Marriott Eliminates “Make A Green Choice” Program

Filed Under: Hotels, Marriott

Marriott has eliminated its “Make A Green Choice” program, and the logic is kind of… illogical?

What is Marriott’s “Make A Green Choice” program?

Historically several hotel groups have offered loyalty program members some incentive to not select daily housekeeping. Obviously there are costs associated with providing housekeeping, so the logic was to provide some reward that’s below the cost to service a room, but that still creates an incentive for guests.

Marriott’s program was called “Make A Green Choice,” and with this, Bonvoy members could earn 500 points for each day where they declined housekeeping. This only applied on stays of two nights or more, and you couldn’t select this on the day where you checked out.

The program wasn’t without controversy:

  • The program was marketed as doing something good for the environment, by avoiding having to change sheets, towels, etc., given that they have to be washed
  • The program was heavily opposed by employee unions, since it reduced the amount of housekeeping required, and therefore reduced the number of available jobs
  • The motive for hotels to offer this was purely economic, since the cost of providing some bonus points was lower than the cost of cleaning a room

Marriott has offered 500 bonus points for turning down housekeeping

Marriott eliminates “Make A Green Choice” program

During the pandemic we’ve seen quite some changes to housekeeping procedures:

  • A lot of hotels no longer provide daily housekeeping
  • A lot of hotels offer daily housekeeping, but only on request
  • Even for the hotels providing daily housekeeping, many guests choose not to have their rooms cleaned, since they don’t want anyone in them

Well, with these developments, Marriott has ended the “Make A Green Choice” program. It’s one thing if the program were temporarily suspended, but it seems that this is a permanent change. The logic is downright bizarre, frankly:

“The global pandemic is affecting the preferences of all guests staying in our hotels who are increasingly choosing to forego daily housekeeping to limit contact during their stay.

In many cases when guests request housekeeping during their stays, it is to tidy up the room such as making the bed and replacing towels which can often now be requested via the mobile app.

Yet, among members the overwhelming majority do not choose the Make a Green Choice option, so the program is being discontinued. It is important to reiterate that all guest rooms are deep cleaned between stays.”

Let me make sure I understand this:

  • Guests are increasingly choosing not to get daily housekeeping
  • Most guests are not asking for points in exchange for not having their rooms made
  • Therefore those guests who do want points shouldn’t get them anymore

That seems like a poorly thought out explanation. You can bet that if every single guest were asking for points when not having their rooms made, Marriott would have eliminated this as well.

If we’re being honest here, the real explanation is that:

  • Daily housekeeping is no longer a thing people regularly get
  • For people not getting daily housekeeping, the primary motivator isn’t 500 points, but rather safety
  • Therefore Marriott feels it’s no longer necessary to use points to incentivize people to forgo housekeeping

Marriott is eliminating the “Make A Green Choice” program

Playing devil’s advocate for a moment

Let me approach this not from the perspective of Marriott corporate, but rather from the perspective of individual hotels (some of which are “small businesses”) and housekeepers.

I’m not opposed to the concept of Marriott temporarily pausing the “Make A Green Choice” program given that:

  • I do believe a majority of people choosing not to get housekeeping right now aren’t motivated by points
  • This has long been about controlling staffing costs, and at this moment a majority of hotels are overstaffed for how few guests there are
  • When that happens, this program becomes a cost center rather than a program that saves the hotel money

Again, this is about individual hotels that are struggling, and this is also about the fact that so many housekeepers have presumably been laid off. So I can see the logic for Marriott temporarily suspending this program. But that’s not what’s happening here, as this cut is permanent.

With occupancy low, hotels have less incentive to offer this

Bottom line

Marriott has eliminated its “Make A Green Choice” program, so there’s no longer an incentive to turn down housekeeping in order to get bonus points.

The reality is that from the perspective of a former SPG loyalist, this program hasn’t been worthwhile in the past couple of years anyway. Back in the day Starwood would offer 500 Starpoints for turning down housekeeping, while Marriott also offered 500 Bonvoy points for turning down housekeeping. The catch is that Starpoints were three times as valuable as Bonvoy points, so the value proposition had already been cut by two thirds.

What do you make of Marriott eliminating the “Make A Green Choice” program?

Comments
  1. What’s the selling point of full service hotels, when they step by step got rid of all the service, including something as basic as housekeeping?

  2. Marriott Bonvoy program devalued significantly in the last few years. Gold members are not offered free breakfast and allowed to access lounges any more. The number of points required for free night increase. The room cost goes up… One should only stay at Marrott chain if there is nothing else available.

  3. Marriott needs to drop its rates if hotels aren’t providing a full range of amenities and services, including daily housekeeping.

  4. Marriott trying to save money to stay in business and keep people from being laid-off. How can anyone complain about this. Who cares if you dont get your worthless 500 points. If you dont like it stay somewhere else.

  5. This program was gutted when Marriott decided to reduce its earning from SPG by 66%. I still done it before COVID but I could see that with the reduction, there are less incentives for travelers to do “Green Choice”

  6. Next thing you know they’ll be selling housekeeping as an added benefit like premium internet, or it’ll be included as a benefit listed under a destination or resort fee! 🙂

    Ever since Marriott devalued the awesome 500 SPG points a night to the meh 500 Marriott points a night, this program has been significantly less attractive.

