Huh: Marriott Bonvoy Starts Awarding Half Elite Nights

Huh: Marriott Bonvoy Starts Awarding Half Elite Nights

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Marriott Bonvoy is making some changes to points earning and elite qualification at one brand, which I can’t help but find strange, and I’m worried about the precedent this sets.

Marriott cuts points & elite earnings at Protea Hotels

Marriott has around 30 hotel brands, and one of those is Protea Hotels by Marriott. This group has roughly 80 properties across 10 countries in Africa. If you don’t travel to Africa much, it’s entirely possible that you’re not familiar with the brand.

Marriott Bonvoy is significantly reducing points earning and elite night credits for stays at these properties. For Protea Hotels stays with check-out dates on or after March 1, 2023:

  • You’ll earn 5x points per dollar spent, rather than the previous 10x points
  • You’ll earn one elite night credit for every two qualifying nights stayed, rather than one elite night credit for every qualifying night stayed

Apparently there are no other changes to Protea’s participation in Marriott Bonvoy, and elite benefits will continue to apply at these properties as before.

Protea Hotel Cape Town Sea Point

This sets a concerning precedent

I’m not so alarmed about points earning at Protea properties being reduced from 10x points to 5x points. After all, that’s the same points earning rates you’ll find at some of Marriott’s extended stay brands, including Element, Residence Inn, and TownePlace Suites. Obviously that’s a big devaluation for those who frequent Protea properties, but we do see hotel groups offer different points earning rates at different brands.

What I find truly strange is Marriott awarding one elite night credit for every two nights stayed. Not only is this the first time that Marriott has done this for a standard hotel brand, but to my knowledge, this is the first time that any hotel group has started issuing fractions of elite night credits for stays in this way.

You’d think that you’d get an elite night credit for every eligible night you spent in a hotel, but nope, apparently that’s not the case anymore. One has to wonder what’s next. Will this be extended to other limited service properties?

I also can’t help but wonder what the motivation is for this change. Protea properties are largely not cheap, especially compared to competitors in Africa. It’s not like this is somer super inexpensive brand, and people are mattress running like there’s no tomorrow at these properties.

Furthermore, it’s ironic that Marriott Bonvoy is now suddenly starting to award portions of elite nights credits to seemingly control elite ranks, while also giving away Marriott Bonvoy Platinum status with a credit card.

I’m going to hope that this is just an odd quirk and a one-time thing. Otherwise this could have much bigger implications.

Protea Hotel Johannesburg Airport

Bottom line

As of March 2023, Marriott Bonvoy will be cutting benefits at Protea Hotels by Marriott. Specifically, points earning rates will be reduced from 10x points to 5x points, while you’ll go from earning one elite night per night to one elite night for every two nights.

Marriott Bonvoy now awarding fractions of elite nights is an industry first, and I hope we don’t see this spread.

What do you make of Marriott Bonvoy no longer awarding a full elite night for every night stayed?

(Tip of the hat to Denis)

Conversations (74)
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  1. Susan lim Guest

    Not just that. I've stayed 8 night at marriott fulya Istanbul. Only 2 eligible night count! Started to lost trust on Marriott. Not to mention no benefit at all for being gold elite. Never get an room upgrade or others.

  2. Rizzles Guest

    Stayed at a Protea Hotel from 28 Feb to 3 March and had full points post. So this seems not to have kicked in yet.

  3. iamhere Guest

    You just provide an opinion without researching the details. I wonder about the agreement this brand has with Marriott. It may have to do with this.

    1. ktc Guest

      many of the asian properties have lower price points compared to us, but with much better facility, food, services and overall experiences.

      to paraphrase VFTW, for Asian members to spend $12000 on the way to Ambassador, they can accumulate 200 nights.

  4. Thunder Guest

    The appeal of being a part of Marriott is that you attract loyal customers who know they'll be getting points and elite qualifying nights. Perhaps Protea wanted some concession from Marriott, and in return Marriott is making the brand less attractive to their loyal customer base?

  5. Cas Guest

    Did you ask Marriott for comment?

  6. PL Guest

    I experienced ''1 Night credit for 2 nights stay'' at Marriott Executive Residences in Bangkok during my stay in 2022.

