Is Marriott Ambassador Elite Worth It?

Filed Under: Marriott
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I’ve been a big fan of Starwood Preferred Guest for over a decade, though that was recently folded into Marriott Bonvoy.

In the SPG program I had Ambassador status for several years, which could be earned by racking up 100 elite qualifying nights in a calendar year.

Marriott Bonvoy has maintained this aspect of the program. Back in the Marriott Rewards days, they offered this as a pilot program, though as part of Bonvoy Ambassador Elite is now a published tier.

Readers often ask if I think this status is worthwhile, so I wanted to share my thoughts in this post.

Marriott Bonvoy Platinum, Titanium, and Ambassador requirements

In the Marriott Bonvoy program, here are the requirements over the course of a calendar year for Platinum, Titanium, and Ambassador:

  • Platinum requires 50 elite qualifying nights
  • Titanium requires 75 elite qualifying night
  • Ambassador requires 100 elite qualifying nights plus $20,000 of qualifying spend

It’s worth noting that “qualifying spend” is based on the purchases on your folios that are eligible for points accrual. This doesn’t include taxes or service charges, and typically doesn’t include spa treatments, tours booked through the hotel, etc. Rather it just includes room rate, select incidentals, and most dining and beverage purchases, though I find it really varies by hotel.

Earn extra elite-qualifying nights

The real cost of Ambassador Elite

As you can see above, there’s a $20,000 spending requirement to earn Ambassador status. Spread across 100 elite qualifying nights, that’s like paying an average of $200 per night, before any taxes and fees. That’s not low, but not outrageous either.

The catch is that:

  • Marriott co-brand credit cards offer 15 elite nights towards status annually, so if you spread the $20,000 revenue requirement across 85 nights, that’s an average of ~$235 per night
  • This assumes you never redeem points, and a lot of us redeem a lot of points, making it even harder to earn Ambassador

I barely earned Ambassador last year, but I’m redeeming a lot of points this year, and it’s unlikely I’ll requalify. If I’m going to splurge on hotels and pay cash (which I probably do more than I should), I’m generally not going to do so at a Marriott-branded property.

What are the benefits of Marriott Bonvoy Titanium Elite?

Beyond the traditional Platinum benefits (suite upgrades subject to availability, 4PM check-out, etc.), what are the incremental benefits of Marriott Bonvoy Titanium status?

  • Titanium members get a 75% points bonus, while Platinum members get a 50% points bonus
  • Titanium members get space available suite upgrades at Ritz-Carltons, while Platinums don’t
  • Titanium members get United MileagePlus Silver status through the RewardsPlus partnership

What are the benefits of Marriott Bonvoy Ambassador Elite?

Above the Platinum and Titanium benefits, what are the incremental perks of Ambassador status?

  • Access to an “Ambassador,” who is supposed to be your single point of contact for anything you could need from Marriott
  • Your24, which gives you a flexible 24 hour stay at a hotel, where you can check-in at anytime, and get the room for 24 hours (for example, this came in handy earlier this year when I had a flight arriving in Abu Dhabi at midnight, and I was leaving the following night at 2AM, since I could have the room from midnight to midnight, while only paying for one night)

My experience with Ambassador Elite status

So the above are the published differences, but what should you actually expect from the status? Here are my thoughts on the program:

Ambassador status is highly dependent on your Ambassador

Like most things in life, your experience will vary greatly based on who you’re dealing with.

I’ve had the same Ambassador, Mike, for years, and he’s spectacular. Simply put, he exemplifies what the program should be, and in my opinion he should be running the Ambassador program.

He just “gets it.” He responds to my emails shockingly quickly, when I have a nuanced question he always gets me an answer, and when I do have an issue, he gets it resolved quickly.

He’s a superstar, though I’d note that not everyone has had the same experience. I get emails frequently from readers who are underwhelmed by the program. One guy emailed me and said he had heard from his Ambassador once in the past four months, and she hasn’t responded to any of his emails since.

So the variance in quality is huge.

Ambassador members may get better upgrades

This isn’t a published benefit one way or another, though many hotels should be prioritizing upgrades for Ambassador members over Titanium or Platinum members.

While all Platinum members and above are eligible for suite upgrades, it seems pretty logical that if they’re going to pre-block suites for guests, they’d do so by status or other considerations (repeat guest, etc.).

