As someone who spends way too much time in a Marriott bed, I was initially delighted when I learned about the super secret Plat Premier level last year.
Then I spent 2 years as a Plat Premier. There's not much going on here. Some hotels reward Premiers a little better, others don't seem to care. Generally, West coast hotels tend to do a better job than East coast. With a few exceptions.
This year, I'm astonished to learn that I've racked up 341 nights, thanks in part to the generous rollover and bonus nights policies. I still had 212 nights stayed on my own. Now that's a big difference from 75, or even 125 nights, which are the requirements for Platinum and Platinum Premier respectively (ok maybe Premier is not precisely 125, but close enough).
So shouldn't top top tier guests get anything extra? We literally spend more time in Marriott hotels than in our own homes, and have very little to show for it - incrementally.
I know airlines seem to be really focusing on their top tier customers in 2010/11. My Delta Diamond status comes with so much value it's made me a huge fan of Delta's. Free membership to the club lounges, free gifts, ability to make someone else a Gold member, etc etc. I wonder if hotels plan to follow suit. Perhaps some are already? Would love to hear if anyone has thoughts on this.
This has been a topic of coversation for some time on Insiders but it's good to revisit it. Your points are well taken and ring true. This started with a suggestion that Marriott create a Plutonium Level, which led to other suggestions for special recognition.
Most of us have memories of special airline treatment, often unexpected, as frequent fliers, over the years. Delta and United were especially generous.
Hotels have the ability to make special guests specially treated but often lump everyone together in a mass, where first come is first served: Platinum, Platinum Premiers and Gold members get essentially the same treatment at hotels, with a few minor exceptions though the loyalty to Marriott goes from 50 nights to someone with your enviable total nights.
Perhaps the new year will see a revisiting of the issue--the incremental costs or rewarding elites is not that great but it does pay dividends to Marriott in terms of customer loyalty.
How about Lifetime Platinum members who have stayed many nights over the years? I get tired of hearing about those members who stay 125 nights a year and want all this special treatment. How about us long time travelers staying over 1200 nights plus the other requirements to achieve lifetime Platimum status. We get no better treatment than the standard Platinum members. Get a life and enjoy the benefits you are already getting.
For most of those staying 125+ nights per year, griping about wanting more stuff or better treatment than other Platinums, remember that the cost isn't even coming out of their pocket! Maybe their companies should get some benefits, like higher discounts on the room... But seriously, suck it up!
from a lower middle class Platinum member who pays Senior rate out-of-pocket with no assistance (no pension, no retirement, no social security, no public, private or family funds).
This is an interesting discussion, though I can't help but agree with Jasper that the Lifetime Platinum Member should be given the top priority/rewards, whether there is a Plutonium Category or not. These few folks are those who have proven (1) the most nights (2) the most points and (3) the LONGEVITY OF LOYALTY TO MARRIOTT, over a period of many years (12?). I have seen more than one post on this site stating that when the MR Member identified him/herself as a Lifetime Platinum Member at one of the properties, the Marriott associate did not even know what that meant! I realize that the MR Program is huge, having read recently that there are over 30 million of us; however, how many of these 30 million have met the criteria for Lifetime Platinum? I believe this LP category should be designated as Marriott's most honored guest category (or at least recognized by the Marriott associates!).
I have to agree that the Platinum recognition experience is a mixed one. My biggest beef is that unless you stay at full Marriott, there is almost no recognition at all. *Some* Courtyards will give Platinums free breakfasts but chain wide, outside of the full Marriotts, in my opinion, recognition of Platinums is not so great.
My favorite benefit inconsistency is at the Courtyards (where I stay most of my nights): the free Market item. Most properties will allow you one item from the Market while *some* set a $5 limit so you could get a candy bar AND that bottle of water (woo hoo!)
At Courtyards, most of the time I don't get a room upgrade and the "welcome gift" is 50/50.
I agree though that a "special" level like Platinum Premier should be tied not just to current year stays but to a history of lovalty.
You have to have at least 12 years? in order to achieve Lifetime Platinum Status. So no one could achieve Lifetime Platinum Status in three years. And don't you need 1000 actual nights to achieve Lifetime Platinum Status, i.e. nights reward for Visa Spend and rollover nights do not count?
I think I said this exactly a year ago from a similar conversation:
"First, if nights are the measure by which Marriott Reward members advance though the tiers of membership, doesn't bonus nights and rollover seem to devalue them?
