Marriott’s 2019 Elite Thank You Gift initiative

Here’s an example of a standard food & beverage amenity at the Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort.  Some lucky Ambassador members will get an elevated amenity instead (or maybe in addition).  Wondering what an elevated amenity is? Read the FAQ below.

Marriott Bonvoy apparently sent memos to participating hotels about their new initiative to show appreciation to elite members.  A reader was kind enough to share pictures of this memo with us.  My understanding after reading the memo is that only certain elite members, during certain time-frames will be appreciated.  And, part of the accompanying FAQ has me giggling.  More on that below…

2019 Elite Thank You Gift initiative

There are two parts to Marriott’s initiative.  Part 1 only recognizes targeted Ambassador Elite members, and only if they booked award stays during a certain time-frame (April 22 – July 31). Part 2 starts May 1, with no explicit end date, and it seems to target elite members in general rather than just Ambassador Elite members.  Short version: top tier Ambassador Elites may get a night of their stay rebated to them and an elevated amenity. Other targeted elites may get Marriott gift cards.

Part 1 (Targeted Ambassador Elite members only)

Date range: April 22 – July 31

Certain Ambassador Elite members with award stays between April 22 and July 31 will be targeted.  Those targeted will receive the following:

  1. A personalized letter from David Flueck, Senior Vice President of Global Loyalty, and the member’s personal Ambassador.
  2. One night of their stay free (the full points of one night will be refunded to their account)
  3. (at the hotel’s discretion) A local elevated amenity, e.g., a food or beverage specialty from the region or another local token.

Part 2 (Targeted Elite members only)

Date range: May 1 – ?

Certain elite members will receive an electronic Marriott gift card via email.  There is no information about how much value these will hold or how people will be targeted.

My Take

Marriott no doubt has more than a few disgruntled elite members who are feeling Bonvoyed.  I guess this will help in some cases, but I can just as easily see it backfire.  Imagine the top tier Ambassador Elites who learn about this and have award stays during the time-frame, but are not targeted and therefore not recognized in any way.  Or those that booked only paid stays during the eligible time frame.  Anyway, I think it is good that they are trying to do something, but I’ll be a bit surprised if they pull it off well.

Memo Contents

Keep in mind that the following memo was sent to hotels, not to Marriott customers:

2019 ELITE THANK YOU GIFT: JOB AID, TALKING POINTS, AND FAQs
April 2019

BACKGROUND
Our members mean the world to us. The 2019 Elite Thank You Gift initiative is a company-wide approach to showing our appreciation to our Marriott Bonvoy Elite members.

At your hotel, there are two parts to this approach:

PART 1: APRIL 22 – JULY 31 (DELIVERED ON PROPERTY)
From April 22 through July 31, this initiative will focus on targeted Ambassador Elite members at their upcoming redemption stays. You will be provided with and asked to print a personalized letter from David Flueck, Senior Vice President of Global Loyalty, and the member’s personal Ambassador, and to deliver that letter directly to the member. This letter will thank the member for their loyalty and let them know that Marriott Bonvoy will be treating them to one night of their redemption stay, crediting points for one night back to their account

  • Best Practice: Have the General Manager and/or Loyalty Champion deliver the letter to the Ambassador Elite member.
  • Take Note: Not all Ambassador Elite Redemption Stays will be targeted stays.

In addition to this letter, you’re encouraged to deliver a local elevated amenity, e.g., a food or beverage specialty from your region or another local token. We know you’ll have great ideas, so please share your pull-through approach by submitting pictures via the Marriott Bonvoy in Action submission form.

PART 2: BEGINNING MAY 1 (DELIVERED ABOVE PROPERTY)
Beginning May 1, the Marriott Bonvoy team will continue to engage with targeted Elite members, recognizing them with a gift of an electronic Marriott gift card, good to redeem for a future on-property experience. Targeted members will receive these eGift Cards through email. You should follow your hotel’s existing processes to redeem Gift Cards.

FAQ Contents

I’m too lazy to re-type the whole FAQ, so what follows are the actual photos of the FAQ pages.  The part that has me giggling is in the second picture under the heading “What does elevated amenity mean?”  Part of the answer is: “You could contact your in-continent Food and Beverage and Operations leaders to determine what your hotel’s amenity offering should be.”  LOL, yes you always want the incontinent folks picking your food and beverage amenities.  They know best 🙂

 

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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JustSaying
Guest
JustSaying

I know a group of leaders who huddle in their office each morning and devilishly plot how they are going to screw with people that day just for shits and giggles…………I actually think their may be some imitation behavior going on in the corporate Marriott headquarters as these folks seem cut from the same cloth…………Now let’s say that’s not true and we just have to rate them as incompetent………….So it comes down to this: They are either crooked or stupid!

Croc Travel
Guest
Croc Travel

Is that typo in the original? I.e. “there are tow parts to this approach”

Paul
Guest
Paul

Haha I noticed that as well

Ivan Y
Guest
Ivan Y

I’m sure by now this has been published on FT and soon will be picked up by all the popular blogs — so much for the unpublished part.

Any promotion without a set criteria for who gets targeted is bound to upset people and I don’t see why this one is going to be any different.

