Survey: People Overwhelmingly Prefer Marriott Bonvoy?!

Filed Under: Marriott

Marriott recently had their third quarter earnings call, and Pizza In Motion highlights some interesting statements regarding the Marriott Bonvoy program.

Marriott Bonvoy Has Seen Lots Of Growth

First some intriguing statistics, before getting into the rather shocking survey that Marriott allegedly conducted:

  • Global room revenue for Marriott Bonvoy members is up 12%
  • For the first nine months of 2019, Bonvoy members contributed 52% of systemwide room nights, a 3.2% increase year-over-year
  • For the first nine months of 2019, Bonvoy members represented 58% of booked room nights
  • For the first nine months of 2019, Marriott Bonvoy membership increased by 12 million (to 137 million members); nearly 40% of that increase came from China, thanks to their Alibaba joint venture

All of that is interesting, though not really surprising, and also doesn’t necessarily mean that members think Bonvoy is great.

All the time we see the global hotel groups brag about how the loyalty program is such a success because of all the new sign-ups. Fair enough, but in reality this is rarely because members actually love the program, but rather because hotels have done more to encourage guests to book direct and become members of the loyalty program.

For example, most hotel groups now have special rates for members, and some hotel groups only offer free wifi to program members.

In the case of Marriott, obviously China also played a huge role here.

Loyalty Redemptions Are Up

It’s also noted that year-to-date loyalty point redemptions are up over 20%. Arne Sorenson even gives us maximizers a shout out. He points out that many people booked redemptions earlier this year, given the short term opportunities that were available:

And I think you have some extraordinarily sophisticated folks who watch these loyalty programs and thought this is a good time to reserve some of those redemption stays for that kind of hotel. But I suspect, we will see pretty robust redemption activity as a steady state aspect of a loyalty program going forward.

Extraordinarily sophisticated… we’ll take that!

Apparently People LOVE Marriott Bonvoy?!

Here’s where it gets really interesting:

  • “Social media feedback about the program has become decidedly favorable”
  • In a recent survey of Bonvoy members, respondents said that they preferred the new Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program over either Marriott Rewards or SPG by an eight to one margin

Say what?!? I sure didn’t receive this survey, so I’m curious to hear what you guys have to say about this:

  • Did you receive a survey from Marriott asking if you preferred Bonvoy over Marriott Rewards or Starwood Preferred Guest?
  • Do you prefer Marriott Bonvoy over either Marriott Rewards or Starwood Preferred Guest?
  • Do you believe that statistic at face value?

There’s no shame in any answer here, I’m just genuinely curious. I could see this being true if the margin we were talking about was 2:1, but 8:1?!?

  1. Yeah, right. Anything I’ve ever seen on social media about Bonvoy is mocking it. And, I spent a couple of hours on a flight seated next to someone who works for Marriott Corporation and he/she (who wants to remain anonymous) told me that they all hate the name and think the program sucks too.

    I realize that this is heresay, but it’s closer to reality than this pep rally that you’re citing above.

  2. This is comical. I am Titanium Elite for life (grandfathered in from Marriott Rewards), and the only perk of the combined program is the ability to book any SPG/Marriott property one site from one points bank. I branched out this year to keep Hyatt Globalist and got the HHonors Aspire card (sign-up bonus made sense for a wedding I am attending) so have Hilton Diamond.

    Both programs are superior, IMO, to Marriott’s botched mess. Say what you want about HHonors, but the promotions since I got the card have been ridiculously generous.

  3. The 8:1 statistic reminds me of a quote I heard somewhere, I can’t remember where: ‘if you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything’

  4. Lifetime Titanium Elite here. Never received the survey, and if I had I never would have rated Bonvoy anything other than very poor. SPG was a far better program, especially in recognition of elite members.

  5. Loyalty redemptions being up does not necessarily mean that people love the program. My SO and I have used more points this year than in the past . . . because we were trying to cash them out so we can move on to different Hyatt and Hilton. And yes, we booked them early, to avoid the forthcoming peak award pricing.

    Citing this as a good thing is absurd. It is like someone trying to prove their healthy by describing all the symptoms of their disease.