Certainly not all hotels do that, but on balance I’d expect to get more good upgrades as an Ambassador member than a Platinum member, for example.

I do well with suite upgrades, especially outside the US

Your24 isn’t quite as good as it sounds

Your24 sounds like a cool concept, though I’d note there’s a huge catch. It’s entirely at the hotel’s discretion whether or not to confirm it, and they only do so two days before arrival.

So it’s not just subject to availability, but even if a hotel has room, they don’t have to grant Your24. For example, this has worked great in a hotel in Abu Dhabi that maybe had 10% occupancy, but I’d almost expect this to never work at a hotel in Europe, if you’re trying to check-in early after a transatlantic flight.

I used Your24 at the EDITION Abu Dhabi

So I’d say this sounds better than it actually is.

Ambassador has been invaluable for navigating the Marriott IT mess

I’d say that Ambassador status has been more valuable the past six months than ever before. As we all know, transitioning to the Marriott Bonvoy program has been a challenge, to put it mildly, and email response times from Marriott, as well as phone hold times, have been really bad.

So being able to just shoot off an email to my Ambassador and have him deal with stuff has been invaluable and has saved me so much time.

What a good Ambassador may do

Okay, let’s be more concrete. Like I said, my Ambassador, Mike, is awesome, so what does he do for me?

For one, he surprises me out of nowhere and sends me cute notes that make me smile every so often.

Mike sometimes leaves notes that make me smile

He also often arranges a special welcome amenity. It doesn’t happen every stay, but your Ambassador will typically ask what you like in terms of food and drinks, and then maybe every few stays I’ll have a customized welcome amenity waiting for me.

I receive welcome amenities quite often

If a stay doesn’t post correctly, Mike always helps me get that fixed right away.

Mike often proactively checks with me before stays to see if there’s anything he can do for me.

While it’s rare that I ask for anything special, if I do, he’s typically able to make it happen (within reason, of course).

Basically, my Ambassador makes me feel like I’m dealing with a really awesome human, rather than a large, faceless company.

Is Ambassador Elite worth it?

Obviously there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. It depends on:

  • How many special requests you have
  • How good your Ambassador is
  • How much you’d stay with Marriott otherwise/how much travel you have to switch around to make it happen

I’m lucky in that I have a fantastic Ambassador. I know some other people who have great Ambassadors, and I know people who have \ bad Ambassadors. With a bad Ambassador I’d say the status is worth very little.

I’d say a good Ambassador makes this a fantastic program, though. Marriott is such a big brand that the experience just feels so impersonal, so to have an awesome single point of contact really is valuable.

Of course that only applies within reason. Is it worth doubling my projected spend for the year to requalify? Probably not. At the same time, if I don’t requalify I’ll really miss having the privilege of Mike’s help.

I’m also lifetime Platinum with Marriott, and the truth is that most of my stays are in cities where I’d probably do well with upgrades even as a Platinum. For example, I’m generally finding myself staying at Marriott properties in Skopje and Minsk, rather than Marriott properties in New York and London.

If you’re a Marriott Ambassador member, what has your experience been like?

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Comments
  1. Totally worthless for me at the moment. I get replies from different persons most of the time and since we are all pretty much bonvoyed lately, communication is mostly about missing points.
    Also, since for bookings of more than 1 rooms only 1 room will count towards yr nights, I’m dead sure not to make the treshold this year. I may still make the 20k threshold so perhaps they will make an exception, although as mentioned I am not sure the benefits are worth it for me.

  2. Do you see any chance they may change the treshold to 100 nights OR 20k?
    Since they now only count nights for 1 room in case of multiple rooms I am quite sure I won’t make the 100 night threshold anymore but may still crack 20k.

  3. Ben, this is an interesting perspective on the Ambassador status. I have myself had Ambassador status for 3 years, and these are the only things I have gotten out of it:
    1) I live in the US, but have been assigned an Ambassador in Dublin – Hence I have to be on European time, to engage with the Ambassador team.
    2) Your24 has been honored 1 time in 3 years and rejected so many times I stopped counting.
    3) My Ambassador told me he could not help me in any way, during the IT migration mess.
    4) My Ambassador only proactively reaches out to me when he is trying to upsell Marriott offers.
    5) On direct request, my Ambassor has not been able to arrange the requested items, or dropped the ball completely, and issues has only been sorted out, because of other people in the team.
    6) My Ambassador has never sent any notes or arranged any nice surprise during my hotel stays.
    7) The only 2 times that my Ambassador status was recognized in a truly spectacular way, this was on the initiative on the hotels’ management.

