As a long time MR member I have watched with a bemused and mostly chagrined expression with a MegaBonus offer is put in my account. As I have absolutely no idea how the targetting works. For example Q1 2014 I have to stay 30 nights in 3 months to get a bonus. Looking back at my history I rarely if EVER stay that much.
The trend I see is that a bonus is always just slightly out of reach. Why is that? I mean a bonus is something you get for what you do. A challenge is something you have to stretch for.
I would suggest to MR that they create two new categories.
MRBonus - for people who stay a lot to acknowledge that we are loyal. Note Platinum check points is nice but not what I am talking about.
MRChallenge - the current MegaBonus program that is a challenge to get the nights not a bonus for your loyalty.
Aha, like a bad joke...
I say, I say, I say, when is a bonus not a bonus?
When it's a challenge... haha
I'll not give up the day job. Like you I found my megabonuses over the past couple of years impossibly challenging. Result, I rang the Plat line and had them changed from the stay 20/25 nights to the 2stays=1cat1-4 cert. I managed those fine.
The idea of the bonuses is to drive stay behaviour, to ensure we make the effort. The problem with the megabonus is it's stuck in a rut of extremes. Stay twice in 13 weeks, get a free cat1-4 cert (easy peasy) with the next level being stay 15 nights for 25k points... Bearing in mind many golds make their annual quota of 50 only with the assistance of 10/15 credit card nights, hence actually staying only 35-40 nights pa. We are talking about people who even as gold are going to struggle to make 15 nights in 13 weeks. So we have a promo at the bottom which ensures someone who can't even make the 10 nights for silver can achieve something... But the next level for Gold members is a stretch too far. Then again for monster stayers the program offers 55,000 points for 30 nights... Those are big numbers.
The megabonus lacks middle ground, the idea is the bonus should be easy to reach, and a stretch to fulfil. For blues and silvers the 2 stays per cert works, any blue can get 1 of them, 3 in 3 months repeated 3 times in a year makes our blue a silver... bonus scheme works. 15 nights in 3 months for a 40 night gold is complexly unachievable form the gitgo and doesn't drive behaviour at all.
The points based megabonus offers are well calculated, 25k for 15 nights, earn an extra 15k for another mere 5! But as the first step above the stay 2/get cert offer way too high... Marriott needs to think up a middle ground, but is snookered by the points/cert value matrix.. 6 stays, which can be as little as 6 nights gives 3 cat1-4 certs worth, um, well, 3x20k I guess, that's 60,000 points guys... 5,000 more than awarded to our bigboy staying 55 nights. The middle ground is surely 10 nights, 15,000 points, plus say 2,000 extra points each night thereafter.
But that compares badly to the perceived certificate value...
Well maybe I travel too much, but I've maxed out most of the MB periods over the last couple of years. My wife is right, 8 weeks straight at a client site is a drag but it has let me pick up a bunch of bonus points. If Hilton did the same I'd be over there right now waiting on the next MB promotion from Marriott.
I'm with you Rusty. I am at 91 nights so for this year, and am looking at many more Marriott months through the rest of the year (can't wait for San Diego). One lesson that I have learned over the years is to really carefully project how many nights in a month you will be onsite at your customer's location. I always arrive onsite the day before the project starts (arrive on Sunday for early Monday work activities). I always leave a day after the weekly work activities end (take first flight home Saturday morning).
I would check out on Saturday, re-book, and check back in on Sunday. If you have a schedule like that (week to week), or if you stay for two weeks at a time, go home on the weekend, and then fly back the following Monday (I do this quite often), then it is cheaper (typically) to book the room for 30 days straight.
You stop paying hotel taxes (most locations), you can negotiate a lower room rate, and you keep earning points. The combination of no taxes/lower 30-day rate almost always lowers the overall hotel costs.