Marriott Bonvoy’s “Surprise And Delight” Campaign For Elite Members

Filed Under: Marriott

Marriott’s new Bonvoy program probably hasn’t been quite as well received as the company was hoping.

Marriott CEO has called dissatisfaction surrounding the program “noise around the edges,” though I think many would disagree, as the term “bonvoyed” has taken on a whole different meaning.

That being said, we should give them credit where it’s due, and I have to commend Marriott for at least trying a “surprise and delight” campaign. Frequent Miler outlines a memo that was sent out to hotels regarding two initiatives that Marriott is undertaking.

The problem with a company the size of Marriott is that stuff like this will always leak, meaning it won’t be much of a “surprise and delight” for many, but inevitably will lead to disappointment for some when they don’t get it. Personally I wouldn’t view it like that, though, and commend Marriott for what they’re trying.

So what’s the program they’re working on?

A very cool promotion for Ambassador Elite members

Ambassador Elite is Marriott’s top tier status, which requires 100 elite nights plus $20,000 of spend per year.

Between April 22 and July 31, 2019, Marriott will be surprising select Ambassador Elite members staying using points. Those who are targeted for this will receive:

  • A “personalized letter” from their personal Ambassador and Marriott’s SVP of Global Loyalty
  • Points refunded for one night of their stay
  • At the hotel’s discretion, an elevated welcome amenity

Surprise and delight Marriott gift cards

Starting May 1, 2019 (with no specific end date), certain elite members will receive an electronic Marriott gift card via email. We don’t know how many people will receive gift cards, but these will be delivered by email, and will be unrelated to any particular stays.

Update: there are now some reports of members receiving $30-50 gift cards.

Bottom line

Obviously this doesn’t solve all the problems that many members have had with the Bonvoy program. However, I think Marriott at least deserves some credit for trying to do something special for members.

In the age of the internet there really is no such thing as “surprise and delight,” though. As stuff like this gets shared online, subconsciously many people can’t help but be disappointed if they’re not targeted.

While we’re still a bit over a week from the first part of this being launched, please report back if you are the recipient of either of these initiatives!

  1. I doubt anyone will be surprised or delighted when (at the discretion of the hotel) the elevated welcome amenity is an extra bottle of water (once per stay of course) and your 12,500 points for one night returned. Seriously Marriott?

    I think this campaign is going to be just another fail in the long list of fails since Marriott overpaid for SPG.

  2. Sorry, no credit deserved here. When you lower the bar so much that you have to give small apology gifts, that’s not really going above and beyond

  3. So I’m a 2018, 73 nighter platinum or whatever they call it this week. So no joy for me after they stole (Bonvoyed) 3 nights of credit from me at the end last year that prevented me from the next level of status and side benefits such as United Silver. Nice.

  4. Yawn
    Instead of a great promotion that is broad based to kick off Bonfire with free nights after so many nights or stays
    Remember SPG ? Three stays got a free weekend night
    Ignore all 100 plus million members while giving Ambassadors some points that are as valuable as a Peso with Bonfires recent and upcoming devaluations
    Hope Ambasadors enjoy their extra bottle of Marriott branded water
    I’ll be at Hyatt Hilton and others most of the time
    Signed a lowly Titanium who like many others not worthy
    I loved Starwood back in the day but I forget how much I hate the low quality and boring stale standard of the actual Marriott brand
    I will avoid at all costs unless as good as the Marriott Hong Kong Airport or similar exceptions that are actual respectable

  5. “Surprise and Delight” is a stop gap at best.

    Since finishing lifetime plat last year, Hyatt has picked up 65 nights and two conferences that before would have been earmarked for spg properties.

    “Blocking and Tackling” would be a much better campaign. Create consistent good value for your best customers. Adding a spend component is fine to prevent $39.99 hotel runs allowing full benefits to a swanky lounge. But make sure there is a value proposition beyond just having a footprint.

    Marriott will write down goodwill associated with the Starwood acquisition.