    Yes, my not so positive experience with the program means that I have now moved my spending away from Marriott whenever possible, and I shall not qualify for status in 2020.

  4. If the perceived value of Ambassador Elite status is so dependent on a good, or rather excellent Ambassador, can you ask for a new Ambassador if you feel the one you have is useless?

  5. @Niko_jas: Yes, you can request a new one. Odds are increasingly high that the experience will not markedly improve, however. Ambassador experiences such as Ben’s are exceedingly rare.

  6. $20,000 yearly spend and you may get an upgrade, you may get a 24 hour room and you may get a bottle of wine… I’m blown away with the generosity of this programme for the ultra elites 🙁

  7. I have to wonder whether Ben’s unusually positive experience with his ambassador is because Ben is a well-known travel writer with a big platform (who books rooms under his real name). I strongly suspect that the answer is yes. This reality makes many of Ben’s hotel reviews not terribly useful to us “normal” elites who aren’t travel bloggers. His review of the HiLo Hotel in Portland was one example where it seemed obvious Ben got special treatment because they knew who he was and wanted a good review. There’s a reason the New York Times restaurant critic never makes a reservation under his or her own name.

    My ambassador never reaches out to me proactively, and isn’t much help when I reach out to her. I suspect this is more par for the course for us non-travel-writers.

  8. LT Titanium (via SPG), Ambassador for 2019. Rec’d canned (boiler template) welcome letter email from Ambassador late February.
    My Ambassador keeps referring to me as LT Plat. Has my start date wrong.

    I had to advise requests for stays.

    Never asked preferences. Can’t help with missing points; kicked it to research. Doesn’t know what support is. Doesn’t initiate email to me.

    Promoted from basic-to-Ambassador support in weeks. Sarcasm.

    Didn’t understand why LT status should be pinged to hotels since Ambassador means SO much more.

    How to change this one?

  9. As a Bonvoy level, I will never make the 20k spend as a GOV traveler.

    I will easily hit the 100+ nights. I had it with SPG both when it was unofficial and an official tier. For 2 years I had an ambassador unofficially. I was doing 125 nights/year. I spoke with a platinum line CSR and was impressed with their help and told them. They offered me their direct number and email. When it became an official tier, I lost him and had a HORRIBLE rep. As others mentioned, never heard from them. No requests, nothing. A little grumble changed all that. Curious how it would be now, but can only imagine

  10. Jamie,
    Last weekend my ambassador got me upgraded into a $2700/night (prepay member rate) suite when I paid $150/night and got a $50 resort credit. I say my ambassador got me this because there was no SNA availability for the property and the upgrade was the result of an emailed request from my ambassador.

    And this isn’t the only upgrade having an ambassador has got me.

  11. It’s totally not worth it. They have changed my ambassador several times the first one didn’t even responded my emails and whenever I called him, I was told the person on the phone was not my ambassador and would send my ambassador a message to call me, but he never called me back.
    My second ambassador was too lazy to even try to do anything I asked for, at the end I called directly the hotels and did the arrangements myself.
    My third ambassador messed up the dates for a special celebration in Asia.
    My fourth one just emailed me but havent given him a chance yet.
    Marriott shouldn’t even advertise as a perk it’s a total disaster.

  12. @ Greg Myers … for the same reasons as you I never will hit the $20k spend. From the comments not sure the benefits are worth it.

  13. I had an ambassador for a number of years under SPG only and I also found it to be hit or miss. I think that part of it is your ambassador while the other part of it is if the destination hotel will actually listen to him or her. I am lifetime titanium now, not sure if I will get over $15k spend this year, realistically. I may try to match status with Hyatt, if possible.

  14. Lucky , I LOVE my ambassador Brandi (legacy Starwood from Wichita ) she is AMAZING ! I actually had 2 before her that were not good at all so I finally spoke to the senior manager and she found me Brandi ! Within a week my new ambassador and the manager had flowers sitting on thier desk ! Brandi automatically reaches out to hotels to y’all about my vegan diet and all my likes and dislikes. She has called the hotel GM before to solve a problem. She is amazing !

