ANOTHER DILUTION OF PLATINUM STATUS?
Posted by: Andrew | Marriott Rewards
Posted: Feb 2, 2011 6:28 AM
I wanted to provide you with another exclusive, Insiders-first opportunity to learn that Elite Buy Back has returned for 2011! With this benefit, Marriott Rewards members are able to reinstate their Elite Level with points.
As we value our Elite members, we understand that travel needs vary from year to year and that occasionally the required number of stays to maintain a given Elite status may not be met. We know how important Marriott Rewards benefits are, and that is why we are offering a limited-time opportunity for members to buy back their status for 2011 using points they may already have.
The points needed are as follows:
Points required to buy back Platinum status - 40,000 (a savings of 20,000 points)
Points required to buy back Gold status - 25,000 (a savings of 15,000 points)
Points required to buy back Silver status - 7,500 (a savings of 12,500 points)
…and remember, if members do not have enough points available, they can always buy up to 50,000 points every year.
This offer is valid through April 1, 2011 and allows only one level of buyback, which must match the Elite level the member enjoyed in 2010.
Once the status has been reinstated, Marriott Rewards will send a new valid membership card for the restored Elite level.
There are Two Ways to Buy Back Elite Status
1. Simply call Guest Services at 1-800-321-7396 (toll-free in the U.S. and Canada),
2. Email us at Marriott Rewards with your information.
If emailing us, include your name and Rewards number, then copy (or cut-and-paste) one of the three options below:
Switch my Elite status from Gold to Platinum status for 40,000 points
Switch my Elite status from Silver to Gold status for 25,000 points
Switch my Elite status from Basic to Silver status for 7,500 points
For more information and details, feel free to visit this page. We hope those of you that have been interested in this opportunity have the chance to take advantage!
I'd like to understand the thinking behind this perception. Would you kindly explain why the Buy Back offer depletes the Elite status that a member has worked so hard to achieve?
The Buy Back is not limited to Platinum, but includes Silver and Gold Elite. Does the offer also deplete Silver and Gold status? How and why?
Yes..all levels of elite status are diluted as this will create many more Platinum/Gold and Silver elite members resulting in more competition for room upgrades, early and late checkouts, etc. It is so easy to become a Platinum member now with rollover nights, buying your way to higher elite status, etc. No wonder Marriott hotels are more and more not recognizing higher elite status as now it is so easy to achieve its like being just a Marriott Reward member.. It used to be that a Platinum status was a special achievement and accordingly recognized..now it just a common occurrence.
The Buy Back program only allows you to maintain your 2010 status instead of being downgraded to a lower status. It does not allow you to buy your way into a higher status.
So, if you were Plat last year, you can buy back to stay Plat in 2011. But, a Gold member can't buy Plat status.
So, if everyone who would need to buy back their Plat status did so, there would be the same number of Plats this year as last year.
Exactly, NewHilton. Jasper100 has a valid view, albeit a minority view.
Competition to achieve and maintain top elite status to retain benefits, enjoy privilieges and discounts is real and widespread across the travel industry. AAdvantage, Continental OnePass, Delta Skymiles, Marriott Rewards, HiltonHonors, Priority Club and Preferred Guest among others offer some type of elite buy back or method for buying status, points and miles.
There are countless discussions on Flyertalk about the benefit of using cash to requalify elite status rather than have to fly 20,000 miles using the 'challenge' method. Marriott Rewards also has a 'challenge' method, but forfeiting points to requalify and buy back status is so much more convenient. To sum up, I think it's customer-centric.
Perception that the increased competition dilutes the benefits to individual members, IMHO is a myth. But, I will admit there is a bonafide basis for the myth and solid reasons for its perpetuation.
Any elite member who has tried to secure a complimentary upgrade in a prime market like New York, London, Paris or Rome will invariably find it challenging or impossible. There are not enough 1br suites or club level rooms. The inventory that does exist goes to those who can pay - whether they are elite or not. In smaller markets, the competition is just as keen because there are even less such rooms.
Another contributing factor is the percentage of rooms allocated to point redemption. Redeeming points months in advance is absolutely required in the prime markets during high demand times and still there is no guarantee - unless paid - for an upgrade.