  6. Little did we know, all the criticism on is really just high praise of the brilliant loyalty program changes. The previous statement about just having to “deal with it” (after Marriott realized what a catastrophic failure Bonvoy became) was really just to throw us off their tracks of success!

  7. Also of note. They said that point redemptions are up 20%. NOT room/night redemptions.

    My hunch is that it’s probably evenly split between devaluations, and extra burning to avoid more future devaluations.

  8. I never got a survey and don’t believe a thing from those stats. Since they moved to bonvoy, that’s all I’m saying to them while staying with their competitors.

  9. Maybe the 8:1 survey was done amongst the new Chinese sign-ups?

    For what it’s worth a very close friend works for Marriott and finally just left after their third corporate re-organization in three years (they tried to force him into a lesser job with lower pay after a stellar performing year). It seems like the company is in complete disarray and talent is leaving in droves. Wouldn’t be surprised if the survey was conducted by the numpties who are left.

  10. If the 8:1 margin is a lie, than how can you trust any of the other numbers? Do these calls worth anything if they are all lies?

  11. It would help to know what the survey questions were. Depending on the wording, they could generate any result they want.

  12. a lot of these survey result can be predicted through a small pool(100), then if it worked in there favor, they will pull it out.

  13. “Ambassador Elite” status here for a couple of years now. Never received a survey. But can presume the survey questions went to lower-rung elites or non-elite members so they could skew results. Also presume the questions were worded thusly:

    Would you rather:
    1) Return to SPG Starpoints and Marriott Rewards
    2) Receive a swift kick to your genitals
    3) Option 1
    4) None of the above except Option 1

  14. Gah! Should be Option 2. So much for my snarky commentary. Ugh. But you get the gist. Surveys can be worded to elicit specific responses. I have a hard time believing Marriott is being at all forthright with this.

  15. Titanium here, and I’ve never received a survey. I’m betting they commissioned the survey in some other way, like through those rewards sites (think eRewards) or maybe it even comes from some sort of public survey. Probably the same place that Doug Parker commissions surveys to say the new Oasis interiors are just as satisfactory to flyers as the old ones.

  16. Obviously the Marriott CEO is sadly misguided. They’ve managed to destroy the vastly more popular SPG program.

    Count me a someone with no preference for Marriott, having moved most of my stays to Hyatt where practical. Marriott gets what I can’t book elsewhere.

    I’m certain the Marriott apologists will jump in to paint everything as rosy, but the bottom line registers the disappointment of previous regulars who are booking elsewhere.

  17. Well, Starwood Preferred Guest currently has no hotels, no points, no credit card, and no elite program, so I must begrudgingly admit that today, November 8 2019 Year of Our Lord, I find Bonvoy to be a more well-rounded program.


  18. @ Ben — This is how Donald Trump is President. People will lie about anything and plenty of people will believe them.

  19. @Charles sez: “*Say what you want about HHonors*, but the promotions since I got the card have been ridiculously generous.”

    Relax, Charles 🙂 Hilton Honors promos have not suddenly gotten “ridiculously generous.” They have always been! More to the point is that the negativity about the program that permeated travel blogosphere is now on life support, its beat barely detectable, because the two programs that once reigned supremo, SPG and HGP, are no more, robbing the opinion makers of a reference point against which to expound on their imaginary deficiencies of Hilton Honors. Therefore, the once obligatory caveats that were necessary to avoid being made fun of when saying positive things about Hilton Honors are no longer required. You love HH’s promos? Just say so with no apologies or caveats. Really 😉

    With respect to people overwhelmingly preferring BonVoy, that’s just wishful thinking. One thing is true, however: the program has been very active in reaching out. Emails I get from hotel loyalty programs run about 8:1 in favor of BonVoy vs. their next ‘competitor’ in flooding my junk email bin. The 8:1 ratio, therefore, quite possibly refers to their outreach effort, but it is doubtful that the return on that aggressive ‘investment’ is anywhere near 8:1.