    I doubt I’ll spend 20k this year , and although I would love to keep her , it’s not worth 20k !

    Tips. : if you don’t like your ambassador ask to speak to a manager and get a new one ! They will totally accommodate you !

    Ask for a legacy Starwood ambassador, Not one from marriott !

    It helps to send thank you cards or gifts when they really go above and beyond ! I’ve sent Brandi flowers three times in a year and numerous presents and cards ! She feels like a old friend and I treat her like one and In return she treats me like one !

    Let’s hope they roll back the 20k Spend. I’d even be happy if they bumped it up to 125 nights and 10k spend.

  15. @Lifetime Titanium. I have to agree with your comment. While I imagine Ben can go under the radar with most flights and give a real perspective as to the quality I question that with Marriott, Hyatt, or any larger hotel group. This is not Ben’s fault, just the nature of hotels being a bit more together in knowing who their guests are. I was amazed one time when a friend told me about my profile with Four Seasons (who he worked for) as an example. They make notes on everything, not just your preferences. As such I assume Ben gets, as he calls it, a superstar concierge, and the rest of us gets everyone else.

    I will say that my Hyatt concierge is good. But not the level Ben describes with Ambassador. I get quick responses and valuable services… a few times she saw my rate went down in the system and proactively changed my reservation. This is real value. But do I get special amenities and birthday greetings? No. But I think that is above and beyond…which is why I agree that I imagine Ben is targeted for special treatment with full knowledge of his influence.

  16. I hit Ambassador status last November (both legacy Marriott and SPG Plat) and my Ambassador still hasn’t reached out, 5 months later. Every time I’ve called the Titanium line and complained that my Ambassador hasn’t reached out they say they’ll put in a request (that goes nowhere). We really have been Bonvoyed and I’d agree that Ben’s Ambassador experience is not the normal at this point.

  17. Ben – I can see no reason why you would pursue ambassador. Since you are already a Hyatt globalist and Hilton diamond, why would you shell out another 20k$/year simply for a minimal incremental benefit from guaranteed LT platinum?

    Here’s a comparison-

    For someone with no status all, spending 20,000$/year at Hyatt gets you globalist status and tons of points way more valuable than bonvoy!

    You are putting in the same effort as getting globalist from scratchin order to make the minimal jump from titanium to ambassador- definitely not worth it, especially considering you are platinum for life

  18. No offense to Ben, but this is one of the situations where it’s relatively obvious from the outside that he’s getting special treatment because he’s an influential travel writer. And it’s kind of jarring for him to not even mention that in this post. I’d be much more interested in hearing what the Ambassador program is like for the rest of us no-name working stiffs. From a small sampling of the comments, it sounds like it’s more or less worthless.

  19. @Stuart @LifetimeTitanium

    No doubt. It’s really kinda useless to hear about his experiences in this regard because he clearly gets preferential treatment.

  20. It’s useless for me. Heard from the guy once but never again. I have problem with points posting and contacted Customer service. Normally take 3 days to respond

  21. My Ambassador has hosed up more reservations and arrangements than I can count. Whenever I’ve had a problem, she is not empowered to fix it – it always goes to someone else to look into and/or respond and then nothing happens. Overall pretty angry at Marriott – the Suite Nights is a joke as the only place I ever want to use them is at a decent hotel that has such limited space for upgrades that it isn’t typically worth the time and effort to even make the request. As with others, the only times I’ve ever been made to feel special is when the property manager itself has taken action. I have lifetime Titanium or whatever the hell they’re calling it today and am going to swap to another brand shortly if they can’t get their act together and address some of our collective concerns (points availability at properties is more limited than ever now, Suite Nights do not guarantee, customer service is terrible, frequent mistakes on awarding points, and more).

  22. @touringtony is my soal mate 😉

    I did the same. Had a bad rep, and my buddy at work had a great rep. I requested a change and now I’m in much better shape. Really feel like I have a friend inside now.

    Thank you cards as well, simple gestures move mountains.

  23. Well,1st I need to say.. I really miss the old SPG.. I felt like I was getting taken care of even when I was at just a 40 night guy ten years ago.
    I had Mike but after all this mess I lost him. ( he was great, for my birthday he got me a robe with my name on it, but that was the old SPG) I have been an ambassador customer for years now and I’m dealing with poor support from Marriott. I’m not happy about the change. I’ll make the new requirements ( last year I did 134 nights and now I’m dealing with all the IT mess) and I’m hoping that Marriott better if not I’ll leave and go to another hotel brand.