  7. Erik Guest

    Here's the response I received from Marriott regarding the chance and not honoring existing reservations for elite credits:

    "Hi, Rottie. We're sorry to see that you are disappointed with our partnership with Protea Hotels has changed. The number of Marriott Bonvoy® Points and Elite Night Credit's given are determined in accordance with the Loyalty Program Rules in effect at the time of the checkout date, not at the time of booking. This is standard practice...

    Here's the response I received from Marriott regarding the chance and not honoring existing reservations for elite credits:

    "Hi, Rottie. We're sorry to see that you are disappointed with our partnership with Protea Hotels has changed. The number of Marriott Bonvoy® Points and Elite Night Credit's given are determined in accordance with the Loyalty Program Rules in effect at the time of the checkout date, not at the time of booking. This is standard practice for the Loyalty Program and is not unique to the Protea Hotels by Marriott® change. Please know that every effort is made to ensure any program changes are as limited and infrequent as possible. We appreciate your understanding and continued loyalty."

  8. Erik Guest

    This is beyond BS for me. I am spending 16 nights at Protea Cape town North Wharf, reserved last year, starting on Feb 28th. So not only did they change the points earnings, but now I'll only earn 8 night credits??? Yeahhhh, I wanna stick a hot poker in someone's eye at Marriott.

  9. Bobby Guest

    Can’t wait for the “racist” comments

    1. Jeremiah Guest

      I definitely think “racism” has something to do with it. That part of the Marriott chain is not any cheaper than the Fairfield Inns. I hope people call them out!

  10. chuck Guest

    i am an ambassador and lifetime titanium. Ii am now sitting in an ultra crowded lounge in Bangkok. After 118 visits, i stopped going to this hotel on the weekends because the breakfast buffet is a total car wreck and other amenities have disappeared

    this Protea decision makes absolutely no sense to me other than it is a trial balloon for future changes

    On one hand, they cut back and on the other if...

    i am an ambassador and lifetime titanium. Ii am now sitting in an ultra crowded lounge in Bangkok. After 118 visits, i stopped going to this hotel on the weekends because the breakfast buffet is a total car wreck and other amenities have disappeared

    this Protea decision makes absolutely no sense to me other than it is a trial balloon for future changes

    On one hand, they cut back and on the other if you get 2 x credit cards and if you take advantage of the extra night promos, you can be Platinum by staying a mere 10 nights -

    This significantly degrades the experience for the more frequent traveller who used to be able to enjoy a bit of privacy at lounges and other outlets

    i understand that hotels have to reset after years of covid but there has to be some common sense to this

    For me, since the Ambassador program has become so irrelevant (I'll believe the changes when i see them) and i have lifetime titanium status, why not start to split my loyalty?

    1. oscar Guest

      I recently stayed at the ROS in BKK and the lounge is now (post covid) an absolut shit show, over crowded, rude and disrespectful guests, helpless staff and no management there whatsoever. will definitely split my loyalty

    2. Bobby Guest

      I am in BKK 4 times a year. Stay 4-6 weeks a time. I have a lot of opportunities to add stays on my Elite, but choose not to. I have stayed at their branded serviced apartments, which are hotels. Staff in Thailand can be good. Lately the guests are from areas of the world where rude behavior is encouraged. I prefer to stay at other properties now. Yep, the lounges are horrible worldwide. Marriott has definitely lost its way.

    3. Eskimo Guest

      118 visit to the same property in Bangkok!!!!

      So many good selection in Bangkok and you picked the same one.
      That should get you VIP treatment yet they don't address your "breakfast buffet is a total car wreck and other amenities have disappeared" experience, especially the latter part?

      You should name and shame this property.

      By the way, your math is a bit off. If you start the year with 40 nights from 2...

      118 visit to the same property in Bangkok!!!!

      So many good selection in Bangkok and you picked the same one.
      That should get you VIP treatment yet they don't address your "breakfast buffet is a total car wreck and other amenities have disappeared" experience, especially the latter part?

      You should name and shame this property.

      By the way, your math is a bit off. If you start the year with 40 nights from 2 credit cards, you're already Platinum.