The situation strikes a parallel when it comes to reserving seats on airlines when redeeming mileage awards. There's no dilution of the benefit when another member buys the miles required to redeem an award.
i agree and it's too bad that this is considered a "minority view". I didn't see a poll taken. Also, the thought that this program only maintains the status quo is terribly flawed. the field of Platinum elite members grows organicly(sp) each year, as does silver, and gold. It's called population growth! It does dilute the value of the elite status. While it does allow for more people to feel good about their elite level, as pingreeman points out, more people on the road only makes for a busier highway.
Regrets - with AAdvantage, Continental OnePass, Delta Skymiles, Marriott Rewards, HiltonHonors, Priority Club and Preferred Guest elite among others in the pipeline to requalify rather than lose their status by forfeiting cash, points or miles - the majority view is self-evident.
I guess a Marriott Ambassador has to take the company line...I would like more scientific opinions rather than an arbitrary one.
Here is another insiders view:
Personally I don't like the idea.
First of all it waters down the program.
Second, the buy back amount is so cheap. For the price of one nights stay at a Cat 8 hotel one can instantly reconstitute their Platinum status even if they didn't have a single qualifying stay.
Seem like the minority view seems to be in danger here!!!
TJC lists several programs with "buy-back" status. Here's what I received from United:
Regain your status by flying on United® or Continental®.
1. Register with your Mileage Plus number by February 28, 2011
2. Pay a US$449 registration fee
3. Fly 17,500 EQM or 22 EQS on the above airlines within 90 days after registering
4. Make sure to provide your Mileage Plus number when traveling
To suggest a comparison of airline programs to Marriott is not accurate. While United requires cash (whereas Marriott requires points/cash equivalent), there are other requirements, specifically, BOOKING ACTIVITY (#3). MR does not have this requirement. Hence, they are just "giving away" the status without any lodging requirements.
I agree with Jasper - TJC's view of this program is from a corporate perspective - not from the elites' perspective having earned their status, not bought their status.
When news of this was first posted, I almost submitted a response along the lines of, "I guess we will now have a lot of posts saying that the elite status is being watered down." I hate it when I'm right on things like this. I only worry about my own Platinum status, which, by the way, I do earn. That being said, if anyone earns elite status, regardless of level, I say, good for them. I haven't noticed any diminution of my benefits because of more elite members. Do I enjoy being a Platinum? Yes. Do I take some pride in being at the upper level of Marriott Rewards? Of course! Just because I'm Elite in the eyes of Marriott, however, doesn't mean that I'm personally Elite and shouldn't be happy for others in the same classification, regardless of how they got there.
The whole problem with buy-back and rollover nights is that Marriott did a "knee-jerk" reaction to a down economy to appease those "fringe elites" to allow them to maintain their status.
So when the economy improves and lodging has returned to pre-recession levels and 50% or more of the 30M MR members reach platinum status, Marriott will likely recind these programs.
You want to see some whining then - wholy smokes Batman!
"I haven't noticed any diminution of my benefits because of more elite members. Just because I'm Elite in the eyes of Marriott, however, doesn't mean that I'm personally Elite and shouldn't be happy for others in the same classification, regardless of how they got there."
Congratulations on achieving Platinum, NHTraveler. Its refreshing to hear a positive opinion.
When Marriott Rewards began recognizing "deeded nights" (timeshare) as eligible for EQN (Elite Qualifying Nights) in 2008, it was the first year I earned Platinum. At that point there were about 380,000 Marriott Vacation Club owners who have one or multiple weeks of ownership. It's a hunch that the ranks of Gold and Platinum swelled that year, too.
Ironically, Marriott announced changes to the 2009 Marriott Rewards program which many hotels started rolling out in the fall of 2008. The major benefits earned - that went away included Concierge and comp bkfst on weekends. Insiders was deluged with grievances about major dilution of benefits.
Thanks for the added comment, "Regardless of how they got there". From a community perspective, it reinforces the spirit of "walk in our shoes". Thanks to Marriott Vacation Club and Marriott Hotels & Resorts, I walked to Platinum with flip-flops and Cole-Haans. In total agreement with you, I don't care if someone else did it in heels, pumps, sandals, boots, oxfords, loafers or barefoot. If you did 82 nights one year and 68 in the next, rollover or not why shouldn't you enjoy the benefits - you earned them.
