My Thoughts: Marriott Bonvoy & Titanium Status

Yesterday I shared how it looks like Marriott Bonvoy will be the name of Marriott’s new loyalty program. This August Marriott combined the three loyalty programs of Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, and Starwood, and next year they’ll be creating a new name for the program.

Check out yesterday’s post for all the details on why I think this will be the name of the new program, though in this post I wanted to share three thoughts I didn’t share yesterday (let me once again emphasize that this is all based on the info yesterday, so it’s possible that this was an earlier version of the program, or that Marriott changes their mind based on feedback):

Does Marriott not know how much titanium costs?

I’m hardly an expert on precious metals, but if you’re going to have elite status names based on precious metals, shouldn’t they be ranked from least expensive to most expensive?

Platinum is more expensive than titanium, so it doesn’t really make sense that Titanium Elite is higher than Platinum Elite.

My guess is that this Marriott is doing this for optics — they don’t want to make 50 night Platinum members feel like they’re no longer Platinum members by changing the name.

Based on a quick Google search, if they’re going to have precious metal status names, shouldn’t the next tier be Californium Elite? How I’d love to be a Bonvoy Californium Elite member! 😉

Marriott is actually differentiating elite tiers more

Under Marriott’s current loyalty program, all three of the top tiers have Platinum in the name:

  • Platinum (50 nights)
  • Platinum Premier (75 nights)
  • Platinum Premier with Ambassador (100 nights + $20K spend requirement)

Aside from some very minor differences in perks, Marriott hasn’t really provided direction to hotels in terms of how members at different tiers should be treated. In other words, all Platinum tiers receive suite upgrades on a space available basis, but there’s no corporate directive saying to try and upgrade Ambassador members before Platinum members, for example.

Furthermore, at check-in I’m typically “just” recognized as a Platinum guest. To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with that, per se, but I do find that it changes hotel recognition when they realize I’m Ambassador vs. not.

So anyway, with these tiers being changed around, it sure seems like Marriott is at least creating more differentiation between tiers based on names. In other words, it will be  harder for a hotel to ignore your 75+ night status if you’re a Titanium member rather than some tier of Platinum, and it will be harder for a hotel to ignore your 100+ night status if you’re an Ambassador member.

Whether or not you think that’s a good thing probably depends on whether you earn 50-75 elite nights per year with Marriott, or earn 75+.

Marriott shouldn’t have come up with a new program name at all

I really don’t get it, but I also don’t get the corporate world. Marriott Rewards has over 100 million members from every part of the globe, and the program has great brand recognition. Why on earth did they feel the need to literally start from scratch with the naming?

Is it because they hired the same consulting firm as Hyatt, which told them that millennials like more creative names? Or was it because they felt like Starwood loyalists would be happier if they felt like they were joining a new program, rather than just being folded into Marriott Rewards?

As a Starwood loyalist I would have been very happy with them just maintaining the Marriott Rewards name. What annoys me is all the other stuff they’re doing.

Or maybe “bonvoy” is actually a fair name for the program — bon voyage, quality loyalty program!

Bottom line

I guess we’ll find out soon if Marriott Bonvoy is actually the name Marriott goes with for their new program, and if they really introduce Titanium status as a tier above Platinum.

I’d say the only substantive potential change would be giving 75+ and 100+ night members new elite tiers above Platinum status.

What do you make of these potential changes?

Comments

  1. Does it even really matter anymore ? They have made this whole thing so convoluted it’s a shame ! I believe Gold cost more than Platinum these days so I guess it is what it is!!

  2. @ Ben — The bottom line is that Marriott/SPG don’t really upgrade Platinums to suites upon availability with any regularity. This is a flat out lie. Why can’t people see this truth?

  3. I know it’s a holiday weekend, but this blog has really fallen off from where it was a year or two ago. Is this topic really worth two articles? You’ve already mentioned the merger once and now we need to hear about your thoughts on metal values and distinguishing the elite tiers?

    Lucky, the central theme of this blog has always revolved around fantastic trip reports with a few thoughtful credit card bonus links, travel hacks etc in between. Now we get neither.

