Marriott Bonvoy Introduces New Mobile App

Filed Under: Marriott, Travel Technology

Marriott Bonvoy has this week rolled out a new mobile app. In this post I wanted to talk a bit about what has changed, and share my take.

What has changed with the new Marriott Bonvoy app?

Marriott claims that the new mobile app offers a more intuitive and personalized experience, with new booking options, enhanced customizations for contactless experiences, and tailored ways to earn and redeem points beyond free night redemptions.

What’s new with the refreshed Marriott Bonvoy mobile app? As the company describes it:

  • New Shopping and Booking Options: Homes & Villas by Marriott International home rentals, Work Anywhere with Marriott Bonvoy day, stay and play passes, and Marriott Bonvoy Tours & Activities, are all now available through in-app browsing
  • More Customization During the Stay: Improvements and additions to mobile requests and mobile key enable members to get more from their experience and choose to minimize contact and better maintain social distance:
    • Mobile Key, available at over 4,000 properties, is now accessible on the home screen once checked in
    • Mobile Requests now contains more one-touch-buttons so users can order a crib, shoeshine, and dry cleaning, along with bath towels, pillows, bath products and more, as well as the ability to chat directly with hotel staff
  • Making it Easier for Members to Earn Points: Members can capitalize on points promotions relevant to them on the home screen and their account page, providing members access to tailored Marriott Bonvoy American Express and Chase limited time offers, as well as access to points promotions with Eat Around Town and Hertz
  • Increased Functionality for Non-Members: While nearly a million people used the app to become members in 2020, those not ready to join for free can still search and book stays easier than before
  • Updated Searching & Booking with New, Dynamic Map: Users can search and book accommodations by hotel brand, destination, price or points needed for a free night’s stay
  • And More Improvements for the Frequent App Users:
    • Updated Marriott Bonvoy account profile page highlighting personalized promotions, on-property benefits to take advantage of during stays, and full account activity
    • Member numbers can be copied and pasted onto other web-based forms
    • FaceID and TouchID automatically engages after the first login
    • Room numbers will now appear on the home screen

My take on the new Marriott Bonvoy app

Let me first acknowledge that I’m a pretty low tech guy. I use travel apps constantly, and my appreciation for them is based on how easy they are to use, rather than them being super fancy and having a bunch of features I may or may not need.

The new Bonvoy app looks reasonably nice, though to be honest I thought the old one looked nice as well.

In theory the ability to request services during Marriott stays with the push of a button also seems like a nice feature.

All of this sounds great on paper (or on your phone, I suppose. The issue is that these features need to be seamless and functional in practice, backed up by service at hotels.

As a Bonvoy elite member I love the concept of checking in through the app, though unfortunately:

  • Most Marriott properties aren’t great about proactive upgrades, so I feel like I have to check-in at the desk in order to have any chance of a decent upgrade
  • Marriott doesn’t let you select your welcome amenity through the app, so if I want breakfast or points, I need to tell them at the front desk

For Marriott’s most frequent guests, mobile check-in is quite useless, in my experience (or am I in the minority in feeling this way?).

Then it’s also great that you can make all kinds of requests at hotels with the push of a single button, rather than having to write out requests. The problem is that there’s a huge difference between what Marriott promises and what it delivers when it comes to even the basic chat feature.

If a hotel doesn’t respond to my request in a timely manner, there’s no value to me in this kind of service, regardless of whether I have to push a button or type out a sentence.

Bottom line

Marriott Bonvoy has a new mobile app. In addition to it being completely redesigned visually, in theory it’s also supposed to be better for mobile check-in, keyless room entry, and for making requests while on-property.

The problem is that the value of so many of these features relies on hotels actually delivering the way Marriott promises, and that’s a real struggle, in my experience.

What do you make of the new Marriott Bonvoy mobile app? What do you like, and what don’t you like?

  1. It’s a little off topic, but I’m re-upping a question I posted earlier in the hope that someone knows the answer:

    What happens if you reach a new tier during a stay? Will Bonvoy give you partial credit you at the new level or will they apply the status you have at check-in for the whole stay?

  2. I don’t get the new nights YTD counter. It seems like bad design to make the next milestone (100 nights) look much farther away, proportionally, than it is?

  3. My experience with mobile service requests while already in a hotel has been universally terrible. Unless someone is monitoring constantly, they don’t get the action a phone call would.

  4. Hyatt is the only hotel group sleigh a decent app.
    Or decent service.
    Or great points program.

    That’s why I stay Hyatt!!

