier league clubs are not charities but can afford to let the fans in for free, The days when clubs at Premier league level were reliant on gate receipts is long gone, the Sky TV deal, the deal that the Talk Sport has done ( part of Sky) with Far East countries, and shirt sponsors have see to that.
    Not that politics is anything to do with it but I had to laugh at the Socialist Utopia jibe, I have been a conservative voter since the 1980’s!
    Love Mutley.

    • Shoestring says:

      They couldn’t afford to let the fans in for free with compromising their ability to buy better players (and pay them, obviously). Income from fans is a significant line in the accounts, eg see the breakdown for randomly Arsenal & Man Utd both 2015-16:
      Arsenal
      Gate and matchday income £100m
      TV and broadcasting £141m
      Retail £25m
      Commercial £82m
      Property development £3m
      Player trading £3m

      Man Utd
      Gate and matchday income £107m
      TV and broadcasting £140m
      Commercial, merchandising and sponsorship £268m

    • But we know that giving something away for less than it is ‘worth’ is stupid. Look at concert tickets. Is is better that:

      a) Katy Perry sells her tickets for £200, the market clearing price, and gets the cash or

      b) she sells then for £20, they all get purchased by bots runs by ticket touts and the touts then resell them all for £200, meaning they get 90% of the revenue and Katy Perry gets 10%

      It’s like Uber surge pricing. Uber surge pricing is, for me, the best thing in the world. However badly it is raining, I can get an Uber to my house within 3 minutes. This is because Uber keeps pushing up the price until everyone else is forced out of the market. I personally don’t care if it costs £20 to take my kids 1 mile to school because if there is a torrential downpour it is £20 well spent to me. If £20 is the cost to remove all other demand from the market so I can get a ride then that’s great (for me). You may believe that you have some democratic right to be able to order an Uber in torrential rain and we should all have the same chance of getting one, but that’s not how it goes and Uber drivers are happy about it.

      On the other hand, we underprice HFP party tickets so clearly I don’t follow my own advice. The fact they sell out in 30 seconds means, clearly, we could charge a lot more than £10. However, there are ‘political’ reasons why we don’t.

      • Selling some tickets under the ‘clearing price’ isnt stupid.
        Few artists want to be seen as price gougers and are playing a long game.
        This is why some will go to fairly extensive lengths to stop the bots and try and get normal fans in. For example the Wimbledon ballot being done by post, the allocation to clubs by Wimbledon or the RFU.
        The ticket selling at Glastonbury or bands like Radiohead where they will check the debit card or id matches the ticket holder.
        Is it perfect ? Of course not.
        But a little simplistic to say every branch of entertainment should just sell at the maximum possible price point.

        • Wimbledon genuinely doesn’t need the money though. Gate receipts there are a tiny fraction of overall income. Remember that a large slug of Centre Court and No 1 is debenture seating, with the Centre Court ones sold for (£50k / 5 years / 13 days) £770 per day.

          If anything Wimbledon sells the rest of the tickets cheaply for political reasons. Odd how it has a reputation for being accessible when the resale value of a pair of Men’s Finals debenture tickets is £8650 and even the worst days of Week 1 are £2990 – see wimbledondebentureholders.com. That doesn’t include any food or drink.

          Arsenal gets £100m of gate receipts out of £400m of total income – not peanuts. Not clear how the £100m is split between hospitality and the rest however. If anything, it is surprising that gate receipts are still so high as a % given the size of the TV pot.

        • Shoestring says:

          it was that $!!!! Adele who spoiled it for me, I had a very nice relationship going with VGG until she only goes and says that tickets with the wrong name on wouldn’t be admissible at the door – even though it is perfectly legal to sell on concert tickets as you see fit. Got me worried enough to stop lol

          [Bit odd how people get all upset when Microsoft try to stop you selling on your Windows OS licence to a third party if you feel like it, but loudly cheer on Adele when she does exactly the same thing!]

          Easiest way to hit your Amex bonus target on day 1 (other than the cancellable stuff, I suppose!) – spoiled by a fat singer from Tottenham.

        • Wimbledon is accessible for the following reasons.
          If you are a member of club it’s fairly easy to get tickets. There are some tickets available by queuing. The postal ballot attracts mainly genuine fans rather than touts hoovering up tickets. And finally a £25 ground pass is probably the best value in uk sport in the first week.
          The debenture tickets are about 1/6 of Centre court capacity, pay for massive infrastructure improvement and allow Wimbledon to hand a large surplus to the LTA ( which they squander). It’s a fair price to pay.

    • The Savage Squirrel says:

      You still haven’t grasped it though (or how to reply to a post either). Just because they CAN let in the fans for free, why would they or should they? It is more profitable to make them pay; preferably to pay a lot. You still seem stuck at the point where you don’t see football as what it is – an entertainment business run to maximise revenue from fans; not for the benefit of fans.

      • The Savage Squirrel says:

        😆 Rob has explained it better than me while I was writing a reply.

      • mutley says:

        Squirrel
        Take some time out to read Modern football is still Rubbish by Nick Davidson, really very entertaining, a bit like reading some of your rants, but with more laughs.

        • Shoestring says:

          Squirrel makes a lot more sense than you do, mutley

          read it all again about 5 times

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