  20. No survey on my part, but I will say I’m staying at more Marriott properties because they have a much better selection and footprint compared to before. Marriott prior to the merger was standard business hotels and very few upper middle class types of places. SPG was just too few options in my opinion. Adding the Tribute Portfolio and Autograph Hotel Collection to Marriott have been a great addition. I’m staying at Marriott properties now when I would stay at Hyatt before. The one night certificate for the credit card is a good value. Recently used in Palm Springs for a room at $240/night. Hyatt has lost some of my business not because of any downgrades, just availability is much better with Marriott. Also, I’ve noticed some Hyatt properties have not updated but their pricing hasn’t been nearly as competitive as before.

  21. Hold on, let me ask my kindergartner son. Maybe he and his classmates received the survey and responded favorably because they thought they would get candy at the end???

  22. I’m a titanium with only 3 days in 2019. They didn’t survey me, for what it’s worth.

    Note: thanks to redirected nights, I’m now a globalist writing this from a Suite in Hyatt Centric Ginza. :p

  23. I am Lifetime Titanium (4215 room nights damn I’m getting old) never saw a survey and if I did they would have ripped it up or hit delete. Been then most major flags are diminishing in value.

    Only good thing for us internationally hotels are better managed that as most international travelers know the breakfast / lounge is well worth it

  24. LTTE, no survey ( nor , for that matter, have I received a single post-stay hotel survey since the program started; it was par for the course under SPG)

  25. I have never met and spg elite/platinum member who thinks bonvoy is better..

    Impossible.. In fact I now go outside the brand because bonvoy is. Making me disloyal

  26. That “survey” was almost certainly a non-apples-to-apples comparison. Most likely, it didn’t mention SPG and was just a satisfaction survey with some aspect of Bonvoy to relatively new members or people who were gifted status. And those responses were probably compared to the negative complaints from dissatisfied (probably non-elite) previously SPG users.

    Getting 8:1 anything for any survey is crazy hard. On average, people poll towards the average. Not only do I not believe it, but I think it’s an outright lie and not just a misinterpretation.

  27. Aren’t redemptions just up for this year because they raised the number of points needed for bookings and people used all their points before the devaluation? I used all my points staying at the St Regis NYC this year and it didn’t have anything to do with my satisfaction with Bonvoy, just wanted to use the points before they were worthless…

  28. I used all my Bonvoy points on redemptions this year in anticipation of bailing. And, like everyone else, no survey here for a low level elite.

  29. I bet they just counted all the social media activity as positive engagement, no matter of the actual content.

  30. I believe this gets it exactly right:
    NK3 says:
    November 8, 2019 at 1:13 pm
    “Loyalty redemptions being up does not necessarily mean that people love the program. My SO and I have used more points this year than in the past . . . because we were trying to cash them out so we can move on to different Hyatt and Hilton. And yes, we booked them early, to avoid the forthcoming peak award pricing.”

    The redemptions went up as a result of folks cashing out because of the limited window of opportunity that was presented to redeem at reasonable award costs before they went up dramatically at ‘aspirational’ properties, or simply because folks were about to drop the program and bail out, or both…

  31. THIS IS PURE BS….Until Sorenson gets his owners / managers under control so that lifetime members are recognized and not treated like a walk in, he is going to have problems.

  32. In the past my stays were 40/40/20 Hilton/IHG/Marriott. I am self employed and have about 150 business nights per year and another 25-30 vacation. I base my loyalty on a combination of prices and how many stays it takes to get a free night. Now I’m pretty much 50/30/20 Marriott/IHG/Hilton. The last time I checked earlier this year it was taking just under 3 nights at Marriotts to get a free night, over 4 for IHG, and tight at 5 for Hilton. So complain about Bonvoy all you want I’m honestly loving it.

  33. I certainly have mixed reviews of my experiences since Bonvoy launched. As Platinum Elite, my business stays have tended to be pretty uneventful–which is fine, I’m there to work and hopefully have a comfortable room. But some of my personal stays–which are often on points and at high end properties–have certainly been Bonvoyed experiences. And the only way I’ve solved issues (where possible) is because I had to be diligent in reviewing the program rules and strongly advocate for myself when it was clear a property was trying to circumvent rules or just not treat a customer well (and I have not had a 100% success rate either).

