Marriott Bonvoy: Weird name, confusing tiers, but the same story

Earlier this week, Marriott officially announced the previously-rumored name and elite tiers of the “new” loyalty program. I know that change often meets resistance, and I’m not sure I had a better suggestion if they really wanted to change the name from Marriott Rewards…but neither do I have a worse suggestion. C’est la vie, from February 13th, 2019, Marriott Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest, and Ritz-Carlton Rewards will cease to exist. Say “Bonvoy…” to…err, hello to Marriott Bonvoy.

And here I thought that my limited Microsoft Paint skills meant I had no future in graphic design.

Marriott’s PR team says, “Represented by a simple, bold and modern logo, Marriott Bonvoy is welcoming and optimistic.”. I find it at least a little ironic that a name that plays on a way to say goodbye is meant to be welcoming. I might suggest that Marriott file a police report, because somebody at that branding firm has been stealing a salary.

As was previously rumored, the elite status tier names are changing somewhat. While there will still be Silver and Gold, these will be the tiers for 50+ nights (otherwise known as “free breakfast at some places on Tuesday afternoons when the lounge is closed as long as it isn’t one of the brands that doesn’t offer breakfast and provided you pay the “urban destiresortmadeup fee” statuses):

  • Marriott Bonvoy Platinum = 50 nights
  • Marriott Bonvoy Titanium Elite = 75 nights (replaces Platinum Premier Elite)
  • Marriott Bonvoy Ambassador Elite = 100 nights + $20K+ in spend (replaces Platinum Premier Elite with Ambassador)

There’s no change in benefits, they’re just renaming the tiers for a second time in six months to make it less confusing for members and hotel staff alike. Here’s hoping for a front desk agent who knows that Platinum is a lot more valuable than Titanium but doesn’t know that Marriott doesn’t know that. Let’s get that suite upgrade going!

Ok, jokes aside, not much is actually changing, everything is just going to be under one umbrella. Some things you might want to do before February 13th:

  • Download the Marriott app. The SPG and Ritz-Carlton apps will be deactivated on February 13th and everything will run through the Marriott app at that time (which will “seamlessly” transition to the Marriott Bonvoy app, likely requiring an update).
  • Combine your accounts. If you haven’t done this yet, I don’t think there is a risk. I finally combined mine earlier this week because I had points in my SPG account (from a Lux upgrade) that I wanted in my Marriott account. Nothing appears to have broken. But, I strongly suggest you…
  • Take screen shots of everything. Get screen shots of your point balances, any free night certificates, stay history, status, etc. Before I combined accounts, I took screen shots of everything in both accounts. Then I combined and took more screen shots. Marriott’s IT hasn’t exactly inspired confidence.

    You can’t make stuff like this up. I actually got this error the other day.

  • Get ready to see a lot of that fun Bonvoy logo. Seriously. I expect some heavy marketing of the new brand.

A couple of things I hope this will mean moving forward from February (but the part of me that has been alive and reading your stories over the past few months shares a healthy skepticism about):

  • Elite benefits could become more consistent at all properties with a single rewards program. Hey, ya gotta have dreams.
  • Gift cards become usable at all Marriott Bonvoy brands. My understanding is that today, Marriott gift cards still don’t work at SPG / Ritz brands (if you have any recent experience trying, let us know in the comments). I’m hopeful (though perhaps it’s foolish optimism) that they will eventually be accepted at most/all properties.

Overall, the new program is essentially the old program in a shiny new box. While the first glance at the wrapping paper looked pretty nice, I hope for more than empty promises moving forward. Marriott could be a solid loyalty program with its footprint if it chooses to enforce its terms with hotels. Let’s hope for the best.

Read the entire press release here.

Also see the details and watch their promo video on the Marriott site.

About Nick Reyes

Nick Reyes is a (fairly) regular guy with an animalistic passion for maximizing the value of miles and money to travel the world in comfort and style. There is little in life that he loves more than finding a fantastic deal and helping you shop smarter & harder to achieve your travel dreams.

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Sam
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Sam

I used Marriott gift cards at Ritz-Carlton in Hawaii 4 years ago.

Ric
Guest
Ric

Did they eliminate the promised “Lifetime Platinum Premier Elite” level ? I assume it would be the grandfathered “Titanium Elite Lifetime level”?

Even my ambassador doesn’t know the answers. Great training and rollout in the usual Marriott FAIL. They need o rehire all the SPG execs that left the company!

Per the Marriott website in August:
members can earn Lifetime Platinum Premier Elite in 2018 if they achieve 750 Lifetime nights and 10 years at Platinum Elite status. This requirement is only for 2018 and will not be continued in future years. Members will receive notice of this Lifetime achievement in January 2019.

Colabus
Guest
Colabus

Ric –
Marriott also stated in their T&Cs that anyone with 750+ nights and 2,000,000 points would get lifetime Platinum Premier Elite in January 2019. I have both. I called Marriott earlier this week when I was still showing lifetime Platinum Elite and I was told that “management is still reviewing status upgrades”. We’ll see what happens.

Mike
Guest
Mike

Nick, you can use Marriott gift cards at Ritz Carlton hotels, and Ritz Carlton gift cards at Marriott legacy hotels, I can confirm this because I used two Ritz Carlton gift cards at a Marriott hotel in November

But you cannot use SPG legacy gift cards at Marriott or Ritz Carlton hotels, and vice versa. Hopefully this will change in February as you said

Dave
Guest
Dave

Hi Nick, is ms $75K on spg lux working? I know amex is strict. Do you know if ms will trigger the elite qualification? Thanks

Lukas
Guest
Lukas

I MS’ed to get the sign-up bonus and it worked FWIW

MSer
Guest
MSer

Better hope the RAT team is on vacation when they review signup bonus spend stats

Donato
Guest
Donato

Just remember, Marriott announces but seems to not carry through.
They announced an enhanced redemption plan which raised points needed but also announced new, off peak rates for redemptions. i did a redemption which should have been off peak but there are no off peak rates in the system for the next 12 months. When I called to ask when off peak applies if every night is peak for 12 months, I was told that off peak was only announced, never really set up.
Where i come from that is called Lying or fraud.

Levy Flight
Guest
Levy Flight

Not the same since SPG days. Tried to make a group booking using member line. Phone rang and rang. Got fed up and called Hilton on a general line. They picked up in about 20 seconds and got my rooms.

Biggie F
Guest
Biggie F

In modest defense of a program I doubt I shall ever be in: Bon voy(age) as in “Have a good trip!” is not so ludicrous for a hotel chain. This said, while French folks do say “Bon ap'” in place of “bon appetit,” I don’t think that they say “Bon voy” for “Bon voyage”.

Until now.

CLM
Guest
CLM

Be nice, Nick. They probably dropped $400k on that agency to come up with that branding name

Jan
Guest
Jan

my ambassador said that effective January 1, 2019 Award nights as well as Cash & points nights DO NOT qualify as a qualified nights toward elite level…..but can’t find it written anywhere. Wish Marriott/SPG would publish T&C’s somewhere.

Probably
Guest
Probably

Well. I only have a few thousand points left so Bon Voyage Marriott.

MSer
Guest
MSer

Shitty program deserves a shitty name…

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[…] on the combined program’s new name.  And, with that extra time, they came up with… Bonvoy.  I really think they would have been better off coming up with the name first (any name!) and […]