With the current MegaBonus winding down, I wondered what Insiders currently think about category 1-4 certificates. Numerous posts have highlighted the challenges of using these certificates. Some of us were given the offer to earn up to 2 category 1-4 certificates, while others got essentially the same offer with category 1-5 certificates instead. (Even after several calls to MR, I still was only able to get the category 1-4 certificates offer, which I managed to max out by the end of March).
I personally love the promo certificates (though I would prefer cat. 1-5) since I rarely stay enough nights (usually at least 15 required) during the promo period to earn the bonus points, but I have no trouble completing the 4 stays requirement to earn the 2 promo certificates. For reference, during the current promotion, I will have 8 paid nights/stays (all my stays were/will be 1 night), plus 2 free nights using promo certs from last spring's MegaBonus.
If category 1-4 certificates were eliminated, what would you like to see?
I imagine answers might vary based on Insiders elite status and current travel patterns. At least two things come to my mind.
1. Keep the same promotions, but offer category 1-5 certificates (with the changes in categories, some comments have suggested that even category 1-5 certificates are becoming hard to use).
2. Offer bonus points at a lower threshold, perhaps as few as 7 to 10 nights. For road warriors, staying 25 to 30 nights to earn the largest bonuses might be easy, but those of us who travel less frequently (or only for leisure) might find reaching 10 nights over a 3 month period to be a stretch.
What are your thoughts?
bejacob it seems the problem only lies with those that do not travel frequently (you and me) as the big dogs get offers such as:
There is no way I would ever get to that level and am lucky to get a free night with my credit card unless I get in alot of leisure travel with business as business travel has slowed down somewhat.
I would like to see less nights needed to achieve a free night certificate cat. 6 or below. I feel that is keeping up with inflation of point value and raising of categories at numerous hotels.
Keeping up with the big dogs is hard. Most of them would be traveling anyway, but they deserve to be rewarded for their loyalty.
Finding a way to get a one or two additional paid nights out of the less-frequent traveler (like you and me) might yield a better overall return to Marriott since there are a lot more of us out there. The challenge is finding the right balance. It makes me glad I'm an accountant and not in marketing.
this is suppose to be an extra incentive for people so stay more nights. So with the extra points and say 20-25 nights true road warriors may stay an extra few nights to max out on the reward. For me( I think like you bejacob) I don't stay enough to get this. So I have stayed a couple of additional nights( vs using points) to get the added nights. I would like it to be cat 1-5 which would give me more options to use them
I travel even less than you and madmax, but I have scored cat 1-4 promo certs during a number of MegaBonus promotions. I've never had trouble finding a property to use them at. Part of it, I think, is regional. Properties in the Southeast often tend to be lower-tiered than in other regions of the country. I noticed that many of the properties that dropped in categories this year were in the SE, with a good number of them in Metro Atlanta.
But obviously, it also depends on what the traveler is looking for. We tend to use properties as a home base from which we'll do a number of excursions, usually involving some form of outdoor recreation. I just used a combo of points and a couple of Cat.1-4 certs to reserve a seven-night stay in the FFI in Kingsland, GA. Though coastal, there's no "beach scene" immediately nearby, so it's not an upper-category property. But it's eight miles from St. Marys, GA, which is the ferry launch for excursions to Cumberland Island National Seashore. Our itinerary's reservations already include a day on Cumberland, a day canoeing the Okefenokee (22 miles away), a sunset kayak tour of the area's marshes, a ride in a locomotive on a scenic railroad, and a couple of days biking the area's rails-to-trails. The rest of the time will be spent exploring the area's seafood offerings. The fact that there's no Concierge Lounge won't matter. It all comes down to what floats yer boat -- or kayak.
Absolutely not. Does anyone think eliminating Cat.1-4s will result in newer, more valuable Certs replacing them? We'll just have no Cat. 1-4s.
Put another way, this is the same question just in another form, of "Why doesn't Marriott raise the Certificate value?", and that's gone far (not) in the hallowed halls of teams and specialists at Marriott.
Good points, but it does beg the question, of why offer some people cat 1-4 certs and others cat 1-5 certs with exactly the same requirements? Don't misunderstand me. I earned (and will use) my two category 1-4 certs. In past promos, I got the category 1-5 offer.
I'll try to earn the maximum either way as long as it fits in my general travel plans. I might shift a few weeks to fall within the promo period or add one extra night/stay to earn that last certificate. What it won't do is make me stay 5 more nights if that isn't already in my budget.
What the initial responses have shown me is that promo certificates are quite popular with Insiders (myself included).
I'm with you foxglove. I've never had any problem finding a place to use them. Most of the time I stay at category 2 thru 4 properties (often well outside any metro areas) so category 5 and up are usually a treat for me. I'm not sure if I've ever stayed at a category 1 property. I might have to do some historical research.
Your upcoming plans sound great. I'll look forward to the report.
You are correct, the Cat. 1-4s Certs retain a worthwhile following (I'm fortunate enough to play the 1-5s).
The question isn't so much would we prefer the Cat. 1-4 or Cat. 1-5,6,7s Certs - we know the answer.
The question is really; would we prefer the Cat. 1-4 or not.
We must grab any scraps available, and given Marriott's economic momentum, perfect is the enemy of the good in investing energy toward our desire for more. Besides, the Certs are one more way for us long time road warriors reduced to bottom feeders, to be able to
(psst, I don't really mean that Marriott, don't hurt me ).
Looks like have have stayed at a three category 1 properties (including the FFI in Oxford, AL earlier this year). Who would have guessed? This was one of the nicer FFIs in which I have stayed. Just goes to show how important locations is.
For the curious, the other category 1s were FFIs in Evansville, IN and Stevens Point, WI.