I tend to agree with your thinking on this subject. However, there is no question that Marriott will tweak the program to best suit their needs. I suspect that while rewarding past loyalty is one aspect of a Loyalty Program, another very important part of it is to maintain that loyalty with those folks that are still heavily traveling on business. They are the one's that are ringing the register for Marriott at the highest levels and are necessarily the most important customers they have. So, a very active traveler may decide that the number of years in the program requirement to achieve Platinum for life is too much of a negative to maintain the fierce loyalty that companies want and by loosening tis requirement, Marriott is bowing to them. Makes sense, I guess.
I was constantly on the road as well, but did not earn the card until recently. While I spent about 5 years on the road most of the time, I must not have hit my 1000 nites until a couple of years cause my work related travel as really slowed down. I had the requisite years, so the hold up for me was definately the last few nights that pushed me over the 1000 nite mark.
One clarification request. You state that "The current criteria of a minimum number of years at a specific level will be going away. "
The only "specific level" criteria I'm aware of is that you must have earned the relevant Lifetime level at least once. Because you noted that only Nights and Points will be the criteria, many are reading into your statement that the 12 years as a member (which doesn't have a specific level requirement, iirc) is going away.
I read it that way too, but it could be interpreted differently and would probably benefit from clarification.
(btw, that criteria doesn't affect me. But I will meet my last criteria after 1/1 but before the 2/28 program year expiration. Any insight into the effective date of the new criteria, whatever they are?)
Greetings! Thanks for writing. Lifetime 'criteria' has never been formally published, so any criteria currently in discussion is officially Urban Legend. And yes - I stated that the criteria for a minimum number of years will be going away, and the only two elements that will be needed to achieve Lifetime status will be nights and points. To respond to your comment about earning a relevant level, I'll answer it with an example of what we would not do: If a member has attained Silver status and met the points/nights requirements, we would not give them Gold or Platinum... Make sense? I can't divulge any more details - even if you ply me with promise of chocolate.
Chocolate weakness, check. Weekend evening libation, check. Exotic, beachy location, check check check.
Keep it comin' michellel2, all these things are useful for future favor requests.
So it sounds like the "years at a specific level requirement" still exists - you need at least one year at PLT to be granted lifetime PLT, for example. But the 12 year as a member requirement (independent of level) is going away. That's how I (and others here) had interpreted it, but a literal reading seemed to differ.
btw, I'm curious if that scenario has/would ever occur - you'd need to work hard at meeting the LT PLT nights/points without ever earning PLT one time (at least at the current levels)
I know you're not going to reveal any additional information, but I certainly hope the night levels for Gold and Paltinum will NOT go up higher. Also, i hope that the real purpose of the the Lifetime policies will be to offer reasonable benefits that differentiate it from a Platinum person like myself, so i have something to attain.
"Also, i hope that the real purpose of the the Lifetime policies will be to offer reasonable benefits that differentiate it from a Platinum person like myself, so i have something to attain."
I would suggest that never having to worry about re-qualifying again, and having PLT status when your heavy travel years are over is a pretty significant differentiation from a regular PLT member. Forever vs. next March 1 is huge. I wouldn't expect any specific additional benefits on an ongoing/annual basis - I don't see it as a higher tier.
I suspect the number of members with non-business, personally-paid PLT earned status, where this differentiation wouldn't be meaningful, is pretty low.