SILVER, GOLD, PLATINUM, LIFETIME PLATINUM, PLATINUM PREMIERE - THE DIFFERENCES IN BENEFITS BETWEEN LEVELS HAS BECOME MINOR.
A day doesn't go buy without numerous posts commenting on the advantages, and/or the definition of benefits as it applies to the different elite levels.
The only major "jump" in benefits seems to be from Silver to Gold. Once Gold a member basically receives the same benefits that a top tier Platinum Premier receives.
I would welcome as well as enjoy hearing comments, suggestions and solutions to the services and recognition that each level should represent.
Please include your feeling if there should be a revamping of benefits afforded each level.
I thank you in advnace.
I actually like the program and don't see a need for a major revamping. Obviously, there is a bigger jump in benefits from Silver to Gold than at any other level. Nevertheless, even though I am Lifetime Gold I always make a major effort to qualify for Platinum when I am running short on nights, so I obviously see significant value in Platinum over Gold. I get extra points, upgrades and a welcome gift of some value. I also feel I am treated better than when I was just Gold or Silver.
All that said, Of course there is always room for improvement. More consistent quality among CLs would be nice. Weekend hours for the CL would be great! Allowing all elites to give a review of every stay would be welcome.
If you will allow me I would like to ask you the following:
If you worked hard in pursuing and then obtaining Platinum and/or Platinum life status, and that status came with no significant added benefits would your answer be the same?
Be careful wishing for program changes. They often end up benefiting Marriott instead of the guests. Remember all the complaints about how useless cat. 1-5 promo certificate were? Instead of bumping them up to cat. 6, certificates disappeared completely (except the ones that come with the MR Visa).
While it would be nice to see a bit more differentiation between levels, I wouldn't expect to see Marriott add more benefits for Platinum. They'd more likely take away something from Golds and Silvers. I'm not sure that is such a good idea. It's like poking a sleeping bear. (Is it just me or did start to sound like our old pal erc just now?)
I'm fine with the status quo. It beat a reduction in benefits.
I must (respectively) disagree - the deterioration of point value (due to changes in categories) is a direct result of making it easier and easier to earn points. This situation was going to exist whether "insiders" complained or not.
Currently, the only advantage (in 90% of the situations) that Platinum has over Gold is Bragging rights. Furthermore any reduction in benefits would tantamount to inviting "revolution" by members. So I personally don't see that as issue.
To sum up, any reduction in benefits will be camouflaged by making the benefits more expensive.
With these comments I feel very strongly that the Corporation should be dealing with this now
rather than later
I agree with you completely on all your points. Other than the increased earnings of Platinum over Gold, there is very little difference. I'll admit that the UA silver status has helped me a couple times. Beyond that, I haven't used/noticed any of the other benefits. For me, it's simply about earning a few more points.
My (relatively) limited history with the company has shown that it is rare to see our benefits increase over time. They generally seem to go the other way. All I was saying is that differentiating the elite levels more by reducing Gold and Silver benefits isn't what any of us want to see. Adding a few more perks for Platinum and Premier Platinum is a great idea, one which I hope happens.
The sad thing is that we've had this discussion before (SUGGESTIONS FOR ADDITIONAL BENEFITS FOR PLATINUM ELITE). I don't recall much coming from it.
Regardless, misterchk. We're on the same side here.
Back in the dark ages, after securing my horse and buggy in the student lot, I would read the notes my professor wrote on a recent test blue book (Political Science Department): "Misterchk, you should be very happy that this is not the English department!!!" - Never did learn how to spell or use the correct words.
Made it through with an MA in Political Science without being able to construct a sentence or spell - NOW THAT'S AN ACCOMPLISHMENT!!
Since I became Platinum in April of this year for the first time, I have seen a substantial increase in upgrades being Platinum vs Gold. This has been at a variety of different brands and locations in the country. I can only recall one time that I was not upgraded. To me, that upgrade is worth the difference from Gold to Platinum. I know Gold is supposed to be upgraded too, but it rarely happened....
Although, I must say, if I could get more.... I wouldn't say no......
Proactive upgrades are property dependent. At certain hotels, I always got upgraded--regardless of whether I was Gold or Platinum. However, I have found that properties that are NOT proactive with upgrades seem to give me the upgrade without a fuss when I ask as a Platinum. As a Gold member, I was often just given a minor view upgrade--sometimes with some kind of an attitude like the person at the desk was doing me a huge favor. As a Platinum, if I ask for the upgrade, they do it.
