So I checked in this past week to the Marriott in Kansas City and, after ten years of heavy business travel, am told that the Platinum Arrival Gift has 'changed'. There is no longer a choice of a beverage and snack delivered to you room. You can get either a $10 'voucher' or 500 bonus points. Apparently, this is a corporate decision. Seriously? For someone who is Platinum, Platinum Premier, or Platinum Lifetime, 500 points is a rounding error and one such already has access to the concierge's lounge so what is the point of a $10 voucher? It may have been a small token of thanks but, for Marriott's most loyal and longtime clientele and after several hours of travel, this welcome gift has always been greatly appreciated and has set the full Marriott properties apart from the Fairfields, Spring Hills, Town Places, Residence Inns, and Courtyards. Only last month a Marriott, Front Desk Manager said to me, "Thank you for 'living' at Marriott." I suddenly no longer feel so welcome. Are they really ''saving" dollars by dissing their top guests? Is anyone else here dismayed by this?
I guess you missed the announcement re: the Platinum arrival gift downgrade when Marriott buried it in the expansion of the cont'l brekkie announcement about 6 weeks ago. And you missed this thread on Insiders re: it:
You can certainly let the hotels you stay at that you're unhappy w/ the change & when they say it's a corporate decision, remind them that both Ed French & Michelle said it's the minimum they have to offer, but they can offer more: a) 500 points; b) $10FB credit; c) food/drink amenity gift. Actually if the switch had been to ABC, Marriott would have hit it out of the ballpark but instead they struck out. You can also let MR cust svc & Marriott HQ know your displeasure.
Corp is spinning it, but in reality it's a change to drive food/beverage revenue.
I have not stayed at a Marriott property since the platinum gift downgrade was implemented and plan to avoid them in my future plans. I've been loyal to Marriott for most of my working career, but this was the final blow to my loyalty. Michelle may have said that individual properties can still offer the food/drink amenity, but I have not yet seen anyone mention they were offered it since the new policy took place.
@skiadcock - You're right. I scanned through that announcement about the breakfasts weeks ago and completely missed the part of about the arrival gift 'downgrade'. Rather sneaky of them to do so, IMHO. This past trip when I checked in is the first I learned about it. For the lower end properties, Courtyards and below, I usually just take the points rather than a snack from the shop. For Marriott hotels and up, the wine and cheese makes for a nice treat after 4-5 hours of travel. Or, if I'm traveling with family, the ice cream is a delight for the kids. Alas, it is no more. I was so dismayed after this last stay that I leapt with my post before looking. I have since been following yours with keen interest. Aside from the parking tangent, there have been some great thoughts and insights shared. As a business traveler, a $10 voucher is rather worthless to me, especially at a full service property with inflated prices. Between the points, bonus, and my Marriott Visa, a typical stay nets about 10k points; so a 500 gift is rather trivial. I could not agree with you more that making the voucher a third option (ABC) would have been the winning ticket. Thanks for your contributions here. -Tex
We usually get 100+ nights per year. Haven't stayed at a Marriott for most of the year and they have yet to notice. On to Hilton, they gave us Diamond Status for 21 nights and we keep that status for two years. Treated much better at Hilton.
We enjoyed the wine and cheese when we stayed together, otherwise took the measly 500 points. Sad to see Marriott go since we own a Marriott timeshare too.
Wow carolinacouple That is cool that you own a Marriott Timeshare.
I will have to agree with you that the 500 points (I think I was offered 1,000 in the past) or $10 is much less than a platter of cheese and wine could get. And that is the problem right there. There was a clear reduction in benefits.
That said, I am one of the ones who so seldom would get the welcome gift that I didn't really even notice. It was weird really. This is especially the case if the property has a concierge lounge.
I do hope Marriott figures it out. So far it is the better hotel chain I have tried, especially as it relates to consistency in property quality and personnel service. Those are my two most important requirements. Good luck!
This is another "enhancement" to the program that members have been asking for, well according to Marriott it is, just like the changes that "we" requested in 2008 that resulted in the changes that were effective March, 2009.
Just further erosion my friends. It won't be long before one "free" night will cost us 125k points at Category 15 properties.
With all due respect, 500 points is such a blatant insult that I'm surprised the powers to be actually approved the move and $10 isn't much better. I remember the big silver colored box that awaited me in my room (circa 2007) which contained a lot of goodies. And truth be told, it was the only thing many of us had to eat at the end of a long travel day long after the kitchen and room service shut down for the night. At some full service Marriott's $10 won't buy a bag of chips, but that wouldn't matter because there wouldn't be any place to spend the $10 at 1:00am - or 10:00pm for that matter.
