Arigato Gozaimasu vs. Sumimasen: Which Should be Used?
Arigato (ありがとう), also spelled Arigatou, meaning thank you, is a Japanese phrase that many people know, whose polite form is Arigato Gozaimasu.
Meanwhile, as I wrote in this article, Sumimasen or Suimasen means I’m sorry, used when the speaker feels anxious or guilty about something.
Arigato Gozaimasu vs. Sumimasen
Nonetheless, when someone has done a kind thing, many Japanese often use Sumimasen instead of Arigato Gozaimasu.
For instance, when a stranger holds a door open for one, the beneficiary might say Sumimasen, just expressing a thank you without guilt.
If the person said Arigato Gozaimasu here, the one holding the door open would most likely be glad.
But using Sumimasen to show gratitude here can be interpreted in various ways, and the hearer might negatively think that I made that person feel sorry.
So as recommended by some people, it would be better to use Arigato Gozaimasu, not Sumimasen, when others do kind things for you.
(Reference Page: Benesse.jp )