Well, it's final four weekend but that's not what I was thinking about. Rather, I was pondering the tipping point, the point at which a brand no longer maintains a grip on your travel preferences.
For me, this tipping happened first with major airlines--after being a loyal United Airlines frequent flyer for years I was unable to maintain my status as an elite flyer and the airline dropped me quicker than a hot biscuit out of the oven! So, in this case the tipping point was the lack of legacy points, the who needs you attitude, and of course the United motto (we are bankrupt but we know you'll use us anyway!). Now, as revenge, I use them never! My current flyer friends tell me that they airline is getting better, but can't give me a specific way in which that is happening.
Now onto lodging chains: Marriott, to which I have been loyal for nearly three decades, is nearing that same tipping point. First it was the devaluation of points, the restriction on award use, and the treatment of loyal guests at check-in that got my attention. Now it continues with what I perceive is decreased customer service on the phone. I am not there yet and do not want to be, but it's getting harder to be loyal when the loyalty is only one way--from me to them.
I don't have an answer, but I am sure one is out there. I hope Marriott can see that for many of us, it's coming, and do something about it.
Your current flyer friends must have always flown UA then, because being a CO loyalist I don't like much of anything this new UA has done to date nor do quite a few others I know including employees, but that's another story for another time/place.
I have a nice status with the new UA all due to my years of being loyal to CO, but now that I'm retired the work trips are not going to keep me in the 100,000/years 1K program so I'll get to see just how fast a hot biscuit drops as I end up in the Premier Gold level on January 1, 2014. Due to the million miler they say I will never go below Gold, but who knows how long that will be the line in the sand as the loyalty from them to me most likely keep getting reduced as you mention.
On to Marriott. So far I've not had any issues other than the devaluation of points which is in itself huge. Restriction on award use I am just not starting to experience as I look into the 330 day time line while trying to book them before Marriott's Customer in the Grease Day (CGD) on May 15. I am seeing the teeter totter start to level itself and like yourself hope Marriott is looking and acting.
Thanks, I jad nearly a decade at 1k with UAL, and never quite made the million miles mark, but that's fine. Our service in and out of MRY is mostly for those folks with plenty of cash (but no private jets) or folks on government fares. Most other times we head to San Jose or SFO for Jet Blue and/or Virgin America. Both are airlines who stress customer loyalty.
As for Marriott I sure hope there's someone listening, and hope that there can be an accommodation for old timers who've spent years in hotels, but that remains to be seen.
anadyr (and IAHFLYR), I wanted to add my $0.02, as I have on other threads. Anadyr, like you, I was 1K on the old, pre merge UA, having lived in LA and Chicago (from 1989 to 1993 in LA and 1993 to 2000 in ORD land), then kept it up with 1K on UA from JFK to LHR(living outside NYC since 2000), till UA sold the JFK-LHR routes to DL. I had over 3 million miles and like you, million miler for the promised "lifetime gold". I havent actually flown a revenue flight on UA since about 2006, and while I do have the life gold, not sure if I will keep it, given the noises from the "new" UA. Not that I really care. I just redeemed out the last few hunded thou miles from my stash to fly me and family to Europe later this year. My loyalty for UA shifted due to lack of options (JFK was LAX and SFO, and LGA was ORD, DEN and Dulles), and frankly, AA and DL offered better service for where I go (Europe, SA, some midwest and west coast USA). I am still 10+ years from retirement (wish it was less) and UA is going to get one last flight from me, when we use those last miles to get first class to Europe. So, for now, I am AA EX Plat, already have 1MM status and life gold on AA, but I am waiting to see what happens post USAir merger. I came to Marriott about 6 years ago, as the corp travel guru's told me no more hyatt or hilton's, now use *wood and Marriott. OK, did a status match from Hyatt to Marriott, been gold or Plat since, and on the verge, at year end 2013, of being able to be life Plat. Like you, anadyr, my loyalty is wavering, the erosion of benny's by Marriott has been fierce, and since I have another decade to earn, one I am life in marriott, its fair game for other providers, namely *wood. I know its no panacea over there, but I do have a coice in travel and I can and will use that choice to send messages. Loyalty is not a once and done. Its a relationship, and if a mate treated me like Marriott, well lets say we would be in divorce court so fast we would have earned a speeding ticket. I divorced UA, kept visitation rights, but after 2013, no more. nd I have been costing them real $$ since 2006 since I book 330 days in advance, fly at peak times of the year, and take up premium space (I love getting even). I am not mean, but after the UA debacles I had, I saw no reason to be fair or loyal. So Anadyr, I agree, I wish someone from Marriott would respond. nothing is worse than feeling ignored. and that is what has happened.
