19th September 2011 at 15:10 #453576
Anonymous19th September 2011 at 15:10 #453577
It was with great interest that I read my fellow Dubliner, Pat Jordan’s letter of the month in the July/August edition of BTAP.
It took him one phone call and a couple of “minor” complaints to be awarded Platinum level in Marriott Rewards program…a level that I worked hard to attain three years ago and still work hard to retain by staying at least 75 nights a year at Marriott hotels and organising my meetings in their hotels all across Asia.
Also, free Wi-Fi access used to be a nice perk shared by only Gold and Platinum level members but now all you have to do is sign up when checking in, at the very base level and, hey presto, free Wi-Fi at all Marriott hotels.
This is obviously a ploy to rack up the membership at the very base levels and claim to be the biggest Rewards program in the world – smacks of a potential divestment of the program to me.
They are obviously not concerned about losing members at the premium levels because, to be quite honest, I am disgusted at how they have cheapened the value of the Platinum level by handing it out to any Tom, Dick or Pat who makes a call and complains….no offence Pat……OK?
I’ve booked the Inter-Continental in Singapore for my trip there this Wednesday….I’ll ask them about a status match and see what happens….bye bye Marriott……..19th September 2011 at 15:23 #453578
Marriott certainly had the most exclusive Elite membership qualification criteria. 75 nights for platinum, every year, or demotion.
US members with the Marriott credit card get (I think) 20 days “credit” towards this total, UK members with the Visa (being discontinued from end October) received 10 days free credit annually, which eased the pain, and they often run a double dip promo towards the end of the year when your stays count for double.
On the contrary, Priority Club Platinum is easy-peasy to achieve as it’s points based. I requalified in February this year, having only stayed a few nights. So I’m not certain that “taking a stand” by staying at an IC will help the cause.
Hilton is middle ranking, but they hand out free Gold/Diamond like confetti via BA, Amex or by asking for a status match, as is the case with Starwood.
Ultimately, Elite status is all a con; if you’re valuable to a company or stay/rent/buy a lot, you’ll get rewarded and well looked after. Too often Elite status is used as a badge by the DYKWIA brigade, when all it signifies is that you know how to game the system.
Priority Club Platinum Royal Ambassador, Marriott Platinum, Hilton Diamond (comped), Starwood Platinum (comped but would have earned it anyway) and probably Radisson Gold but they recently changed their programme and I never stay there so forget what it’s called.19th September 2011 at 15:30 #453579
I have benefitted from the trend in the past two years to “roll over” nights stayed over and above the 75 to retain Platinum….. six in the first year, ten in the second….again easing the task.
Maybe you are right VK…..I’ll just call Marriott Rewards and give them a piece of my mind….maybe they’ll elevate me to the “secret” invitation-only “Black” level??19th September 2011 at 15:37 #453580
I think being a Hotel elite card holder is not what it was. My current routine, which works nicely is to build a personal relationship with revenue or reservations director of hotels you frequent and where possible get to know the GM.
I find this works well to get reasonable rates during hot spots such as conventions and Holidays when they switch to premium or at least rack, also find that suite upgrades happen as matter of course and they are real suites not bigger rooms with a third wall.19th September 2011 at 15:46 #453581
If you stay regularly at the same property, the painful Ambassador’s Receptions for frequent guests are well worth attending, if only to get the GM’s/Head of Sales’ business card and ensure he can put a name to a face.
It’s less easy if you flit around.
Though your post might have been in jest, I’m not aware of a “Black” level for Marriott (used to exist but is no more); they do have a Platinum “Concierge” level for people who have no life whatsoever and pretty much live in a Marriott property; much as I enjoy staying in hotels, my several hundred lifetime nights in a Marriott are plenty and I hope I never reach 1,000! Concierge level is basically Platinum Plus, with personal service “hotline” but from the only person I know who has reached such exalted status, isn’t “all that”.19th September 2011 at 16:02 #453582
I appear to have stirred up quite a hornets’ nest.
James, just to clarify,the initial short term status match to Gold was as a result of a routine query (by email) to Marriott Rewards, and was most likely open to anybody who made a similar request.
However, when a number of issues arose, I posted a letter to Marriott Rewards USA office. I can only guess that it landed on the desk of a senior decision maker, whereas emails are most likely opened by lower ranking employees with less empowerment.
No offence taken, James. I can appreciate your position.
My letter was not intended to gloat, but to highlight what I felt was an excellent customer relations gesture by a large organisation.
Pat19th September 2011 at 16:15 #453583
I would agree with VK that you do not necessarily need to have Elite level status to get good service. I do now enjoy Platinum status in Marriott, but there was a time some years ago that i did not.