    Take the prior post on the best Chase credit card trifecta. You’ve posted some version of this several times in the last few weeks – obviously fishing for click referral bonus. I understand this is your job, but please remember we also follow this website for more substantive and entertaining information.

    It’s been one month since your SIN-EWR nonstop and still no report. I would prefer you regain some focus to this blog. I am sure no one here would object if you didn’t waste your time on typing up useless articles like the one above. I would rather see fewer but higher quality articles. The same goes for your partners as well.

    I never thought I would say this, but thepointsguy.com has surpassed OMAAT in terms of article quality.

    I hope we see a dramatic turnaround on your end. Sorry to be so harsh, but I am sure many travel enthusiasts on this site would agree.

  4. I think they definitely believe that SPG members would be annoyed to be collapsed into Marriott Rewards. Which I am, though my focus is on more substantive things than the name.

    When Marriott first announced they were renaming the program, I figured they would come up with something like the original Starwood name which was completely separate from the branding of the hotels themselves — which would have made sense for a number of reasons: it would have avoided confusion between Marriott brand hotels and the program; it might have placated SPG members a bit (“this is a merger of equals not a folding of you into our program”); and it might have helped the program send a more upscale image since many SPG properties (and some old MR properties) were a lot more prestigious than Marriott brand hotels are.

    But by keeping the word Marriott in the new program name, it seems that none of that was the goal of the renaming, so I agree that MR was good enough.

    Maybe they are also trying to avoid confusion between the legacy definitions of status tiers in MR vs. the new tiers going forward, but if that’s the case, the way they launched the program this year completely throws that out the window. (In the future you’ll be able to say, “Well I was MR Platinum, then became MR Platinum Premier, then Titanium…”)

  5. Just got bumped to a bad to the bone suite at JW Emerald Bay Phu Quoc. I’m a bonvoy….whatever I don’t even care. Loving it now that Marriot wants to join the millennials focus group victims with Hyatt. Hilton – “hold my beer, what can we come up with?”. To be fair though previously I didn’t get suites too much with Marriott, only SPG. Bonvoy is stupid. Full stop.

  6. I find it interesting, and bit disconcerting, that their new tiers mention nothing about lifetime status. I did receive an email about a month ago stating that I would be Lifetime Platinum Premier Elite starting in January, but it’s been radio silence since then. In the meantime, every time I check into a Marriott or Sheraton they thank me for “being a platinum member”, and then assign me a room on the Club floor (which they refer to as my friends upgrade) even if that’s the room I originally booked. Of course suites are always still available for sale, but I’ve given up arguing with them about it. I shouldn’t have to consistently fight for a perk I’m entitled to.

    It’s like they don’t even care anymore. Just about every airline merger has gone more smoothly than this.

  7. How about World of Bonvoy Bonvoy world 😉 puke
    At the end of the day all that matters is they don’t continue to devalue awards or trash benefits but knowing Marriott probably impossible
    I’m @ Hilton spending a lot who would have ever thought?

  8. Stupid program name that may not translate. Don’t forget legacy Marriott and legacy SPG had strong loyalty programs in Japan and elsewhere.

    It’s obvious they recognized that the stupid platinum, platinum premier and platinum premier ambassador names don’t make sense and only confuse people. Making it worse is the fact that Marriott credit cards are called “premier.”

    Titanium sounds kind of ridiculous. Silver, gold, platinum, diamond and ambassador would be more logical.

  9. “Marriott Preferred Guest”
    Pays homage to both programs
    Simple and straightforward
    Subtle shift towards more of the guest service benefit vs. straight rewards

    Marriott can now pay me $5MM instead of McK or Landor or whoever came up with this latest crap

  10. Is it just me who thought this new name was a joke? Really, what in the world is a “bonvoy” anyway? I almost feel embarassed to use the word as it sounds like a name from a slapstick comedy.

    I guess it comes from bon voyage, as Lucky eludes (half heartedly), but I just can not take this name seriously.

  11. Death by a thousand cuts. Such frustration over the past few months like many others I am fleeing.

    “Marriott shouldn’t have come up with a new program name at all” sounds exactly right.