Being an AAdvantage member, I have no experience with United, however. However, I often read about the horrors taking place at UA since the merger, including this ridiculous story of a travel blogger & UA frequent flier that was thrown off a UA flight. http://upgrd.com/matthew/thrown-off-a-united-airlines-flight-for-taking-pictures.html
Apparently, the story had quite a bit of coverage and other passengers that sat near him and were interviewed corroborated his story. I'm crossing my fingers AAdvantage and AA remains relatively unchanged through the merger process, but I'm not holding my breath. I'm not sure what my tipping point with them would be, as the problems at UA rule them out as an alternate for me. From what I understand, Delta's FF program and service is also not so great, so again, not quite a great alternate there either. I have here great things about Jet Blue and Virgin America, but both don't fly to HNL
As for Marriott, while I've been a member of MR for only a few years, the recent changes have really got me thinking. I've got my fingers crossed, but I fear their attitude to the program and loyalty will not change for the better. Should anymore more negative changes occur, that will likely be my tipping point. What program to go to next? I don't know... Hyatt is at the top of my list at the moment, but we shall see!
as you know kharada46 I am not a happy camper with this new UA in the least, but I will say that I've flown on both UA and CO aircraft with their respective crews and the flight crews in my opinion are not the problem. Bet you can figure out where the problem is can't you? That's right management and the way the devaluation of being any level of premier status. They recently came out with a program where you can buy yourself premier access for a day at some silly cost so now the lines for security and boarding the aircraft will be glogged up with the guy with no status, 2.5 kids who annoy his wife and you get to stand behind them listening to them argue back and forth about who gets the window seat. Thankfully my last flight was early morning from SEA so we didn't have the 2.5 kids to deal with and thank goodness for Pre-Check that has no line.
Are we tipping yet? Soon I predict, but I don't know when soon is.
That's very unfortunate. Them doing that makes me fear even more so that AA will do the same once US gains control... Monkey see, monkey do right? I'm glad you experience with flight crews have been positive, though, as I've read A LOT of negative in-flight experiences with them... but all airlines have their good and bad crews.
By the way, what that you I saw on Airliners.net. I think it was a thread on an IAH-HNL route?
Lots of bad press, though some sound over dramatic...
I was loyal to hyatt and only reason I had to leave was I do 99% biz travel and 1% personal, so when corp HQ says "no more Hyatt", we have no choice and 6+ years ago Marriott looked to the best of the bunch. Now its 2013, and I would go back to Hyatt in a heartbeat, but fact is, thier coverage of properties, better now than a decade ago, still lags far behind most rivals, and that is one reason corp travel still says no. If you have a choice and decide to switch, I would go to Hyatt, that is my vote (others, feel free to disagree). As to the UA and AA issue (and DL for that matter), I am sticking with AA for now, hoping the USA team doesnt decimate my loyalty when they lay seige to AA, becasue if they do mess up a good loyalty program, I will run out of good choices out of NYC that corp travel supports, but rest assured, I will make do, just not happliy. As to DL, I was a royal medallion (back in the late 1980's/early 1990's) and had so many bad flights, challenging attitudes, and overall lousy experiences that I stopped paying for DL flighs and instead using those miles to fly the in laws on vacation when they wanted to travel, and I have no miles left and will not set foot on a DL flight for the rest of my life (I would rather take Amtrak than give DL another $) So tipping point, as is the title of this thread, I do hope Marriott, community manager or someone with authority and decision making power reads and responds, because the silence is disheartening, the being ignored is painful, and the tipping point is closer for many than they realize. Please someone from Marriott -RESPOND! Show US YOU CARE COMMUNICATE
Thank you for your wonderful insight! I do not currently travel for business, so my relationships with hotels & airlines is purely for pleasure travel, so Hyatt would be an option. But as you've said, their coverage isn't so great, though improving! I hadn't realized they opened up a new Maui property recently... looks amazing! Anyhow, for now I'll likely stay with Marriott, but if further negative changes occur, I won't hesitate to burn my remaining points and jump to Hyatt (or Starwood). I'd probably select Hyatt, though, because Gold Passport has not seen changes this year (though it may in the future), is easier to earn points than SPG, and has a better credit card than SPG, in my opinion anyway.
As for the airlines, I agree with you completely. AA is the best out of the legacies, but I worry what will happen once US takes over. I haven't flown Delta, but I know too many people that have had negative experiences with them and I don't care much for their frequent flier program. Even when I look at alliances, I'd prefer Star if I had to leave OneWorld. But, I've got my fingers crossed. We'll see what happens. The next year or two will be very telling for sure...