For a three yrar period, when i did not enjoy Platinum status I was visiting Moscow twice a month. By chance I stayed at the Marriott Tverskaya Hotel one of 4 Marriott properties in the city. It was booked for me by a client.
I enjoyed the stay so much that it became my hotel of choice in Moscow. On my 5th visit I was met by the GM when I arrived who thanked me for stsying at his hotel. From that time on I cannot believe that I did not receive service from them to match anything that an Elite cardholder would have received. I ws nearly always upgraded to a room higher than that booked and on several occassions cars from the airport to the hotel and back that I had booked and intended to pay for were comped as were many of my meals and drinks bills.
I would suggest as above that loyalty to a particular hotel if you are a regular visitor will get you the same kudos if not more than if you had a Platinum card.
JC19th September 2011 at 19:01 #453584
I have Spg Plat, but tend to stay at the same 3 or 4 hotels where either the GM’s or Sales Director’s know me. The main hotels I use I have negotiated my own package to include the benefits I need such as wifi, laundry, food, business facilities etc. Same rate each night.
This way I know what my spend will be for each night away and its far easier to justify the expenses with HMRC than submitting indivdual chtties and accounts.
As far as the Plat card is concerned, its nice to have but with the Starwood Ambassador in Singapore, who is S U P E R B, I have never needed to “flash the card” for any benefit.
The card is useful for a room upgrade, but I never ask as a room upgrade doesnt rock my boat.19th September 2011 at 19:11 #453585
It’s an interesting point you make about room upgrades “not floating your boat”.
When I’m on business, the room (as long as it’s quiet) is the least of my concerns; WiFi, brekky and sometimes dry cleaning are of more use to me.
However, when staying for leisure in a resort, or redeeming points on vacation, my priorities are quite different.
I’m not certain any programme has yet managed to nail that distinction.19th September 2011 at 20:10 #453586
“I’m not certain any programme has yet managed to nail that distinction” – which is why relationships with GM’s & SD’s remain so important.
My comment about room upgrades is that I make no money whilst horizontal and asleep. Could be a 20 room suite, but asleep, its only the mattress that counts………………zzzzzzzzzzzz19th September 2011 at 20:25 #453587
Agree and disagree.
If I have work to do in the room then a proper sized desk with printer etc is useful. Have also held business meetings with clients in suite before now as more private than lobby.
When on vacation I like a suite with separate seating area to watch TV and preferably a decent sized lanai/balcony call it what you will, for my postprandial Cigar.
Finally getting lounge access and being on club floor for base rate means clietns get better value for money and I get free cocktails.19th September 2011 at 21:11 #453588
Rich, most decent business hotels provide everything you mention. Personally, I have never held a meeting in a hotel room – suite or otherwise.
The executive lounge of the exec floor are well suited. If they get too busy, during happy hour, the hotel will aways arrange an office in the business centre at no additional cost.
When on holiday, Mrs S and I would prefer a balcony/lanai over a suite. Again, personally, we dont go on holiday to sit in a hotel room watching TV.19th September 2011 at 21:26 #453589
Though it may not have occurred to you, there are other things one can do in a hotel room on vacation with Mrs Sinclair, apart from watching TV.
For instance, hours of fun can be had leafing through the Hotel Information booklet, you could defrost the minibar with the hairdryer, have a look under the sofa (my most recent stay yielded a small sachet of cocaine, a curiously shaped Viagra pill and some Visine) or practice turning off all the lights in your suite (which is I think why executives in the US have to have MBAs).
Never a dull moment, I’m sure 😉20th September 2011 at 02:06 #453590
I agree with all the replies about fostering good relations with the management. I stay most often in the Singapore Marriott, Jakarta JW Marriott, and the Renaissance Harbour View Hong Kong, and I have excellent relations with the GMs in all of these properties.
Suite upgrades are the norm, and they are of value to me. I love the space and I do tend to have meetings in my suite rather than in a meeting room or the Executive Lounge, due to the nature of my business requiring a high degree of privacy.
I tend to use my points every summer, both airline and Marriott, to fly my two boys out from Ireland (a treat for them to fly in Business Class) and then take them on holidays around Asia in wonderful Marriott properties. Last month we had a superb upgrade to two connecting Harbour View rooms in Hong Kong for four nights, all on points, thanks to the nice GM there.
As for turning off all the lights in the suite…….don’t get me started on that….and have you ever tried to quickly undo the belt around the bathrobe when you need to answer the door in a hurry? I think housekeeping staff must go on a training course to learn how to make the tightest, most complex knot, designed to frustrate guests!
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