Marriott has been downgrading the "Platinum Gift" for years. Now, for all intensive purposes, it has been eliminated. I am one of those road warriors who have been a 'Lifetime' for several years and continue to see the decline in 'platinum' gifts and the increases in points to use for rooms.
As others have stated, the gift was most appreciated when I had a late arrival or when my wife traveled with me as she enjoyed the ice cream. (I did too)
Heck, I no longer see 'turn down' service any more and the little chocolates.
The one slight improvement I have seen is in the formalization of the 'breakfast' for Gold and Platinum members, especially on weekends, when staying at the majority of full-service Marriott's. I will say that every time I stayed in a full-service Marriott over a weekend, and the concierge lounge was closed, I always asked for and received vouchers for breakfast.
They may or may not care.
A few years ago I got disgusted with Delta after I was left stranded at a midwest airport at 2:30am due to two flight cancellations into the city (rental car counters were closed, no hotels nearby). Long story short, I was on a two year assignment flying in every Monday and out every Thursday and was starting my second year. After the incident I switched to American and after six months I sent a letter to Leo Mullin (then Delta CEO) with a copy of all of my used boarding passes from American, business that Delta should have gotten had they treated me with a little dignity that evening. I never heard back from them.
mikiegfla, I fear you may be quite correct that they may not care. The nearsighted bean counters save a buck today not realizing the long term cost they inflict upon their own business for years to come. I find that I am either fiercely loyal or rabidly opposed to a business based on my very early impressions. I was once charged a full day's rental at Hertz for being 10 minutes late returning a car in Atlanta during one of their torrential severe summer thunderstorms. The agent refused to budge as the rain poured down around us and would not even call a manager for me to dispute the issue with simply yelling, "Next!" to my dismay. I have not rented a single car from Hertz since 1997 as a result of this treatment despite all of the partner incentives to do so. I now rent 30-40 times a year from Avis for business and pleasure. They have won my devotion as they truly "try harder". Yes, they have made some mistakes, but the difference is in how they deal with their mistakes and they have even bailed me out of my own time and time again because they value me as a customer. While Avis has done so consistently, Hertz lost their one opportunity to do so. As a young family, we had similar fiascoes with both United and Super 8. I have done business with neither since. Marriott is treading on dangerous and even hallowed ground in their choices of late. For now, I will remain but most guardedly.
Wow, that's amazing that they never even replied!! I don't understand how corporate can be so shortsighted. Sending you at least some kind of credit or voucher would have saved them a lot of business- and not just for the 1 year but all your future travel. Plus all the people that hear about it!
I am a lifetime PLT, with close to 1700 nights and over 4M points and like others on this post I am fed up with the lack of appreciation by Marriott. I just made my first ever reservation for next week at the NY Hilton, time to start looking at alternatives.
I had a boss that always told me not to trip over pennies on the way to dollar’s, Marriott is tripping all over the place.
Why dont we do something about it? People on these threads always talk, but we never back it up. If we are all staying at Marriotts enough to be angry by this, then we all have some pretty good jobs/lifestyles/and contacts. Can someone send me the email address of someone who is in upper management at Marriott that would prob. be interested in reading this thread? I know collectively we can do some damage. Ill initiate the first email if someone can send me some info.
Therein lies the rub accben, few, if any, at upper management are interested in reading this or any other thread, but perhaps the guru of all things Marriott skiadcock or Marriott associates michellel or new dad NathalieF Andy might point you in the direction of Ed French or some other person that will receive your e-mails, give you a warm response, and then move on as if you never existed.
As far as talkers never doing anything about it, a more in depth review would show 200+ nighters cutting back to single digits, longtimers like myself who are now down into the 50-75 night range due to twilight of career travel, going to other places, friends, VRBO etc etc and the 'dark siders' like my brother from another mother dejamo who have already left. Having said all that, I'm pulling for you, so please keep us posted.
Christopher Elliot, a consumer travel advocate, maintains a comprehensive list of travel industry contacts including Marriott: http://elliott.org/contacts/marriott/.
Set the scenario first: I had already spent 9 months at a CY and then the free coffee was removed; I told the GM why I cancelled months of reservations and went to Hilton Garden Inn and cc'd the e-mail to the VP-CYs of NA. Never heard anything back. This was in late January.
Three weeks ago, I needed to meet a new business associate at the CY - and the front desk clerk (who had gotten to know me very well) chatted with me while I waited in the lobby.
