Simply have to vent...
I've been a Marriott rewards member for well over a decade and have been pleased with the Program and with Marriott in general. However, as of late, I think we all have witnessed the systematic erosion of the "reward" in the Rewards Program.
Not only are they harder to earn, they're harder to spend! Hotel classifications expand, but the free night certs apply to fewer of those classifications. You can't use points for certain room types...etc, etc., etc.
I didn't join Marriott's Reward Program because I liked their logo...I did it because their Rewards program was just that - rewarding! It differentiated itself from the myriad of other programs and hotels at which I could have stayed. After my most recent unsuccessful attempt to use points to reserve a room, I began to ask myself why I was even continuing to try to accumulate points if they're only good for such limited redemption opportunities.
I'm beginning to rethink my loyalty to the program and wondered if anyone else was feeling the same way.
The only suggestion I would make is book as early as you can, because only a certain number of rooms are set aside for rewards redemption, and can be affected by special events, etc. I have redeemed in Boston, DC, NYC, Palm Beach Shores, several spots in Connecticut, Philadelphia, Ghent & Brussels Belgium, Venice Italy and many other locations and just booked a week in Rome for next spring. The key is to book early and be a bit flexible, if your first choice is not available. I know it's not perfect, though.
You are most correct, but so is Dr. Ray, me thinks. The program has indeed eroded a bit, and additionally it appears that many properties are not playing by the rules, or else have forgot the definition of hospitality. I will continue to patronize those that do embody the definition, however, and only those, so long as they continue to prove to value my business. Along these lines, at the property level if elite status is not recognized with the expected benefits on a regular and consistent basis, then I begin to have less incentive to earn elite status. Less incentive means less business for Marriott.
It is disappointing that you can't use reward points for certain room types, it shouldn't matter if you desire to but 300,000 points on a suite overlooking the ocean or river next to the mountains you should be able to book that room. It seems I spend at least four days a week now looking for places to book before May 15th, bad thing is you can't get further down the road than something like 335 days and just about all my travel for this year is planned out with no room for much more.
psudad it certainly isn't perfect, but could be made better than the road we all see coming into view.
As Ed McMahon used to say , and you certainly aren't alone when it comes to feeling that way. Check out the right column over to the side, More Like This pages and pages of justifiably so, disgruntled long term loyalists.
The bad news, Marriott has made it clear as long as they post results like the following:
Posted: 10 May 2013 07:22 AM PDT
Marriott International, Inc. (NYSE: MAR) today announced that its Board of Directors raised the company’s quarterly dividend by four cents ($0.04) to seventeen cents ( $0.17) per share, which represents a 30 percent increase over the previous quarterly dividend amount of $0.13 per share. The dividend is payable on June...
they are not going to alter their operating strategy. In the beginning of their aggressive benefit squeezing program they initially attempted to communicate the changes, but stepped on themselves so often, they went to a non-response approach and maintain it to this day.
The good news - Marriott still provides for the most part at the property level, a very effective level of customer service (although like pluto mentions, we are starting to see ever so worrisome trends of some penny pinching and rule bending). That's why like psudad suggests above, our best strategy is to optimize our efforts, sharing ideas among ourselves of how best to work within the downgraded system (including using other programs), because for the time being like Jim Croce sang, "We're spitting in the wind".
I Have to agree. I run a parallel rewards account with Hilton, and they have edged ahead quite significantly and I get any room I like with Hilton points. I also have a Marriott Vacation Club timeshare and used to be able to exchange my week for a significant number of Marriott Rewards Points. Now, it's harder than ever to do, and this has been confused by the introduction of "Vacation Points" which are entirely different.
I Mostly use my points when staying in London (England) and different Marriott hotels have different deals, and different ways of rewarding you. It's all most confusing and all it's doing is driving me in the direction oft Hilton. it's disappointing to read that Marriott have decided to maintain their indifferent customer service in the interest of higher dividends for shareholders. This path will sooner or later end in loss of business, and then smaller dividends.
My main question is, does anyone understand how to transfer Vacation Points to Marriott Points? (If indeed it can be done)