I don't think the new Platinum arrival gift changes has gotten the attention it should because it was bundled in w/ the offering cont'l brekkie on weekends announcement. In my opinion the new policy is a downgrade and it works in Marriott's favor.
A few things (not in particular order):
* Basically the Platinum arrival gift $100 guarantee is going away if it's 500 points or a $10F&B credit. The only way one would invoke it is if not asked in the first place. Note - I rarely invoked the guarantee, but it was there for a purpose: to ensure that properties a) offered & b) delivered the platinum arrival gift.
Which raises another question that I would like to see CommunityManager answer: if the $10 credit does not appear on one's bill, will the $100 guarantee be applicable?
* I frequently took the amenity over the 500 points. I enjoyed the (my choice) 1/2 bottle of wine and cheese/crackers that would be delivered at some point during the stay (ie, when I asked for it to be delivered). I found it to be a nice snack & there would be times I wouldn't feel like a full meal or the restaurant was closed & it did the trick.
* There are very few things on the menu that are $10 or less (certainly not a 1/2 bottle of wine & cheese/crackers), which means that Marriott will get increased revenue as people order something from room service or restaurant/bar to use up the credit. Note, if they were a leisure (vs biz) traveler & were going to order food/drink anyway, this might be better for them. But odds are more biz travelers stay at Marriotts than leisure travelers.
* For the biz traveler, this doesn't offer any benefit as meals are expensed. Yes one could say that one should reduce expenses for one's employer, but the Plat amenity gift was supposed to be for the elite & a benefit to the elite, not the employer.
* Also, if one chooses the $10F&B but then doesn't have time to use it, they lose out & Marriott wins.
* A very, very, very minor point is that 150 points less are earned if the $10 credit is utilized.
* While technically a property could offer more: a) 500 points or b) amenity gift or c) $10F&B credit (which I think is the optimum options), my guess is the vast majority are going to offer only a) 500 points or b) amenity gifts, as unlike the lounges open/closed on the weekends, the properties have been pretty consistent in offering up the pre-printed card w/ points or amenity, so when the new preprinted cards come out they'll just have the 500 points or $10F&B to check.
So I consider the change to be a downgrade.
I see this as a tweak to chance the direction of rewarding Platinum Members from 500 points or an amenity (which I never have found that enticing anyway but I know you and others have) to a reward for not choosing either.
A ten dollar credit on food and beverage does not go far when a burger is 20 dollars with room service.
Weekend continental breakfasts will be interesting to see in practice, since many hotels have no control over their buffets, over sharing of the same and discerning who has full and who has continental breakfasts.
I would assume that servers feel somewhat cheated in that many buffet goers tip less, since the service is plate clearing and not much more. I would also assume that hotels have this option to upcharge for breakfast and do that with less staff.
Just some thoughts.
The new arrival gift option could also be viewed as an upgrade for those who usually choose points over the amenity. The redemption value of one Marriott point is usually less than 1 cent. Therefore the redemption value of 500 Marriott Points would normally be less than $5.00. So if a Platinum Rewards Member was planning to make use of the restaurant/bar during their stay the $10 F&B credit would be more advantageous over the 500 Marriott Points.
I wouldn't have a problem with Marriott saying choose:
* 500 points or
* Amenity gift or
* $10 F&B
because then an elite could pick something that makes the most sense for them.
But saying that you have to give up an amenity for a $10F&B credit that you might not use or will spend more $$ in order to use isn't great for elites.
Not sure I agree w/ your math that the F&B credit would be more advantageous. If you go w/ the F&B you lose the 500 points. Then you lose another 150 points because the F&B bill is $10 less ($10 x 10points/$ + 50% Plat bonus) & if you're paying w/ a Marriott Visa, you lose those 5 pointspoints on the spend ($10 x 5points/$), so you're potentially losing 700 points.
I still believe that the new change is a downgrade in a variety of ways, and especially for those who do take the amenity normally.
This doesn't surprise me. Marriott 'enhances' a platinum benefit by secretly (no mention of eliminating current amenity in announcement) degrading it in order to save a few dollars. A $10 F&B credit will not even cover the cost of the 1/2 bottle of merlot currently offered in combination with a snack item, especially when wine costs over $10 per small glass in the concierge lounge.
I enjoy a glass of wine every evening but the cost of wine at hotels and restaurants (and CL) has become outrageous. The current amenity provides my glass of wine and fruit for a snack and allows me to stay within our daily meal allowance. It was also a nice perk on weekends with my wife, especially if the CL is closed.
This loss will definitely cause me to reduce my stays at full service Marriott propterties. Since I no longer stay in Courtyards, my Marriott loyalties are declining daily. I'm becoming more appreciative that Marriott Vacation Club has spun off from Marriott so I can continue to enjoy my 5 weeks. They have actually become more customer oriented since the spinoff. It is a shame that Marriott management is so focused on cost control and has totally lost touch with the value of a loyal customer.
Insiders request: If anyone is currently staying at a full service Marriott or Renaissance, please post the cost of a 1/2 bottle of Meridian Merlot on the room service or restaurant menu. I would expect it to be about $20.
Here is a quick calculation regarding the value of the current platinum amenity:
Split of Merlot = 2 glasses of wine; value= $16+
Fruit plate= $8
Total value (in inexpensive location)= $24
Don't forget to add tax, service fees and gratuity
New 'enhanced' platinum award= $10
I'm sure Marriott has done their marketing research to show that customers would prefer receiving the $10 F&B credit that they will likely not use vs. the current amenity options, just like Courtyard customers would prefer to wait in long lines to pay for coffee in the morning. It is obvious that corporate culture has changed dramatically since Bill 'retired'.
The CommunityManager has said the new changes are:
* 500 points
* $10F&B credit
'some properties may offer more, but at minimum are required to offer the above'.
The Plat arrival gift is where most full-service properties have been consistent - ie 500 points or an amenity - and the cards get printed by the thousands, if not millions. So when the new cards get printed I expect them to say 500 points or $10F&B credit & 90% of the properties will go w/ that vs. offering up an amenity as well.
Obviously they really don't want to give you $10. They want you to have a burger and a beer in bar so you can pay them a new $20 after subtracting $10- whoopie.
I think if they really wanted to help out they would either say... all plats get a $10 credit towards their folio (without any category restrictions)
or how about free parking for plats?
And Marriott wonders why, after 10 consecutive years having Platinum Premier status I have now earned Hilton Diamond. Next thing you know, they will be taking away the free coffee from the CY lobby! OMG - they did that several months ago! Now I remember why I am Diamond status.