Today's suggestion (prompted by another thread): Marriott should identify a telephone number or email address where Marriott Rewards members could burn extremely large numbers of points in exchange for customized packages -- the royal vacation, the dream experience, the trip of a lifetime (you get the idea). Frankly, this is what I'd consider "low hanging fruit." It's easy. Marriott Insiders - if you agree, speak up, and we'll see if Marriott is listening.
Pingreeman got me started when he recently hit the nail on the head. He wrote:
When I have already "maxed out" the upper/upper/upper tiers of status, what would motivate me to remain this loyal? GUARANTEED SUITE UPGRADES TWICE A YEAR to take my family on a "Royal Vacation" where my 50 weeks a year at as an "absentee dad/husband" could be meaningfully regained by having the BEST that Marriott can OFFER for someone with 3157 lifetime nights, 8.4 million points earned, and 20+ membership years (sorry - not flaunting but trying to show my "personal sacrifice" I have made to my family). I only wish Marriott would counter my family's loss with fantastic benefit gains.
I tried to make a similar point, here - http://www.rewards-insiders.marriott.com/thread/13713 - but was not as eloquent.
So let me try a different way: it seems eminently reasonable to me that - if the Platinum line were to serve its intended purpose - there would be a small number of folks staffing that line authorized to basically let you do whatever you want anytime you agree to burn (some arbitrary, but high number, say) 500,000 points or more. [Sure, (1) the same could be said for lower thresholds - maybe the magic number is 250,000 points - but, why not start high - we can quibble about thresholds later. And, of course, it doesn't have to be on the phone - there could be a special email address to contact these folks. But, again, these are details.]
Look, every benefit that Pingreeman (or, for that matter, any of us) wants, can be quantified and priced in terms of points. What I hear Pingreeman (and others) saying is: if you want to keep my (immensely valuable) business, make some effort to demonstrate that you value that business. It makes good business sense for Marriott to have a small team of experts who are willing to
This isn't rocket science.... If you agree, share your voice....
Sounds great, especially "let you do whatever you want"
Besides being available to Platinum Elites and Lifetime Platinum Elite members (I assume), how does the idea differ from Vacation Packages | Marriott Hotel and Resorts Package Deal? 250,000, 500,000 or whatever such a threshold could be is a lot of points - but what would be expected from a trip like?
And I realize the idea is an Elite-exclusive service benefit, but here is information for anyone interested in the options to upgrade rooms.
Wow - well, CommunityManager - I realize you're in a tough position and I realize your effort was well intentioned here, but, uh, how can I say this, but: gee, you totally missed the point. I don't mean to be critical, so I'll try to keep this as neutral as possible.
First: what I was suggesting was a unique level of customer service - a telephone number or email address where your very best customers could be treated, well, special. [Remember - the discussion began with the implicit query: is Marriott willing to make an effort to keep its very best customers happy by going out of its way to demonstrate Marriott's appreciation for their loyalty?] Obviously, that wasn't in the cards. You sent me a link to a page that's available to, well, everyone. But that's beside the point.
The main point is that points are great - I love them - but there are far too many limits on how they can be used (particularly since, once you monetize them, everything that Marriott can offer should have a price tag) - particularly if you're trying to create a dream vacation (which often includes the best rooms in the best properties).
So, well, I test drove the site you recommended - Vacation Packages | Marriott Hotel and Resorts Package Deals - and, yikes, what a disappointment. I admit, I don't have all day, so my research was limited, but the unequivocal conclusion I reached was that this does not even begin to answer the basic question asked by Pingreeman - how can a high-end valued customer receive "the very best Marriott can offer" and - in that context - includes a guaranteed suite for that very special family vacation?
OK, so I test drove a few dates and a few offers - none were very gratifying..... Here's a quick summary of my research:
Finally, as for the upgrade site - Free Hotel Stay and Hotel Upgrade from Marriott , the page explains: "Some upgrades require payment in local currency and cannot be purchased with Marriott Rewards points." That's exactly what Pingreeman is asking to override.
In any event, I posted this in INNOVATION SPARKS because I thought I could generate a constructive discussion. I don't sense we're making much progress yet. Sorry to disappoint.
Regarding your link here is information for anyone interested in the options to upgrade rooms. Did you happen to notice this?
Available at select Marriott Hotels and Resorts® and The Ritz-Carlton® hotels. & Availability varies by hotel. & Upgrade reward offerings vary by hotel and by season.
Nowhere in the "upgrade" page does it say "guaranteed suites" at all venues for Lifetime Plutonium status. Just for the fun of it, I tried booking suites at several of the resorts I attempted to take my family last year - guess what - no suites available on cash or points.