  6. This sounds like more evidence that Marriott’s numbers show a drop in customers, at least top level elites. Between DOUBLE NIGHTS, DOUBLE POINTS for all stays, DOUBLE POINTS for all meetings and events, and now THIS, it’s beginning to look like there’s fire where there is smoke.

  7. How about not Walking Ambassador Elites – let’s start simple.

    These folks seemingly have no idea what it is like to be a customer

  8. Different surprise and delight though credit due to the St. Regis as they did remedy it.
    Stayed recently and they totally messed up with my spouse and teenager, and offered in their words (guess this is where Marriott got it from) to ‘Surprise and delight’ them. It arrived the next day. A cheese selection. You can imagine how that went down with my teenager 🙂

    After, in good humor, asking the front desk manager how high they thought cheese was on the list of what a teenager wants, they remedied by bringing chocolate.

  9. I’m definitely not a frequent traveler and by no means have even a fraction of the experience with marriott, hilton, hyatt etc as most of you.

    But I must say I was impressed with Marriott how they addressed an issue on my last stay.

    We stayed with my family at a courtyard (reward night) prior to flying out early the next morning on vacation. In the morning, no one was able to use the shower – it was either boiling hot or freezing cold – no proper mixing.

    I mentioned this to the front desk and she initially offered free snacks from the marketplace (i know, hilarious!). I said I would rather get half my points refunded as a fair compensation since a morning shower before a flight is a significant reason to get the room in the first place.

    She said she would have to make a note of this request and have a supervisor authorize it.

    By the next day, I got a message on my bonvoy app that 6,250 points were refunded.

    Sure, it would have been perfect if the front desk didn’t try to bribe me with cookies, but if you put a little bit of effort into complaining, I realized that people generally get what they ask.

    I often find myself way too passive in these situations at hotels, restaurants etc. and now I’ve learned my lesson.

  10. Still somehow an Ambassador despite falling way short of the spend last year. Have moved all my paid stays over to Hyatt (loving it), but I do have 120K in points in 6 nights next month w/Marriott (legacy SPG properties of course where I know I’ll get better service). Will be interesting if I am one of the selected, but it’s not changing my behavior at all.

    Nothing short of change at the very top would suggest to me Marriott gets it.

  11. I’ve stayed over 3000 nights at Marriott’s over my career and now when I try to book a room they don’t even know who I am – sad that my loyalty over the years means absolutely nothing. Good luck to all of you starting your careers and understand that Loyalty is no longer part of the game.

  12. I did find a double elite nights promotion in the app saying that it was targeted to me. A cool feature was that it was for 3 months but the clock doesn’t start until I register, so I can hold onto it for later in the year when I may have more Marriott stays. Given the 15 nights from the CC, this promotion should help me get to my 9th year of Platinum easier on my way to Lifetime Plat.

    Also, for some reason I was given Titanium this year even though I only qualified for Platinum. I have been getting an extra bump the last couple years in status. It appears to be a soft landing but I never really come down 😉

  13. Does anyone know who their ambassador is? I haven’t heard from anyone since 2 months before the merger. My spg ambassador’s old email doesn’t work anymore.

  14. Oh how I long for the days past being a SPG elite. I fired Marriott years ago after achieving Platinum status for their multiple failed attempts at customer service, moving my business to SPG, and never looked back. Imagine my horror when the acquisition was announced. Marriott has failed miserably from the integration of two programs (missing stays, future stays and suite night awards cancelled with no explanation, months of emails, telephone calls, and fighting to get everything straightened out. Point devaluations, elite status devaluation, the list goes on.

    Signed a Lifetime Titanium Elite looking at my options.

  15. Lifetime Marriott Platinum, then Lifetime SPG Platinum…now Bonvoy Titanium?? Difference is shocking. Property portfolio increase is amazing, but the cost in loyalty and treatment and basic respect is tragic. And the property point valuations are horrible. Sorry, but I can’t jump ship like so many of you (difficult to get to start over and get to 1700+ nights with a NEW program).

