Reader Question: Why No Coverage Of Marriott’s Lies Towards Their Elite Customers?

25 Comments

A LoyaltyLobby reader sent us a question using Facebook about the recent Marriott and SPG program merger and failed promises from Marriott that the reader believes to be outright lies.

Marriott SPG

Remember that you can always email us, send a message via Facebook or use Twitter and include photos too. We’ll try to cover Reader Questions & Comments here several times a week.

You can access Marriott’s page for combined program here.

READ MORE: Marriott Rewards Rate & Bonus Points And Miles Promotions

Here’s the message from the reader:

I understand you have covered several SPG/Marriott issues in your readers’ questions section since the merger and may be reluctant to stay monothematic. Yet, I do have a question that goes beyond the chaos the merger created.

It’s regarding Platinum (Elite) benefits that had been promised. Especially breakfast across all brands and suite upgrades with a terminology mirroring the spg one (guaranteed upgrade to best available room incl. standard suites).

While we have learnt that the breakfast benefit was a mere show-element to create higher expectations than they were able to fulfill (I am still unsure whether Flueck as SVP loyalty is merely a weakling in the organisation or an outright liar) so that instead of breakfast we would get first 10 $ f&b credit per stay, than per person and day for breakfast at certain brands – this now seems to be void, too. Friends of mine stayed at an AC in Spain and were told that the voucher was only valid between 3pm and 3 am each day – making it completely not usable for either breakfast nor lunch.

That seems like an additional trick to sh** in elites faces. Plus, despite reiterative promises, the t&c regarding platinum upgrades remain as lax as before, leaving them completely to the hotel’s discretion.

So the question is: why is none of the blogs or newspapers really picking up on this and uncovering as outright lies towards their most loyal customers?

Or am I being to picky or naive expecting them to stick to their promises?

We certainly have covered many of the issues that have resulted from the Marriott Rewards and SPG program merger. We have yet to write about the combined breakfast benefit that is not as good as originally communicated.

I believe that the AC hotel in Spain was twisting the truth, however. The credit is valid for a day. Not just between 3PM – 3AM.

The suite upgrade language has always been somewhat vague even on the SPG side. SPG Platinum members have been eligible for upgrades to “Select Standard Suites” based on the availability at the time of checking in.

Most of the Starwood (Marriott too) and other hotels process these upgrades during the night shift and prepare registration documents at the time (if a hotel is well run). If your upgrade has not been processed, you can always check the availability at the time of checking in (like I did today) and have a word with the front desk (and was successful).

I believe where Marriott and Mr. Flueck have been twisting the truth are:

1. Breakfast benefit (I will wrote about this tomorrow)

– Not as good as promised.

2. Disappearing lounges at Starwood Resorts

– Marriott Resorts were not required to have lounges (more F&B spend by the guests).

3. 20% More Points

If you consider that you get less welcome amenity points, green choice points have been cut, so have been Best Rate Guarantee, top tier bonus has gone from 100% to 75%, it is very difficult for me to believe that elite members earn 20% more under this “new” program that really is just Marriott Rewards.

4. All Suite SPG Hotels

All hotels were supposed to be available at category 7 prices until the end of this year but they are not. The SPG all suite hotels are not available for bookings online (only one based on the piece I wrote) but you can book them at inflated rates over the phone.

5. Travel Package Mess

There was huge mess with Travel Package mapping between the “old” and the “new” program where Marriott tried to take members to the “cleaners”.

Not sure why anyone at Marriott Rewards leadership thought that it would make any sense to anger the membership by not being forthcoming with mapping and then offering terrible ratio?

6. IT Integration

It is clear that the Marriott Rewards and SPG integration was forced when the IT wasn’t ready. It was moved ahead from the end of 2018 to August. Two weeks after the merger and many members still don’t have access to their accounts and there are many other issues too.

Conclusion

I have no idea what kind of Marriott/SPG coverage other blogs have had for the past two weeks because I don’t follow any. If they haven’t covered issues that have affected members, there must be financial reasons behind that (follow the money). It must be difficult to push their credit card products if you write about integration and a program merger objectively?

I was rolling my eyes when I saw Mr. Flueck’s Hotel News Now interview on Monday after merger where he claimed that everything was basically running perfectly when all the systems were down. To be frank, I am not sure in which reality he was living in.

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25 Comments

  1. I stopped staying at Merry-riot (Marriott) when they for no reason took away my:Lifetime Platinum Status I earned. For me it was clear they could not be trusted. Same with United Airlines.

  2. I stopped staying at Merry-Rot (Marriott) when they canceled my Lifetime Platinum Status for no reason. You clearly can not trust anything there frequent quest. Loyalty is not in their vocabulary. Same with United Airlines, They demoted me from Lifetime Platinum to Lifetime Gold when they merged with Continental.

    • @ron – there is more to your story. Did you contact Marriott and ask for explanation? Same with United?

      I am United Platinum for Life and after merger with Continental, I am still Platinum for Life. From what I remember, if anything, due to Continental’s overly generous counting of miles from non-air travel, many United flyers got *upgraded* in their status.

      Would be interested to hear more detail of what happened…your story doesn’t sound realistic.

