Stinging article today in the paper. Article suggests that Marriott, Starwood, and Hilton are ALL making it difficult to stay loyal. Major de-valuations at each place. Seems Hilton was by far the worst. good read, bad results. we shoul;d all use our points ASAP, it is only going to get worse.
Is this the article?
Looks like more changes are ahead.
A rising tide lifts all ships. Nearly all brands are seeing upticks in occupancy and will be more discriminating with points. So, I wouldn't be so quick to unload points, especially since they aren't created equally. Take a look at your travel plans to get the most out of your points - for instance, I often combine cash + points to make a Category 7-8 stay into a much better out-of-pocket value. I would have paid for the stay anyway, so this combo leaves me with cash to spend while on the trip. I personally find that's a better use of points than unloading 15 or 20K points on a night I could more easily absorb out of pocket. If your "loyalty threshold" is high and Marriott is your 1st choice anyway, think of what tips the scales for cash vs. points as a determining factor. Happy travels.
Good point. I have a heavy travel schedule this year and would be pushing to cash in more points in a year. However, I have competitors points as well and may not get my first choice. Next year a Marriott that I want to stay at is increasing from a cat 5 to 6 costing 120,000 for 5 nights. A short distance away is a Westin that costs 28,000 for 5 nights. They review close to each other. I would prefer the Marriott but will stay at the Westin. For 100,000 I would have chosen the Marriott and gotten a free breakfast.
hoard points at your own risk...... they are being de-valued and will only continue to do so. No one should continue to 'build' points. would you put money in a non-interest bearing savings account, and continue to do so after the bank informed you that not only are the points not growing, but they also are worth less than what you started with??? that is what is happening.
Also theoretically, like iahflyer below, a majority of us will be unloading points as rapidly as effectively possible, which should according to the procedures, result in even more increases in categories next year. And then, there's the program armageddon anadyr mentions where we all lose, quickly. I'm with you shoe, find a use and spend them. Last one out, turn out the lights (as Dandy Don and Willie used to sing, "turn out the lights, the party's over").
As I understand it, the categories are based on previous year's redemptions of points, thus we have ourselves chasing our tails, as it were: If we patronize the Marriott Marquis in New Year and use points, then we risk putting the Marquis in a new higher category, which will happen in May and then again ext year and so on... And, so it goes: we accumulate, they deflate.
Aah yes, but there's the rub, 'theoretically, and as I understand it" is the best we can do - because, like earning Plat Premier status, there is no formal explanation (not that it would matter if there were, redemption is understandably proprietary and we wouldn't know the numbers anyway).But regardless of reason - deflate is where we're headed - book 'em soon danno or forever hold your whine.
From the point of view of Marriott and its hotels, it makes sense to give hotels some relief from freeloaders who use points, doesn't it?
After all, if they can charge $500 a night in NYC and we show up and give them 50,000 points, they are out 500 dollars aren't they? I assume that Marriott gives them some compensation for the lost revenue. I know that when I stayed at a CY on points years ago, my bill showed 39 dollars for the room. When I asked they said that the mistake was theirs, that was the fee that they got from corporate. This was years ago and I have no info on current compensation.
Here's the deal: To earn 40,000 points, using both the Marriott Chase card and getting the 50% Platinum bonus you have to spend about $2000 at a hotel. (other factors disregarded like special bonuses)
Thus you spend 2000 dollars, get 20,000, 10,000, 10,000 for a total of 40,000 points added to your account.
Not exactly a free ride is it?
Ha ha ha, I'm getting that brainfreeze again. My apologies if I gave off any impression that I was wearing my empathy for the hotels, clothing. All of my non-Marriott purchases have been shifted to airline credit cards. Although curiousone's explanation regarding Southwest airlines travel packages (get 110,000 points and they give you a companion ticket) intrigues me, that does seem like a free ride
Thanks for bring this article to light, Shoeman.
Brian Kelly writes, "The recent changes underscore how hotel companies are squeezing more money from consumers."
Marriott has done an excellent job of squeezing more money from this consumer (moi, watashi-wa) with it's rewards program in the past, and hat's off to that. It's worked well for them and well for me, as they have provided adequate incentive for me to spend more to get more in return, in the form of rewards.
The question remains however, as to whether or not they've crossed that ever so fine line of squeezing this consumer out of their loyalty program altogether, as a result of lack of incentive. In my humble opinion, common sense would dictate that with rewards diminishing, the incentive to spend more while maintaining loyalty diminishes along with it. I am already seeing it in my own Marriott Rewards profile. Fewer nights. It will be interesting to see how the industry evolves. In the meantime, I will be spending down my accumulated rewards.
