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.
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?