  5. I completely agree Lucky – as helpful as the mobile app might be, I still always feel the need at check-in to go to the front desk as Marriott isn’t great at automatic upgrades and to clarify my welcome amenity.

    The new app is slick enough, but it almost feels like it’s got more ads on it, more ways for Marriott to present us with more ways to spend money.

  6. Yes! I’m SO excited as a close to lifetime Platinum member to see that during these trying times, Marriott is investing so much into the RIGHT parts of the customer experience, like an updated app. (/scarcasm)

  7. They removed the specific detail about parking like price or if complimentary. It only tells you “on-site parking”. It’s a negative change imo

  8. @Aaron – lol.
    @Hank – Hyatt does do this – on a recent stay, I checked in as Explorist, left a Globalist and they gave me the Globalist point bonus. May have been different as I had a long stay (26 nights) but worked

  9. Seriously – mobile/online check is universally pointless.

    100+ nights a year in hotels pre-COVID. I’ve literally never used online/mobile check-in at any hotel regardless of chain.

  10. QUESTION for anyone w/ lifetime status: Log into the new app > Tap on ‘Account’ in the bottom right > Select ‘View Progress’ next to your lifetime status. At the top, you’ll one progress bar for ‘Nights Stayed’ and another one for ‘Years as Gold Elite or Higher.’ Then at the bottom, you’ll see a section called ‘Your Lifetime Statistics’ to see your yearly count at each level. On my end, the top progress bar for ‘Years as Gold Elite or Higher’ shows a count of “6.” However, the ‘Lifetime Statistics’ at the bottom shows my ‘Years as Gold or Platinum’ count as “8.” >> Anyone else seeing a discrepancy in the count? // Thanks for making this post Lucky!

  11. I used the new app for mobile check-in and mobile key this week. Major fail on the last day – in the morning (as in 6 am) mobile key disappears and is replaced by a mobile check-out. Not very helpful if you step out of your room to get a quick coffee, or to clear snow off your car.

  12. Favorite bit about the Bonvoy app was the display full pricing part. Absolutely hate it when I am quoted a rate without tax and gratuities. I want to know the full figure upfront, fullstop. Hope the others provide such flexibility as well.

  13. @Joe12:
    2 Marriott Credit cards (each 15 nights credit) + 50% of your 2020 spent nights as bonus in 2021 (the “Boys” were in Turkey and Germany for a while at Marriott properties!) and pretty quick you have 0.-$ spent in 2021, but got already 74 qualifying nights! 😉

    Looks like you need to read more of his posts and sometime “useful” hints!
    I need to THANK Ben for the B E S T recommendation ever i saw on this site.

    The EDITION Bodrum, wow that place blew me away, maybe because of the BEST staff ever there or the 90% male staff there and really 1 more character then the next or the Greek tough Beach lady . . . i would have never booked it IF the “Boys” would have not wrote about it, just 2 weeks before i went.
    It’s often worth it . . . reading it ALL 😉

  14. My biggest issue with mobile keys that makes it mostly useless to me is that I’m usually staying in a hotel with other people, and I’m not sure I’ve seen any (other than maybe Disney World) that let you share the access to the room to other people. As a result, you need physical keys at the front desk anyways.

    That on top of the upgrade issues brought up above, not useful for me most of the time either (but the first part is more critical for me).

    Mind you the one place it can be useful if the upgrade isn’t an issue – if there is a long line to check it, if you can check in/get your key in the app, you can deal with any other issues like extra keys or issues when the desk is less busy.

  15. It’s yet another Bonfire(TM) dumpster fire, driven by the marketing team.

    Same issues as everyone else. Mobile Check-in usually means no upgrade, if the hotel even gets it. Messaging/requesting services via the app during the stay is useless. Mobile key is more miss than hit. I’ve only had 2 properties where it actually worked at all and even then there were issues with it suddenly not working.

  16. Little off topic, but anyone know at what point the lifetime years update in the app? Just qualified for platinum again, at what point in the year will I see the number change?

  17. @Mark Reese I see the same difference as you in my lifetime years in status count. Before the app change it showed 7 years in Gold or higher. Now it shows 5, but below in the details as you mentioned, it shows 7 years there. I’m guessing this is another wonderful Marriott IT data issue.

  18. @Neil Hare – I appreciate the reply (and great to know what I’m seeing isn’t an isolated thing)! I sent Marriott a support message and they replied saying the original count was still accurate. So in your case, you’d still have the 7 years … not 5. Likely some error within the app to be corrected at a later date.

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