Let me start by saying I am a platinum rewards member of both the Marriott and the ICH program, a diamond member of the Hilton program and a gold member of the Starwood program. None of these programs are perfect and each have something to recommend them over the others. However the Marriott program offers the excellent travel rewards that outdo its competitors.
I have now read several hundred of the posts about changes in the rewards program.and many of them ignore fine facets of the Marriott program or miscalculate the effects of changes. Lets look at this based on an example of 75 stayes at a variety of Marriott branded properties. I stay at enough Fairfiled or Springhill Suites to bring my average room cost down to $150/night. With the old platinum bonus I would get 1950 points for this and with the new system I get 2250 points. The difference of 300 pts/nt times 75 nights gives me 22,500 more points in this year of 75 nights. I have managed to get most if not all of the bonus awards to date - last year that amounted to 130,000 points thanks to the newly institures bonuses. My room night costs plus platinum bonus yielded 146,250 points last year vs 168,750 this year. The great travel award used to cost 235,000 points for 135,000 miles and a wk in a Cat 5 hotel. It has now gone to 270,000 points. A difference of 35,000 points.
But if you consider that Marriott added 60,000 points in bonuses last year and is apparently continuing them this year, then I get 22,500 + 60,000 points that I didn't get a few years ago. That totals 82,500 points or 47,500 points on my side of the ledger. When you consider that the average bill is going up,and the category of the hotel is being increased, those factors seem to off set the extra points I earn and the whole thing is a wash. Or is it?
Normally by this time I would have had a coupon book containing 6 second night free coupons along with 6 second entree free coupons. This is nowhere in sight now. It used to prompt me to go somewhere for a weekend that I might not have done in the absence of the coupons. Is Marriott discontinuing this perc.?
Oh yeh, Marriott Associates are generally great, rooms are generally pretty damn nice but often a little small, food is very good in most restaurants although the selection is decreasing and Marriotts and Renaisance Hotel are a great place to stay.
I am a Platinum Premier here with Marriott, a Diamond Elite level with Starwood and Platinum with Intercontinental (IHC) and in the process of making it to Diamond/Platinum (hopefully) with HHonors.
While the programs have pluses and minuses I tend to spend the majority of my diminishing travel dollars with Marriott. I like the associates, like the perks, and most of all use my points to great advantage for me and the family.
Pingreeman's 50/30% bonus comparison: Re: frustration with new rewards policy caught our attention a month ago. You are right about elevated redemption levels creating a wash for Platinum, does it hold for Gold Elite and Silver Elite or does it border on a loss?
This is just an additional comment to the many comments shared regarding the new Mariott Reward program and how it particularly affects the Platinum Elite members.
What seems to be causing the most frustration with the MR members is when we are using old ( pre January 15, 2009 ) points for new reward bookings ( after January 15, 2009). Those points were earned under the old system and today have less buying power. Maybe there should have been a grandfathering in of those points, or a more clear explanation of the new structure.
I don't have a lot of points ( like the million point people ), but I have always believed that I should have my account be somewhat fluid, and use points rather frequently. I try to keep at least 100,000 points available for an emergency, but I usually redeem points within a year or two of earning them. I also don't have the luxury of just using the points for vacation, sometimes they had to be used for visiting family or taking college trips.
It is very frustrating for me to see the devaluation of my points. However, I think it is a sign of the times. I would encourage Marriott to continue to find ways of offering incentives to earn additional points and for indiviual Marriott properties to woo back some of the disgruntled MR members with upgrades and great customer service.
20yearsplatinu (see Postscript 5/29)
Thanks for being so candid about the sticker shock from increased point redemption levels. You are among a distinct few that recognize the good points going forward. There is a very large group of Elites who are extremely unhappy about the new point redemption structure and have defected to other programs. There is another group who continue to value the business relationship with Marriott and are catalysts for positive change. They recognize that Marriott values the feedback of its loyal customers and is committed to delivering upon the promise to provide legendary service and hospitality.
Several people have proposed that Marriott 'grandfather' or 'roll back' the point levels. As covered in a March 19 post*, it's a risky approach and Marriott does not need to relearn a lesson. In the wake of the outcry about sticker shock/devaluation of points Marriott is listening through Insiders, Flyertalk and other sources for constructive solutions. For example, on March 24th, Marriott announced the 3 for 2 Resort Redemption offer** This offer may offer a temporary bandaid so that you can redeem points at a discount.
Postscript 5/29: With the move of Marriott Vacation Club resorts to hotel categories*** effective July 16, 2009, the opportunity to redeem a week at Marriott Vacation Club resorts for the bargain of 150,000 points disappears. So, if you have points to burn, now is good time to do so. I prefer to burn points as they are earned, and already booked vacations, so I won't be able to enjoy this deal - schucks.
You noted that you are no longer getting the second weekend night free coupons and the 2nd entre coupons anymore.
We'll I figured out where they went ................... to the internet.
If you go into your platinum account and look at platinum offers, these coupons are now able to be printed out.
And guess what .......................... you can print out as many as you like, and you can give them to your friends. I use them a lot when I have friends and family come to town and get even more points. I make the reservation under my name, check in with them, get them all the free upgrades with my status, and I get the points for the stay. You can even have all of the room charges put on their credit card so you do not have to deal with them paying you back.
I was told by the "platinum elite telephone line" that the "free night" and "free entree" coupons would not be coming out until March 2012. Upon hearing this news I cancelled all my weekend reservations for the rest of the year. I am "heartbroken". And I'm making reservations for my husband's next vacation at another hotel chain. I have been devotedly using Marriott hotels exclusively for at last 6 years. So,this is significant and very very very very sad. I am hoping they will change their minds when they see how we have stopped using their hotels.