Perhaps we are at the very top of the loyalty program ski slope at the moment. Airlines figured out a while ago hoe to eviscerate their programs with harder to get rewards and higher mileage requirements for free flights, and now paying for free flights as a service charge. I think the smart folks in the hospoitality world are checking this trend out, and found it worthy, so they are emulating it.
It seems all loyalty programs are a dying breed, Delta today announced their plans for the 2014 FF program and it doesn't look any better than what Marriott is doing to us all. I'm going to find a way to rid myself of many Marriott and United points/miles within the next 18 months and hope my Lifetime Platinum and Million Miler status remains till I am able to rid myself of this all.
There is a corrosive effect to enforced loyalty as I've said in the past. The program can be tailored to make it less and less attractive until the most loyal give up (and are the last to do so). Truth be told the programs could be eliminated tomorrow with the stroke of a pen (and notice of the action as the terms and conditions say). Just need to wait for one chain to move that way and watch out!
I think that depends on where you are on the loyalty scale. As a Platinum elite plus with an Amex reserve card, I am happy with the 2014 changes because I will easily make platinum (if not diamond) again. In the process, it may eliminate some of the low revenue mileage run people making the pool for upgrades easier.
Am wondering if we are better off to use our points to purchase gift cheques and shop by rates instead of points?
Only problem is they ended the Platinum deal of 138K points for the $1000 gift card, and it now costs 200K.
Has anyone compared just the $1000 gift card (200K) versus using the points with the current property category changes factored in?
With a near 50% increase (65/135) in price of points, I think it would be difficult to find discounts big enough to offset, especially given Marriott's and the industry in general flexing its pricing muscles. The category increase (especially at your type of higher end properties) is only 5k points on a base of 25-40 (so a 20% to 12.5% increase). I think your better strategy would be to focus on exactly where you wanted to go and book the trips as early as possible (whether you beat May 15th or not) utilizing the five nights for four offer. Price shop the bookending weekends,(to include competitors if necessary) if you needed a longer stay, or toss in a certificate for a Cat. 4 airport (yes, I know, not FS, they've evaporated; but perhaps an RI or SpingHill Cat. 3 that moved to a 4) to reduce airfare by traveling on a cheaper day.
My biggest concern is that this last vestige of a bargain (five nights for four nights points) will be removed soon and then we would really feel bad about 'missing the boat'. I'm relatively confident that your point balance one year from now will be of less value than today, so I'm not advocating going places just for the sake of burning points, but I am suggesting if you were going to go to a locale, plan it sooner rather than later and play the game net/net meaning all travel expenses - air, car, lodging etc. as a total package cost. Removed of our 'loyalty' shackles we can now go back to 'old school' economics - the best overall deal.
And along those lines of securing the best deal, one of my Marriott forum heroes skiadcock (keeper of the CL weekend thread, great writeups of the O'Hare and Heathrow Rens and sharing the technique for shuttling free from Term.1 @ Heathrow to the Ren) has done it again. Here's a forum she shared that might be of value to us as a collective group of travelers http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/budget-travel-597/
I took a quick glance at it and there seems to be some there, there. Now before we tilt our head back, put our traveling noses in the air and pooh pooh the link, replace the word budget with deal and you'll see where I'm coming from. I've written about the value of the bus going from DC to NY and how it saved money and was quite comfortable (allowing for extra meals and plays). There's also some good info on https://www.airbnb.com/ and several other clever ideas and I don't mean tramp steamers!
This is a great thread to post this in, because it has above some of our heaviest hitters who with a quick glance can separate the wheat from the chaff as far as savings vs. effort. So while we're savoring our favorite Zins and 2BC (see, sometimes budget can work), take a glance and see if there's anything worth sharing among ourselves as we "storm the castle" in this new world.
SEE MY, "I FEEL STRONGLY BOTH WAYS" WIMPOUT STATEMENT BELOW before going hogwild
(that's a blush icon)
Well, I apparently hit two for two (airbnb and bus) on my first looking. After deeper viewing, it's not necessarily as rich as I had sold it to be (so, just quaff a beer instead and steal a glance). No knock on ski - she was helping out a first timer, which it would be great for. There are some ideas in there, but it might take more digging than necessary - so give it to your kids (although the costco rental car concept did save me $80 on a fl. rental).
I just wanted to revise my enthusiasm before my face got rightfully gnawed off! (that's an 'it's all good' icon)
I finished up my last 'gift cheques' that I bought under the old deal (for 135,000 points) and figured that even without the category changes that the 200,000 points won't work for the value/price equation. I could go for a 150,000 point cost for the $1000. It works there. It's a losing deal for this customer in my equation when it gets above that 150,000 point value for the cost. The Marriott bean counters know that too. That's why they made it 200,000.