It's time where Marriott and the other lodging chains send out reminders for their supposedly loyal customers to vote for their programs to receive the Freddie Award, an award for top travel-related programs.
My question to Marriott: "Really? After what you just pulled you expect me to vote for you?"
Voting for them shows there are no consequences for the continual devaluation of Marriott Rewards Program benefits - points, CLs hours and breakfast, room upgrades, etc!
How long is voting open?
Personally, I would like to wait and see if the adjust the changes to be more favorable, especially for Platinums.
After the devaluation of platinum benefits and increase in the cost to redeem awards averaging 20%, there is no way that Marriott will get my vote. Just because some other chains are as bad or worse, I cannot provide Marriott any positive recognition for not being as bad as their competitors. Rewarding mediocrity appears to be the new expectation of major corporations. You have to do something positive to get my vote.
While I will not vote for marriott, unless than make some changes to recent announcements, I probably will not vote for the competition.
Unless of course one of my local, independent chains is listed, e.g. Dusit Thani in Thailand.
As most of us already know, The Freddie Awards were inspired by the customer relations behavior of Sir Freddie Laker as it relates to frequent traveler programs. Whereas I do feel Marriott remains the preeminent provider of lodging services, with superb on-site customer relations, I cannot convince myself that their rewards program, in the recent months, even approaches their hotel level of service.
I also like the Delta program, partly because they have separated the super elites (Diamond) from the quasi super elites (platinum). Dropping the entry point to 75K base miles instead of 100K bloated the upper tier and therefore devalued the meaning of elite - especially fighting for limited upgrade seats. Adding Diamond a few years ago brought back a level that they could truly honor as their top fliers. I don't know about you, but I receive the yearly bonus benefits of both the Platinum level and Diamond level, which would equal up to 45K bonus miles AND a gold membership to give to one of my friends or family.
What Delta has done is take the "frog in the pot approach" to handle their program devaluation. I see Hilton using the same strategy in their upcoming changes regarding "seasonal" adjustments to point redemption. It used to be with Delta that 25K miles, with enough advanced planning, could get you award tickets on most domestic continental flights. They have slowly turned up the heat in the pot and have made 32.5K the new baseline on the majority of their flights. Also adjusting for single-segment demand, they can increase the points on the one segment as well. You can still find a seat for 25K on low demand routes, but it is very rare. Making these changes did not require any broad program change announcement, but only slowly adjusting the requirements where we have only mildly noticed the devaluation of the program miles. Those in the Diamond status also write this off in the extra 25% bonus miles we receive as part of our status.
Delta SkyMiles is one of the few airline awards programs that your miles will not expire. Since I only fly about 2-3 times a year I found miles earned on other airline rewards programs would expire before I could even get a chance to accumulate enough for any type of award. The Delta Platinum American Express Card has also been a great compliment to the SkyMiles Program like the Chase Platinum Card is to Marriott Rewards. With my Delta Platinum Amex Card I get priority boarding for all Delta Flights, one free checked bag for everyone in my party, and one free companion ticket each year. Delta also flies to almost everywhere I want to travel to so it has become my most frequently used airline.
actually I just use it for the convenience to see all my points in one place (and to easily find my FF#). I have my airline numbers, Amtrak, VIA, car rental companies, CVS#, coke#, some hotel programs (Marriott does not participate). I have looked through the trades but none have been for ones I needed, and in the end I endedup buying points.
My airline points are on Delta (from shopping that profc recommeneded) and United (formerly CO). If I need to combine them and they are not partners, this is definately an option, and it would be more points than I would probably buy.
Since its free, no harm in trying it out and seeing if you find it useful.
It's an awards program that recognizes which hotels and airlines has the best frequent traveler awards programs and benefits. Any traveler is able to place their vote between now and March 31st.