Official: Marriott Bonvoy Launches February 13, 2019

Marriott merged their three loyalty programs in August 2018, meaning that benefits have been aligned across Marriott Rewards, Ritz-Carlton Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest.

However, they decided to wait until early 2019 to introduce a new name for the combined loyalty program, and they’ve now made that official announcement.

Marriott Bonvoy is Marriott’s new loyalty program

Marriott Bonvoy is Marriott’s new loyalty program, and it will be launched on February 13, 2019. As of that date it will be featured across all customer touch-points, and in late February they’ll launch a multi-million-dollar global media campaign about the program.

As of that date, Marriott Rewards, Ritz-Carlton Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest will be retired.

As you might expect, Marriott Rewards Moments and SPG Moments (the experiences marketplaces) will become Marriott Bonvoy Moments.

Here’s the new Marriott Bonvoy logo:

For the time being no benefits will be changing, but rather this is just a branding change. Marriott says that they “do plan more innovation for the future.”

If you’ve been reading the blog then the Bonvoy name shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, as this was leaked several weeks ago:

What Marriott says about the new Bonvoy branding

Marriott Bonvoy is taking World of Hyatt’s lead here in terms of trying to make this not just a loyalty program, but rather a platform for something bigger. Here’s how Marriott’s CCO described the new program:

“Marriott Bonvoy marks an evolution in travel because it represents more than a loyalty program. Marriott Bonvoy is a travel program designed to bring to life our extraordinary portfolio of global brands in 129 countries and territories, while also providing endless inspiration for members to keep traveling and pursuing their passions.”

Then here’s how the new logo is described:

“Represented by a simple, bold and modern logo, Marriott Bonvoy is welcoming and optimistic. Our 120 million members have access to the world’s leading hotel portfolio at the best room rates and member benefits, as well our collection of Moments experiences that bring exploration and discovery of the world to the forefront.”

Well, I mean, I will give them that the logo is simple.

New Marriott Bonvoy Titanium & Bonvoy Ambassador status

This also doesn’t come as much of a surprise, but Marriott will be rebranding their two highest elite tiers.

Marriott will maintain Silver, Gold, and Platinum Elite, but:

  • Platinum Premier Elite will become Titanium Elite
  • Platinum Premier Elite with Ambassador will become Ambassador Elite

I don’t really get it (at all), since titanium is a less precious metal than platinum, but…

I suspect this will be good news for those who are Titanium and Ambassador members, since they’re truly differentiating the tier names, so if nothing else it will force front desk employees to realize the difference between tiers.

At the same time, that’s not good news for 50-night Platinum members, since Platinum more obviously becomes third tier status, at least in name.

Bottom line

Truth be told, I don’t really get why Marriott decided to rebrand their loyalty program. I think Marriott Rewards is a much better name, not to mention they’re giving up a lot of brand recognition. Now they’re going to have to spend a lot of money on advertising the new program.

My guess is that Marriott did this for a couple of reasons:

  • Companies seem to think millennials want loyalty program names that go beyond loyalty programs, like how Hyatt Gold Passport became World of Hyatt (because apparently we don’t want to register for a loyalty program, but rather register for a more purposeful life)
  • They probably did this to make SPG members feel more included, and like we were joining a new combined program that took the best of both worlds, rather than being merged into the Marriott program

Regarding the second point, the issue is that branding only goes so far. As a former SPG loyalist what I want is a program that offers consistent benefits and execution across all brands, and a seamless experience. I’m not getting that, and it’s not because of what the program is named.

What do you make of the new Marriott Bonvoy branding?

Comments

  1. After 20 years I have left SPG, no Marriott Chef Boyardee for me! Hyatt and Hilton have my business along with independent properties. All good, although I’m sure I’ll stay at the odd Marriott Boyardee property from time to time…but overall all ready done.

    I know many others that have left and will not return.

  2. @lucky, as long as they don’t devalue, again, the 7 day certs that were issued last August. They ca call it whatever they want.

  3. And I thought World of Hyatt was bad. It would have been much easier (not to mention a better name) to use something like Marriott Preferred Guest. Whatever consultant Marriott hired should be publicly shamed.

  4. From a marketing perspective, this entire merger has been a complete disaster. I’ve switched as well. Just going to use up my 750k points and move to independent properties mostly.

  5. I would say lipstick on a pig, but this is not even nice lipstick.

    I wonder if this is a deliberate strategy by the consultants who came up with the Bonfire name. In a couple of years I could see them pitching to marriott that they really need a name that is more authentic/real which better describes the program interaction for the customer……maybe something like ‘rewards’ or ‘preferred guest’

    Better to spend the money fixing the current mess

  6. I agree that it was supposed to be an olive branch to the SPG folk, but Bonvoy sounds like a mascot instead of a loyalty program.

  7. So I had a Marriott Rewards account and an SPG account. In the merger, they both got new numbers and all the merged activity ended up in the former SPG account, which I still access with the SPG app.

