The $1000 gift cheque for 135,000 points offer ends today. You can read about the decision in more detail if interested, in the post (most likely over to the right in the More Like This column) titled Marriott Rewards Cheque offer to end Jan 1, 2012 (this is a typo - it should have said January 1, 2013) today is the last day to buy.
Here's the official Marriott statement that was provided
Marriott Cheques — Save your cash and use Marriott Cheques instead for golf, dining, and more. They're available in various amounts and currencies and accepted at participating hotels worldwide.
* As of January 1, 2013, $100 and $1,000 Elite-only gift cheque rewards will no longer be available. Gift cheques purchased by December 31, 2012 will be honored until the certificate’s expiration date.
This sucks. We could go to an Orlando Marriott and buy Disney tickets; but put them on the room. We then could use the cheques to pay for the tickets and room. My hotel visits are mostly business, so it was a way we could use our points for actual dollars. Now they want 200,000 points for $1,000.00. No way. Thanks for taking away that benefit. They could have at least raised the point value or lowered the amount for the gifts cards. Platinum Premier....but no discounts. Thanks a lot.
Re: Question regarding qualifying rollover nights, third paragraph down:
"Get 'Em While They're Hot - regarding gift checques: the paper gift checques will be discontinued on Dec 31, 2012. To be clear - you can purchase these until December 31, and they'll be honored until the cert's expire. The reason they're being closed down is because the group we purchase them from is retiring the product, so there's nothing we can do about it. However, we will be announcing a replacement using the gift cards - details are not yet totally baked, but I promise to let you know as soon as possible. One hint: we're leaning toward putting a similar offer in-market only during certain times of the year, sort of like how McDonald's offers their McRib Sandwich (which I abhor BTW, but many love). We will not broadly announce the end of these products so you're getting a TRUE INSIDERS tip right here and now."
1) This was buried deep in the bowels of another - unrelated discussion (still, kudos to michellel for a tip of the hat notice - some notice is better than none).
It was mostly noticed on Insiders once floridatravels posted it as a discussion.
I have observed several announcements first on Marriott press releases to the general public and then several days, if not weeks later to "Insiders".
I never used the cheques, so I was only interested from a communication perspective. This topic of gift cheque expiration has appeared three years in a row, so I would have expected Marriott to more formally end it, than just slipping it onto the bottom of the order page.
There appears to be of late, a sincere attempt on the social media associates to drop us a heads up at least as early as the general public.
2) Good thing the room key manufacturers didn't retire their product or Marriott would have to shut down.
I think it's the difference between notice (which if one went to purchase cheques, they'd have seen that part), and explanation. The explanation part may have been the gap between the public notification and the Insiders' knowledge. From a marketing perspective, the messaging was what I'd expect: never trumpet "bad" news. As a more or less informed consumer, though, it was pretty cheap on their part. At the end of the day, I really didn't care, as I never used them (and apparently very few did, relatively speaking).
Although the room key thing was obviously cheeky, I'd actually start looking for changes there over the next several years. (That's a related industry to mine) Contactless is pushing down-market via the major vendors, but the current technology is still insanely cheap to deploy and maintain. Look for it in the boutiques first, then higher end mainline properties.
Sadly, I'd have never known about the cheques in the first place if it hadn't been for MI. There are plenty of places for Marriott to place notices of this kind, including accounts rewards notices. As with most other corporations and people, communication is pretty bad if even existing at times. If a program isn't going over so well, advertize and communicate more.
Funny, erc. :-) I liked that, per usual.
(and apparently very few did, relatively speaking).
I completely agree regarding your descriptive about usage of the gift cheques. But, I did use them. It really showed how few used them by how many Marriott associates didn't know how to enter them or even what they were! It got so bad (when I presented them) that I would ask for a receipt 'on the spot' when I gave them to somebody. Didn't care how they entered them, just give me a receipt that shows they were entered on my folio after I gave them to you.....
Thank goodness I did because........
I used them recently at the Marriott in Farmington, CT. The associates had no clue how to enter them. I asked for, and received, a receipt that showed I paid with gift cheques and the value of the gift cheques used. Four days later a charge appears on my Marriott Visa card for the entire amount of the gift cheques I gave them. I call the accounting dept at the hotel and they tell me the credit has already been issued for the amount charged as it was in error. Five days later I call again because no credit had appeared and I am told that the GM has not approved the credit.
I file a complaint with Marriott customer service about the issue and they forward it to the hotel (to the hotel that didn't care enough to deal with it the previous two times I contacted them!!). I wait three more days for a response and finally dispute the charge with Chase providing the documentation. Chase issues the credit in one day.
I'm glad those gift cheques are gone.