Blaming Elite Rollover Nights for dilution of benefits is purely a myth and a minority view. The benefits enjoyed before Rollover Nights were implemented remain in tact.
Favorite quote from Lord Jeffrey ThinkExist.com removed.
TJC - I take offense to your innuendo of "whining" and brushing off the dilution concept as "the surest sign symptom of little souls and inferior intellects." While it may be a “minority view”, when does a minority view become a myth?
Is it a myth or a minority view that MVCI changed their program and irritated many owners? With only 300-400K owners, they represent a REAL minority (roughly 1% of all MR members). I understand you are an MVCI owner – so should your comments or those of other MVCI owners also be discounted as “whining” and a “minority view” axiom you propose? Are MVCI owners of “inferior intellects?”
I thought this site was for sharing opinions whether or not one agrees. There is no post of any kind that ends up “weighing down the community” when one respects the intent of this site. If one really wanted to take that perspective, a person could reasonably argue the recent “Holiday Travel Story” posts weighed down the community as these had no relevance other than a personal one of the story-teller.
Jasper/Shoeman: How ironic you warned me as I had a post that was deleted within 30 minutes, so the one you see now is my "softer" version.
For the record, the italics in my post was from the quote that TJC had in his post, so I referenced it (it has since been removed). Ambassadors seem to be scrutinized also (TJC's earlier post with a graphic -looked like the famous Uncle Sam Wants You, was also removed by the moderator ---see Nuhusker's comment on 'great graphic').
I have tried my very best to have constraint in my comments feeling my best "ammunition" is facts, hence my MVCI analogy of having a "minority view."
THE IRONY behind all my posts on watered-down or diluted status is that I have yet to experience fewer benefits** because of the buy-back or rollover night programs! However, it is too logical and reasonable to expect benefits not to be spread thinner with the greater ease at becoming elite (credit card = 15 annually, $3k spend = night, etc.). I have posts that mathematically prove that it is "watered down" but these fact-based postings are simply shrugged-off by "the other side of view" posters. Hence, I feel I am my own version of "An Ambassador" for the minority view.
If the moderator or an ambassador has the power to stop me from posting, then I will simply leave the MRI. The joy I have in visiting MRI and creating posts is that I feel my years of MR membership and ~2K lifetime PAID nights with single-property stays averaging 10-months per, that I just might know a little about Marriott properties' trends/management without actually working for corporate (independent voice) that can benefit the community.
**The primary reasons I have not seen fewer benefits is that I do stay at a single property almost always in excess of 6 months; my current venue just cracked 19 months. I ALWAYS get the suite - the FD put my room number in my profile. I ALWAYS get bonus points AND market gift. In fact, my internet connection was so slow, the GM gave called the IP provider to rig the service to force it to give my IP address HALF the bandwidth if the system detects my laptop's send/receive! I have zero complaints.
More importantly is that I have not had any stay at a JW longer than a week in 15 years - so the concierge floor has never been an issue - hence, I cannot comment on if/when I have ever lost this benefit.
But I will say this - even though I am PP (this year will mark 10 years in a row) EVERY TIME I use points to take my family on vacation, my status means bunk. I feel 200 paid nights a year should somehow give me precedence for the best available room over, at a minimum, all other platinums. But with so many platinums getting the "best available room," I feel the dilution when at the worst time - when I wish to compensate my family with a really grand vacation for being gone so many nights of the year.
thanks to both of you for your responses! we may hold a "minority view" (I'm not convinced it is), but we must be heard. As I mentioned, I am on triple time out and on a very short leash, so I will leave it to the 2 of you to spread the word. Hoepefully some others will join in and keep the truth alive.
As long as you remain on 'triple time out', you're probably OK. However, they could advance you to 'Double Secret Probation" as happened to the Deltas in the movie Animal House. Of course, if that were to be, then, as Delta did, you could throw a huge toga party and invite all the Insiders!
However, the downside could be we'd have to be prepared for "The Empire Strikes Back".
Anybody remember E.F Hutton and the commercials? He did everything the 'old fashioned way'. He 'ear-r-r-n-n-n-ed it. I feel the same way.
I know, I apparently have spent too much time watching TV in the hotels, I guess. But, sometimes you gotta have a little fun!