  24. @Lifetime Titanium I know experiences may vary but the HiLo was one of my favorite hotels that I stayed in last year. Granted, I didn’t ask for much service-wise but loved the hotel facade, lobby and room styling, and location.

    Staying there again during Labor Day weekend.

  25. Only have gotten hand written notes on major vacations (e.g. St Regis Princeville). Thought my ambassador was useless, but after reading the notes above, at least she responds to me and answers my requests. Just doesn’t have the power or knowledge to be able to do anything, especially with the IT bug.

  26. Been ambassador for a number of years. Experience prior to the merger was so much better. This year, my ambassador got double the guests and naturally simply doesn’t have the time. She still calls me every now and again, but without disclosing it, I can tell that the role for them and for us as the guests has been severely diminished. The thing that made it feel special has unfortunately been lost. Your24 I can live without (and used to get it at 75 nights so been devalued). There’s little to incentivize me to want to spend nights in Marriott’s anymore, despite LT Titanium. The lack of accountability from Marriott throughout the IT debacle and the commoditization of me as a guest, has basically been my deciding factor

  27. Ben, I’ve been at ambassador status since last summer. I will be honest, it doesn’t work for me like it does for you. I switched Ambassador a few months back because of the lack of responsiveness. The times I did ask for my ambassadors assistance with booking a room, it was an effort for her to help.
    Then at the switch my hope were high things would change. A nice voice message and e mail was presented to me. I called once and requested his assistance and he hemmed and hawed. Since then every time I call I get his voicemail. The one time I left a message he never returned my call.
    When I push zero to speak to someone 9 times out of 10 they cant help or in my call today, no one ever answered. Went to a dummy email box.
    I stayed 174 night last year and 67 so far this year. I dont find upgrades even when I want to use a free upgrade reward, available.
    Marriott needs to step up its game or stop giving false Hope’s to its members. I book 99% of my rooms through the app, that is when the app is working. Still love Marriott, but put up or shut up. Walk the talk!

  28. Sorry, this is off topic, but when Lucky writes, “I know people who have \ bad Ambassadors,” what does “\ bad” mean? I haven’t seen this before – does it mean “more than bad”?

  29. @Lucky–By the way, I thought this was an extremely clear post. It doesn’t affect me in the slightest, but I read it because you explain everything so clearly.

  30. Bin seit 15 Jahren Marriott-Platin Lemberg, im neuen System ohne Erklärung auf Gold gestuft worden.
    Es würde uns beim Kauf von Vacationclub Wochen lebenslang Platin versprochen.
    Werde versuchen alles zu verkaufen und Marriott. meiden, grenzt an arglistige Täuschung, habe mehrfach geschrieben und um Erklärung gebeten, ohne Erfolg.

  31. Top level with one-on-one ambassadorial service is a struggle for many service programs – it looks nice and meaningful on the paper but is very forced/difficult when it comes to real world implementation. Service providers feel the need to incentivize top customers to “keep climbing” but are unable to provide substantial extra value in a CONSISTENT manner.

  32. I think its less than zero, basically it’s a negative to have the service. It just sets you up for disappointment. An example – I wanted a one night reservation at a specific European hotel using award points, but the hotel had every night before and after available for points except that one, but had plenty of pay rooms for that night. I thought maybe it was a listing error from the hotel and asked the ambassador to check. The response from the ambassador (and I talked to several) was that they could do nothing but they would monitor the hotel to see if points awards for that night become available and they would notify me. So I also monitored the hotel and sure enough I saw the points awards became available after a few weeks of waiting and I booked it myself. I still haven’t heard from the ambassador as promised by them. Those people annoy me.

  33. I don’t even know who my Ambassador is. I do all arrangements on my own. Called the Ambassador line twice and it was not worth it.

  34. I have been a top tier Member with Marriott [now Bonvoy] since 1991. When I was given Ambassador status, I thought that it would be something really, really special and unique. Wake-up call……..it isn’t! I book my own rooms on-line in seconds………it’s more efficient. Anything I need from a Hotel I just call them, refer to my booking and let them know my needs.
    Running all of that through an Ambassador just takes a ton on time…………and take into account………..time zones and that “your” Ambassador only works 7.5 hours!!!
    I’m multiple Titanium Liftime……….give me more specific enhanced benefits and privileges………and a lot “less” Ambassador!!!

