CONCENTRATING ON A SPECIFIC CITY, A CONTINUATION OF THE POPULAR TOPIC OF THE DETERIORATION OF POINT AND REWARD CERTIFICATE VALUE.
HOPEFULLY LEADING TO A SERIOUS CONSIDERATION BY MARRIOTT TO CREATE AWARDS WITH A CASH VALUE (AT MARRIOTTS) RATHER THAN USE AT A SPECIFIC CATEGORY.
Every year, the majority of elite members, receive reward certificates. These certificates, are at best, good for stays at categories 1 - 5.
HAS ANYONE RECENTLY ATTEMPTED TO USE A CATEGORY 1 - 5 ON THE ISLAND OF MANHATTAN?
Shouldn't an award certificate be a value in what is arguably one of the most important cities in the world!
I'm aware of the many discussions on this subject. I'm confident that with the next wave of category adjustments a member might only be able to enjoy their award in Fresno (forgive using Fresno as an example)??????
I invite the membership to find other cities that reward certificates have become useless, as well as offering any fresh suggestions for a meaningful replacement of the "category 1 - 5" award.
It would probably be a much shorter list of What Cities Do have Cat. 5s. Those that don't (of course, depending on how you define city - I'm talking center city, not outlying burbs) that I have run across: San Francisco (yes Oakland and Bart), DC, (yes Arlington and metro), Chicago (yes, O'Hare and the el) etc etc Boston, Philadelphia and on and on.
This topic seems to just elicit a big yawn from the 'Marriott Team' but I'll play along.
London comes to mind. My trip to the UK involved only one category 4 property (Marriott Bristol City Centre). I had two category 1-4 certificates I needed to use and that was the only place that worked for me.
I haven't checked lately, but if memory serves, the lowest category property in (or near) London is category 6.
I've used category 5 certificates this year at at SHS in Chattanooga, and at Renaissance properties in Charlotte, St. Louis, and for an upcoming trip to Oklahoma City (I booked that stay before the location moved up to category 6 earlier this year).
With so many people still wanting (and using) category 1-5 certificates, I can't imagine those being replaced with somthing better. We're just about to start another bonus, this one without any promo certs which has frustrated a lot of folks. Come fall, if the certs don't return, the chorus of complaints will only get louder. The double points offer doesn't have many supporters.
With the "points + cash" option available, could something similar be instituted for certificates? Maybe certs + points for a higher category location? I know that option has been mentioned before and I doubt that repeating it will make it any more likely to happen. Short of that, the only option is to use certifcates as they are designed in smaller markets. It's worked for me so far.
In reference to smaller markets working: wait tell the next wave of category adjustments.
I experienced properties around LAX being adjusted from a "4" to a "6" in just 3 years!!
LAX obviously not a small market, but suburbs, even in major cities are. There isn't a full service Marriott in any suburb that I am aware of in Southern California that hasn't been raised one or two categories in the last 36 months.
A hotel room is a perishable item. Much like an airplane seat, if it is empty overnight it retires valueless. That said, and acknowledging that an occupied room does necessitate cleaning, it does not cost Marriott much when a certificate is used.
Reward use at all properties is based on percentage of occupancy. If a property is close to sell-out it is simply not available for reward booking.
Consequently there really isn't any logical reason for not raising the category level for these certificates (especially at Marriott owned or managed properties).
Similar to a championship team with a number three hitter in a slump, one reason for not raising the category is the ol' if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Marriott is doing superbly as is and any upgrade of benefits may produce surprisingly high costs. The Marriott pricing guru David R. Roberts firmly stated on the CNBC profile that they would not negotiate prices 'day of' even despite empty rooms because it would establish the wrong mindset (similar to department store coupons). We probably need a softer market before we can expect to squeeze additional benefits. Having said that, your point about property by property is where IMO our best potential lies for value. More and more props are interpreting policy unilaterally and whereas they won't break rules regarding certificates or perhaps even pricing, they may barter in other fashions (upgrade, resort fees, benefits - many props who share space with Res. Inns will offer elites invitation to the Manager's Reception).
And the Panama City Marriott is a 4 (but I opted for Costa Rica - Hotel Punta Islita instead, thanks to tker's write up/ granted on FlyerTalk, but he jumped back in with help on Insiders, AND iah's restaurant reviews, which kept the post alive enough for me to see it. Good job flyer, and thanks.
We are planning a weekend in SEA in February so hope I'm unavailable! Kidding, it would be great to hop on down to Gunspoint, I mean the airport area and take you out for some medication.
You mean you don't want to spend the night in the Marriott on the airport? Where is your sense of adventure, oh wait I know, you're flying Untied! Yes I meant Un tied
misterchk, I feel your pain. Even though I haven't tried to use my certs on Manhattan, it is impossible as of this last devaluation for the certs to be used in the State of Hawaii at all!
You'll never find your gold on a sandy beach
You'll never drill for oil on a city street
I know you're looking for a ruby
In a mountain of rocks
But there ain't no Coupe de Ville hiding
At the bottom of a Cracker Jack box
Seriously. The certs are for a couple measly stays at any cheap hotel or for renewing a credit card. Quit asking for a Coupe de Ville in your Cracker Jack box. If you wanted the points award that can be used anywhere, you could have asked to have been switched to another offer. If you don't want this specific award, don't go after it. The certs aren't meant to be a substantial award for significant business. The certs are the little nice thing for a few stays. I have trouble believing people have this sense of entitlement, but I see enough people post that they deserve a free night in Hawaii or Manhattan for two stays at a roadway FI that I realize they must truly believe they are entitled.