    I think you’re spot on when it’s basically costing hotels money right now. I’m sure we will see it or something similar come back once occupancy rates return to at least reasonable levels in 2023/24.

  7. Marriott’s “Green Choice” was always a joke. They attempted to greenwash an attempt at saving money; an actual investment in sustainability would have required things like recycling bins in rooms (it’s amazing how often those are still missing), getting rid of one-time toiletries, and things like paperless receipts. But is that going to happen? No.

  8. Let’s face it: This was never really a “green choice for the environment”…..It just meant more “green in Marriott’s pockets”! Call a spade a spade. 500 devalued points costs less than cleaning the room.

    I agree with @Brian. Marriot is cheeping out on the points because enough people are opting out on their own and trying to spin it..

  9. @Lucky – When does this go into effect? What happens to those of us in the middle of a stay that should accumulate these points – up until at least today I would imagine

  10. I’ve got an idea. How about properly marketing this and noticing people and then people may take the points? If at check in the receptionist said, “Sir, would you like to not have daily housekeeping and earn xxx points?” Then clearly more people would say yes and take the points, but nobody talks about this kind of thing except for the notices in the room which I think look tacky. If there’s some small notices or properly looking ones then it’s fine, but too big and too many look in poor taste. We all know it’s not about the environment but more about their costs.

  11. I always try to stay at independent properties. Not only am I contributing to locally owned businesses, but in my experience they offer better value for money (eg breakfast and proper WiFi included) and they have “personality” for lack of a better word.

  12. I always chose this option. For a business traveler spending 50-100 nights on the road each year it could end up being a decent chunk of points. Kind of disappointing. 500 points costs the hotels maybe $3 (the wholesale number I hear for Bonvoy points is .6cpp or $.006/pp), does this mean the $12/hr housekeepers spend more than 15 minutes in each room?

  13. I’d always select Green Choice, but I’d say 25-30% of the time the Bonvoy points for selecting this option were not credited. It seemed to me that in their transaction process, there was a connection point missed…perhaps that the housekeeping manager “forgot” to click a box that the guest receives points for declining their team’s work.

  14. lol @ y’all saying if I can’t get my 500 points you need to lower rates. Rates are at 1/4 what they were last year. Here’s an idea, don’t travel during a pandemic.

  15. As much as I’d like to complain I can’t say it makes that much of a difference. Between business and leisure, we typically preferred not to have someone passing through our room unless totally necessary. With the pandemic now, even moreso. The 500 points is for stays more than 2 nights. Aside from leisure, the majority of my stays are business stays of 2-3 nights. We complain about Marriott cut backs, but as a business owner, I get having to cut back some things to preserve jobs and benefits. Are they being corporate greedy? Highly potentially. However it’s not worth that much of a fuss as it won’t make much of a difference either way. I love points and perks like everyone else. However if you don’t agree with it, there are other hotel chains or small hotels out there who will greatly appreciate the business AND provide housekeeping.

  16. I swear they started this back in late May when I got credit for turning down housekeeping.
    I remember at least 2 hotels telling me they weren’t giving credit for my stays when stating at check-in I would be forgoing houskeeping during my stay.

  17. Since I can’t edit/add to my other comment these were both places that were still offering daily housekeeping without having to request it.

  18. I’m not sure if I misread, but is it possible the author concluded incorrectly?

    I had to re-read, but this is the quote from Marriott copied and pasted from above: “…among members the overwhelming majority do not choose the Make a Green Choice option”

    It would appear that members are NOT choosing to skip daily housekeeping aka Make a Green Choice.

    Meaning they were choosing to continue to continue with daily housekeeping. This, they now no longer have a choice.

    Did I misread?

  19. Stop all the whining, we are in the middle of a pandemic, if we didn’t travel for work we wouldn’t get points, because our jobs pay for all of the travel and hotels.
    Lets stop pretending that we are doing our own spending to gain all this points

  20. A full service hotel should be a full service hotel, and that includes daily cleaning. The past couple of years, nearly every Marriott hotel I’ve stayed in has had housekeeping issues. I was grossed out by the lack of cleanliness pre-Covid. Now, with Covid, the only way I’d consider staying in any hotel is if they had actual sanitation procedures between gas, and thorough cleaning during your stay. screw the points. All I want is a damn clean room for a change. As someone else said, pretty soon they are going to start charging for any housekeeping.

  21. Oops. In the previous comment I meant to say… “…sanitation procedures between guests,” not “gas. ” My voice to text software had a hiccup.

  22. Marriott is the worst. They screwed over SPG when they bought them taking an amazing program and group of hotels and then cheapening and devaluing it. It’s like what CO leadership did to UA. Sigh.

  23. Actually getting the points for Green Choice was nearly impossible anyway. The program was a complete disaster to start with.

  24. Marriott always take care off their guests. However its marketed, I don’t see the point of hanging on to this program…because guests are automatically opting to not have different housekeepers in their rooms to minimize contact with people thats not of their family.

  25. Getting the points was always a fiasco for me. Would require at least one, and typically two, trips to the front desk. Personally, I’d rather they made all intra-stay housekeeping on request and cut room rates by a couple bucks.

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