This article reports that road warriors are becoming less enamored with having to choose between competing loyaty programs and instead focusing on the ones that give them the most bang for the buck.
Sure hope that Marriott seizes this opportunity and makes the most of it as the market conditions change.
Thanks for that article, Stepping Stones. In past years, some of us travelled so much that we easily keep multiple frequent-user accounts active and "rewarding." Now, with more time at home and conferencing by phone and video, it's important to pick a couple and try to maximize them. That's what I've done, and it's paying off. The article says, "Airlines and hotels acknowledge the trend. They're aggressively offering deals — such as better rates or more points — to try to keep their cards in the wallets of their high-paying customers." Marriott is on board here, although not every deal is to everyone's benefit, the menu of offerings is till appealing. Again, thanks.
Although my travel has been reduced, the major reasons for my reduced loyalty to major airlines (and hotels) are due to the reduction of service and benefits. It is much more difficult to earn miles, and virtually impossible to redeem for 'plan ahead' travel rewards. Therefore, reward travel requires double miles. Additionally, unless you are 'preferred', you can only reserve bad seats (or pay a premium), and get charged fees for everything. Many major airlines require flying through major city hubs (Chicago, Dallas, Atlanta) that result in frequent delays. I previously flew Delta through Cincinnati to avoid delays, but now that option is virtually gone. As a result, I primarily fly Southwest (now that Midwest has eliminated most service from KC), and seldom fly the major carriers. Since I save $25 for checking my bag, I can afford the $10 to receive earlier check-in.
When hotels and airlines reduce the value of their programs, they should expect to see reductions in loyalty.
I switched to Southwest a few years ago as well primarily because I value direct flights over status. A friend, a several milliion miler with Delta, flys them exclusively, always connecting through Atlanta while I fly SW or whatever with a direct flight. He is constantly having issues with delays and missing connections. He likes being bumped to first class, I like reducing my time in the airport.
Airlines have been guilty of reducing service and raising prices for nearly a decade now. With the exception of Jet Blue and Virgin Atlantic here in the States the pack is pretty poor in terms of customer satisfaction. As a former VIP with United I can attest to having been pushed to the back of the line after 9/11 when my traveling days were more infrequent: went from a personal thanks from the pilot and a first class seat with no miles deducted to a coach seat in the middle of the next to last row.
I fear that hotels will enter this same spiral downward, unless we, as Insiders, keep the pressure on (in a nice way of course) and make Marriott realize that our criticisms are tempered with praise and always constructive.
Marriott is the best lodging choice for my money and will be forever. In that "foverer" is the caveat that service must be maintained, that recongition for loyalty id recieved, and the spirit to serve contiunues as always.