  35. Not worth it.
    They still can’t get points correct and screw high tier members on the target Bonus promotions.

    Used Your24 one time, and still had to argue with reception desk (in Europe).
    And I can’t help but laugh each time a front desk person mentions “Titanium” status.

  36. I have been a Charter Member of the Ambassador program with Marriott since they first announced the partnership with Starwood. The were obviously trying to implement the program from Starwood and learning best practices. I have had the same Ambassador rep since the beginning so we have grown together with this whole process…she is AMAZING! She has had to work through all changes, implementations and process updates.

    In response to the question Lucky posted…I can honestly say I don’t see any real benefit or perk by being an Ambassador Elite with Marriott (Convoy) when I stay at various properties. I don’t get any special recognition, welcome amenity, special suite upgrade, etc. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not expecting any regal treatment, but one would think that as a Lifetime Member of a rewards program at their top level of spend and loyalty, there would be something that would make me feel special and appreciated.

    Other than my personal connection with my Ambassador, there truly isn’t any different experience for me as an Ambassador Elite with Marriott than I had before the program was implemented.

    Mark

  37. The problem with ambassador elite status is there is no real, concrete, tangible benefits in terms of recognition. Suite upgrades are better but still difficult. Not all properties, especially within North America as well as at resorts, will upgrade. They play games. Then there’s the breakfast benefit, which isn’t ambassador specific but is still an epic fail. As an ambassador, I’ve had properties refuse to give me more than a bagel or muffin with coffee for breakfast. The fact that Marriott knows this is a problem and refuses to fix the breakfast benefit is very, very disappointing. I don’t care about breakfast on weekday stays for business when I can charge breakfast to a client. I do, however, care about getting my breakfast benefit and consuming a real breakfast when I’m on vacation or with my wife. Why Marriott and the hotels don’t understand this is beyond me. As an ambassador I’ve only ever gotten an in-room amenity at, of all places, an AC property. That’s it. I’ve even stayed at the Prince de Galles, Luxury Collection and not got anything more than a typed notecard welcome letter. I wish Marriott would give me something tangible. Let’s say extra suite night certificates, room service breakfast or even just a guaranteed personal welcome letter and amenity.

  38. Ben – mike is also my ambassador and agree he is great! (I actually requested him when i became ambassador because of ur high praise!)

    I find myself booking more marriott properties than i otherwise would so i can re-qualify so i guess that answers the question of whether or not i find it valuable….

    My greatest complaint with the program is that ritz reserve properties dont count towards spend… and phulay bay and mandapa are two if my fav prop’s out there

  39. I enjoyed Ambassador status in 2018. My personal ambassador was excellent, but in reality I hade very few questions/issues to raise with him. Most were about the transistion to Bonvoy.

    It is likely that I will have got more upgrades because of the Ambassador status, but apart from this I did not enjoy any other advantages from having this elite status.

    The move to only one room counting towards the elite threshold will make it very unlikely that I will reach the 100 nights again. I often invite my sister and her husband to travel with us as our guests, and this boosted our total. But the new rules put an end to this.

  40. The 15 nights from the credit card does not count towards Ambassador status. You will need 100 paid nights to qualify.

  41. @ Ben — That’s news to me, and I don’t believe that’s accurate. Where did you hear that?

  42. I earned Ambassador last year, mine is Andrea. We both live in the same city, and she is wonderful. I will say, it doesn’t hurt to send a gift to your Ambassador, I sent a pashmina that I bought in Mumbai India, she loves it! As it happens, the CEO of Marriott was in the call center the day she wore it and he stopped by and asked about it, thus a conversation about her “Ambassadors ensued”! Andrea has been extremely helpful in getting credit for stays that were late or that were part of a group stay….. Also she has helped when GMs don’t do the right thing, when my heater almost caught on fire in SLC….or a really poor check in experience in Puerto Vallarta…that said, there are good and bad employees in all organizations…..remember that old phrase, you get more with honey than vinegar…

  43. @ben To refute this check the Marriott terms:
    How to Achieve Ambassador Status
    Stay 100 eligible nights and spend $20,000 with us in one year to receive our coveted ambassador service

    Eligible nights are are paid, bonus, award and credit card nights.

