Marriott Cuts Personalized Ambassador Elite Service

Filed Under: Marriott

At the start of the pandemic we saw Marriott Bonvoy temporarily suspend a major benefit of Ambassador Elite, which is Marriott’s top tier status. It looks increasingly likely that these cuts might be permanent.

What is Marriott Ambassador status?

Ambassador Elite is Marriott Bonvoy’s top tier status. Ordinarily Ambassador Elite service requires earning 100 elite nights plus spending $20,000 “qualifying” dollars with the company in a given year. However, for 2021 Marriott Bonvoy has made it easier to earn status, including reducing the revenue requirement for Ambassador Elite to $14,000.

Historically there have been two primary incremental perks for Ambassador Elite over Titanium Elite (the latter requires 75 elite nights with no spending requirement):

  • You get Ambassador service, where you have a single point of contact at Marriott who helps you with anything you need, and looks after your stays
  • You get Your24, giving you flexible check-in and check-out times; subject to availability you can check in anytime and stay for 24 hours

I was Ambassador Elite through 2019, and had an awesome Ambassador, though I know many people didn’t have great experiences with their point of contact. Since 2020 I’ve “only” been Titanium Elite, though.

Marriott cuts personalized Ambassador service

In March 2020, Marriott contacted Ambassador Elite members to inform them that Marriott’s typical customized Ambassador Elite service would be suspended until further notice. Instead members are being directed to contact the “shared” Ambassador Elite phone number and email address, which obviously isn’t nearly as personalized.

This didn’t come as much of a surprise, given how much demand for travel had decreased, and also given that Marriott has laid off most of its Ambassador agents.

Well, it’s now about 10 months later, so what’s the latest? Per an update sent to Ambassador Elite members, Marriott has not only recommended that Ambassador Elite members email the generic Ambassador Elite email address, but have also been told that personal Ambassador email addresses are no longer being monitored.

Is there any value left to Marriott Ambassador?

The single biggest perk of Ambassador Elite was a personalized contact, at least if you had a good one. Over time you’d develop a relationship with your Ambassador, and they’d do everything they could to make sure you’re well taken care of during the hotel stays that mattered most to you.

Without a personalized contact, there’s really not much value to this service. After all, you’re just emailing a generic email address, which is no different than the customer support other elite members may have access to.

Other Ambassador Elite perks include Your24, and I suppose some hotels may have better soft treatment with these members over other elites, though that’s not even published.

As a point of comparison, World of Hyatt Globalist members have a personalized contact when they reach 60 elite nights in a year through the Milestone Rewards program.

Bottom line

Marriott is cutting personalized Ambassador Elite service, and telling members to no longer reach out to specific contacts.

Admittedly travel has been reduced greatly, many Ambassador Elite members aren’t traveling much, and many Ambassador agents have been laid off. Still, at this point there’s very little incremental value for Ambassador Elite over Titanium Elite.

What’s interesting here is that there’s no indication that these cuts are temporary, and that the pre-coronavirus levels of service will be resuming anytime soon.

Are you surprised to see Marriott Bonvoy cut personalized Ambassador Elite service? Do you think these changes are temporary?

Comments
  1. LOL and they want 14k spend? I can renew my titanium with 1 night stay and 2 credit card renewal this year, what’s the value proposition to spend 14k with them?

  2. I’m Ambassador since 2019 (first time) with 200 nights in 2019 and even I have not traveled a lot in 2020, I do not really see any benefit for the Ambassador Service.
    Maybe i to clear what I want that the service they can provide bring very limited benefit.
    The only advantage I see is that you are on the top of the line for upgrades, otherwise the complete status level does not bring any details…

    PS: im still happy in general with Bonvoy as I travel more in Europe / Asia and there you really have benefits. Only wish I have, that they provide some benefits for nights above 100… e,g, for 150 maybe 5 additional upgrades etc…

  3. Ditto to ZC
    Started the year with 68 nights already, only 7 to maintain titanium and they want another $14k?
    Laughable.

  4. I’m not really sure this is a change. They emailed 7-8 months ago saying to only e-mail the generic address. A few times, including within the last week, I’ve gotten an email from the Ambassador Service checking in and saying they will be there when I return, etc., and it was signed by an Ambassador I didn’t know. Sadly, I’ve stayed one night since March.

    I don’t think the service had a lot of value. I was not a high maintenance guest and only typically asked for things when bringing family and friends. But asking for an upgrade in Maui was kinda pointless because there’s like 10-20 Ambassadors at those hotels at any one time. I’ve found the only way to get real help with a special issue with the hotel itself.

  5. they could have lowered the threshold by half like Hyatt. but they chose to hand out more nights, paving the way to lifetime benefits devaluation.

  6. When Hyatt is running such an awesome promotion, Marriott’s comparison and then sending out these communications, simply shows they don’t understand loyalty programs. I say this as being a former ambassador for a number of years, and current titanium.

