Preference elicitation leverages AI or optimization to learn stakeholder preferences in settings ranging from marketing to public policy. The online robust preference elicitation procedure of arXiv:2003.01899 has been shown in simulation to outperform various other elicitation procedures in terms of effectively learning individuals’ true utilities. However, as with any simulation, the method makes a series of assumptions that cannot easily be verified to hold true beyond simulation. Thus, we propose to validate the robust method’s performance in deployment, focused on the particular challenge of selecting policies for prioritizing COVID-19 patients for scarce hospital resources during the pandemic. To this end, we develop an online platform for preference elicitation where users report their preferences between alternatives over a moderate number of pairwise comparisons chosen by a particular elicitation procedure. We recruit Amazon Mechanical Turk workers (n = 193) to report their preferences and demonstrate that the robust method outperforms asking random queries by 21%, the next best performing method in the simulated results of arXiv:2003.01899, in terms of recommending policies with a higher utility.