Marriott has temporarily cut the biggest perk for their top tier elite members, and I guess I can’t blame them?
What is Marriott Ambassador Elite status?
Ambassador Elite is Marriott Bonvoy’s top tier status, which requires earning 100 elite nights plus spending $20,000 “qualifying” dollars with the company in a given year.
Really there are two incremental perks for this over Titanium Elite (which 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, as subject to availability you can check in anytime and stay for 24 hours
Marriott suspends personalized Ambassador Elite service
Marriott has contacted Ambassador Elite members to inform them that Marriott’s typical customized Ambassador Elite service is being 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 doesn’t come as much of a surprise, given that:
- Demand for travel is very low at the moment
- Two thirds of Marriott corporate staff are being furloughed
Marriott explains that this is because many Ambassadors work in contact centers that have been required to close due to being nonessential.
Here’s Marriott’s letter to Ambassador Elite members about this:
As an Ambassador Elite member, you are among our most loyal and valued members. As such, I wanted to reach out personally to keep you updated on the COVID-19 crisis and its impact on our company and our program. You may have seen a message from our CEO, Arne Sorenson, in which he shared his thoughts about how much our hearts and thoughts go out to the people who have been affected by this unprecedented event, and how much we appreciate the healthcare workers, local communities, and governments around the world that are on the front line working to contain this coronavirus. I hope you and your family are taking precautions and remain healthy.
Today, governments around the world are making decisions to halt nonessential business activity, and many of our Ambassadors work from contact centers around the globe that have been required to close. As a result, we have adapted the way we deliver the Ambassador Service to you, while enabling us to protect the health and safety of our associates worldwide.
As we continue to react to the unfolding situation, your personal Ambassador may not be available to assist you directly. To preserve the level of service we strive to deliver to Ambassador Elite members, we have engaged our global Ambassador Service team to respond to and address your needs, just as we do after-hours when your personal Ambassador is not working. This approach will help us ensure you get the timeliest response to any travel needs you may have.
We know many of you will miss the one-on-one relationship you may have built or were looking forward to building with your Ambassador this year. While this decision was necessitated by the fight against COVID-19, please know we are committed to returning to business-as-usual when it is safe to do so and permitted by governments. Expect to hear from us again soon, with news about program updates, including 2020 Elite status requirements.
Whether you are traveling now or in the future, I want you to know that your safety, as well as that of our associates, is a top priority. Despite these current hardships, our Ambassador team around the world is waiting to serve you.
Updates to Marriott elite requirements?
Perhaps this is as good of a post as any to address this in. Just a couple of days ago Hilton Honors announced that they’d essentially extend status for everyone by a year, either based on stay activity in 2018 or 2019.
This was clearly intended as a goodwill gesture to generate loyalty once things start to go back to normal, since it’s all based on past activity.
What are the odds that Marriott matches? Personally I think quite small. I’d be very surprised to see Marriott just extend status for everyone that they’ve downgraded just now, and to extend status by another year for those who have it now.
The note to Ambassador Elite members does say:
Expect to hear from us again soon, with news about program updates, including 2020 Elite status requirements.
I continue to believe that they’ll announce promotions and/or reduced elite requirements for 2020, I would just be surprised to see them outright extend status for everyone.
Marriott is suspending personalized Ambassador Elite service until further notice. With the company furloughing two thirds of corporate staff and with travel way down right now, this doesn’t come as much of a surprise.
I do hope that they restore the service once things start to return to normal. I’ll also be anxiously waiting to see how they adjust elite requirements.
What are you expecting from Marriott in terms of elite requirements for this year?