  12. How about a new Bonvoy Platinum millennial tier as those folks
    don’t like desks and beds 😉
    Also they prefer no front desk or staff just robots and packaged microwavable food in their rooms 🙂

  13. does know one hear the “envoy”? Bon voyage / envoy = Bonvoy. I can’t fault them for their enthusiasm

  14. Gold also costs more than Platinum at the moment. Not sure why they didn’t go with a gem name instead of Titanium.

  15. Worst part of this rebrand is I now have the song Titanium by David Guetta stuck in my head .
    Thanks Marriott

  16. @memmie

    Were you on the consulting team that designed this word?

    If I try hard to hear something out of that stupid name, I hear CONVOY. Which by definition includes many people and does not make me feel special, unique and rewarded.

  17. @gregg same experience. Plat premier, worked hard for it since no credit card deals here. At check in they thank me for being platinum member. And most of the time they forget me after that. Suites are for sale but no upgrade. Sure if there is a club I get access. But even when I book a club room it’s presented as upgrade, go figure.

    Already had no arrival gift a few times. No upgrade and if I ask about it I even got some really nasty remarks from front office staff. (especially German hotels are bad in that regard)
    Changing the name of the program to something this stupid well what can I say. I think Marriott is getting in the position of being so large that they assume they can get away with anything.

    Maybe they would be better of treading there members whit this amount of stay in a year better. Especially if they not got the status for free with some credit card.

  18. Yes very radioactive. Californium-252 is used as a plutonium-238 substitute due to similar neutron properties and higher availability. Should be plutonium elite. Much more rare.

  19. As someone who got transferred in from SPG, this is just another thing to dislike. After so many disappointments, this is a stupid but comparatively small thing.

  20. You can find better properties in just about every major city one finds a Marriott Hotel and often, for less money. Marriott is highly overrated and overpriced and now, it’s rewards program offers little incentive to stay.

    Has anything good for the consumer ever come from a merger?

  21. What’s interesting is that FS is about to launch a program called Envoy… lol.

    My PP recognition from MR has all but plummeted. I got upgraded to a presidential suite at the Sheraton Dallas during a conference last month… but I have to ask about every single benefit – breakfast, lounge, etc. Very disappointing service since the switch.

  22. “I really don’t get it, but I also don’t get the corporate world. ”

    Please remember this as you stray from your area of expertise whether it’s running a hotel conglomerate or an airline.

  23. I feel Marriott totally shat on the top two levels of members. It makes zero sense imo maybe I’m missing something but here’s my beef. This year I spent 130 nights with SPG/Marriott thinking that I had earned PPE and I would be “upgraded” to the next status level being Ambassador because I haven’t spent the $20,000. When 8/18 happened nothing changed for me. I was not gifted a higher status, I was told Ambassadors have to earn their status by spending the $$$. Here’s the thing, I honestly don’t even care about ambassador status, I actually think it’s kind of a joke. I mean it’s on par with Hyatt’s Conciarge service for globalist members and I’ve never used it in the 3 years I’ve had the benefit. My issue is that Marriott basically devalued the top tier status because if you stayed 0 nights with Marriott/Spg this year but had a cc or something that granted you gold status you were upgraded to Platinum if you stayed 50 nights you would have earned Platinum and were then upgraded to PPE so basically I am viewed equal to someone who’s stayed almost 60% less then me. I was given no benefit/ gift or upgrade with the merger but people who stayed 0 nights last year could possibly be one level under me. It’s actually extremely disappointing and a slap in the face. I also feel the Ambassadors got a raw deal because they had to earn their status too by spending $20,000 and staying 100 nights meanwhile all the lower their members were given almost the same benefits. I am beyond frustrated with their horrible program and their terrible merger. Anyone else feel shat on by “Bonvoy”? I mean at least give me a free night cert or some points as a thanks for being loyal.

  24. I genuinely hope Bonvoy is nothing, solely so that you can explain to your readers why you wrote a full two posts off of total speculation.

    As for the changes, I welcome them as I’m at 118 nights this year.