  34. No survey and I am lower end of the Bonvoy programme. I don’t see it as good value for money. Last year I spent around 9 months in Mumbai. I stayed around 20 days a month there. When I cam back to Australia I stayed at the Grand Hyatt (I lived out of a hotel). My colleagues would fly in from Delhi each week and stay at the JW Mariott – in a 4 week period they would stay around 18 nights. I will point out that our corporate rate means hotels are cheap in Mumbai. At the end of it, they ended up with around 2 nights free (based on points bookings of expensive hotels). With Hyatt I booked the following on points or free nights: around 10 nights in Melbourne (either Grand or Park Hyatt). 3 nights in New York Park Hyatt (used a suite upgrade), 1 night Andaz New York (free night), I currently have booked Park Hyatt Maldive and Park Hyatt Buenos Aires. I also just used a suite upgrade at Park Hyatt in Dubai. Personally I think you get better bang for you buck at Hyatt.

  35. lifetime titanium, Never saw the survey. Also don’t recall SPG or Marriott ever being a adjective to describe getting fucked over by a hotel. So yeah don’t buy it

  36. Martiott has 100 people who dislike things and millions who love the merger results. Revenue and earnings are both up. Go Marriott!

  37. This shouldn’t be a surprise. Bonvoy is a better program than original Marriott rewards was pre merger. By numbers alone, the improvements for legacy Marriott members outweighs the downside seen from legacy Starwood. So yeah, Bonvoy is preferred to the old programs because it’s a hybrid of the two. And lots of old “Marriott gold” now get to call themselves platinum.

  38. I don’t buy it. I feel the program is not as good as it was before. I have encountered so many issues this year with the program. And I am quite disappointed. I personally think it’s not working. I am lifetime platinum member and thinking of moving to Hilton.

  39. Lies. No questions, just made up lies, although Marriott before ruining Starwood was absolutely miserable.

  40. Yes..get over it. The world does not revolve around scamming “free shit” Which is basically what all of us are doing.. Get over it

  41. Ben why don’t you put a poll on your site? You have the perfect audience as I assume most readers will be legacy member of SPG or Marriott.

    One or two simple questions will do and I guess you have enough readers to get a statistically relevant sample.

    Besides, it helps for clicks……

    The Bonvoy program is what it is and will not change. But I hate to see that Sorensen guy lying about it.

  42. It was easier for me to get suite upgrades as a Platinum Elite under MR than it is to get them as a Titanium Life under Bonvoyageboy. This merger has been a disaster, and I fear it’ll get worse. And no I never got any survey.

  43. Did not get survey

    Hate Bonvoy

    Dumped whatever points I had as soon as possible after merger for legacy SPG air and hotel rewards (not without incredible difficulty)

    Liked SPG for 20 years as my backup program

    Arne took lessons from Goebbels

    “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State (Bonvoy) can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. ”

    Reminds me of someone else lately

  44. @endre the only things worth believing on those kinds of calls are the GAAP accounting metrics

  45. miles and miles of none of it. Earn and burn–baby–no loyalty. Only thing i like spg/marriot point for is the transfers. i fear those maybe on the chopping block next….Earn and Burn…

  46. I also miss my SPG yet have avoided being “bonvoyed” by actively pursing options. Lifetime Titanium here and it only matters when my suite night awards are applied in Europe. While Ritz Carltons and St. Regis properties have not diminished in standards, other Marriott properties are now on the bottom of my hit parade choices because of the games being played and lackluster treatment.

    Hitting Hyatt Globalist today and have always been a Hilton Diamond. So be of good cheer—there are better options out there.

  47. Responses from everyone so far. More than 8 to 1 that Bonvoy is worse.

    LTTE and Ambassador adding my vote to worse… far, far worse

  48. Bullshit! No survey received. SPG program was far, far better. Also, the support offered by Starwood was fantastic. Marriott support sucks.

  49. I sometimes have the feeling that Sorenson has the same ability to process facts, numbers and concepts as the current potus. Very likely someone gave him a sheet of paper saying “8.1 %” of respondents think it’s better than any of the two previous programs and he made his 8:1 bullshit up out of this. Nonetheless, this is the same quality of “surveys” that airlines use to “enhance” the onboard product due to customer preferences… they just don’t exist.

