As a Platinum Elite Marriott Rewards member for over 10 years I'm disappointed in some of the recent changes made to the Rewards program. Marriott re-categorized their hotels from Category 1-7 to 1-9. However, they kept the certificates that a member earns for loyalty at the same category 4 or 5 level. In Chicago where I live, these hotels have not been updated or improved and have often deteriorated. I called to question this and was told that when enough people use a certificate for a hotel stay, Marriott Corporate office raises that hotels category level. Now all the Marriott brand hotels in downtown Chicago are a Category 6 or above which precludes ever using a certificate in the city. I asked if it would be possible to use the value of a Category 5 (25,000 points) Certificate and adding points with it to stay in one of the Chicago hotels and was told it is not possible. Since Marriott has raised their hotel categories, it would be appropriate to also raise the certificate category values. That would be good customer relations and show Marriott still values customers for their loyalty. Next year they won't get my Freddie vote and my loyalty may be directed to Hyatt in the future.
I Totally agree! I have 2 unused certificates right now and I don't stay in the 1-5 category Marriott properties. Of course I used to prior to them upgrading the properties but not our certificates. This whole system should be based on the average of the categories that we stay and pay for. I don't travel on business so I assume maybe their idea is to reward people that do. I don't know for sure but the people who travel for business most likely have their bill paid for by the company they're working for. Or maybe give us a choice of packages according to how many nights one may spend away from they're family on business. Those people deserve to be upgraded for family vacations at nice properties. Frankly I don't carry the black Chase Visa just to get a free night in a category 1-5 hotel. I always register for the promotions though just in case.
Does anyone have any good ideas about fixing this offer that seems lacking in customer service on corporate's Part?
Sadly, we have scores of ideas (several similar to your thoughtful suggestions), see the More Like This column over to the right (and read additionally the More Like This column for those threads as well), but in this current environment where Marriott has all of the leverage (record stock price, record RevPar, record earnings, record growth etc etc) the ideas, although "highly valued, appreciated and passed along" all go nowhere.
Even the standard Marriott uses for Category increase, "when enough people use Certificates we raise the level" provides a smirk from loyalists like myself. That is a true statement, but of course, what's not said is what number equals enough ? (like the criteria for Plat Premier, the number is never disclosed, so one or two uses could theoretically be considered enough). When in the past two years of increases we've had over 40 pages of increases and less than five of decreases, we know the number is pretty doggone low.