  25. @Gregg agree with you about the so called “free upgrade.” It also has had happened to me too before. I had to think for a moment about what upgrade? I had to make it clear to them that it is not a free upgrade if it was the original room I booked for prior. They just seem unapologetic about it and make it seem like I should be grateful just to be in the presence of their club lounge check-in.

  26. I think the probability of my having a ‘Good Voy’ would probably be higher if they had taken whatever money they invested in picking that idiotic name on fixing all their IT issues.

  27. After my bad experience at the Westin Moana Surfrider last month where the owners would not pay fair wages, I canceled my SPG cards and since I’ve never been a a Marriott fan, I’m getting a Hilton ASpire Card for Diamond and stop worrying about SPG/Mariott

    I ❤️ @Conrad.

  28. Oh, btw, post what you want, let the readers decide what to read. Complainers must not had enough gravy on Thursday 😉

  29. I’m yet to hear anyone with anything positive to say about this! Although to be honest Marriott haven’t actually had their chance to say anything about it yet – I guess it’s plausible that there are other variations under consideration?

  30. Agree on the name – should stay as Marriott Rewards. But there does need to be different names for the different Platinum Tiers. Last few times at a Marriott propriety I was just referred to as Platinum, not Plat Premier.

    Titanium sounds bigger (higher) than Platinum. I don’t think most people are checking the value of metals (maybe Gold) but usually not Platinum.

  31. As the guy who has bitched incessantly about the obvious confusion of having more than one level named “platinum” I will gladly take the change to titanium.

    However, IMHO they should not reuse names from the old program if they are creating a new program. Dump silver, gold, and the other metals completely. Give the levels names like “Everest” and “Machu Picchu.” I’d sure prefer Kilamanjaro status to Globalist status.

    Hey Marriott, why don’t you hire me? My ideas have to be better than the junky ideas you’ve been paying for. 🙂

  32. @UA-NYC – NAILED. IT. “Marriott Preferred Guest” = MPG; nod to the past, whilst moving forward.

    @FNT Delta Diamond – also nailed it, with the tier names: silver, gold, platinum, diamond and ambassador.

  33. Completely agree with @Bill in DC; I personally don’t like anything political in my points/miles news and as this had nothing of the sort and was completely relevant to a major points reward program, so thanks for another great read. I used your affiliate link to get the WoH Credit card this month and plan to do so again in the future. Thanks for all your great hotel news, hope you and your husband had a lovely thanksgiving Mr. Schlappig, bon voyage (as Mr. Arneson undoubtedly would say)

  34. @eric sez: ” At check in they thank me for being platinum member. And most of the time they forget me after that. Suites are for sale but no upgrade. Sure if there is a club I get access. But even when I book a club room it’s presented as upgrade, go figure. ”

    This is how to play the game with a “full deck” under the circumstances you just described.

    “At check in they thank me for being platinum member. And most of the time they forget me after that” – That should be your cue to say something nice, like how you value the program. Then immediately hit them by saying something like, despite your status you noticed in the program’s App that you had not been upgraded; could s/he check to see if an upgrade was available?

    “Suites are for sale but no upgrade.” — I am now at Conrad Chicago where I was upgraded into a junior studio (junior suite), after what seemed like a bone fide effort by the agent to find me an upgrade turned up nothing for the duration of my 5-night stay. At this point, I asked the agent (truthfully): if no upgrades are available, then why did the HH App offer an upgrade to a junior suite for $87? That started another search for availability, which did turn up a junior into which I was upgraded.

    “But even when I book a club room it’s presented as upgrade, go figure.” — This is the only situation when I get outright nasty because they think I am so stupid I would not notice that they were claiming to have upgraded me into the very same room that I’d booked! When that happens, I will say politely, but firmly: “Excuse me? Are you telling me that you have upgraded into the very room that I’d originally booked? [Embarrassment shows] Now, why don’t to check to see about getting me a real upgrade instead of claiming that you got me one?” That situation happened to me at Hilton Prague Old Town, where a very embarrassed and red-faced agent managed to find me a suite upgrade after I pointed out that her claim that she’d upgraded me to the premium room that I’d booked was a bit insulting?