  7. How are people starting the year with 60+ nights posted?

    I thought the max was 30 (15 from each of 2 credit cards).

  8. I am starting off with 80 nights. 30 from credit card and 50 more as they are issuing 1/2 the nights for whatever tier you were in for 2020. I was Ambassador Elite so 50 . Even if I stayed 20 more nights this year, which would be hard, no way I’m spending $14k. Putting my Focus on maintaining Globalist and Concierge benefits.

  9. @INS Vikrant

    If you had Titanium last year, you get 38 free nights this year. So 2 credit cards and Titanium in 2020 starts you off with 68 nights in 2021.

  10. Does this surprise anyone out there? It’s a continuation of the downward spiral oh be it slow of Marriott traveler program and when anyone gotten a decent “suite reward”? Unless your booking an old standard Marriott good luck.

    And for those who ran over to Hilton or others this is a trend with all the flags remember “equity capital” is heavily invested in the hospitality industry and now they’re seeing the cash cows shrinking. All one has to do is look at Hawaiian Islands.

  11. Meanwhile, I just exchanged voicemails with my Hyatt Concierge today who has saved me countless hours on hold, gifted me two years worth of AA Executive Platinum status, notated my preference for craft beer, supplied me with up-to-date information during COVID-time (the latest: Carmel Valley Ranch won’t reopen until Feb. 5 at the earliest) and generally made it much more fun to use confirmed suite upgrades and other Globalist Hyatt benefits. I’ve had the same concierge for more than two years, now. My Hyatt concierge is chatty and friendly and remembers all sorts of things about me beyond whatever she’s notating in her system. I’ll score Marriott Titanium this year, and I have Hilton Diamond along with the rest of the world, but Hyatt’s program and properties are what I prefer given the choice. The quality of Hyatt’s concierge program is one significant part of why Globalist status is truly valuable.

  12. The Ambassador program was created by Starwood and I don’t think Marriott ever really understood how to utilize this benefit to make elites feel valued and increase loyalty. They really need to add something to Ambassador status — even additional bonus points — to make the status even remotely attractive for people to aspire to. Not sure at all why anyone would stay extra nights or spend extra money to achieve it right now.

  13. A QUICK REMINDER THAT CANADIAN USERS OF AMERICAN EXPRESS MARRIOT CREDIT CARDS, ONLY RECEIVE A15 ELITE NIGHT CREDIT, IRRESPECTIVE OF HAVING BOTH THE PERSONAL AND BUSINESS CARD. I FOR ONE FIND THIS PRACTICE BOTH DISCRIMINATORY TO CANADIANS, AS WELL AS AN UNETHICAL BUSINESS PRACTICE !!!!! I UNDERSTAND HOW SIGN-UP BONUSES MIGHT VARY BETWEEN COUNTRIES, DEPENDENT ON DEMOGRAPHICS,ETC. BUT THE RULES THAT ALLOW FOR UP TO 30 ELITE CREDIT NIGHTS IN THE U.S.A, SHOULD BE IDENTICAL FOR CANADA !! THE RESPONSE I’VE BEEN GIVEN BY AMEX, IS ESSENTIALLY ” IT IS WHAT IT IS ” , , THEREBY ADDING INSULT TO INJURY. WOULD THERE BE ANY REDRESS TO THIS ISSUE ?

  14. The funny thing is that to activate the Your24 – one has to make contact with the Ambassador or the Global Team otherwise the hotel won’t honor it. With SPG if you had Ambassador level you could request the Your24 directly when making the reservation but Marriot changed that.

    I had a great Ambassador for three years at SPG – then about a year after the program merger – she quit because of Marriot inconsistencies . The replacement was often clueless. SO I found speaking with the “Global Team” to be better.

    I’m cautiously optimistic that as travel returns in 2022 – the program will be updated too.

  15. WRONG: Marriott continues to offer dedicated Ambassador Service through its global Ambassador team — but cut personal Ambassador agents on March 26, 2020!

    Marriott is only reminding those who can’t follow instruction to only contact the global Ambassador team for service.

  16. “I suppose some hotels may have better soft treatment”
    You got that one right. Soft treatment is what I value this status the most. It depends on the property but for most properties this status works really well to score best upgrade and special treatment. I don’t care about losing my personal contact, I barely contact her anyway, I usually just use the shared phone number. If I start seeing that soft treatment diminishing, then I will reconsider this status. With all the shortcuts to score platinum and titanium status, good luck getting upgrade when travel demands are back.

  17. Wow as a titanium member here in the states my last 8 month stay at a Marriott hotel was nothing short of horrible. They did not care about my status and treated me as if I was an imposition. I just got an email saying I’ve earned Ambassador status . For what? How does this serve me in any regard? I felt utterly helpless in my last stay and mortified at the lack of follow through of any kind and the consistently bad service. Trust me, I am being POLITE.

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Reminder: OMAAT comments are changing soon. Register here to save your space.