SIX regular Platinum Premiers (like me) bolted from the CY for the same reason - no more free coffee. Now THAT is speaking with our feet.
One thing I have noticed recently is that Marriott is ignoring one of the fundamental things about marketing/ research: one size doesn't fit all. If a majority of people say they like blue cars will an auto manufacturer only produce blue cars? They continue to say that their program 'enhancements' are the result of surveys, or that a majority of people take points. This ignores the fact that many of us highly value the platinum amenity gift, at least in some situations. Marriott needs to revisit optimizing their offerings for diverse segments of customers.
Although they keep saying that they have surveyed their customers before making these decisions, I haven't been asked to participate in a survey for several years even though I am a lifetime platinum member. I participated in one online focus group a few years ago regarding insiders, but all of our input was ignored. For several years, I received and completed several well-designed surveys that truly covered issues that were important to me as a customer. It was clear that Marriott utilized this information to deliver a competitive edge and earn my loyalty. I don't know what happened, but it is clear that they have lost touch.
Here's a good example of what you were talking about - a small percentage is still a large absolute number of customers. In the recent hack attack on Marriott less than 1% of rewards members were breached, yet that could represent 400,000 or more accounts (and of course if it's yours, 1 is plenty enough).
Back to your other marketing/customer service point; it continues to puzzle me why Marriott reduces benefits that they publicly claim were low usage (e-195, CY coffee, bogo, et al) but create high impact negative reaction. They like to use low usage as a reason for dropping the program, but not as a reason for cost/benefit analysis. They should either drop the public claims or manage the cost/yield ratio as effectively as they do the rest of their business. Oh well, perhaps this will play out as good fodder for future business school cases, either as a study showing successful margins are not related to customer loyalty or they are, we shall see if we are experiencing a paradigm shift.
YEs, Superchief...I too remember being part of a focus group concerning Insiders, and not seeing issues I brought up addressed. I was so optimistic! I am only recently taking the time to post again. I love travel, and we have always been so loyal to Marriott, but the feeling is often not reciprocated. We too have found ourselves using VRBO, and will continue to when Marriott does not fit our needs.
WHat happened to the paper surveys they used to give you under your door attached to the bill, that they used to give out years ago? I filled out every single one given to me, and I saw many wonderful changes concerning customer service,,and perks for elites. Now those do not exist. Nor do some of the perks We used to receive. I am not sure who they are surveying...certainly not the elites on this site, which is a shame,,because obviously we care very much about travel and Marriott, otherwise we would not spend our time here on Insiders.
Of course. However, I suspect many are like me. About the only time I took the Platinum arrival gift was when I was traveling with my wife. When traveling for business, I almost always took the points. But, the times when I traveled with my wife she was thrilled to make the choice of what to receive as the arrival gift! Those times made the whole Platinum Arrival Gift program worthwhile!
One thing I really miss about the elimination of the arrival amenity is getting the fruit when staying at an airport hotel for an early morning flight. The KC airport Marriott had a great fruit plate. I would keep it in the refrigerator overnight and eat it for breakfast. The CL's often aren't open in early am, so this is my only healthy breakfast option prior to flying (especially at MCI).
On my most recent stay at the Marriott Kansas City Plaza, they of course offered me the choice of the 500 points or $10 voucher, So I just had to ask, "What do you charge just for a half bottle of Merlot?" Neither the clerk nor the desk manager knew, so he called room service to ask. The reply, $20. Point made, if somewhat painfully. They actually sent me a complimentary half bottle of Merlot AND later a very impressive cheese and meat tray though I told them they really shouldn't. Bless their hearts for this kindness as my grandmother would say. Hopefully, corporate will get a clue here. I have now canceled my future reservations at other properties in town and rebooked here. This is how you win business and loyalty.
Just wanted to chime in to say I stayed at the Residence Inn, Tulsa South (OKlahoma) a couple of weeks ago and they offered my 500 points plus I still had my choice of items from their food/drink pantry. I didn't ask for this but was pleasantly pleased that they offered along with the points.
I'm glad to see this wasn't just my issue! In Federal Way WA last week, no coffee left in the room either, so when I mentioned at the front desk upon checking out that would have been nice since they no longer give free coffee in the lobby, I got a very strange reply of: "you wanted coffee"? How about - here's a coupon for the Starbuck in the lobby that has grabbed away your free coffee service. Silly and cheap decision removing the coffee and I also have avoided CY's since that became the law of the land.