      I still believe the increased Platinum members from credit cards doesn't greatly fill up properties outside USA.
      What really open the floodgates was cheap rates in Asia + double night credit.
      You do the double night promo in consecutive years with Covid rates, then it could be cheaper than renting a full service apartment + breakfast + lounge.
      This seems to be happening all over that region.

    4. Thunder Guest

      Correction: you can be Platinum by just holding one $650 credit card, and that credit card gives 12x$25 in very easy to use dining credits and a free night certificate that can easily be worth 350 usd+.

  11. Pam Guest

    I am currently staying in South Africa at a Protea Hotel and can't believe it will impact the nights I have already booked for the next 4 weeks based on the prior program rules. It's too short notice for me to make any changes. Really dissapointing move from Marriott.

    1. Erik Guest

      Absolutely same situation, beyond ticked off.

  12. Jac Sand Guest

    It’s a slow creep. The Marriott brand has been on the decline for some time. This is another example of a once stellar program trending toward mediocrity. I’ve been a member for 20 years. I went all in at the height of my business travel life. I kind of wish i hedged my bets.

    1. UA-NYC Diamond

      Yeah, those of use who came from Starwood called this at the start. Marriott is a Limited Service company who thinks they can be Full Service...nope.

  13. Tommy O Guest

    I can't think of a single piece of news regarding Bonvoy that could even be remotely construed as positive. Program is a heaping pile of crap.

    1. Carlos Guest

      There are already marriott brands that only give you half points (residence inn, towneplace, etc)

  14. Nino Guest

    Let’s hope this isn’t a precursor of things to come. Also, at the same time, those of us who ACTUALLY stay in a hotel or fly in an airplane to EARN nights and miles our status is devalued by credit card status wannabes. There is no reward for loyalty for frequent travelers.

    If everyone is special then no one is special!

  15. Jules Rickless Guest

    Bottom line Marriott is making there points have less values as they raise the points needed to earn a room night

  16. Edward Winston Guest

    I stayed at a Protea in Cape Town. It ranked as the worst hotel at which i have ever taken a room. The desk fell off the wall. There was a coathook on the wall atop the sofa. Water pressure nonexistant, wifi was a 15 minute coupon systen, and desk would only supply one at as time. Guests needed to be buzzed in and out. It ranked below any Marriott property anywhere, so cutting it to the same level as residence Inn is generous.

    1. Erik Guest

      Which Protea was this??

  17. Mantis Guest

    I don't see this as fractional nights. If you stay 2 nights, you'll get 1 elite night. 1 night stays get nothing. They will round down, at least that's how it appears to me

  18. Zach Guest

    As they say …. Bonvoy’d

  19. Emmanuel Guest

    It Would be interested to hear if the soon to start double nights promo will double a 1/2 elite night in order to convert into a full Elite night? I am staying 1 night in a Potrea transferring in JB and getting at least 1 elite night would be nice.

  20. Corbett Guest

    Yippee! Now, Housekeeping will come twice as often without my requesting it. I'm in! (Sarcasm at no extra cost)

  21. Anthony Diamond

    Maybe a high percentage of guests are executives on longer-term stays?

  22. Sean M. Diamond

    I am a member of Protea's legacy in-house paid membership "PROKARD EXPLORER" program which offers (among other perks) a handful of "Stay 1, Get 1 Free" vouchers for use at Protea properties.

    Interestingly, I received an email from them this afternoon stating that "Voucher redemptions are unfortunately not available during the month Feb and March 2023 due to various events taking place over this period".

    So definitely something weird going on within Protea...

    1. Merry Chris Moss Guest

      ProKard is a great value. Glad to see someone mention it.

  23. Steven M Guest

    For Marriott it makes perfect on the first day of Black History Month to halve the earning potential at its hotels in Africa.

    Have stayed at a bunch of Protea hotels, all were better than some Marriott properties in the US.

    Dont @ me, people. Just reporting what I've seen.

    1. John123 Guest

      You do realise black history month is a US thing, and has nothing to do with Africa?

    2. Eskimo Guest

      @John123

      You do realize Marriott International is a 'US thing' in Bethesda, Maryland.

