I have been a LOYAL Marriott supporter since 1991 and I am currently a Lifetime Platinum member. I am in changing my patronage loyalty to another hotel company, either Hilton or Hyatt, depending upon which entity consistently provides me with the most value. The reason I am leaving the Marriott brand is solely due to consistently experiencing a lack of service throughout their brands and also a increasingly declining return loyalty by Marriott to their high-stay customers like myself.
Over the past few months, nearly every stay I have had at a Marriott-owned property has resulted in my having to actually complain about the level of service I have received. That does not even include my frustration at the decline of benefits for Platinum members. The specific benefits to which I am referring are: no longer offering concierge lounge access & amenities on the weekends; no longer upgrading members to the best room available in the hotel upon check-in.
I don't need the gratis breakfast and beverages during the week when I am on business as much as I do when I am traveling for pleasure. However, I now receive nothing in terms of the concierge lounge when traveling for pleasure as it is always over the weekend.
It doesn't cost Marriott anything to have me sleep in their best room, assuming it is not already reserved. Why not make their best customers feel special? Especially if it doesn't cost them anything? About the only upgraded room I receive is one with a slightly better view. Big deal! I am not spending time looking at the view when I am in a hotel room, but I could use more space.
As far as going from Platinum to Lifetime Platinum, I have absolutely no idea what additional benefit this has provided me. Absolutely ZERO that I can see.
In this economy, all businesses and particularly those that are in the service industry, should be giving extra attention as to how they can enchant and delight their customers, particularly their loyal ones who give frequent patronage. Marriott just doesn't seem to get it. I usually end up frustrated about halfway through my stay at one of their "full-service" facilities. Not only will they lose my business, but I will also now book my meetings & colleagues rooms in their competitors hotels whenever possible.
I have heard others complain about these same issues with Marriott. Perhaps if enough of us "vote with our feet", Marriott will eventually wake up.
Oh yes, one more point to add:
I have 2 Marriott Rewards credit cards. I just canceled one and may do the same with the other.
If you don't like what is happening with Marriott Rewards and don't take any action, then you shouldn't complain! By remaining complacent you become part of the problem.
I average well over 100 nights/yr and While I don't plan on jumping ship just yet, I have noticed that with the exception of the Renaissance in St. Louis, most Marriott hotels I've visited are reluctant to upgrade me to the best rooms, seemingly regardless of availability. The lounge not being open on the weekends is also a major drawback. Marriott is my preferred chain, but I can't deny that I get far more room upgrades and overall better treatment during my Starwood Preferred stays. I prefer Marriott and I think I share the sentiment that I would like my Platinum status to mean a little more to Marriott.
I pretty much share your opinion. However, the Marriott hotels in Asia (except for the Singapore hotel) seem to appreciate our loyality to the brand, so they are generally very good at upgrading when there are available rooms etc. The lounge is open in weekends as well.
In US though, it's a different story.
Being the owner of a company with global customers, I am in the priviliegied situation that I can choose our hotels. So for our last trip to USA both we and our sub-contractor were travelling together. Being fed up with Marriott, we tried Hilton this time (ca 50 nights altogether). None of us were reward (HHonours) members so we didn't expect alot, but hoped for better than Marriott.
The hotel guest experience at Hilton was awesome!!! Much bigger rooms, better service, better food, better everything. So all our employees have changed to Hilton now. My Marriott reward membership will probably fade out slowly from now on, but in Asia I will try to keep to the brand. Haven't stayed at Hilton there .. yet.
I haven't stayed at an Asian Marriott yet so I don't know how their service compares with Hilton. But I have stayed at a couple Hilton hotels in Asia and I really appreciate their attention to service (stayed at the Doubletree in Shanghai and the Hilton in Xian). The Doubletree in Shanghai was good but the Hilton in Xian was incredible. As a HHonors gold member, Hilton Xian reps escorted us to the executive lounge where food and drinks were offered until our room keys were ready. This fall, I plan on staying at a couple Asian Marriott hotels. Hopefully they are as good as you mentioned.
As for the US, I think it's pretty much hit and miss. I recently stayed at the Courtyard Marriott at Oxnard Ventura as a silver elite (haven't made gold) and not expecting much, I was blown away at the service I received from the front desk clerks. I definitely plan on staying there again if my travels bring me to the Oxnard/Ventura area.
In the US, I think we lost our attention to detail and customer service. It doesn't cost the company anything, but means hiring the right kind of people for the job...like what Southwest Airlines does. Being nice and offering inconsequential trinkets does not cost much but goes a long way towards winning over a disgruntled customer. Unfortunately most companies in the US are run by bean counters with no background in service...they're accountants afterall (sorry, not to disrespect you accountants but you know what I mean...those CFO types).
Trockie, congrats on your elite status. Like everything on this rollercoaster called life, as Marriott Rewards goes down, HHonors or Hyatt or Starwood goes up. We just need to be better at switching to brands on the uptrend instead of down trend. That way we won't be disappointed. Brand loyalty is a thing of the past...just like working for one company...Sony Betamax and Walkmans...and pensions. At least they can't takeaway your Lifetime Platinum away from you...or can they?!? Hoping your next experience is better than the last.
Amen! I absolutely agree. I have been a long time loyal Marriott member, going back originally as a 'Courtyard Club' member. Over the past several years, I have seen nothing but decline in customer service, and a complete lack of any recognition to their loyal members.
I have recently switched to Starwood Preferred Guests, mainly due to their affiliation with Delta airlines, and I am very pleased. I have just attained Platinum with SPG, and unfortunately will be going back to Marriott but only for one single reason. I have well over 1000 nights with Marriott, but just shy of the 2M points to make Platinum Elite for life. I should have that within a few months.
Once I achieve Platinum Elite for Life, I will never stay at another Marriott in the US for business travel again. I will reserve the status for my overseas trips. I travel the world, so I see the big difference in both amenities and service. Outside the US, you get treated like back in the old days. Great upgrades, amazing customer service, and they really care about you. Also, the lounges are open 7 days, and almost always include dinners, desserts, and complimentary drinks.
I hope they change, but I'm not very optimistic.
Can't address all your frustrations nor should I as I am not a Marriott employee.
However, I will address a couple of things. First, there is a benefit to being Lifetime Platinum vs. just regular Platinum. It means you no longer have to qualify each year to get Plat so if your travel lessens a bit one year (or a lot), you still have the status & will receive the additional bonus points, the Platinum Arrival Gift, potential upgrades (I've been lucky in that), and access to the executive lounge.
The other is that it's not accurate to say all exec lounges are closed on the weekends or you don't get brekkie. Some are indeed open the entire weekend, some lounges are open for brekkie only on the weekend only, some are key accessible for soft drinks even when closed, and yes some are closed entirely, but you still get cont'l brekkie in the restaurant, with some properties offering full. If you want to see which properties do which, check this thread which I maintain in the Marriott forum on Flyertalk.
Also, while you're frustrated enough to move to another hotel chain & you should certainly consider it if you're that frustrated, just know that the grass isn't always greener. It's not a guarantee the other chains will be better than Marriott. Hilton & Starwood members have left their programs to jump to Marriott. No chain is perfect in each way.
Well said Ski. While each of us had our own reasons for staying or leaving various programs, I can't help but to think of Will Ferrell in Old School and the streak the Quad scene. Something may seem like a good idea to one but don't expect us all to follow. I am quite happy with Marriott and will not be "streaking" anywhere else.