That said, I have found that I ALWAYS get the best upgrades (ahead of my arrival) when I use the virtual concierge's text box to request it a few days before my arrival. However, some hotels do not allow the use of this virtual concierge. I think it should be required.
misterchk, I do believe more could be done to differentiate the programs. One only needs to take a look at other hotels to see examples, for instance the guaranteed suite upgrades for top tier members at Hyatt. I believe Gold + Platinums with Marriott should continue to receive lounge access.
But since we're on this topic, what needs further differentiation is Platinum vs Platinum Premier. PP seems to be a vanity status with little to no benefit over standard Plat. Not that I'd ever reach...
Overall I feel Marriott has become complacent with MR with the only changes being made being negative ones.
kharada46, very constructive comment.
The volume of elite status members has obviously "swelled" over the past few years.
Gold (specifically) is, what I have read, the largest contingent. They alone, without any other levels have caused most CL's to be too small to deliver the service that was intended , and if arriving at the hotel earlier than a platinum will get a room on the CL level. This could actually be a "suggestion" - Gold retains access to CL's but Plats get first access to rooms on the CL levels.
Changes must be made or members are going to "wander" to other programs.
There are many possibilities and there is not enough space here. Also, I certainly don't have the time.
I am surprised that Marriott has not invited a group of senior members to be part of a membership board (lack of a better term) to meet with program management.
As of now this is our only forum and we all know that our suggestions are never accepted and our complaints rarely dealt with.
If Marriott really wants to maintain MR's number one status what would be better than being the first to have member representation as to changes in benefits.
I know it's wishful thinking, but I will keep my fingers crossed.
Let's not forget some of the benefits we now take for granted haven't always been around. Free breakfast for Gold and Platinum Elites 7 days a week only started two years ago. And it was only a year ago that free wifi for all elites was announced, with premium service for Gold and Platinum. Neither of these may be game changers and they still don't go to the core of the issue (the small difference between Gold and Platinum), but it is worth remembering these perks, though minor, haven't been around all that long.
there has been a general deterioration of loyalty programs in hotels and airlines. acct rules make them record a liability at some value and planes are full and maybe hotel have seen growth so cheapen the points seems to be the rule . also since there are now fewer national airlines and hotels they tend to look the same from a loyalty program
I think the first step in revamping status is to make each status HARDER TO ACHIEVE so that the person who has earned PP can see real differentiation in this status over P. Ditto for P vs G and G vs S.
With all the rollover nights, credit card bonus nights, etc. it has become too easy to earn a status even for the most casual of travelers. As misterchk has noticed (and what I have been calling DILUTION OF STATUS for years on MRI), "Gold (specifically) is, what I have read, the largest contingent. They alone, without any other levels have caused most CL's to be too small to deliver the service that was intended , and if arriving at the hotel earlier than a platinum will get a room on the CL level. This could actually be a "suggestion" - Gold retains access to CL's but Plats get first access to rooms on the CL levels."
To make each level harder to achieve it becomes easier to grant the top tiers with real rewards since there will be a heck of a lot less of them.
I believe that this forum can deal with better threads than member carping over their treatment compared to other Elites. Marriott values customers based upon a variety of criteria, including the choice of the MR Chase Visa.
What would you do? Would you ban Golds from the Concierge level floor? We might see some rooms go unused while some golds are denied upgrades and that is just not a good idea.
Incidentally, I have never found a CL that was too crowded for me at either breakfast of dinner time, so while I know it sometimes happens it can't be a problem in that many places.
Upgrades are promised to those who arrive when the upgrade is available. If I arrive at 8:00 pm, I expect the best room still available. I don't expect an upgrade to be held for me.
I usually don't get on the CL level floor even though I'm Platinum and I don't object.
(And I would not even be Gold without my MR Chase Visa, so I guess I'm not a real Platinum.)
You bring up many important points that should be discussed phctourist. That's why I started this discussion.
I am in total agreement that services should not be taken away from anyone's current entitlement ("banning gold from cl's) - but let's discuss the CL problem.
The overcrowding is a system wide problem in at least 50% of full service Marriott and Renaissance properties. This percentage is not a guess but information received from hotel and food/beverage managers throughout the country.
But, some won't notice the problem if they are not present during "prime time".(if one enters the lounge at 6:30AM you won't experience crowds) Another aspect is the problem seems to be centered in the larger hotels located in major city centers.
I am convinced and my discussions with hotel personnel seemed to be in agreement (almost unanimously) that many of the overcrowding problems could be solved simply by implementing better policing of admittance at the lounge's door.
