I am a Marriott Elite member, who as a result of Marriott's misleading description of its benefit change ("No blackout dates and other enhancements") with no mention of the huge point devaluation, I will now be switching my loyalty to favor other hotel chains. The way this has been promoted, with no blackout dates, while preserving capacity controls, results in effective blackout dates, while burying the huge point increase on consecutive-night usage, should cause a huge loss of loyalty by Marriott's most loyal customers, who earn a lot of points, but use them for several nights at luxury hotels, for which they now have a bloated category 8.
The way this blog is, if you agree with this bloated devaluation, you need to post often, since as soon as such adverse comments appear they are quickly buried. I originally posted this on a forum for comments on the 2009 Changes, but that forum is not accessible here. You need to repeat your comments and join in as new comments are made, in order to keep this exposed. Hopefully Marriott with its lost of its most loyal members to other national hotel changes will cause them to see the light.
For those of us, most loyal customers who stayed multiple nights, at the best hotels, the devaluation, even with the 5th night free, is huge, as others have pointed out. Do the math. And the luxury hotels are going to be in a new category 8, costing even more points. A statement that there will be "no blackout dates" is meaningless unless like other hotel chains they will let you use them on the last available room in the hotel. Capacity controls, making only a small number of rooms available, is the same as a blackout date. As others have pointed out, the enhanced Platinum Elite bonus is chicken feed compared to the new high cost to use the program.
I am a premium member of several of the loyalty programs and Marriott will go to the bottom of the list and will receive low Freddie ratings from its most loyal customers. So much for loyalty!
I have been reading all the replies on the subject and it appears that we got thumped. I have no hopes of any kind of resolution (my suggestion was grandfathering in points earned before January 15) but Ed and the rest of Marriott spoke their peace that the changes are here to stay - as is.
As far as loyalty is concerned, I agree that this will have a dramatic affect on my behavior. My first inclination was to always seek out a Marriott, even if it was located 30 miles from where I was doing business. Starting next week, I'm staying at the closest hotel, regardless of brand.
I had a great run for 20+ years and saw the four corners of the Earth courtesy of Marriott, for which I thank them emensouly.
Category 8...What the hell is that? They are out of their minds to think that we as marriott rewards junkies are so stupid and fall for the banana in the tail pipe trick!
Meanwhile, I travel more than 100 nights a year, and can easily pick up another "decent" brand of hotels that will appreciate my business and not try to devalue my money and rewards points.