Last weekend, I stayed at the Courtyard Mid-Town Raleigh, NC. The front desk staff offered additional packets of coffee for the in-room coffee maker, since there was no longer free coffee in the lobby. During my stay, they checked with me to see if I needed additional packets of coffee. This was a very nice gesture on their part.
For years I was just a Gold member, as I frequently stayed at "classic" old hotels or which were not part of the Marriott family.
Nonetheless, a couple of years ago I qualified as a Platinum, and was delighted with the arrival gift (Merlot and cheese/mixed nuts). Granted, it wasn't anything over the top, but for some reason it was always a welcome perk after a day in airplanes.
500 points or $10 coupon? They mean nothing. In fact, they're worse than nothing and somewhat insulting.
I'm going back to my old habit of staying at classic old hotels when in certain cities, even though it means a return to Gold Status.
The scary thing is that some marketing person at Marriott got paid for coming up with this very bad idea.
Is this it means to "...snatch defeat from the jaws of victory"?
The Marriott team that conceived these changes to the program should be referred to as the "Send 'em to Starwood" team. Here is the latest, lest we forget I am Platinum with 800+ lifetime nights with Marriott. I check into the Marriott Marquis in NYC with my wife and two daughters, we head to the CLounge for a snack only to be told that I am allowed only one guest. "Sorry Sir, you will have to snack in two shifts." Seriously? Wow. Very disappointing. Use some common sense for your most valued guests or they won't be your guests for long.
THanks for letting us know about that...we won't be staying there.
On a positive note, I must mention some places that were excellent with arrival gifts these past couple of months.
The Grand Flora, Rome...bottle of wine, and points.
FAirfield, San Antonio... points, and the children were allowed to pick snacks and waters from the little convince area. That was sweet. They also did this last year at the courtyard in Amrarillo, TX. And they had coloring books for the kids. They made us feel very special!
JW San Antonio...just points, nothing else.
Los Suenos, Costa Rica...half a bottle of wine and a pint of ice cream(of course we had 2 rooms plus had to pay an extra $250 per night for an upgrade for a suite...they couldn't guarantee connected rooms, so this was the only way to do it. We will never stay there again... that is another story, and a sad thing, because it is a beautiful hotel ).
Costa Rica Marriott San Jose...EXCELLENT hotel and staff...I highly recommend! Our arrival gift was a full bottle of wine, cookies, and 2 iced coffees. Now THAT was an arrival gift!
WE will see what the Midwest brings...headed out today.
I agree with you there travelertoolong the New York City Marriott properties are just simply crazy stoopid when it comes to these extra services. And they restrict you with an attitude, which really is the worst part of it all. I have experienced it. Last time I stayed at the CONRAD NYC and was delighted. I would recommend it.
I guess we can spend the 10 bucks in the gift shop buying an ice cream bar or
two and maybe a can of soda to go with them. But why do that if in fact the
lounge is open and fully operational? Honestly, what I dislike even more is the
Continental breakfast that we now must endure at many properties on weekends!
Bring back the free buffet breakfast that I often enjoyed.
I just checked in and didn't even get a "thank you for being a platinum member" greeting. No mention of 500 points either. I actually asked if they had my platinum number on file as I thought maybe it didn't show up. Even after identifying myself as a platinum member I still didn't get a thank you. What has happened to Marriott? They used to acknowledge loyalty. Maybe it's time to make a change to Westin. I heard they treat their best members well.
The answer is simple. Complete this year to re-enable your status, then contact Hilton and Starwood to match your level and start new year with them. Westin, Hilton, and Hyatt all have excellent programs, that are now superior to Marriott. I am close to my auto renewal level, then I intend to move 100% of my remaining travel nites to a new chain, that agrees to match my status.. I have over 500 nights in the last 4 years, but doubt that they will miss my participation.
I have contacted Marriott Cust Service with my displeasure, and got a standard note of 'thank you for your interest and support' response. I have writen to a few contacts I know inside Marriott, apparently the 'noise' on this is loud but has not moved past a recognition that it is noise.
The other action we can take is when the annual rating services come out, I will downgrade Marriott program significantly. It seems the only way to reward the Marketing Genius who changed this plan with out any clue how it was really valued. Thier performance is measured by outcome success of campaigns measured by these surveys, I intend to score thier insight in an appropriate manner.
Meanwhile, back to evaluate the Starwood and Hilton programs so I can make the conversion in a timely fashion. I have already moved 15 nights, after my needed 20 for renewal, we shall see what is missed.