    If Credit card nights weren’t eligible, why would be able to pick our choice benefit when we hit 50 including credit card?

  44. I wish my ambassador will the same as what Mike did for you.
    My recent stay in Sheraton Shenzhen Futian , my room was NOT upgraded at all. I am getting the exact room type I was booked, although I still received the slip saying you are upgraded from room key. When I asked the lady at executive lounge during check inand she confirmed. I don’t think they differiate ambassador at all or all elite is the same.

  45. I was re-allocated my old SPG Ambassador when I requalified late last year after 18 months of non-qualification.

    She was a superb, stellar Ambassador before.

    She is still the same wonderful person, but the service is less personalised, and it’s obvious that she is doing her best to keep up with a caseload which is high.

    Marriott faces a choice here. If they really want to retain the old SPG $20K+ clients they are going to have to invest more in customer service.

    The problem is that AMEX and high-end travel agents do this, and if Marriott don’t then their whole purpose for acquiring Starwood – getting the SPG Platinum 75 and Platinum 100 customers – will be undermined.

    I appreciate that Marriott has incorporated multiple features of SPG into Bonvoy. But currently bad staffing ratios are ruining it.

  46. As Lifetime Titanium, I get more blank stares than any other form of recognition. Double blank stares in Mexico, however that is expected.
    I often wonder if Marriott Sr. Officers ever read the comments within our Lucky’s blog.

  47. Ben, I’m jealous of your experience with your Ambassador. I wish I had that experience.
    I’m reading the various posts and I’m also a repeat ambassador elite. I already have 75 nights in for this year so will requalify soon.
    I am in the camp where I don’t even know who my ambassador rep. is right now. Don’t know if I even have the same ambassador as last year. My first ambassador rep. I must say was amazing- engaged, friendly and very responsive. Sadly, never got a personal note, nor a follow-up on my stay though. He transferred to another department (I’m hoping it was a promotion since he really deserved it) I was assigned to another lady who reached out once or twice about a year ago. I haven’t heard from her since. Just as I’m loyal to American Airlines, I’m also loyal to the old SPG program. I am trying to embrace Bonvoy. I do say this quite often: I’m so entrenched in the program, starting over makes no sense at this point.
    I still have high hopes for the Bonvoy program but I think Marriott is still experiencing growing pains and has to develop their program, customer service standards and retention plans. I’ve said this before… It’s all about service and program- benefits consistency for each level. A clear definition of the benefits for each level seems a little fuzzy at times and does change from hotel to hotel.
    I will say something to a manager if an item in the room is broken or the room is not as clean as I would expect from a 4-5 star but, I typically don’t say anything otherwise. If the hotel associate is totally checked out or rude, I might make a comment. Otherwise, I’m not sure how good it really does. It’s also not my job to train the associates in politeness or customer service excellence, so I prefer not to get involved.
    Maybe we do need to speak up more often as an Elite Group and dare I say, demand our benefits, for things to change and improve within the program.

  48. Such incredible service… Ambassador… someone says his Ambassador is phenomenal…
    I have Ambassador service form the beginning of 2018. I do nothing: every 2, 3 months I receive a mail (copy-paste) from my “new” assigned ambassador, until now they changed to me 5 or 6 guys… I never heard nothing from them, nor directly, nor noting somethings special at hotels. Two times that I need help from them no answer at all to my email…
    This program tier is a joke…

  49. I have been underwhelmed!

    For a major complaint I got a poor response. When I chased it I was not even provided the decency of a follow up.

    I still use Marriott almost exclusively but frankly I cannot say my experience has been great. Maybe I need Mike!

  50. I have been with the Ambassador program since its very beginning – and have to admit that only the first one was any good. He was fired from the program (probably for crossing the professional tone, as in over friendly), but he moved mountains for me. Ever since then each successive one was less effective. I suspect my current (5th or 6th) Ambassador has way too many clients to deal with. Objectively speaking – and despite the hype and VIP perfume – there is no real tangible benefit to this. No spectacular Ambassador-related upgrades, my Birthdays go unnoticed, so did my 1000th night or any other kind of special occasion. Talking about birthdays, I was amused to receive the following message once, 2 weeks after my birthday:

    “hope you are well. Here just a short note to wish you a belated happy birthday!

    May your year ahead be filled with health and happiness.
    Thank you for your continued loyalty to SPG.”

