After reviewing the proposed new MR program announcewd to be implemented in January, I would like to offer my reaction.
First, to be factual with no intrention of being egotistical, I am a Lifetime Platinum Marriott Rewards member with 20+ years in the program (I have lost track!). Several years ago, the Rewards office told me I "should be calling" the Premier desk for my reservations --- and they gave me the phone number. My annual Marriott room nights are currently in the 130 to 150 range during the past few years, and this year should easily be around 160. I also own 5 Marriott timeshare weeks. So much for loyalty.
Here's my thoughts regarding the "tradeoffs" of the proposed new program:
1. Increased elite bonus: Fine, but is more than offset by additional points required (lack of point "discounts ") for multiple-night hotel stays.
2. "Fifth night free" does not make sense for those of us who are substantial point accumulators and tend to take vacations in one-week increments. How about charging for 4 nights on the new schedule, then give the 5th and 6th night at a point discount and the 7th night "free"??? The schedule as proposed caters to folks who use one night at a time but ignores your most loyal customers! Who do you wish to please??
3. Timeshare owner expectations. Althought the MR program terms clearly say MR can be changed or discontinued at any time, remember that all Marriott timeshare sales presentations make a big deal out of the ability to trade weeks for Marriott points. Until now the trade value of a Marriott platinum, red or white timeshare week was approximately equivalent to a one-week stay at category 5 and 6 hotels/resorts. Aside from the difference in point trade value, there is a serious integrity problem here --- timeshare sales presentation clearly outline projected MR trade values. These promises - whether expressed or implied by white board MR point calculations during sales presentations - clearly will not be delivered by the new MR program. The result will be many unrealized expectations.
Now, on balance, I have been in corporate and nonprofit financial management for 45 years and understand that all incentive programs need periodic re-evaluation. And, these times may need a more conservative MR program.
I am sure Marriott has no intention whatsoever of compromising integrity. It is my hope that whatever new MR program is adopted will include provisions that may be conservative but more closely matche the expectations of the program.
I sincerely hope you come up with a Plan B, or maybe even a Plan C. I recognize Plan A as a sincere attempt to accomplish some of your cost/benefit plans, but for customer loyalty - especially for very loyal customers - this may be a disaster waiting to happen.
That said, I deeply respect the Marriott Corporation's intentions for its customers. There is a special ambiance and attitude at most Marriott hotels that is difficult or impossible to match. The properties do indeed attempt and usually succeed to create a home-like atmosphere for us frequent travelers. I hope that special character is never lost.
Thank you for listening!