I'd be interested to hear more about Starwood texasroadwarrior because last I used them the points were just not very valuable. Sure, Marriott has devalued their points a couple of times in the last few years, so I am not sure how comparably better Starwood would be. Let me know. Thanks!!!
bechego I have stayed at a few Starwood properties in the last few years and had mixed experiences. I was very pleased with the Sheraton properties that I stayed at, but was disappointed with the Aloft branded property where I stayed. Having stayed on points at the Aloft brand, it was half the amount of points as a FI or SHS would be for a 1-night stay. I am not sure if this would be the case at other Starwood properties.
In reading this thread I realized that the decisions that I made this year were good ones. After years with Marriott over 900 nights and many trips both with rewards and for business I decided this year to move to Hilton. They matched my status and I have not regretted this decision. I had enough rollover nights to make this a platinum year as well so I will carry my platinum status into 2015 but I don't plan to stay at a Marriott unless there is no other choice. I never check into a Hilton that someone does not thank me for my loyalty and it seems that I never got that anymore from Marriott. They have definately have the attitude that they will forego the long term dollars to make the short term pennies. Now I just need to plan a couple of trips to use those over 500,000 points that I have accumulated before they are worth nothing. This is so sad for me to write as i feel like it amounts to a breakup of a longstanding relationship. Oh well I still have Hilton.
I received a very similar one at the Marriott CDG airport a few years ago. The European arrival gifts were much better than most USA properties in the past, but now there will no longer be any gift at all in the USA. Unfortunately, I don't travel to Europe any more because our business is primarily domestic.
I Take the points every time unless my wife is with me which only happens a few times a year. I am really more displeased with the coffee thing at CY.
here are my suggestions to Marriott to deal with gold and PLT members.
seems CY is now like 400 points arrival gift which makes sense. How about either offering the member at check in an option of either 400 points, or 200 points with free coffee at the bistro. There is no concierge lounge but how about concierge coffee, that is to say the elite key card or membership card simply entitles you to coffee at the bistro. This way, the non elite can still just buy their coffee and a bone is tossed to elite folks who are loyal.
WE all know not to make coffee in the room.
personally I think the pay for coffee thing will ultimately cost business. Not only by running off a few loyal customers, but even the non members may think,, what kind of hotel doesn't offer free coffee and next time they go somewhere, they choose a different chain.
I Know coffee is expensive and we have all had to streamline in our own businesses, but even jiffy lube gives out coffee.
Me, and the people that I work with, are all long-time Marriott Rewards members. Most of us used to belong to the "Courtyard Club" and earned a free night for each ten stays. So, we have been staying at Courtyard hotels for many years. I think that Marriott has done a great job keeping Courtyards (at least most of them) up-to-date. The new lobbies and room decor are really great. I even like the bistro idea. But, to me and my business assciates, eliminating the complimentary coffee in the lobby is like abandoning one of the things that Courtyard hotels were know for. And, it is not about the cost of the coffee! We all primarly use Courtyard hotels (and other Marriott properties) for business and expenses are re-imbursed. It is about the convenience and the ambiance. The complimentary coffee seemed to say "you are welcome here." Selling coffee at the bistro is just not the same. I am rambling, but what seems to be happening is that Fairfield Inn and SpringHill Suites properties are taking the role that Courtyard hotels used to fill - the comfortable hotel for business travlers. Newer Courtyard properties are often more upscale than full service Marriott hotels. Newer FFI and SHS are more upscale than older Courtyard properties. And...they still offer complimentary coffee.
I found a Platinum Arrival gift recently and it was the entire bottle of wine along with very good cheese and crackers at Scrub Island, so there are some spots left where you will be surprised with the arrival gift. Also, last time I was at the Gulf Coast Town Center Courtyard in Ft. Myers, FL., in Nov. 2013, they still had free coffee in the lobby. Keep those fingers crossed one never knows what you might find.
Just to be a bit contrary I'll add that I'm LPE, over 2,000 nights and I've always thought the Platinum Gift was a joke. Not interested in wine or cheese or cookies. I take the points because they are the only thing I'd ever use.
The only reason I care about Platinum is the upgrades.
The only reason I care about Platinum is the upgrades...makes me think of benefits I do not use...
Hertz #1 Gold membership (Gold)...isn't this free to everyone now (I'm probably just not understanding it correctly)
Free local phone and free local fax (Gold)...I use my cell for all calls...rarely need to use a fax
Complimentary MileagePlus (Platinum)...I already have status with this airline
For me (outside of the bonus points), I like the guaranteed breakfast benefit (very convenient and typically decent at most hotels).