And second, if 100 nights (or 125 depending on who you ask) are all I need to renew P. P. status, then why keep counting after 100? Has Marriott considered this flaw in their plan? What's to keep me or anyone from staying past 100 nights a year? There is no incentive other than the mind numbing pursuit of points."
I decided to repost this after reflecting on another year of being on the road and in a hotel nearly every single night of 2010. Rereading the post(s) from a year ago, there was never any resolve from us collectively or Marriott.
Really, why bother to continually rack up nights and points when it doesn't seem to matter. Premier... achieved. Lifetime... done. Points... enough to live in a hotel for a year (yes, I know, my situation is unique). Marriott needs to and should, address this dead end in the system.
What's the solution? I have no idea. I've racked my brain and I can't come up with an idea that appeals to me. Anyone have an idea?
Greetings to you Mr. Premier,
I have been a Marriott "grinder" 75-100 nights for 8 years. And will probably remain so for the next 10 years. Are you more "loyal" than me? Can you maintane that stay rate? If so, perhaps there should be a designated/elevated title for you. But as a long term Marriott Platinum "grinder" I feel cheated if you are to get something special.
My two cents
And you would be petty and wrong. Yes, if I stay 150-250 nights a year over 7 years, it is more loyal than you "grinding" it out over 12 or 13. Because I have that many nights to spend in hotels, I have a large choice. You are equating loyalty with calendar time, instead of the number of times the choice is made to stay at a Marriott hotel instead of a competitors. Just my two cents
All very interesting replies! I didn't actually think about Lifetime Platinum status.
Even though I'm just shy of Lifetime Platinum, I'd rather get more credit for being Platinum Premier. Lifetime Platinum is unfairly skewed towards older people. Why would we discriminate against a young pup who's slaving away at the client site clocking 125+ nights a year in a hotel. I think he/she deserves more recognition from Marriott than a Lifetime Platinum old geezer who may or may not still be on the travel circuit.
Also....Like it or not, Marriott is a business - just like many of your clients. The Rewards program should offer incentives that align with shareholder value maximization goals. It's true that Lifetime Platinum is a brand enhancing feature that often supports long term loyalty and value, but the true ROI is difficult to properly measure. On the other hand, providing clear incentives for members to shoot to hit 125, 200, 300 nights helps Marriott make more money - so the annual business case is very easy to justify.
ricovijae - why so negative my friend! I used to be a grinder too. That's like saying a gold member deserves the same treatment as you. Cheer up - you get to spend more time with your family :)
I hear you chris10. I am now in my mid-40's, but originally became lifetime Platinum when I was 36. So what is the old geezer comments from munem? Not very nice, and in my opinion the older generation should get something nice. Yes, it does take time to get nice things, and age is the fruit of these efforts.
I think some people (not chris10) should think before they speak.
Chris10 - great question...
Here's my take on ideas for additional levels. Would love to hear other people's opinions. No harm in a bit of dreaming... I'd love it if they brought a bit of exclusivity back, like in the old days (which I am admittedly too young to remember).
Note I'd abolish rollover nights before instituting. Elite and/or Lifetime status means butt in sheets. Which would, incidentally, mean I get stripped of Lifetime Platinum until the end of this year.
Platinum Premier: 125 nights
Diamond: 200 nights
Diamond Premier: 300 nights
I took a glance at this post and realized it was an old one (just like the ones over to the right in the More Like This column), but like a Nascar crash, it was hard to peel my eyes away from it. As I skimmed thru the thoughtful erudite posts, I realized how so much of our efforts are tugging on Superman's cape, be it; Bogos, Category changes, weekend CLs, lobby coffee, full shampoo tubes, welcome gifts, properties becoming 'resorts', all inclusives the way of the dodo, Vacation club changes, gift cheque to gift card inflation and on and on, you get the drift. Well at least we still have the 'five nights for four' points redemption and this terrific forum that provides superb travel insights (in spite of the attempted mercy killings of 42 Story and Review your brains out contests). So here's to you Insiders, keep on keepin' on and skiadcock, best wishes in your virtuous struggle in attempting to get residual charges counting toward points - just don't burn yourself out, we're counting on you to tell us where the good weekend breakfasts are.
erc, a beaten man Go Ski, Go
Love the gifs, erc.
When you think about it, the fact that PP gets no more than plat. is fair since the official night stay for both is 75. Then PP is just an additional recognition for the top 3%.
