As other Insiders have said, use them cause they'll be worthless sooner than later.
Excellent post, Anadyr.
I read the article with great interest. The experts are saying that perhaps it's time to re-assess loyalty and begin to chase sales rather than points. That's exactly what I've been thinking over, ever since the great Marriott recession of 2013 was announced.
Interestingly, they mentioned that the true value of loyalty programs was more in being able to attain room upgrades. I'll leave that to others for comment.
I wouldn't hold my breath... Sad to say, businesses in general seem to be moving away from a customer focus in favor of a profit focus. Don't get me wrong, businesses need to be profitable, but at the expense of the customer? Too bad most seem to be headed in the same direction. Makes it all the more difficult to vote with your $$.
Different world, but look at JC Penny. An old venerable company that was getting passed by in it's industry. They made a decision to forego their existing customers...some that were loyal for decades....to create this "new" experience. The strategy on paper in the CFOs office looked good. Less discounts, less sales, less specials, less less less. Higher margins would look nice. They took for granted that the customer would agree with their strategy and damned be the old fogies that didn't get the change. The miscalculation has them losing MILLIONS of dollars and MILLIONS of clients. For months, they've been explaining that the stupid customers just don't get it. Well, those stupid customers didn't like being treated like stupid customers and out the door they went.
Every time a business thinks it's existing clientele aren't worth fighting for...they lose. When your most loyal of clients start to tell you that your making bad decisions, maybe you want to listen. All the MBAs in the world will not fill your hotels, stores, movie theaters, etc. These MBAs may be smarter, but the stupid customers that have been coming to you for years, are the ones with the Benjamins....be careful not to tick them off. I think we've seen the end of JCP.
Agreed, it's just bad decision piled on top of another one. The problem is that they gaev themselves a no sale prices policy then had to back down. Plus brick and mortar is fighting the amazon.com folks and others, with prices that are lower than wholesale at times. Nordstom made a tactical error some years ago and has not yet fully recovered from it. Yes, businesses need to evolve and keep their fingers on the pulse of the clients, and if they don't they lose market share and eventually they disappear!
Again, it seems to be airlines/hotels and different ones in each category. I couldn't be happier with what Delta will have done in 2014 because not only does it give everyone notice, but it knocks out those who rely on last minute 'runs' as well as those who cheat the system through SkyMall etc by buying things for huge bonus points then resell them for profit which I consider unethical at the very least. Delta's new system will reward real flyers much more, and while there is a spending component, it would be impossible for me to miss it (and it's also comped partially if you have an Amex Delta card).
So not all rewards programs are changing for the worse, as someone pointed out on another line regarding Fairmonts. Alas, most are no place I'd ever stay, though I loved that the Château Frontenac is one of their properties.
After my stay at the Athens Ledra and whatever points I can add to my current ones, I plan to use them quickly. I may even try to cancel my Athens Ledra reservation to use the rewards + pay option. I did it before that ever existed and simply asked if I could stay in the same room. It doesn't look possible while I have my current (slightly cheaper) reservation on the books, but I'm going to keep checking.
Yes, that was an enlightening discussion on Fairmont. Unfortunately, I can't afford to stay with them, but would like to. There's a couple of properties that I would travel to just for the property itself! Lake Louise being a prime example.
SkyMile members were able to achieve elite status with SkyMall purchases? I would be pretty upset if people did that to get elite status too, in addition to profiting from it. Mileage runs, on the other hand, I don't have a particular gripe with, as they are still paying for the airfare and actually flying. But, I've never been an elite with an airline, so I'm not sure how that affects other elite members. Since I can't afford to travel much, most of my mileage comes from credit card spend, and spending through affiliates, though AA uses Elite Qualifying Miles to earn elite status, and one can earn EQMs through flying only.
But, I wish you luck with your Athens plan!
that is quite steep! But, rooms at equivalent hotels/resorts fare no better than that. I even saw rates for the CY Waikiki of all places at $509/night! Why anyone would pay that much to stay there is beyond me... $500/night is very common for both the JW Marriott Ihilani and it's neighbor, Disney's Aulani, and again, I believe that's still pretty steep for those properties...
Exactly what I was thinking when considering a return to independents that I used in pre-Marriott days.
If the loyalty benefits are devaluing, then I may as well go with the best price on interesting hotels, which will cost me considerably less than any of the chain hotels, most of which I have never liked!
I've started writing 3 or 4 different replies to this thread, but keep stopping myself because I feel like I'm going to anger those with higher status and that have been loyal longer. So, I'm going to leave most of my thoughts out about the state of the industry and world, and just try to put the core thesis out there that just because you've been loyal doesn't mean you have to continue and you should keep all your options open. I would not try to hang on to the loyalty to a brand or company when it no longer makes sense.
Until about 2 years ago, I didn't travel enough to even bother joining any loyalty programs. When I started to, I figured I might as well try to take advantage of it and went with Marriott primarily because of their coverage. I barely made Gold status last year and even if I maintain it this year, I know that I won't the next just because I won't have the opportunity to travel much in areas where there are Marriotts.
Because of this, I've decided to diversify. Because I can't always stay at Marriotts I've already gotten Hyatt Platinum status. I'm getting the Club Carlson Visa so I'll have automatic gold status there (not as good as Marriott Gold, but one place I go their property is much better than the Marriott) along with other benefits like Bonus Award Nights. And, I'm debating getting the HHonors Reserve Citi Visa which would also give me HHonors Gold.
This way, whenever I plan a trip I am not limited to one chain. I can look at them all and choose whichever is the best fit for me at the time. Also, sometimes I don't have a choice and this way I can still get benefits from wherever I end up having to stay.
I think that the chains are trying to adapt their programs to fit a changing world and marketplace and consumers would do best to adapt as well by diversifying among the programs.
Wow - Reuters is really late to this game. This article just in with more market insight... well... not much more. Those on this sight know full well what happened and how it impacted all of us, immediately!
Since my company is flipping the bill for lodging, I'm less price sensitive and trying to maximize the benefit return for family use. Using indies or boutiques would only offer the immediate stay benefit while lodging and would have little future redemption value. Because of this, I stay in the points game. It's not as fun as it used to be, but it is paying for a free night at the JW in Rio de Janeiro this month with my wife for our anniversary.
Just what I was looking for, an industry level, fact based analysis, and where Marriott is in the pack!