Very good expression of your thoughts and feelings on this subject.
On a personal note, your description of nights spent in Marriotts and the percentage of paid vs award couldn't be closer to my activity. (2013 32 paid + 37 awards).
Good to know to "bounce" other ideas and suggestions with someone in "the same boat".
Have a fun holiday weekend my friend.
I was just awarded a certificate for a free night for category 1-5 but I earned it by staying at a category 7. You should at least be rewarded with one at the same category you earned it at. I eMailed Marriott and was told I was awarded it for the amount of nights I stayed not where I stayed. I chose where Istayed fora reason right. Thecertificate is useless any place else. They should definatly redo how thye certificates work.
Your thought is two nights in a category seven hotels should earn you a free night in a category seven hotel? You seem to significantly overestimate the value of your two nights' paid stay. You do realize that those of us who stay 25 nights in the same time period do not receive as valuable a reward, but I guess your two nights is more important than our 25. Getting a free night in a less in demand hotel for a couple measly nights in any hotel is a very generous offer.
Besides, the category has nothing to do with the price or elegance of a property. It has to do with how desirable the property is for rewards redemption. In fact, the opposite makes sense, which is what Marriott does now. Why should you get rewarded for staying at properties Marriott has no trouble filling. Marketing isn't needed for those hotels as much as it's needed to fill the less popular hotels. They should reward you MORE for staying in the less popular hotels, while no reward is necessary to fill the more desirable properties, assuming rewards redemption popularity is in line with paid stay popularity.
BTW, in the past couple of weeks, I've stayed in the very nice Addison (Dallas) Marriott and the West Minneapolis Marriott. Both are Cat 3, so you could use your coupons there.
Starting June 1, 2014, Marriott Rewards is offering me a max of 25,000 points. This is how it works: You get double points after your second paid stay maxing at 25,000 points. This doesn't sound great to me since, all of my stays are leisure stays. I would have to complete close to 25 stays to get near the 25,000 points. Do you know of any other reward offers out there?
I'd argue that the point of any of Marriott's bonus promotions is not necessarily to reward those who travel the most, but to encourage everyone to stay at Marriott properties a bit more. Those who already do a considerable amount of travel might opt for Marriott over another chain during these periods in order to reach a certain number of nights. Infrequent travelers would never be able to reach the minimum number of nights needed to earn bonus points, so Marriott tries to find a way to entice them.
For example, it's one thing to encourage 500 road warriors to add 5-10 extra nights during a promotion. It's another to encourage 50,000 leisure travelers to make 4 stays over the same period of time. This 2nd group might get more bang for the buck, but the company ends up benefiting more if most of the leisure travelers strive to achieve the bonus. For most of that group, the promo certificates generally seem to be a good enticement despite obvious discontent by a good number of MR Insiders.
This is taking us a little off topic, but it's something to think about.
Yes, that makes sense, but at what cost? Want to get people to buy Chevys? Why not give away a free Rolls Royce for buying two Chevys? It would get people buying Chevys, but clearly, it wouldn't make economic sense.
What people seem to want here is almost as out of line. Marriott takes unused inventory and uses it to entice people to stay more: All 50k them, in your example. Using higher category properties as the reward changes that setup from using unused inventory to using inventory that would otherwise be used: Lots of inventory, given your 50k number. What was an inexpensive promo for Marriott suddenly becomes high cost.
Is getting 50k people to stay four nights really worth clogging up desirable hotels with people using the free night certs? Those that earn the 45k or 50k points would be competing with all those other people for nights, and everyone will get frustrated by the lack of availability. Marriott would be shooting itself in the foot. If redeeming points in good hotels became difficult, I, and others like me who stay well over 100 nights a year, would move to another chain en masse. Right now, Marriott is the best program for those who stay 75+ nights/year. The 50% bonus and the MegaBonus points allow people like me to easily earn over half a million points per year, and it's easy to redeem at the best properties. In return, many of the most frequent travelers choose Marriott hotels. Clogging up the best hotels will take that advantage away.
There is a very, very generous award for four measly stays. The Addison Marriott charges over $200/night, so two certs is $400+ in hotel stays. Anyone who thinks four stays is worth more than that needs a reality check, IMO.
Promo certificate are indeed rather generous when you consider the point value and relative cost to stay in some category 5 properties. I'd have to guess that many of the stays made during promotions are at mid and lower category properties which only increases that value. I'm sure, however, that by keeping the certificates to 1-5 properties will alleviate the "clogging up" of desirable hotels. Marriott seems in no hurry to change them (as long as we keep redeeming them, why should they?)
I will attempt to speak for others when I note that hotels continue to increase in category year after year; many hotels that were once category 5 and below are now category 6 and above. I myself stayed at the Courtyard Key Largo a few years back when it was a category 4 property. Now it is category 7. The complaint many Insiders have is that hotels keep jumping categories, but certificates don't, making them increasingly difficult to use.
I know I am not alone in finding plenty of places to use the promo certificates I earn, but I don't spend a lot of time in big cities or along the coasts. In those places certificates are nearly impossible to use (as many have pointed out). My advice would be this. Either try for one of the points based bonuses (15 night = 25k points) or plan some travel in areas where category 5 is considered luxury (St. Louis or Charlotte, for example).
Of course all this is irrelevant for the upcoming summer bonus. Promo certs aren't an option, a fact that has irritated a great number of people. The point is that, when offered, promo certs are a great deal for many people (myself included). They clearly don't work everywhere, but that is probably by design. I hope they return in the fall. Four stays to earn 2 certificate is a pretty good deal if you can find the right places to use them. So far, I have.