I keep seeing references to a "String of Awards". While factual, this should not confer praise on the present MarriottRewards system. The major change at the beginning of the year renders these award moot, and their repeated referencing only tries to spread the ever thinning veneer of success across a much changed program.
After nearly 10 years of loyalty to the Marriott brand, 80% of the time reaching Platinum level, I have seen changes over the past year that annoy me to the degree that I have stopped using Marriott as my first choice.
While the hotels themselves are uniformly good, their cost relative to the competition is frequently 25% higher. The benefits for elite level are constantly shrinking, and the Concierge lounges have been whittled away to the extent that I often don't even bother anymore. It is now better to burn through my points on merchandise than on service, and where else does that happen?
<still searching for a level 4 hotel to use my card night in a place I actually want to visit>
There are varying opinions on this topic, and it's a good one to discuss - thanks for posting.
In my opinion, Marriott is an award-winning company and Marriott Rewards is an award-winning program*. While I do agree that Marriott has some ground to cover on Award Redemption**, I think it is important to offer solutions with the criticism.
Elite Rollover Nights plus Double Nights is an excellent example. Elite Rollover Nights is an industry-first and many Elite are hoping that Marriott will extend the program indefinitely. Neither Hilton or SPG offer it. Kudos to Marriott for being innovative.