    Will that just become a Bonvoy app? Will the account number change again?

  8. Call it “Marriott Preferred Guest” and then you have a cool acronym, you tie back to the (great) SPG, and you don’t have anyone making fun of your crappy new name. Done.

  9. It’s worth noting that the same outside agency that designed the World of Hyatt logo did Marriott Bonvoy.

  10. The changing of the elite status names is important because most of the hotels after August didn’t understand or didn’t care to understand the difference between platinum, platinum premier and platinum premier ambassador. They viewed all of these distinct statuses as the same, which resulted in many guests with platinum premier or platinum premier ambassador
    statuses not getting upgrades. Of course, the bigger problem is Marriott still isn’t defining the key elite status benefits, such as breakfast, in a way that forces consistent delivery. There are too many properties cheating and refusing to provide breakfast or providing a breakfast that’s below the quality that one gets at a Fairfield Inn.

  11. “After 20 years I have left SPG, no Marriott Chef Boyardee for me! Hyatt and Hilton have my business along with independent properties. All good, although I’m sure I’ll stay at the odd Marriott Boyardee property from time to time…but overall all ready done.”

    +1 got my new Hilton Amex card and it’s sayonara to Chef Boyardee

  12. Anyone knows when the night credits for credit card holders will post? My account numbers are still messed up… What a nightmare!

  13. As an almost millennial (off by 1 year), I hate that every s**t marketing program with no significant thought is discarded as “millennial.”

    Maybe they just went cheap on marketing, and hired a recent graduate from a MBA program with minimal oversight. Maybe it was a consulting firm and spent too much money on it, so they couldn’t rationalize discarding their recommendation. Maybe suffered groupthink when discussing with execs. There are a whole bunch of valid reasons for this to be done badly, rather than this being a “millennial strategy.”

    We will probably find out more in a HBR post-mortem in a few years.

  14. @Nick Thomas,

    Is that true? Someone else hired them after the disaster of the hideous World of Hyatt logo?

    If that’s the case Marriott deserves every bit of ridicule they get, and that agency deserves to go out of business….

  15. @Nick Thomas: would you call that a logo? A bunch of letters with the “O” in superscript and underlined ? A kindergartner could do that in 30 seconds but I can guarantee you Marriott paid a fortune for this agency to do it for them.

  16. If Marriott has millions to burn, I’m happy to take some of that off their hand as opposed to them wasting it on an ad campaign which they’ll only have to rebrand in 2-3 years once they realize how big of a disaster this is.

  17. I agree with the general view that this is dumb.

    That said, I doubt that Marriott is somehow “giving up a lot of brand recognition” in the process. The brand people recognize is Marriott. I don’t even think I’ve ever heard a non-employee use their full loyalty program name. As long as “Marriott” is in the program name, I can’t see them losing much in terms of brand recognition.

  18. Cause we got a great big Bonvoy
    Rockin through the night
    Yeah we got a great big Bonvoy
    Ain’t she a beautiful sight?
    Come on and join our Bonvoy
    Ain’t nothin’ gonna get in our way
    We gonna roll this truckin Bonvoy
    ‘Cross the USA
    Bonvoooooooooy!

  19. It looks like orange and brown are prominent. Are we in Cleveland yet? Personally, I find that combination to be especially ugly. (The color brown is most closely associated with one thing and that is poop.) It all screams Thanksgiving with pumpkins. I suppose all Marriott properties will be “updated” to feature state-of-the-art shag brown carpeting and orange furniture. Groovy man! Let’s leave the Brady Bunch in the 1970’s.

    But, I agree with Lucky. It’s the program specifics that matter the most whatever you call it or however you color it. I love the SPG purple and I will miss it. Long live the color purple.

  20. I don’t hate the name Bonvoy, but I don’t get it either.

    Both Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest give you an idea what their purpose was — that they are loyalty programs. Bonvoy doesn’t do that. A name like Bonvoy makes sense, only if Marriott wants to spin it and monetize the program (and we all know how that’s worked out).

    But it’s all lipstick on a pig unless they fix the merger mess that they created. And right now, they publicly don’t think there are issues.

  21. I like seemingly many other 25+ year SPG loyalists have been let down in this process it seems. I tried to get some assistance from guest services to carry forward my 10 Suite Upgrades for the next 12 months given I had been incapacitated for the past 6 months and thus didn’t get an opportunity to use them. After several emails to get David Flueck’s email address, and many lame excuses, I gave up…. On a quick calculation, I’d say I have spend in the order of $500k over the years, which seemingly counts for nothing…… not to mention my loyalty to the brand…

  22. Like the new status for Plat Premier, but it will be a little strange when you check in and the desk clerk says ” thank you for being a Titanium member”. Maybe a bit of a tongue twister, but then your higher status will hopefully be recognized.