    Just remember be and remain even tempered through it all!

    G’day and good luck!

  35. BTW, I agree that Marriott will be better off keeping the program’s current name, which is already well established. Rebranding, as we saw with WoH, can take something away from the program. Also” Bonvoy” sounds cartoonish, like Bugs Bunny mispronouncing “bon voyage” as “bon- vo – ya – gee”!

  36. Someone I know who saw something and then heard about it from another person who assures one of them that it is totally accurate as far as they were told or were led to believe that maybe Doug Parker created Bonvoy so he could get a win at the trademark office.

  37. @Gary .. I was thinking along similar lines as reusing Marriott Honored Guest, but came up with Marriott Preferred Guest.

    -David

  38. “Marriott Rewards” was an awful name. Very 1980s, just like a lot of Marriott hotels. A very dated company!

    Bonvoy sounds ridiculous! …like Chef Boyardee!

    They should have gone with “Marriott SPG” now that has a nice ring to it, and lends some hip factor to the stale Marriott brand, would welcome in SPG guests and make us want to stay.

  39. Surprised no one has mentioned it, but the metals go in order of strength. Silver < Gold < Platinum < Titanium.

    Whether Marriott took this into consideration is a different issue.

  40. @DCS And that is the frustrating thing about this hobby. I stayed across the street from your hotel in Prague at the Marriott for five nights on points–and received a beautiful suite with two bathrooms without asking. I have received great upgrades, including suites, at Marriotts (more, actually, since integration) and at Hiltons, but have also been told I should be fortunate that I received an upgrade which consisted of a higher floor (and my favorite line at a full service Marriott earlier this month–you don’t deserve an upgrade even though you booked direct because you booked at the AAA rate). There is no way of knowing what will happen until check in.

    P.S. Cornell played terribly last night.

  41. Hopefully they improve their customer service in terms of responsiveness. 88+ nights this year, 17k usd – no response to emails (after sending four of them over a course of 3 weeks), long waiting lines at their call center, lower recognition on site, etc. – time to switch back to hyatt. their globalist recognition was five times better than this new programme. Bon voyage to those who believe it will improve… just too many members with the same status.

  42. According to my account, I am a Platinum Premier Elite with over 90 nights. Even if I stay 100 nights, I can not make Platinum Premier Elite with Ambassador because my total spending is less than $20,000. I have received upgrades to one and two bedroom suites when I didn’t expect it from hotels that I have previously stayed at during the past year.
    In the past, I was a regular hotel guest that became Silver, Gold and then Platinum. If near the next level, I felt like I should strive for the next level. When the Gold became Platinum, it seemed that Gold received a certificate of participation and Platinum got a demotion. Why should I try for the next level Platinum Premier Elite with Ambassador?

  43. @Ben Actually Gold is the softest of these metals it goes Gold < Silver < Platinum < Titanium for softness and in regards to value it would go Titanium < Silver < Platinum < Gold so it doesn't make sense at all…. Possibly they are just gearing up for a really good April fools day joke?

    @Tobias Schulz & @Nelly I totally agree they totally disregarded their top tier members in this merger like I noted in an earlier comment people who have spent 0 nights this year at either SPG or Marriott could have got Gold status via a credit card benefit and on 8.18 they were gifted Platinum status so theres no doubt the hotels don't care much about status since theres not much difference between the people who stay 100+ nights and those who have not spent one penny. I agree Hyatt is the superior brand, just wish they had more of a footprint.

  44. If Marriott is being honest, silver and gold should be paper and plastic. Then you can start with the precious metals. Yes, gold is worth more than platinum and both are worth more than titanium.

    While we’re knocking names, it’s like loyalty programs that use precious gemstones to differentiate tiers – ruby, emerald, sapphire. Which is worth more? Who knows?

    Why would anyone want Spire elite over Platinum elite?

    And these people get paid loads of money. I think kindergartners would be more logical. They would come up with something like goldfish, cat, dog, horse, at least the animals would be getting bigger.