Where are the benefits?
EDIT - I just now read the other posts and I am repeating much of what was already said.
OK, by comparison, I just found this language on the Hilton Honors web page - Hilton HHonors™ - Expanded Rewards
So, gee, I guess one of the things in play here is for Marriott merely to match the competition.
In any event, there are now multiple issues on the table.
As folks have notice before, I don't see much downside to these proposals from Marriott's perspective....
ssindc, I applaud your excellent posts as well as those of jerrycoin and several others who have frequented these various forums of suggestion and angst.
Marriott, you should simply do as we've all said:
1) at least get up to par with the competition and offer truly UNLIMITED points opportunities. "No blackout dates" is such a gimmick. If there's a room available, I should be able to get in with points (and you should not gouge me to do so). if I want X, I should be able to obtain it with points AND please don't forget the part about not gouging us. 200K+ points for a $1,000 Marriott bucks reward? I purchased $2,000 for 135K each (270K total) and even that was rather steep for dollars to spend at your properties.
2) offer a truly special experience with the Platinum Premier staff. they are supposed to be an elite squad and they do have their own phone number, but the level of service varies.
3) provide us tangible benefits for being PP, Lifetime, etc. DO NOT send us mobile USB sun-powered battery chargers made in China, online subscriptions to the WSJ or bathroom tote bags we don't want or need.
Let me end on a positive note. For all those folks who think the Hilton HHonors program is "da bomb," please check your points ratios, because you're earning arguably 50% more points but many properties, depending on location and seasonality, cost you 100% to 200% more points/night than Marriott.
P.S. Oh yeah, lest we not forget the incendiary stringing along of members last year by some Marriott representative re: reincarnation of the BOGO weekend nights? #4, DO NOT infer members will receive a benefit that never occurs and do not ask us our opinions unless there is a realistic chance something will happen. I'd like to see Mr. Marriott (Sr., Jr., doesn't matter to me) actually read through one of these blogs and make a comment here and there. THAT would be tangible evidence that Marriott's most loyal customers are at least catching the ear of someone in a position of authority.
seattlite - in regards to "For all those folks who think the Hilton HHonors program is "da bomb," please check your points ratios, because you're earning arguably 50% more points but many properties, depending on location and seasonality, cost you 100% to 200% more points/night than Marriott." ---> Agreed - to an extent. I have done several analysis on MRI between Hilton and Marriott points earning and spending opportunities. Generally speaking (and with the exception of some European venues), Marriott is "on par" with Hilton. As you imply, Hilton allows you to earn points faster than Marriott but Hilton also charges more points for similar rooms as the earnings ratio is the same as the spending ratio.
Having said that, the REAL difference IMO is the ability to USE THE POINTS. Whereas Hilton can GUARANTEE A SUITE ON POINTS, Marriott cannot. At one time, I had 3.4M MR points that were "essentially useless" when trying to book a vacation suite for my family. What is the value of points when you cannot apply them in as fashion that "makes sense?"
The idea differs in on HUGE respect - T&Cs, specifically no guaranteed suite upgrades. I have used these vacation packages, and get stuck in a 1-level upgrade, the last upgrade as silly/stupid/unrewarding as being that my room was moved from floor 3 to floor 7, but no difference in room size, just "a better view."
If it's after 5:00 PM on Thursday, and the wind is between .7 and 1.3 miles per hour, coming out of the west only, air temperature 68 degrees or above, the stars are in alignment, and the location you desire is not franchised management, where they follow their own rules, you might...................might...........be able to come close to talking to someone who has the "power", or better yet, the willingness to assist you in what you would like to accomplish.
Other than that, you must succumb to the sea scrolls as they are written and idolized by the bridge trolls that guard the castle grounds, as noted below. With benefit explanations such as "Upgrade reward offerings vary by hotel and by season", "Most rooms require only one upgrade reward per night. However, in some cases, depending on the view or room type, multiple upgrade rewards may be required for each night", Most resorts require upgrade for rooms with special views, such as ocean or bay view" How could you lose ?
Once you decide where you want to go and what you want to do, you can enjoy spending the next 5 days on the computer trying to find a property there, then you can call the property yourself and be told "Homey dont play dat", as we are an independent, and our local policy is different.
Give it up.........there is a better chance that the Cubbies will win the World Series this year !
I believe that you have created the foundation for an excellent program for both Marriott and the "road warriors" who spend so much of their careers on the road. I seems like a wining proposition from a business perspective. The high level elites have earned the points and it would create a method for Marriott to clear the points from their books. Personally, I would never qualify for the program; but, what a great idea.