  23. As a Marketing ‘professional’ this rebrand is at 1st and even 2nd glance a dumpster fire. They have made a serious error here and this will be taught in business schools as an example of how to royally mess up a rebranding. It’s simply does not make sense no matter how hard I take their point of view.
    The CMO (or next level down probably) will inevitably soon be ‘leaving to spend more time with my family’.
    D-

  24. As if World of a Hyatt wasn’t bad enough, this whole Bonvoy thing is beyond awful. I’ve been fiercely loyal to Marriott up till recently and given my and that of my team members all our travel business. I used to hover between gold (50+ nights a year) and platinum under the old Rewards scheme. But with the devaluation of Gold to not include Lounge or breakfast and I’m sure now even less chances of a room upgrade, and this beyond awful name I’ve had enough of Marriott. I’m going to be a Hilton or occasionally Hyatt loyalist now. I’m Gold with Hilton and find so far they’ve treated me very well on all my stays. So long Marriott, and your beyond sucky program name.

  25. @Tony Williams – did you ever get an actual reply from the executives that you emailed ? It seems that a lot of emails to execs ended with no replies or a response (or call) from consumer affairs folks .

  26. Hi Maxine, sadly the exchange lasted for about two weeks of me asking for the Loyalty Directors email address, and I was punted to a supervisor, then a senior supervisor, but then silence…

  27. It’s because of stupid changes like this that Hyatt doesn’t feel the need to offer a Q1 promotion. They already know Marriott and especially SPG loyalists are jumping ship, so why incentivize.

  28. On the logo or name topic only: Who cares the new name or logo? Hreat they went through somenfocus groups, paid a fee to a marketing company and came to a decision. Some like function, some like form; people will always argue about perceived (or real) erosion or changes. I do not doubt that there have been (un)expected changes as a result of merger & acquisition activity…

    Look at the “top” 100 companies’ logos and see if it makes your pants wet enough to choose one over another. Probably go further down to non-direct-to-consumer businesses and you will mostly see block text, different fonts and color variations only.

    If someone is arguing that they are staying less at Hyatt because their moving object loyalty program has a laughable name, it does not seem like a very rational decision.

  29. I agree – the colors scream 1970. What’s with the little underlined ‘o’? It’s off putting. Bon Jovi + Oy vey = Bonvoy. From a subliminal standpoint, having the capital letter ‘n’ so close the the underlined ‘o’ suggests the abbreviation for number. Interesting choice. I don’t like what they’re implying by that. I’d be curious to know what this brain fart cost them.

  30. Combine my Marriott Platinum Lifetime stays earned twice over with Starwood lifetime once over, and I get Bonvoy?

    Could have done better. At least Hilton’s rename made sense. They switched from HHonirs to Honors. Paid 100k for that consulting gig, with 10M by comparison.

  31. I don’t care about the rebranding name. It still has Marriott in it, and that’s what is important.

    The mistakes though that are being made are pretty big. However, I am not going to jump ship because I actually like the hotels I stay at. If this year it turns out I have to chase nights/points for each stay, yeah I’ll think about it. But really only happened to 2 of my stays and the last one was such a mess, and after 2hrs on the phone, I decided just to move on. It isn’t worth my time for the 20k points they owe me.

    My suggestion: if you do a lot of nights at a specific hotel, get to know the management. Talk to them before you arrive and ask if there are upgrades available. Individual hotels will actually reward those who stay with them regularly if they can. Sometimes, they actually can’t due to all the suites being bought out already. (Actually happened to a friend of mine. He stays at a specific hotel at least 30-60 days a year and always gets suites. However, they had a conference at the hotel the week he wanted to stay and all the suites were booked. He went to another Marriott property 10 mins away and got a suite – he is Ambassador. He gets suites 9/10 times he stays at properties and most of that is being proactive and asking for upgrades.)

    I find Hilton and Hyatt don’t have the amount of coverage where I want to stay that Marriott does, especially for the range of price points Marriott does. If Marriott isn’t working for you, show them with your wallet.

  32. I have been an SPG member for 15 years, but I never really established loyalty until 4 years ago. Since then I have been a Platinum Preferred Guest with the last two years having Ambassador Service. I agree that in the past chains haven’t seemed to acknowledge how much I actually spend on their hotels compared to other guests. Though in the last year, I would say that I’ve gotten more recognition at the hotel with many staff acknowledging I had Ambassador Service. My tier just got downgraded as of Feb 1 to Platinum Elite. During the transition I felt the change in quality of the Ambassador Service and response time. It has little value if I can’t send an email and expect a response back within half a day to a day.

  33. Just as a data point: I just had my first stay (at Marriott Marquise) as a newly baptized Titanium member (previously Platinum Premier). I was greeted as a … Platinum member, as before. I mean Platinum, not Platinum Premier.

    So no recogntion of Titanium. Neither better, nor worse, than before … Front desk simply couldn‘t care less … You get one level room upgrade and lounge access, that‘s it. Regardless what your status happens to be called on a particular day.

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