    3. Merry Chris Moss Guest

      And US Black History Month wouldn't be a thing without the US slave trade, which was predominently from Africa, which is where all Proteas are based.

  24. Brutus Guest

    First they came for Protea, and I did not speak out—because I didn't have plans to visit Africa...

  25. dn10 Guest

    Don't really get it. Stayed at the one by Kruger before the brand changed and it was a decent hotel. African version of a Sheraton maybe.

  26. Jack Guest

    As others have mentioned other brands already do this. TownePlace Suites and Residence Inn are like this based on my understanding.

    1. dn10 Guest

      I don't think TPS or RI are 1/2 elite nights? They offer 500 points instead of 1000 points at check in though.

  27. BenjaminGuttery Diamond

    Yeah, this is very odd. I hope they don't bring this to other properties/brands. That being said, I already avoid Element & the other lower points brands like the plague anyways.

  28. lhs323 Member

    Hi Ben. Marriott Executive Apartments has always awarded one elite night per 3 nights booked (or at least for the last 10 years, since I stayed at ones in Bangkok and Beijing before), so this Protea example is NOT a new precedent for Marriott. I suggest you edit the article to reflect this.

    1. BenjaminGuttery Diamond

      Not the first time in Marriotts history, but that isn't really a hotel either. Should be mentioned though.

  29. Franklin Guest

    I am okay with this as long as the cost of redemptions is also cut in half. I've paid extra on several occasions to stay in Proteas, and so this is quite a dissapointment. I will, however, accept the reduced award pricing Im sure is right around the corner...

  30. Peter Guest

    Can’t wait to see how TPG spins this as a positive…

  31. DWT Guest

    Marriott will likely be integrating CityExpress into Bonvoy at some point, and I can see this extending to that brand as well

  32. Dominic Kivni Guest

    They do double elite night promos (in fact they have one now) and elite night credits for having a credit card, so it’s not like elite nights were corresponding to nights stayed at a hotel up until this point…

  33. Sir Digby Chicken Caesar Guest

    Oops I think my loyalty to Marriott just got cut in half as well

  34. TravelinWilly Guest

    I've found Proteas to be amongst the cheapest hotels in S. Africa, e.g., US $65/night for the Protea Wanderers, etc. That said, I would never consider staying in a Protea property, not in a billion years. They're like a nice version of a City Lodge.

    While I would never ever in a billion years consider staying at a Protea-branded hotel, what Marriott is doing further differentiates the Protea and Marriott brand, but not in any...

    I've found Proteas to be amongst the cheapest hotels in S. Africa, e.g., US $65/night for the Protea Wanderers, etc. That said, I would never consider staying in a Protea property, not in a billion years. They're like a nice version of a City Lodge.

    While I would never ever in a billion years consider staying at a Protea-branded hotel, what Marriott is doing further differentiates the Protea and Marriott brand, but not in any good way. With the strength of the USD to the ZAR, maybe this has something to do with it?

    1. Merry Chris Moss Guest

      Have you ever stayed in a Protea? I'd consider them more Courtyard than Fairfield. I've stayed at many Proteas in ZA. They are full-service, some have excellent food, are very inexpensive, many have characterer (think country lodge or airport theme), and always great service.

  35. Jerry Diamond

    Are existing bookings grandfathered at the old rates? I have a stay in March, and it's certainly a bummer to only earn half of what I anticipated at booking

    1. Emmanuel Guest

      No unfortunately, they confirmed this on the “learn more” button in the email. I am on the same boat. :(

  36. RealTaylor Gold

    Just what we needed - for the Marriott Bonvoy program to become even more confusing and even less rewarding

  37. Ethan Guest

    have you ever heard of Marriott executive apartments? they always have been awarding one elite night every three nights stayed, and only award 2.5 points/$.
    if anything, I wish they actually award 1/3 or 1/2 nights on profile since that means my three 1-night stays at executive apartments will have at least one elite night so I don't have to actively avoid them.

    1. Kanaka Gold

      Yeah, I wasn't aware of this when I spent 5 nights at the Marriott Executive Apartments in Jakarta many years ago. I called to complain that I only received on night of credit (when the 5 nights would have leveled me up_, and the representative couldn't understand what was going on. He spoke to his manager who then relayed this rubbish policy. Never stayed at one ever again.

