Marriott Sends Ambassador Members A Gift

Filed Under: Marriott

Marriott’s top tier Ambassador status requires earning 100 elite nights per year, all while spending $20,000. It’s the only Marriott elite tier that has a revenue requirement. Well, Marriott has seemingly just sent out a gift to Ambassador members.

Gift cards for Marriott Ambassador members

Marriott Ambassador members should be receiving an email with some sort of a gift. It appears that:

  • US based Ambassador members are receiving a $100 voucher valid for any of Marriott’s online hotel boutiques
  • Non-US based Ambassador members are receiving a $50 gift card valid for Marriott stays

For those in the US, Marriott has online stores for several brands where you can buy everything from candles to beds.

The voucher is valid for purchases through January 31, 2021, and there’s no minimum spending required to take advantage of this. However, the stores do generally charge at least $20 for shipping — the credit can count towards that, in which case you’d want to spend ~$80 at most to get something for “free.”

As the email to Ambassador members in the US reads:

The holidays are a time to reflect on all we are thankful for and in this trying year, we are especially grateful for you. As an Ambassador Elite member, your business and loyalty mean the world to us.

Please enjoy this $100 gift voucher* to Marriott Bonvoy Boutiques, where you’ll find signature scents, luxurious linens, and curated amenities from your favorite hotels including The Ritz-Carlton®, St. Regis®, Westin®, and more. Simply use your Marriott Bonvoy member number on any of our U.S. retail sites during checkout to apply the credit.

Happy Holidays,
The Ambassador Service Team

I suppose this is a nice gesture, though in fairness, these boutique gift cards essentially seem to be an attempt to generate extra revenue, which is fair enough. This isn’t like a $100 gift card for any Marriott hotel, which an Ambassador member would almost certainly use. Instead it’s a gift card to a boutique, and clearly Marriott hopes people spend more than the $100 when they use it.

It reminds me of the “gift cards” that I occasionally get for having an American Express Platinum, valid at high-end businesses I’ve never heard of. Usually it’s like a $250 gift card, which sounds great, until you realize the cheapest thing being sold costs significantly more than that.

Historically Marriott Ambassadors had sometimes sent out birthday gifts to members, but there hasn’t consistently been a holiday gift.

Marriott’s Ambassador conundrum

Historically the primary benefit of Ambassador status has been access to a dedicated Ambassador who provides personalized assistance. Back in March Marriott largely suspended that service (due to lack of travel), and in August Marriott even laid off quite a few Ambassador agents, presumably in an effort to cut costs.

I’m curious to see how Marriott approaches Ambassador status going forward:

  • While we’ve seen loyalty programs make it significantly easier to earn status this year, Marriott hasn’t at all lowered the $20,000 requirement to earn Ambassador, despite reduced travel and reduced service for Ambassador members
  • Marriott has extended Ambassador status for existing members for a year
  • You’d think Marriott would want to give Platinum and Titanium members an incremental perk to stay with Marriott all while giving a reasonable goalpost for Ambassador status, but it doesn’t seem like that has been a priority

Only time will tell if the program eventually returns to its original form, or what Marriott does with Ambassador status in the future.

Bottom line

Marriott Ambassador members should check their email for a gift from Marriott. It seems like members are in the US are getting a $100 boutique gift card, while others are getting a $50 gift card valid for stays.

If you’re eligible for the $100 boutique gift card you might as well buy something with it, but don’t spend money you wouldn’t have otherwise spent to use this.

What do you think the future of the Marriott Ambassador program will look like? And to existing members, what gift did you receive, and will you use it?

Comments
  1. Well I guess I’m not as valuable an ambassador as you – I only got a 50USD eGiftCard. Still grateful, but it ain’t the same 😉

  2. Ambassador status has been a joke since the 2018 merger of Marriott Reward, Ritz-Carlton Rewards, and SPG for these reasons:

    1) There weren’t enough agents for months once the programs merged.
    2) After SPG was integrated with Marriott’s two legacy programs, there were two classes of ambassador service agents. Legacy SPG and Legacy Marriott. By almost all accounts the legacy SPG agents were better. But regardless personalized welcome amenities based on an ambassador status guest’s preferences seemed to stop overnight.
    3) Breakfast benefit was a joke and never enforced. You had properties infamously telling amabssador guests that a bagel and coffee was the breakfast benefit on the 1 week per year that they redeem points with their wife. Really?
    4) Ignoring breakfast, Marriott never differentiated the benefits between titanium and ambassador. Even now there is largely little incentive, except a marginally better chance at an upgrade, to go for ambassador over titanium.
    5) For non-U.S. customers, the $20,000 threshold for ambassador is very difficult to obtain. You have Marriott brands in Africa and Asia outside of major commercial cities with nightly rates under $50.
    6) Marriott has gutted most of its loyalty program in this pandemic with no breakfast benefits, no daily housekeeping and no dedicated ambassador service agents. Meanwhile, it’s giving away platinum status to anyone who gets a certain credit card. What’s the point of staying with Marriott and genuinely obtaining ambassador status?