You're right about the lifetime status being lowered resulted in an improvement in rewards because then the point bonus stays for a longer period of time in case the status falls any.
I wish they would put dates or some kind of differentiation on the newer (or older) "more like this" topics. I've been caught by that SO many times, especially since the change the date at the top periodically.
Since my husband is a PP, a good PP reward to me would be that the housekeepers at CY not knock on my door before 9 A.M. That really makes me "mad". It's happened twice now at the same CY, and when they say it won't happen again after promising me that after the first time, that means their word means NADA.
I agree that there should be improvements made to both Platinum Premier & Lifetime Platinum level treatment. If there isn't, then folks will simply decide to spend their over Platinum nights at another group, such as Hilton.
It used to be that if you were a Platinum member at Marriott you would receive the very best, unsold room in the hotel upon your arrival. That is no longer the policy it seems. For starters, that would be a good policy to reinstate and keep folks loyal.
Unfortunately, the 'solution' as a consumer is to earn points with another hotel system once you no longer have value added stays. I'm on my way to HH Diamond, and I've held P.P status for 3 years now. I must say it is nice to have options when going on vacation. Once Marriott realizes that lost revenue, maybe then will they elect to address your point.
I can see why you have thought about all of the different levels with 341 nights/year in hotels gives you a significant amount of experience, expectations and time to think about and articulate all of the possible levels, options and possible benefits, etc.
Unfortunately, the folks who create the levels, associated benefits may not travel and/or stay at their hotels for 341 nights/year; thus may not have the same level of prospective that you may have.
I realize this conversation may have become dormant, but (as a relative newcomer to Insiders), I found it fascinating.
I agree with those that suggest Marriott - like any business - should pay special attention to its super-elite (plutonium or, if you're a Marvel comics fan, adamantium-level) customers. That's just good business.
I'm intrigued, however, by the theme that "nights" or "butts in the bed" appears to be he holy grail. I'm guessing that from Marriott's perspective, there's a reason that many folks become super-elite without earning the most grizzled road-warrior status. For example,
The bottom line is it takes all kinds. (But - regardless - I agree with those who suggest that Marriott should pay special attention to it's super-elite members.
I agree with you. The benefit to me as a Platinum is knowing the front desk staff. The information shared is that people who buy the timeshares are worth quite a bit to the Marriott Program. More than a 100 night per year guest at Courtyard properties.
You get what you pay for.
In all honesty, it's the little things that add up. I'd rather have a newspaper delivered to my room in the morning and have a fresh cup of coffee available quickly.
Life isn't free or easy.
Well said, also the "law of diminishing returns" sets in after hitting Plat status, from my observation. Curious if other international hotel chains like HILTON or HYATT offers something equivalent to the "Plutonium" status suggested in this thread?
If one hotel chain starts the ball rolling, MARRIOTT may be forced to follow suit.
Cheers to all!
I have been incredibly disappointed with my experience using the Platinum Premier phone line. In fact, after receiving my platinum lifetime and platinum premier, I am starting to wonder why all the effort, why the loyalty. There are no distinguishable benefits to getting the "premier" status and the promises of "platinum overrides" and "late check outs" have never materialized for me when needed most. Tonight I approached the front desk to ask for a late check out tomorrow. The response I got was "I could let you stay until 1:00 without an extra charge". I indicated I was a platinum premier and she told me that was the reason she gave me until 1:00 instead of noon. WOW! I guess I should be impressed. The fact that they are asking me to check out and come back in two days (the hotel is apparently sold out and there was no possibility of an override), makes me wonder what value there is in any Marriott status. I called the PP line only to be told what the website indicates (as if I can't look that up myself) and then after asking that they call the property to see if there is any chance I could stay one more night, they indicated the property is not able to honor any platinum request for override. WORTHLESS!! What is the benefit of an override promise if they only come back to say that is used when the hotel has rooms. REALLY?! So very disappointed with Marriott. After 20 years of loyalty, it might be time to change brands. After all, with lifetime platinum, I have nothing to gain by staying. And I can get rejection and poor service from other brands just as well.
Being an old geezer and having earned Platinum for Life is a good business decision for Marriott. I started in the Marriott program in 1980! Yes I was also top status in the Hyatt program for years, also in American, United, and Delta. Someday all of you are going to retire, you will use up all of your earned points, and find no one knows you were a loyal customer except for Marriott! As one of you said why give it to the geezers, well they didn't give it to me, I earned it!