    So what is there to do? How do you make it workable, if not like SPG of old? It is a huge disappointment if you stay in, how do you cut thru the bs and use the program to it’s max?

  16. some simple things define your quality of service. I sent an email to Marriott asking if Marriott Lyon has connecting rooms so I can book 2 rooms for my family, a month pasted, no reply. Meanwhile I sent an email to Hilton asking the same question on Hilton Athens, just answer in a few hours. I have status in both but guess where I will give priority.

  17. Let me guess: you got a free trip to Hong Kong on Bonvoy and now you are starting to write subtly positive posts?

  18. Hey idiots suggesting Marriott bought off Lucky with a trip to HK – go back and read his good ethics post last week. Even if they did offer (which I’m sure they did), he wouldn’t accept it.

    SMH at trolls sometimes.

  19. Was SPG Platinum last year and Platinum this year, switched to Hyatt and currently sitting on 42 nights on my way to Globalist. Heads and shoulders better program especially given Hyatt Prive opportunities and realistic redemption rates. Plus with additional of Two Roads and others it’s a no brainer for me. As for customer service absolutely no comparison. Had a 2 night stay at Andaz W Hollywood. The second night was interrupted by protests outside. I made a comment in passing when I checked out about it and less than 24 hours later was credited 20,000 points in my account for the inconvenience.

  20. It was a real “Surprise ” to see a “Concierge Lounge closed until April 22” sign at the elite check in desk at JW Grand Rapids Michigan this weekend with no mention to us prior to arrival. Their staff were the “delight” but not enough to overcome the lounge surprise.

  21. I’ve been a happy and loyal Marriott Rewards member for nearly 20 years. I’ve stayed at a Marriott property for every business trip I’ve ever taken. I even convinced my brother and two of my sisters to enroll in the program since I’ve been such a fan of theirs for so long. When I went to book my last trip, it felt as if I was a brand new customer to them – no personalized greeting, no documentation of my previous activity. I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt, for now – but come on, Marriott – you’ve got to meet me half way here.

  22. How about crediting the bonus points from 2018 Q4 Megabonus before launching new, exciting promotions. I’m so Bonvoyed with them!

  23. @ You’ve been “bonvoyed”

    After the merger in August – the App and the website version no longer showed the name & contact info of my long-time Ambassador. I mentioned it to her in a phone conversation and she said they were aware of this problem and the IT folks at Marriott were working on it. Luckily I had her info saved in my contacts. Then when Bonvoy launched – still nothing. You would think that by offering this “special service” to their most frequent and loyal guests – this would be placed on one’s profile – NO!

    Ambassadors (employees not members) on the former SPG side are VERY fed up with having their hands tied and sadly many have left. The Marriott side is on a learning curve. I realize that there is a learning curve here. Marriott should INVEST in TRAINING hotels about the program and what loyalty is. If they really care about the bottom line looking forward – they will come to realize that loyalty DOES count for something.

    Another realization is that SPG treated their members VERY well whereas Marriott’s service standards were not as high…so naturally they are surprised or shocked since they don’t know better.

  24. No credit deserved here. This is damage control and not even very good recovery. Marriott has lowered the bar so much that some will fall for this, but let’s remember the original SPG Ambassador Program had ‘elevated’ amenities a.k.a. surprise and delight treats and personal greetings on EVERY stay.

  25. The campaign is so meager, that you get that feeling you have been bonyvoyed, after being bonvoyed before by Marriott.

  26. Ben u are crazy Marriott falls so short of the old SPG it is not Funny. It’s great when I select to stay at a Marriott for the lounge access and my welcome gift is, ” Our lounge closes every Friday morning at 9am and re opens Monday, oh if u want a bottle of water grab one over there.” BONVOYED again. I am about to say Bon Voyage to Marriott!

  27. I will be surprised and delighted when posting of points is first time right and the website works greater than 50% of the time.

  28. LMFAO This is hilarious.

    Wait till April 22 and let the wave crashes.