  3. Wow. Marriott’s store charges a flat $19.95 shipping fee regardless of item purchased or shipping destination within the U.S. That’s absurd. With my $100 credit I could barely purchase a bath robe for under $100. It came to $99.50.

  4. I’m sure you’re right that they’re hoping people will spend more, but there are still quite a few things that you can get for under $100, so I consider it to be a nice gift and not just a marketing exercise. The Ritz-Carlton store has some fancy chocolates and a lavish-looking cake that probably aren’t worth the sticker price, but for free, sure! Or a robe from most of the brands would also be nice enough, or some of the higher-end toiletry items.

  5. Marriott/Bonvoy should take note fm American Airlines and reward ALL loyal members – even Titanium, Plat and Gold. 🙁

  6. Hit it on the head with the post about the gift card – the $100 seems nice until you see that basically everything outside of toiletries starts at $120+. The $19.95 charge for shipping reduces the gift card to $80 though. Best “value” is buying 7 3-packs of Westin soap. Other than that, this is really just a way to have Marriott force you to spend money..

  7. Will be interesting to see if Marriott can be bothered to update its 2021 qualification guidelines before it’s actually 2021

  8. I’ve been a Elite member for 16 years, earning my Titanium status all from personal stays. It has been difficult wanting to achieve my same status this year with absolutely no benefits to their members. A coffee and sandwich from Starbucks only, not even a daily credit at the on-site restaurants. The only thing I’m working towards is my Lifetime status. Marriott needs to do better for their members.

  9. Received mine this morning. I think it’s a pretty nice gesture. Plenty of items throughout the stores under $100. Agree that shipping price is frustrating, but still a nice deal. While I don’t typically look a gift horse in the mouth, it is certainly better than what American did this week. I’m a Concierge Key on AA, and received a whopping 2,000 miles for a gift. There’s a certain line you cross where such a gift becomes insulting, and they crossed that line at warp speed with that gift. Kudos to Marriott!

  10. Ambassador is an odd set of requirements. I spend $25,000 a year at Marriott, though because about $15,000 of that is on meetings / banquets (albeit for 100% owned LLC), Marriott recognizes the points earned from that spend, but does NOT count that towards Ambassador level recognition. That’s a hole in the Ambassador program as the banquet spend comes with a whole set of room nights from attendees. In total, the overall revenue number has to be in the $50-70k range. With fewer folks traveling in 2021 (for sure) and likely into 2022, they might get some loyalty lift from addressing that.

    Then again, at 2,100 Lifetime nights, they know I’m not leaving.

  11. @Zach: Check the Courtyard store. You can get four packs of plates for under $70. They’re actually quite nice plates — very designer-esque. They claim they’re using in the Courtyard Bistros but I’ve never seen anything that nice.

    @TBN: I’m in the same boat. Marriott after the August 2018 merger of the loyalty programs re-launched the meetings component, which previously as Rewarding Events under Marriott Rewards was greatly abused with people renting a boardroom for 90 minutes and then getting 10 elite-qualifying nights. Marriott forgot about the revenue component when the current meetings component of Bonvoy was adopted. Pre-pandemic, I was spending $100,000-$125,000 per year in corporate board meetings at Marriott branded hotels on top of $20-$25,000 in spend for my own rooms. I’m sure there’s people who spend far more that but I think $150,000 in spend is respectable. I never got anything. You think maybe a senior vice president of sales might have called me and at least hit me up for further business. Never happened. In 4 years I did $500,000 in meetings at a good dozen properties: Ritz-Carlton, Marriott, and Renaissance. You think a property’s sales manager might regularly follow-up to try and get my business to return. Outside of one property, which I’ve rewarded with 5 consecutive events, I’ve never been routinely pitched by properties or parent ownership groups. Really quite amazing.

  12. Well I was planning on buying the St. Regis towel set and bath mat in the next month or so, so I’ll gladly take $100 off of that purchase now.

  13. @Ben
    It seems the 100 USD online shop voucher is for North America, those of us who are ambassador members in the rest of the world is getting the 50 USD hotel gift card.

  14. I’ve been ambassador for a year and even with covid going on, I still managed to hit the 20k and have 370 nights in 2years……I still have yet to receive any gift card in my email, not 50, not 100……and to be honest I didn’t care as much about that as I did the perks….or at least the dream and idea of actually receiving the kind of perks that I once foolishly believed came with such a title. THE ONLY PERK I have yet to experience is 1 that comes with being silver elite……mobile key and check in. I see more and more that anyone under titanium, especially in nyc, la, dc, and other major cities…..are not able to do the mobile check In due to all of the fraud and data leaks, etc… however, if your platinum, titanium, and especially ambassador…..they do honor it still with little to no issues. That and maybe an upgrade but that’s only due to the properties being 15-35% full on a good night……You would think that with a 25% on average median of customers who are staying….to have a loyal elite member there, there might be something they could do to at least give you the feeling that they go above and beyond for their loyal guests.

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