    If I write my Ambassador, an answer arrives quickly, but my requests are also rather simple. The only time I ever phoned and spoke personally with an Ambassador was during the transition crisis. My Ambassador would never do anything proactive, I am informed of some points deal or so, but the total emails range around 15 per year, many of these are schedule changes in the office time, annual leave notifications and point promotions.

    I would not recommend anyone to make an extra effort to get to the 20,000 or the 100 nights. There was one year in which I stopped traveling briefly and I fell under the 100Th mark so lost the status temporarily. I did not notice the difference. Why? Because mainly, once you write your Ambassador and he or she is not available, the message gets forwarded to someone else, so that anyway there are numerous people who get to deal with our issues. Since I am a lifetime Platinum I guess I should try to gain status somewhere else, but I have been too lazy to do the research, and am used to certain brands. I know now already that I will not achieve the 20,000 spending mark, and I intend to let it go with no regrets. This program needs to be revamped, at this moment, it is merely decorative – like Lufthansa’s “Status Stars”. Here, at least, there is a tacit acceptance that as travel snobs, we relish anything that reeks of special treatment, so LH does not even try to proclaim any practical benefit.

  51. I have not found any value in Ambassador Elite status level. Once this year I want to use the Your24 service because it sounded like a cool concept to me. I wanted to check-in at the hotel at 8:00 a.m. following a 6:00 a.m. international arrival and the hotel declined my Ambassador’s request because the hotel was sold out. I even booked an extra night upon departure so I would not have to check-out at 8:00 a.m. and then cancelled the extra night when the Your24 request was declined by the hotel. However, the hotel pleasantly surprised me and made me really happy with their customer service when upon check-in they gave me a tiny “employee” room (for when staff must stay overnight) until my own room was ready. While the room was small with no windows, it had a bathroom so I could shower, change and rest up before housekeeping had my room ready. But the hotel itself did this and I am not sure if my Ambassador had anything to do with it. Then my second time I called my Ambassador was when I want to change my Suite Nights award for another option and my Ambassador was of no help. Other than the introduction email from my Ambassador, I have never heard from her in six months.

  52. My ambassador has no value. I been lifetime platinum with Marriott for more than 15 years now, with Marriott taking on the ambassador program I’ve been “ambassador” since. I’ve noted no different…didn’t even know who my ambassador was until I have a booking problem on a vacation and received zero help from him or anyone. So it sounds good…but I was happier with just lifetime platinum…now I expect stuff that doesn’t actually happen and it makes me mad hahahahaha. Oh well.

  53. I got to 100 nights and $20 k spending in early July. The Ambassador program is cool. I was on charter member a few years ago.

  54. So far? Pretty much useless; a false promise. They don’t even work weekends, when most everyone does travel planning (like right now). I make all my own reservations and request and arrange any and all upgrades and… free wine? Are you kidding me? (Then again, I bet Marriott’s idea of great wine and my idea of what makes for great wine are wildly divergent… doubt I would ever see a bottle of Caymus when I check in (hint, hint!))

    I have to spend $20,000 and I have to stay 100 nights so Ambassador is not some lofty goal, but achieving it means very little it seems. BTW, Marriott, let’s watch the carbon footprint, shall we? I don’t need a hopelessly cheap computer “case” (foam) and a gigantic cardboard box with tissue paper to send me a single plastic card. We are unimpressed. What will impress us is that we get real, proper service. Bend (way) over backwards service. 24/7 service. Start building out real suites for exceptional customers, even at Fairfield Inns, at least the properties in major cities. Build out concierge lounges at some of the bigger brands like Courtyards. In short, make us feel like less of an idiot for being loyal. I will probably spend $40-50,000 on hotels this year since almost all my stays are in Manhattan (I have paid well over $800 for a single night in a standard king room at a Courtyard!). I have customers and I understand the near impossibility of making everyone happy all the time, but I work – literally – 7 days a week and clients feel free to call me 24/7 knowing I will answer. So naturally I expect that back.

    And Marriott, if you have this many people looking, searching, for a place to leave a (negative) review, your program has some serious issues, yes? – “If you are explaining, you are losing” – Make your “elite” program just so crazy good, so comfortable and self-evident that we go out and encourage business for you. That’s how these programs are supposed to work. You have it all wrong and upside down. A great many of your very best best customers are pissed off. What is your plan to fix it?

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