Adam
Guest
Adam

Depending upon incontinent people to provide gifts is a piss pour idea.

shay peleg
Guest
shay peleg

I used to get these welcome gifts as a spg platinum… marriot is cheap

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[…] and I have to commend Marriott for at least trying a “surprise and delight” campaign. Frequent Miler outlines a memo that was sent out to hotels regarding two initiatives that Marriott is […]

FNT Delta Diamond
Guest
FNT Delta Diamond

Where there is smoke there must be fire. Double elite-qualifying nights, double points for all stays, double points for all meetings and events, and now this. Oh yeah, then there’s the Marriott junket to Hong Kong for bloggers. Obviously, the “noise” that Sorenson complained about is more than noise. It’s apparent that Marriott’s internal numbers show that customers are unhappy and perhaps leaving for Hilton and Hyatt. Of course, this promotion is just plain stupid for a few reasons.

First, how many ambassadors are redeeming points in April and May for stays? My guess would be very few. So this just comes across as cheap.

Second, how is it a personalized letter if it’s printed off? Does the hotel sign David Flueck’s name for him?

Third, get ready for processed cheese cubes and maybe whatever fruit is leftover from the breakfast buffet to be assembled into a cheese and fruit plate. That’s the typical amenity. I love how Marriott is operating under the assumption that the majority of hotels even have a typical amenity. Outside of high-end international properties, most properties never give guests with elite status an amenity or if they do it’s the aforesaid processed cheese plate.

Fourth, I suspect this may only apply to Marriott-managed properties.

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[…] Miler shares an internal Marriott memo on how they’re trying to surprise and delight top tier Ambassador […]

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losingtrader
Guest
losingtrader

Good job. My sick humor must be rubbing off on you. Too bad.

Bryan
Guest
Bryan

When checking into a Sheraton a few days ago, I was recognized as a “Titan Member,” (not kidding) which, if we’re being honest, sounds way cooler than Titanium Elite. After checkout I was charged for $48.xx worth of incidentals which I didn’t purchase. Titan, indeed! Bonvoy!

Nathan
Guest
Nathan

Greg–first, great blog….I’m a daily reader and appreciate your work!

As a Starwood Lifetime Platinum (now Bon-annoyed Lifetime Titanium), I’ve largely avoided Marriott properties and kept my stays at former Starwood brands—but have largely switched to Hyatt (as much a possible). The key message for Marriott to understand is simple: consistency across your (god knows how many) brands is non-existent.

When I stayed at Starwood hotels, I consistently received some sort of benefit from staying at these brands (admittedly, it varied somewhat–an upgrade to a suite, a welcome amenity, free parking….but always seemed to be genuine, unique and appreciative of our business)….with Marriott, recognition seems to be a bother–something the hotel begrudgingly provides because they ‘have to’…..We’re not ‘upgrade hounds’ or ‘entitled elites’…..it’s more about the feeling that I *could* book somewhere else (Hyatt, Airbnb, Hilton, independent hotels)–but we chose to stay at your hotel and providing some sort of recognition that we stay in these brands A LOT makes us want to stay longer, spend more and come back. When ‘taking care’ of a long-standing customer is a chore…..then it makes the interaction just weird for both the customer and the hotel.

And the points structure is totally odd….why such odd-ball amounts for spend/redemptions? Dial that way down….

Hyatt seems to get this right–I’ve had consistently great service at amazing hotels (and even at budget brands…..one staff member at a recent Hyatt House stay was exceptional!)….on our next vacation, we’re spending 12 nights at a Hyatt Regency…..there are several Marriott properties just down the street. Why did we choose Hyatt for our family vacation? Because I know what we’ll get: a suite confirmed in advance for the duration of our stay, breakfast daily and superior, genuine service.

At the Marriott hotel–I have to first consult the supposed elite benefits eye-chart (so dumb–any program that has to go through this type of crazy chart to deliver what should be an easy-to-understand service has it all wrong). Then, we *might* get upgraded to a suite….(we’d only to find out a few days before we arrive….and that’s only if you’ve got enough SWAs for every night of the trip), *might* get breakfast if they remember/feel like it/chose the right brand (or we ask politely/hound the front desk….we’re NOT going to these lengths)—we *might* have a good experience. That’s not consistency. Until Marriott figures this out—a note from the boss about how we *might* get some sort of amenity on our next stay is nice–but won’t move us to stay at Marriott properties any more than I ‘have to’.

Nick Thomas
Guest
Nick Thomas

How about just getting the breakfast benefit consistent? Way too many properties, especially resorts, claiming a “continental breakfast” consisting of a muffin and coffee or juice is a compliant breakfast benefit when the Marriott terms and condition say it’s supposed to be the breakfast in the restaurant, which infers more than a muffin and coffee.

Erika Hamilton
Guest
Erika Hamilton

**Hi Wailea Marriott** offer a “breakfast plus room” cash price that includes breakfast at the onsite Humboldt restaurant but send platinum elites to starbucks for a pastry.

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[…] new Marriott Bonvoy program has not been very well received. But the company is trying to improve. Frequent Miler reports that they have sent memos to participating hotels about their new initiative to show appreciation […]

trackback

[…] and I have to commend Marriott for at least trying a “surprise and delight” campaign. Frequent Miler outlines a memo that was sent out to hotels regarding two initiatives that Marriott is […]

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[…] Marriott’s 2019 Elite Thank You Gift initiative […]

Xxxx me
Guest
Xxxx me

I’m only titanium and got all of this at a hotel in Turkey. It was a bit over the top welcome by their management and team but really nice. The gift was Turkish coffee and cups. Got upgraded to a suite and gave us bottle of wine chocolates baklava fruit, etc.
was impressed and def not expecting it since I’m only titanium.