As to the question of revamping the awards by category is it my wish that a greater division is created between elite categories. As said at the top of this discussion there is very little difference between gold and platinum as it now operates.
I also will reiterate (which I intend to do often)that I plead with Marriott management to create a forum for our discussions, complaints and ideas with the hope that they will maintain the best hotel program available to "road warriors" like us. This site is Reward Members "venting" their opinions. AND these opinions, comments, etc., rarely get to management at Marriott.
1. Marriott Paris Rive Gauche
2. Amsterdam Marriott
3. Baltimore Harbor Place Ren.
4. Brooklyn Bridge Marriott
5. Boston Copley Sq. Marriott
6. Montreal Marriott
7 Charleston (SC) Marriott
8. Savannah Marriott
9. Norfolk Marriott
We tend to go for breakfast at peak or shortly after peak. In not one of these 38 mornings, did we have a problem with access, although several days we did get the last table. Obviously, some people are having a problem, which should be addressed , but I don't see it as a major problem, in any of the hotels that I have frequented.
In fairness, I should add that I usually travel at non peak times. (Paris and Amsterdam in mid-winter, Brooklyn was in November and Feb/March, Montreal was early March, Savannah and Charleston were November.)
I also agree that admittance should be monitored.
I must be perfectly frank with you. This discussion was never intended as a discussion of the crowd problems in CL's. I am very happy that you aren't experiencing the problems that many members are when showing up at a CL for breakfast - (I did notice that there was an absence of cities like Los Angeles, New York, Houston etc on your list- most problems are in major cities).
I would though appreciate that the discussion here stay on point of the question. I believe, if you check, that there are numerous discussions about problems and complaints in CL's.
Thanks in advance.
phctourist - Me carping? Not at all - just laying out the facts. As a member of MR since the early 1980s, I have seen many "perks" go the wayside. When was the last time you had slippers next to the bed? When was the last time you had fruit or a split of wine next to the pillow? Yes - that USED TO HAPPEN ALL THE TIME.
Could it possibly be too expensive for Marriott to continue these "gifts of appreciation" to their elite? Likely with all the ways one can become elite, it is a postulation that can neither be proven nor disprove without being in the MR boardroom.
Just some food for thought.
(forgive me to replying to myself)
The comments made since this discussion was first posted gives credibility to the proposal that Elite members should have a representative to present same to Marriott.
What we currently have is only an ""airing" of what we feel needs to be "fixed" with no evidence that anyone (in authority ) is listening!!
Asking for "revamping" of benefits is likely to happen. Just not the way you want Chances are good that benefits get worse, not better going forward in the name or "revamping."
I bring up again all the complaints about how worthless category 1-5 certificates earned during MegaBonus promotions were. We asked for them to be scrapped and replaced with something better, perhaps category 1-6 certs. What happened? Marriott listened to the first part and dumped them.
There isn't a huge difference between Gold and Platinum any more. I don't expect that to change.
As a Platinum member, I'd love to see a few more benefits. What I don't want to see is Golds and Silvers having their perks cut even further as a way of differentiating the levels. I'm a long way from lifetime Platinum, and getting to 75 nights each year isn't easy for me. I'd hate to drop down to Gold one year and then learn that as part of revamping benefits, only Platinums get CL access.
Marriott does listen and on occasion they give us what we ask for. Only afterwards do we realize what we said could be interpreted in a way far more beneficial to the company than to us. I'd rather keep what we have than to get a revamp that erodes benefits further (and not just for anyone below Platinum). That makes the entire program less desirable.
I'm sure Marriott would love to "revamp" benefits as a cost cutting measure. We might even see a great distinction between elite levels. It just wouldn't be in a way any of us on this forum want.
The major issue, IMO, as has been expressed is that there is effectively no difference between benefits for Gold and Platinum. What's the point of pushing to Platinum if you get virtually nothing for it. A good strategy would be to get Gold on MR then stay at Hilton's to get their status rather than sticking with Marriott for Platinum. They need to make it worth while to be loyal.
John, you couldn't have put it more simply or more clear. The only thing I would add is that the lack of differences in benefits might actually stretch from Gold to PP!!!
I also believe there is much truth in my friend bejacob comments. Just one small issue, I don't believe the membership would tolerate any reduction in benefits to top levels. There are just too many options out there.
Those of us that have been around long enough to achieve lifetime status have nothing to lose. As our group gets larger and larger the company must constantly come up with promotions and benefits to keep us in the fold.
PS - happy that we are back on point in this disucssion.
Halftime is over - back to Thursday Night Football.