    Between April 22 and July 31, 2019, Marriott will be surprising select Ambassador Elite members staying using points. Those who are targeted for this will receive:

    wait for it:

    nothing, you have been BONVOYED !!!!!!!!!!

    Starting May 1, 2019 (with no specific end date), certain elite members will receive:

    BONVOYED again!!!!!!!!

    If they really want to win back members,to Marriot stop these ‘secret’ stuff and BE TRANSPARENT ON EVERY SINGLE THING FOR EVERY SINGLE MEMBER, so that we can defend against being Bonvoyed.

  29. I only stayed at Marriott properties for the past 10 to 15 years… Had a terrible accident 1 year ago ( broken neck ) and couldn’t travel.. asked Marriott to show a little compassion to a loyal patron and NOPE..

    Guess I stuck with my lifetime status…

    Your no longer a guest you’re a number

  30. Imagine our surprise when we entered a hotel recently to find out that we were no longer titanium elite but now gold elite. I had to be told by the receptionist. No word from Marriott! We have been loyal Marriott users for years and years. He also own a week at one of their resort. I am no longer impressed with Marriott!

  31. So…..Since I am only a Lifetime Titanium, and not an Ambassador, any guess if there is a Marriott “Surprise and Delight” in my future??

    I doubt it but I would settle for a “random act of kindness” such as little bit of recognition, correct points/stay deposit to my account and an upgrade I do not have to fight for because I can see it is available in inventory. That would be a surprise. Delight would be if it happened twice.

    Noise around the edges??????? This company is completely tone deaf. What a lame attitude….it explains a lot.

  32. Ugh. I’m lifetime titanium having come from SPG so really have no need to ever stay at a Marriott property again, but I’m a zero with the other chains. I’ve been Hilton Diamond and IHG Platinum and found both to be fairly worthless. Hyatt sounds good but their footprint is tiny. So I guess I’m stuck with Marriott.

    SPG is dead, and there’s nothing to replace it.

  33. @Forty2 – Hyatt footprint now is about the same as SPG pre merger. Come give it a try! Same boat as you. Screw Marriott.

  34. Not sure I am leaving this in the right spot as most of these responses seem to be bashing and complaining about Marriott. I personally love the fact more hotels are available for points, no complaints about the service I receive and yes I spend more time in a Marriott hotel then my own home in many months. One story I will share is when I did use my points to redeem a stay with my wife the person who checked made a special effort to thank my wife for MY commitment to the hotel, as she said without her support to me traveling so much my level doesn’t mean anything. They went out there way to make her feel welcome and that meant a lot to me. Awards are just that, if you are not being treated well, maybe make sure you start your conversation with the person checking you in with a smile and “hi how are you doing today” simple acts of kindness get us all more then a few extra points. Keep up the good work Marriott, signed a very happy Ambassdor Member

  35. Some of you are too much. Does your ego really need to be inflated so much? Give me a clean room, an occasional upgrade and I’m good. Just completed 2 stays in Chicago and upgraded to suites both times. And the hotel was sold out.

  36. @Jr

    I don’t think it has anything to do with ego. It would have been better if they didn’t do this campaign, because this campaign feels like a rubbing in salt. People got bonvoyed before, there was no reason for them to bonvoy them again.

  37. I was trying SPG last year and I really liked them. Pretty good foot print and decent hotels. The A-Loft is one of my favorite hotels.

    I have been diamond at Hilton and have never had complaints. I am now Gold Elite at Bonvoy and I had to stay in a Fairfield inn. Not impressed at all with the room and it’s overall cleanliness and shoddy room quality. I have stayed at Marriott’s maybe 20-30 times a year and I always thought the housekeeping staff had more time at a Hilton property than Marriott, SPG, or IHG. The rooms just feels cleaner to me in general.

    But I only got 1,300 points for my stay at the Fairfield which kills me as I get at least 2,250 for a Hampton Inn and 3,000 for their mid-higher end properties. Plus all the bonuses they have available every quarter increases it by 2,000-3,000. So when I read that Hilton points are worth half as much as Marriott, I think it’s fine as I get more than double the points anyway.

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