By March 2009 I will be Diamond again at the Priority Club from IChotels. Better program, no cut backs on small things in the hotel (e.g. cancelled cookies in the Courtyard) and no experation dates of points: The Priority Club program is now simply a better deal than the Rewards program!!.
I spend more time in hotel rooms then in my own bedroom. I want to feel welcome and not nicke-and-dimed by Marriott. I do sympathize with the economic stress also hotels have, but please don't bring this detoriation of service as an 'improvement'.
I too finding MR to be less appealing and choosing to be less loyal to this program during the past few months and in 2009. As a gold member of of both MR and Hilton Honors I am more impressed with the services offered to members at the various lounges and hotels for HH elite members. I am finding Hilton's executive lounges to offer better amenities and consistent quality than the Marriott lounges. Most importantly I don't understand the large disparity to attain gold in HH vs. MR. You need almost 35 more nights/stays to get gold in MR than HH!!
I wrote to MR about this and the only comment I received was they don't comment on other programs!!