Today I tell as many younger business travelers about the Lifetime benefit. I have now learned to fly coach, like I said, you will use up all of those points, have no status at any airline or hotel. I recently traveled to Bangkok, coach, checked into the Marriott , got upgraded to a full suite!
I enjoyed the perks back then, also bitched about how the guy who stayed less than I and got the same perks. I doubt he got an upgrade to a suite in Bangkok 5 years after retirement!
Airlines, too, give Lifetime status. Case in point, United gives lifetime status based on lifetime miles. Gold @ 1 million miles, Platinum @ 2MM, 1K @ 3MM, and Global Services @ 4MM (and all with other minor perks as well). So, assuming I want to travel after I'm done with all this, I'll have (nearly) the same drag with the airline and hotel traveling once in a blue moon as I did when it was 42 weeks a year.
I totally agree with you and because of that, I enjoy EVERY flight upgrade and/or hotel up[grade I receive. The day will come when American Airlines no longer respects me as a 4 million miler, and Marriott no longer respects the # of years I have had as a Platinum Premier member. That's ok, I get it. My hope is that , as a Lifetime Platinum in both programs, I will receive upgrades from time-to-time. Fair enough.
so true. I must say, as profchiara has said in the past, Airlines seem to do a much better job recognizing their loyal customers than hotels do. American treats me like a king, and rushes to make a problem go away. Marriott could definitely do a better job thanking me for all the loyalty, and, as Jerry mentioned, I will not ask for the upgrade.
The topic has been beaten to death over the past couple years here on MRI. The one point I would like to add that I don't think anyone touched on yet, is that for those who feel the best suite should be given at a property should be granted for super elites that is good in theory but difficult in practice. I have noticed many times that on the Marriott site for a specific property under "hotel details" it lists the number of rooms and suites. I have seen MANY times a hotel will have 500 rooms but only 5 suites. Some of those are Jr suites. Many properties don't have a "Presidential" or "Vice Presidential Suite" and many of the "Executive Suites" are great but there are so few of them. It happens all the time that a FS Marriott in a city location will have 100 Platinum elites staying at a given time. Guess what? 95 of them aren't getting a suite no matter if they are Premier, Lifetime, Plutonium or any other made up status. The rooms and layouts of the properties themselves simply won't allow all these suites people feel they deserve. THEY SIMPLY AREN'T ENOUGH TO GO AROUND.
RReferring on from this, I do remember reading something about the Marriott philosophy, that suites were over-rated and in Bills view other brands built far too many into their hotels. As a result Marriotts have far fewer suites than the other brands, especially Hyatt and SPG. Certainly if I look at hotels where I've been upgraded to a suite it's usually not the cookie-cutter Marriotts, but the more individual hotels such as the Autographs and Rens. Where the Marriotts have upgraded me, they tend to be the individualistic ones such as the English country clubs.
In theory your comments are ":right on".!
The reality of the situation is Marriott has no control over the design of the hotel (rooms vs suites vs meeting space etc).
Marriott is a management company and in 90% of the properties that display the Marriott name they don't own nor did they have any input as to the design of the property.
It is certainly the case that Marriott has no say in the construction of a non-Marriott owned building, BUT any company building a hotel to become a Marriott will certainly be required to accede to the Marriott minimum specs (room size, ensuite size, amongst many others, the FS Marriotts are subject to very heavy mandating) so that ethos will heavily influence the designs. Remember, if the rooms or ensuites are too small they can't become Marriotts. Every developer intending to flag a property as a Marriott will certainly take note of Marriotts specifications which bearing in mind Bills comments are unlikely to demand plenty of suite accommodations. Of course the developer has the final say as to where the walls go, but there's no point in designing a property to be a Marriott that then fails because it doesn't meet minimum specs. The "no need to build lots of suites" guidance is likely to be followed, although clearly placing lots in the build wont fail the flagging inspection, it would require the developer to hold a different view to their flag, and if they do that, then surely they'd flag in accordance with their beliefs, rather than flagging to a chain they don't believe in.
Hyatt and SPG follow the same franchise led model but their ethos places a higher importance on suites, so whaddya know, they have plenty!
And Marriotts have few. QED
I AGREE WITH YOU!