  45. @DSK – That is why one must have realistic expectations, as well as know how to manage them, which is tough to do when self-anointed travel gurus keep telling their sycophants to always expect more than programs actually offer.

    With respect to Cornell losing, get this: before I joined Cornell, I was with Columbia, whose team did not have a single winning season in the 10 years I was there…So, you can say I am used to it 😉

  46. @DSK – That is why one must have realistic expectations, as well as know how to manage them, which is tough to do when self-anointed travel gurus keep telling their sycophants to always expect more than programs actually offer.

    With respect to Cornell losing, get this: before I joined Cornell, I was with Columbia, whose team did not have a single winning season in the 10 years I was there…So, you can say I am used to it 😉

  47. @AJ LOL! “paper and plastic” Love it! I also think it would be cool for a hotel program to adopt like a wedding anniversary style program were each year you’ve been a member you get more and more valuable benefits:
    1ST YEAR: Paper
    2ND YEAR: Cotton
    3RD YEAR: Leather
    4TH YEAR: Fruit & Flowers, or Linen & Silk
    5TH YEAR: Wood
    6TH YEAR: Iron / Candy
    7TH YEAR: Wool/ Copper
    9TH YEAR: Pottery
    10TH YEAR: Tin/ Aluminum
    11TH YEAR: Steel
    12TH YEAR: Silk
    13TH YEAR: Lace
    14TH YEAR: Ivory
    15TH YEAR: Crystal
    20TH YEAR: China
    25TH YEAR: Silver
    30TH YEAR: Pearl
    35TH YEAR: Coral
    40TH YEAR: Ruby
    45TH YEAR: Sapphire
    50TH YEAR: Gold
    55TH YEAR: Emerald
    60TH YEAR: Diamond

    They could do a play on it. I think these hotel brands should really value those who repeat business year after year.

  48. With the combining of programs it had made virtually every person that travels a Platinum member. Gold is now a precious metals because there are not any more.
    Of my hotel that’s 305 rooms I have 174 Platinum member arriving tommorrow

  49. I don’t care about the name, call me a paper member if you like, but since September I did not have a single stay credited, a single email answered and no reply on the FB message either. I am moving on from staying at these hotels as the time used to chase replies is too much of a cost.

  50. Ben,

    Can we use this forum as a focus panal, save millions of dollars on a consultant?

    What do your readers feel about this, and we send it to Marriott?

    MPG – Marriott Preferred Guest Combines both programs but gives the owner top billing and the boughtee and its guests a nice and known inclusion.

    And good bye to Bonvoy agggggro.

    Kent

  51. @Jason this is exactly what I’m saying! I honestly didn’t know it was that bad, those numbers are shocking but it’s true. From my calculations you can be upgraded to Platinum with 0 nights in the brand. What a slap in the face to those of us who have actually had loyalty to the brand! I’m at 130 nights and approx $15,000 spend and I am only one level above Platinum members! It’s actually disgusting! If you can say Jason, what hotel brand are you with? Also does your hotel upgrade PPE members to suites if available?

  52. They should start to deliver on their promises and then think if they need a new name. Us SPG loyalists already feel how much they have f***ed up everything since the Merger. Therefore, I really couldn’t care less if these mediocre Marriott puppets call this Marriott rewards, Marriott Preferred Guest, Bonvoy, Takeitorleaveit or whatever. They should focus on getting this done and right first and then move on.

  53. I was loyal to SPG forever. Now I’m loyal to Hilton. While it’s not as good as the old SPG there’s a good feel knowing I always have a free breakfast (at any brand) and no longer need to change properties in the same town as I chase Platinum.

  54. You wrote on Twitter: “The names are lame, but also the least of my concerns”

    Wrong thinking. If the names are that lame it underscores morons have looted and plundered what was once an amazing rewards program and turned it into rubbish … the dumb name speaks volumes

  55. I don’t hate the Titanium name. Seems about right in minds of many people.

    I don’t like the Bonvoy name, though, for the new loyalty program. However, might this be the name for a special event/promotion/whatever to mark the start of the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection setting sail?

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