Mar132014

Marriott Rewards Insiders rumor on program changes

Normally I do not write about rumored changes to loyalty programs, but in this case the MarriottRewardsInsider thread is trending with feedback on rumored changes to Marriott Rewards for 2015 posted by an MRInsiders member two days ago.

Update 3/14: Inside Flyer reports that Marriott representatives informed them these changes are not proposed changes and the list of hotel category reassignments for 2014 will post next week.

Take all these proposed changes with a wink and a nod or perhaps a stiff drink since at this time these changes are only a rumor and not directly from Marriott.

The points required for award stays will be increased by at least 5,000 points per night across all levels and the 5th night free will disappear.  Category 10 will be added and require 60,000 points per night (read mass devaluation).

A new level will be announced above Platinum and the requirements will be formally revealed. (i.e. everyone will know how to achieve PP, if that is what it is called)

New benefits for Gold, Plat, and the new PP will be announced.  These will include things like confirmed suite upgrades (for the new PP), instant upgrades using online check-in, free breakfast (including resorts for the new PP ), free parking, and free “lifestyle events,” at the hotels during your stay.

The offerings in the concierge lounges in NA will be enhanced and will include free beer, wine and spirits where local laws permit.

However, Concierge lounge access will be eliminated for Golds and Plats unless upgraded to the concierge level rooms.  (Gold and Plats will continue to receive free continental breakfast in the restaurant or points.)

MR is looking at different models for awarding elite status including annual hotel spend, instead of nights stayed (similar to Delta’s and United FF requirements for elite status).  Spend in bars and restaurants will be included.  Deeply discounted rates, such as Government Rates, group and convention rates,  and special promotion rates will not count towards the spend requirement.

MarriottRewardsInsiders thread – How Will Points Change in 2014 (March 11, 2014)

Elite status based on annual hotel spend? The United and Delta model comes to hotels.

Free alcohol in Concierge Lounges and then deny Marriott high elites access. Marriott Rewards elites will storm the Marriott lounge doors like the Bastille demanding access to free beer, wine and cake too.

Across the board points increases in each hotel reward category? Given Hilton HHonors as Marriott’s primary competitor and the 2013 increases for HHonors rewards, this one does not seem too far out as a rumor.

Now let’s wait, see and compare what Marriott Rewards actually announces for program changes in 2014.

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Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.

Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests.

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About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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Comments

  1. Wow, these would all be some very bad changes, considering that last year nearly all major city hotels went up a level in terms of points.

  2. Seriously? If this is true, no way I will attempt to keep my Platinum status (hard earned). Really, you stay 75 nights and you cannot access the lounge? Frightening. If this is true, I will cancel existing bookings and switch them to another chain. This is beyond absurd.

  3. Amazingly shortsighted. I agree with comment #2. I’m a loyal Marriott customer — why on earth would I work to keep my Plat status if I can’t get to the lounge? Let’s hope this is only rumor.

  4. Back to Hyatt after leaving for Marriott… Oh well.

    Concierge access is only Gold perk worth anything…

  5. Personally, I think Marriott is trying to make their program more beneficial to Platinums, while not guaranteeing the lounge benefit. They might do what Hyatt does right now and have the hotels upgrade Platinums to a Club Floor room w/ lounge access, depending on availability.

  6. For those who redeem at the lower categories (like my family), the 2013 Marriott devaluation was actually worse than HHonors. No matter what they do in 2014, we won’t be doing any more stays at Marriott except for the Megabonus promotions.

  7. @Jim: The ‘Free upgrade, if Available’ is the bane of my existence. It gives the company so many outs. I had a compact rental with Budget 5 years ago where I used an upgrade coupon and was told ‘we have no free upgrades to midsize, they are all reserved for paid upgrades. We can upgrade you to midsize for $5/day.’ Last time I ever tried to use a free upgrade coupon!

    Hotels are the same way, I had an IHG stay where the upgrade wasn’t available even though the room could be booked online, because they were “holding the rooms for any last-minute customers.”

  8. Ben, I definitely know what you mean but I think it depends on how corporate communicates this to the franchises.

    Look at Hyatt and their Hyatt Diamond status. According to the HGP program, Diamonds aren’t guaranteed lounge access at the properties that have a Regency Club. However, it’s pretty much common knowledge that most (if not all) Hyatt properties with a lounge give lounge access to Diamond members.

  9. All hotel rewards are being devaluated at a large level……Marriott, Hilton, Starwoods, etc. I’m having more luck bidding on 4* Priceline hotels, than spending all my time trying to sustain my levels with the hotels.

  10. I have been a loyal Marriott girl with Platinum status for years. If they plan to restrict my access to the concierge lounges, I’m out. I’ll take my 150 yearly stays to Hilton or Starwood. Ugh…

  11. Marriott Community Manager on Marriott Rewards Insiders posted these changes are not what they plan.

    “There are no changes planned to Elite benefits. There is nothing hidden in these words – we have no devaluation of Elite benefits in the discussion, planning or execution phase. No ‘later this spring’ announcement of any kind planned. No new levels. No changes to concierge lounge access. No “Delta” model. Annual award category changes will be announced next week.”

  12. Looks like Gary Leff is trying to distance himself from me and his own post: http://boardingarea.com/viewfromthewing/2014/03/14/marriott-rewards-denies-plan-gut-program/

    “Yesterday I linked to a rumor about supposed upcoming changes to Marriott Rewards. I emphasized that it was a rumor, I didn’t have direct knowledge but it was something posted by Loyalty Traveler. It was based on a posting in the Marriott Insiders online community.” – View from the Wing.

    Gary made no link to the MarriottRewardsInsiders thread.

    I thought I was clear in this post that I was not reporting on changes, but reporting on a rumor gaining traction on Marriott Rewards insiders and then on to FlyerTalk.

    “Take all these proposed changes with a wink and a nod or perhaps a stiff drink since at this time these changes are only a rumor and not directly from Marriott.” – Loyalty Traveler.

  13. We all know how this game works. Marriott leaks trial balloons to some of their website cronies who get greased with a free night here and there. MI then uses their web crawling BI tools and paid posters to monitor reactions. If there is a huge hullaballoo, they stay quiet. If there is a revolt, they deny, deny, deny. If there isn’t much of an uproar, these downgrades might show up in a few months.

    Fact is other than Mega Bonus, Marriott Rewards is fading into second tier status behind some of the better programs. The owners may be devout Mormans but they will sell you booze at each property, porn on the TV and hose you every way they can for a nickel here and a dime there. Be ready to vote with your feet folks and send all these desk jockeys in Bethesda a message.

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