I was just pointing out that there are very few properties (as an example the Los Angeles complex across from the Staples Center) where Marriott has any input into design. The Los Angeles property (JW, Ritz, RI ETC) was carefully planned with the owners.
Not to go off on a "tangent" but I had the opportunity to see a owner/management company contract for a property. It is quite interesting what each is responsible for. i.e. Management company must maintain bedding but not the bed etc etc etc.
Any, my friend (I hope) we are on the same page and of the same opinions - just bored and disseminating useless information that I have so much in inventory.
Have a great Labor Day Weekend
Like you misterchk I enjoy some of the branches these threads sprout, and enjoy your contribution style!
Happy Labor Day from across the pond
Last time in your fair city was a wedding in 1979! I don't need to tell you it was raining!!
All kidding aside - found Manchester to be a wonderful city.
ks77 I cannot argue your logic that there simply are not enough suites to go around. However, I have never been upgraded to a suite on points (100% of the time the hotel quotes the T&Cs of one upgrade when available). But to go online as a cash customer to find that I could book a suite on cash during the total length of my stay, is letting a perk that is definitely within my grasp get away is unconscionable for someone who has 9 years in a row of making PP status with over 1750 paid nights during that 9 years. The rule should be changed to "if a suite is available, get the suite" and if not available, upgrade as high as possible rather than a one-category upgrade such as seeing the swimming pool rather than the parking lot.
So the bonus that you needed not being the one that was offered to you was the straw that broke the camel's back?
Good to see your post again, pingreeman.
I miss erc's posts. I thought he should have gotten insider of the month lots of times.
This e-mail post got me a person-to-person call with the VP-Marriott Rewards arranged through one of the MRI Associates at the time. My chat lasted almost 20 minutes. The VP assured me that MR was looking into instituting a new policy like HH where points could be used to guarantee suites. He mentioned "software obstacles" as the major hurdle. It's been over four years since that statement was made to me. I cannot imagine that the software is that difficult to write (I am in the software business) so it must be some other reason holding up the change in policy. But as I have promised several times on MRI in my posts, that if MR would institute a suite-on-points policy, I would return with my 200+ paid nights I average a year. In the meantime, I've racked up over 2.5M HH points (not to mention SPG) duirng my "boycott."
My husband was a programmer until Jan of this year. If a company is having a lot of software problems, the basic problem might be outsourcing to other countries. That was why the insurance company that contracted my husband paid for his room and expenses for 5 years to be dedicated to their programs. The Indians are okay in some respects but don't know about flow charts or real business applications, it seems. They tried to get him to go to India to teach some of what he knew, but for one thing, he was too old. For another, he saw too many of our citizens losing their jobs to a better business portfolio while the heads get their golden parachutes. Kind of like the 2000 problem that they knew about when he began programming in college on the vacuum tube computer at ISU. Nobody in it then was planning on being around in 2000, so why worry about it. Or the census problem for 1960 that is on the out of date binary card system that fewer people are even able to understand, much less how many will be able to retrieve the info in 2030 when the 70 year release date is scheduled.
If outsourcing is Marriott's big problem, they aren't by their lonesome. We have so many problems with OLCC IHG when there's a change made to our inventory there that Mr. B suspects that outsourcing is their problem.
I don't think a lot of these companies know or care how much they are hurting our country by outsourcing for the lowest cost with the biggest, unfilled promises. We've lost jobs to this and we've lost all technical advantage that we once had. If anyone says that there is a big need for programmers in this country and young people should go after that degree, it's only as long as they are entry level and only because they can convince people and colleges (maybe) that there is a shortage of trained people in that field.
You are absolutely right that if a suite is available for purchase that you should receive it as a PP elite. Your proposal for a change is language makes sense and I would certainly support that. I think another reason why suites aren't given more (at least at US properties), is that the room inventory manager does the room shuffling to upgrade elites a few days ahead of stays and it doesn't get revisited afterwards, and the second part is the front desk IMO doesn't actively look for upgrades/suites at check-in unless requested. I have used the app and noticed that for a one night FS Marriott stay in NYC I was upgraded from Deluxe room to a Hudson River view room about 2 days before my stay. Now, I contacted the property concierge directly and she worked with the rooms person to set me up with an awesome corner executive suite (it was a special occasion) but that exec suite probably would have been left empty had I not specifically requested it for my special occasion. I think someone like you who earns PP with actual butt-in-bed nights and not manufactured nights deserves every perk possible.