  50. Yeah right!
    Interestingly apparently no one received this survey. 🙂

    Also, having a plethora of data scientist, quite a few of my friends actually work with Marriott analysing internal survey data and otherwise. Post Bonvoy, the graph has steadily gone down, not even stabilization, let alone improvement.

    – Lifetime Gold and ambassador elite for last 7years

  51. I believe it. I also believe a magical unicorn will jump into my house and fart gold coins onto my living room floor. And I also believe in surveys from 100 Marriott middle managers who don’t want to lose their job is always heartfelt and honest.

  52. Lifetime Titanium Elite, legacy SPG.
    I didn’t get any survey.
    My rate of upgrades has halved under Bonvoy compared with SPG, and not one of the upgrades received has been significant (suites etc).
    For me, SPG was much superior to Bonvoy.
    (And I cannot believe Arne’s stats!)

  53. Marriott is like a delusional divorcee who’s fully convinced their ex is still madly in love with them. Just because the ex says ‘hello’ every once in a while when dropping in to see the kids….

    Dream on Marriott. We tolerate Bonvoy. We don’t love it.

  54. I’ve never met someone that likes Bonvoy. It’s the most confusing garbage program out there. But it is still better than SPG. Earn and burn SUCKED on SPG, it was a program designed for the credit card holder.

  55. Long time SPG member.
    Also a Marriott member before Bonvoy but a dormant member.

    1. I prefer the new Bonvoy to either the old SPG or Marriott Rewards
    2. I didn’t get any survey……

  56. At 300-400-500 a night, it’s not free shit….they make promises to us, they should be held accountable…The problem is Sorensen is a terrible manager and has no clue as to what he is doing to the once great Starwood brand

  57. I was a member of SPG for 20 years and Marriott Rewards for more than a decade. I don’t mind that they combined the two programs together into Bonvoy, but I didn’t receive any survey asking whether I preferred this to the old rewards. I’m currently a gold Bonvoy, and I think it’s better than SPG was, but that the Marriott Rewards was easier to figure out. I’m mainly loyal due to the 100% non-smoking. Bonvoy doesn’t suck, I can say that.

  58. no survey here….

    i guess marriort maybe do a BIASED surveys hahahah like how they select people to review their properties.

    has anyone noticed the t&c when choosing the platinum and titanium benefits?
    there is a very confusing line saying that Marriot will honor ambassador service for a member who already earned 100 nights WITHOUT spending 20k on 2019?
    has anyone got ambassador status from it?

  59. I had worked for Marriott for 20 years and left 5 years ago(I would have had lifetime free rooms by now if I’d have stayed) The way Marriott has almost always done these surveys is to target what they deem their “top” travelers. Usually 150-200+ room-nights a year OR some of their major properties (Orlando World Center, NYC and SF Marquis) to identify their top clients. And then they are called or receive an email. In some cases the person taken the survey knows they’ll get one in advance. It’s highly likely these were previously top MRW members.
    It was done that way in the past and has continued.

  60. Lifetime Titanium Elite: MR Member since 1991. 1400-plus actual paid nights. Did not receive survey.

    Bonvoy is better from the standpoint of: Being able to earn and redeem points

    Bonvoy is worse from the standpoint of: The pace of annual devaluation of points and room rate increases seems to be accelerating.

    Bottom Line for me: I was treated well before Bonvoy. I’m treated well now. I really haven’t noticed very much difference. From the (very few) promotional materials I received, I thought perhaps being migrated from “Lifetime Platinum” to “Lifetime Titanium” might mean a new level of service, comforts, and/or benefits. It hasn’t. I don’t need or require room upgrades very often, so my sample size with that sort of thing is too small to be conclusive. But a few months ago, I booked the wrong room type in a “full-serve” Marriott, I mistakenly booked the wrong room type (king) and subsequently called both the “special 800” reservation line as well as the hotel directly. All I was able to get was “we’ll note your request (for two beds), but we don’t honor that type of request”. Hmmm….

    For “just me”, I can’t really say that on balance Bonvoy has been either a positive or negative development. I’m neither impressed nor turned off.

  61. I mean, they acquired thousands of hotels when they bought Starwood, so of course redemptions would be “up” just because they…have more hotels now?

