About time, I always say (to myself since my wife never listens to what I say) to give Marriott the credit it deserves. As this article points out Marriott is and has been a super successful company with a brand identity and a dedicated consumer base. As a stock 'Motley Fool' (from whence the article came) seems to suggest a "buy."
My point (and yes there is one) is that we (me) often nibble at the edges of benefits of Marriott Rewards, making comments about the devaluation of points and so on, but I for one still see Marriott as a company with which I am proud to do business.
As an aside I was asked about 20 years ago, during the course of a security update and financial disclosure conference, if I knew that Marriott (in which I owned a few shares) was a major government contractor, and that might present a conflict of interest. Without smiling I pointed out that my shares were hardly a voting block, and that I was sure they would not feel I was influencing them!
So bottom line: Marriott is a fine company, I am proud to have been a customer for 40 years and a Rewards member for 30. Keep on keeping on, Marriott.
I have never chagrined Marriott with the way the company operates and their financial performance as compared to its competitors. But in all honesty, to me that is mostly transparent to the value perceived as a guest and as a member of the loyalty program - which really is the bottom line that matters to me. Otherwise, total agreement with your post.