  38. RCB Guest

    We stayed at several Protea Hotels in Africa back in 2017, we being my husband and I (We are a gay couple). We always reserve a room with a king bed, and it's NEVER been an issue (we know for a fact that Marriott trains its people to NOT treat gay couples differently, even in anti-gay countries) but at every Protea Hotel we were asked several times on check-in if we REALLY wanted 1 king...

    We stayed at several Protea Hotels in Africa back in 2017, we being my husband and I (We are a gay couple). We always reserve a room with a king bed, and it's NEVER been an issue (we know for a fact that Marriott trains its people to NOT treat gay couples differently, even in anti-gay countries) but at every Protea Hotel we were asked several times on check-in if we REALLY wanted 1 king bed like we reserved, and even after that interrogation we were sometimes still given a room with 2 twin beds and had to go back and get them to give us the room we reserved and confirmed we wanted at checkin. We've traveled all over the world and stayed in much less gay friendly countries and never had this issue elsewhere, it was this specific brand and it was very annoying.

  39. Kacee Guest

    Nothing that Marriott does to devalue its program should be a surprise to anyone these days.

  40. Kevin Guest

    Basically they're considering this brand the equivalent of booking Basic Economy

    1. JoePro Gold

      Problem is that the brand in no way, shape, or form is representative of basic economy.

    2. BenjaminGuttery Diamond

      Maybe a exchange rate issue? The ZAR is very low to the USD right now.

  41. Eskimo Guest

    Because it's the most American thing to do.

    We have to call out Bonvoy for this racist decision.

    1. TravelinWilly Diamond

      Are you okay?

      You seem unwell all the time.

    2. Eskimo Guest

      @TravelinWilly

      How dare you question America, land of the free, home of equality, no place for discrimination or gun control.

    3. Bagoly Guest

      Treating poor countries badly, quite possibly.
      Labelling that racist is taking indirect discrimination beyond reason.

    4. Eskimo Guest

      @Bagoly

      Welcome to 2023 USA.

  42. Mofly Guest

    This is very concerning and it’s no coincidence this was first implemented on a chain predominantly in Africa. Truly embarrassing and disgraceful on the part of Marriot. I am an ambassador but will certainly not be seeking qualification next year as it’s been a true race to the bottom that marriot are leading!

  43. JoePro Gold

    If there were ever any doubt in anyone's mind about which chain had the worst loyalty program, this news should settle it for them.

    Bonvoyed!

    1. JoePro Gold

      To add, I had the same thoughts about Protea, as I stayed at African Pride Melrose Arch several years ago. Not an inexpensive brand, so makes zero sense.

    2. Bill G Guest

      African Pride Melrose Arch isn't a Protea, it's an Autograph.

    3. Kiwi Guest

      That’s a recent change

    4. Merry Chris Moss Guest

      I'm in JNB now at a Protea and going to Africa Pride Melrose Arch tomorrow. APMA is actually an Autpograph Collection. Easy to mix up since practically everything is Protea in ZA. While I very much enjoy Proteas, APMA is a notch above. Pitty the differentiation since Proteas are full service and typically have nice F&B.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

JoePro Gold

Problem is that the brand in no way, shape, or form is representative of basic economy.

3
Kanaka Gold

Yeah, I wasn't aware of this when I spent 5 nights at the Marriott Executive Apartments in Jakarta many years ago. I called to complain that I only received on night of credit (when the 5 nights would have leveled me up_, and the representative couldn't understand what was going on. He spoke to his manager who then relayed this rubbish policy. Never stayed at one ever again.

2
TravelinWilly Guest

I've found Proteas to be amongst the cheapest hotels in S. Africa, e.g., US $65/night for the Protea Wanderers, etc. That said, I would never consider staying in a Protea property, not in a billion years. They're like a nice version of a City Lodge. While I would never ever in a billion years consider staying at a Protea-branded hotel, what Marriott is doing further differentiates the Protea and Marriott brand, but not in any good way. With the strength of the USD to the ZAR, maybe this has something to do with it?

2
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