    Also, I’m pretty sure the 8:1 thing is just a blatant, outright lie. Conveniently, Marriott can just make a claim like this and don’t need to provide proof, and there’s no way to fact-check (well, unless someone wants to hack Marriott again to find this supposed survey).

  62. I posted about this on FT. Quite amusing seeing some of the usual
    Marriott sycophants rush to the defense of Arne and try and justify how logical it was of course for 90% of people to agree the new program is just amazeballs.

  63. Lifetime Titanium. Marriott has been such a train wreck that I stayed multiple times this year at Hilton, IHG and Hyatt properties globally. The Kimpton and Intercontinental properties at IHG are really nice with great customer service. Hilton has upgraded me every single visit. Hyatt had been pleasant when I visit our NJ office. Meanwhile I’ve been able to use 2 of 5 SNAs from Marriott this year and zero upgrades from my status. What a waste of a loyalty program…… Marriott is in a tail spin. The pretending that “everything is alright” public facing attitude is just weird.

  64. I absolutely prefer Hyatt over Marriott but I like Marriott better than Hilton and I’m top tier (Lifetime Titanium, Globalist, & Diamond) with each. Marriott seems to have gotten much worse since completing the merger with Starwood in my opinion & based on my experience this past year.

  65. How’s loyalty redemptions being up good for the program?
    I sure burned my 2M+ Bonvoy points already and am running away from this program. I will hit Ambassador from the points this year but I am not staying the year after unless some major change happens. None of the hotels I stayed has become better after the merger. But some of the former SPG ones have been less generous about upgrades since Marriott Bonvoy is flooding Platinum Elites in China.

  66. Here’s the disconnect for most of us:

    Does anyone recall when Bloggers and frequent travelers alike would laud Hyatt and SPG as the best of the best yet Marriott would end up winning awards. Then after, bloggers would wonder why Marriott won?

    Pretty simple honestly: They have the #s. The # of commenters and bloggers here make up a tiny % of Marriott loyalists who thought Marriott Rewards PRE MERGER was the best program for them. Think on that.

    It’s pretty simple math honestly.

  67. 3rd year Ambassador member. 119 nights and $24,000 spend this week . So far disappointing. The upgrades are nearly non existent. I have had one or two suite upgrades this year, total. Have had most hotels suggest that a 2:00 pm late check out is maximum, not 4:00 that is supposed to be virtually standard. Intercontinental (IHG) Royal Ambassador was virtually a guaranteed suite upgrade and when an upgrade is asked for at check in with Bonvoy, the look on the face is typically “are you kidding me”.

    So the program is basically a good points rebate program. It works out to about a 20% discount toward future reservations. Disappointing for a frequent traveler. Room rates are probably 30-40% higher than an Expedia “best rate” search. I may be returning to IHG .

  68. Only survey I got was for the TPG one and no I did not vote for their crappy program. Moved all nights to Hilton with Aspire diamond.

  69. Total BS! Marriott has completely eliminated perks for loyal members. Your 24? Haven’t found ONE hotel to “honor” this perk! Suite upgrade certificates? Same!! Rejected every time! Reward rooms available when rooms are available? Nope. “No blackouts” policy has been blacked out!!
    Absolutely horrible.

  70. Totally agree which is why I’ve switched to mostly Hyatt when possible. Such ashame and a total rip off in my opinion.

  71. Former Starwood Platinum for 9 years. No, I didnt receive the survey. I loathe Marriott and Bonvoy so yes, redeeming points and rarely staying at Marriot/Starwood hotels. I have not had a single upgrade, my former favourite Starwood hotels have become “Marriottized”. No thanks. More active in Hyatt & Accor now.

  72. Bonvoy sucks – and not just in name only. I’m a long time SPG member and never got a survey. I’m quite sure Marriott didn’t send it to any SPG members – and for good reason, because the survey results would be very disappointing to them. Marriott ruined this program and Bonvoy will be going bon voyage very soon! Miss my SPG!

  73. This comes at no surprise.
    While I agree compared to the benefits under the separate programs, much has changed in a bad direction, I would say the benefits of having loyalty and high status with Marriott compared to other hotel brands is high.
    For example, the platinum benefits for IHG and the location of many of their hotels can’t compare with Marriott. And the relative value of such points.

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