    • There’s only two ways to loose your Lifetime Platinum status.
      1. You died
      2. You didn’t use your account for over 12 months.

      or it was only temporary and you thought it was permanent

  3. As a nobody silver my gripes are the bonus points used to be 20% and now it’s 10% I’m also missing goodwill Amex SPG points and a stay from 2 weeks ago hasn’t posted. I screen shot my account before the merger in case Marriott wants to screw over this lowly member.

  4. At one point it looked like this might be a winner. But it IS NOT AT ALL ACCEPTABLE! From downgraded credit cards to higher prices and totally screwed IT.

    Phoned SPG today about free night awards earned before 18 Aug which have been “lost in space”. AMEX says they were awarded but SPG cannot access anything in my account. Have a 5 night stay at 11 Mirrors in Kiev that I wanted to extend perhaps with a free night. Guess again. Am reluctant to merge my two accounts but in order to get higher status I have to do so and HOLD MY NOSE.

    When I discovered that lifetime status was obtainable with only 750 nights I briefly regretted trying to get the Diamond for Life from HHonors. I am still below the 1000 nights according to Hilton’s horrible record keeping but at least the rewards for being a Diamond are excellent compared with even the Premium Platinum (sic) offered by Starriott. What a cluster *&^%$.

  5. John, my biggest surprise is that you say you don’t follow/ monitor other blogs?
    You have a few typos in this post btw.

  6. Hilton Honors is good with breakfast, lounges and upgrades even for Golds esp. in Asia. For 2 years in a row, they leave me at gold when I didn’t make the nights. Leave Marriott and try Hilton for a change.

  7. Total horseshit. Almost nothing this person says is true. It’s not even a first hand account. Is this a joke. “A friend of mine told me” seriously? Well hey, a friend of mine told me wile staying at some weird hotel in Uruguay that may or may not have actually been part of the Marriott brand of families saw you yelling at the front desk staff because you were confused and trying to use your Hilton Honors card to skip the line.

  8. Lol. You are all so misinformed it’s laughable. Read.. read.. read. It’s all in writing. These rants are nothing but hysteria. Pure fiction.

  9. Sorry John but I do not agree with you on your analysis of SPG Upgrade policy compared to Marriott:

    SPG policy was: Platinum members receive upgrades to the best available rooms, including Standard Suites, subject to availability for the entire length of stay at time of check-in. Not offered at Aloft® or Element℠ hotels.

    It has not been vague as you mention in your blog, a junior suite was always within reach. You could go to the front desk and when a standard suite was available they had to give it to you.

    So that’s a big difference to the one of Marriott. In my previous message you mentioned as a response that you had information that Marriott would change the T&C’s in favour of the old SPG one’s. Is this gone now too?

  10. Plus the rewards vp(?) saying status match gold would be plat till the end of the year then it turning out not to be true. How many ppl made marriott bookings on the expectation of having the existing benefits til 2019?

    They also appear to have ‘lost’ the 2 stays to get 1 free night promotion that was currently in progress.

    And their customer service is shocking. After having the ‘well respond within 5-10 days’ autoemail, it took 27 days to actually get a reply.

    Literally no reason to stay at marriott anymore.

  11. Thanks for posting.

    I actually preferred the Marriott suite upgrade policy to the SPG policy as I found some SPG properties to define “standard suite” in an intellectually dishonest way. For example, a couple of SPG properties call an ordinary corner room a “corner suite” even though its just a better room of the type that I received at Marriott when I was a baby gold. Similarly, I was at another SPG property that had numerous ordinary suites for sale (not Presidential tyoe) who told me that they had given away their designated “standard suites.” I never had that problem at Marriott.

    That being said, most hotels are operated by franchisees, some of whom are short sighted and neither Marriott nor SPG would do anything with properties that don’t follow the intent of the upgrade rules and ignore things like breakfast benefits. Seems to me it would have been much simpler to give everyone at CY and AC a coupon for a breakfast entree and a drink ….

  12. The AC issue mentioned here is definitely due to the management, I know the MD for AC in Italy, and he was the first to tell me that now there would be a daily voucher for platinum members, which was one of the most common complaints about the brand in the first place

    The hotels are still managed by the Spanish AC Hotels, but will become 100pc Marriott sometime soon, so if there are issues, its because they are not really part of Marriott yet

    The suite upgrades depend always on the front desk staff, I have stayed in jsuites for weeks because they were available, but I have also stayed at one hotel which never offered them even though they were always available during my stays

  13. Maybe just maybe when they see how many SPG members have left, the clueless people at Marriott will change course from the crappy path they are on.

  14. I still can’t sort by price on Marriott site. Their IT dept was no-where close to ready for this new August merger date. Painful for customers trying to stay loyal.

  15. Still can’t sort by price on Marriott site. Their poor IT dept was not prepared for this earlier August merge date. Frustrating for us customers trying to remain loyal.

  16. Of all the mishaps and issues, the travel packages is the one that falls in to a potential fraud case. Hiding the new category map has the plausible deniability of being a bad management decision, but having CSRs either tell lies or not giving them information and letting them make assumptions to customers stated as facts is fraud in my opinion. Not providing information is one thing, telling people wrong information is another thing all together. Personally, I was lied to and even encouraged to make a decision that was just wrong at the stroke of 12:01AM on August 19.

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