Marriott Rewards & Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) started their very painful IT and program merger on August 18, 2018, although both (and Ritz-Carlton Rewards) got to keep their names for now (Bonvoy is coming soon – read more here).
SPG accounts were moved to the Marriott Rewards platform and the Starwood reservation system has been slowly phased out this past autumn and legacy Starwood brands and their reservations moved and converted to Marsha (Marriott’s reservations system).
You can access Marriott Rewards here.
The entire process has been a complete mess (the most polite way to put it) and extensively covered here on LoyaltyLobby through our articles and reader email-pieces (see the long list below).
Marriott has been able to fix most of the acute problems and to somewhat stabilize their platform (website still down several times a week). There are still quite a few issues based on my own experiences and what readers have reported.
Here’s what is unresolved (report yours on the comments section):
1. Stays Not Postings
There appears to be great difficulty getting legacy Starwood hotels to post stays properly to Marriott accounts (there really aren’t SPG account anymore regardless what the account branding may say).
Hotels can no longer post missing stays by themselves (in Starwood times they could) but they need to contact their Marriott support center black-hole.
If you contact Marriott regarding missing stays, they usually request you to fax a copy of the folio. Shouldn’t they have the folio information on their system?
2. No Proper Breakdown On Points Earned
The online account only shows Base, Elite and Extra.To properly account for all the bonus points earned, there should be a breakdown that shows what are the extras earned like in the SPG.
Now it is practically impossible to know what might be missing if you are eligible for multiple property specific bonuses.
3. Customer Service
Customer service has been problematic ever since the August 18. Most of the agents are not familiar with the 60 page long terms & conditions and simply giving out incorrect information (or hanging up if they don’t know the answer). Wait times are getting slowly better.
Even before the merger you had to know how to navigate around Marriott Rewards Customer Service that had very limited hours by calling various offices outside of the US and contacting Mr. Marriott’s office as the last resource.
4. Ambassador Service
Marriott advertises Ambassador Service as a concierge service that takes cares of everything. It has really gone downhill (and wasn’t what was promised even back in SPG).
The number of accounts that each Ambassador is supposed to take care of has doubled to 300. Combine this with all the system issues that require far more manual intervention, emails go unanswered and much less personal attention, if any, compared to just earlier this year.
5. Suite Night Awards
Members first had great difficulty getting these applied to reservations and often they don’t get approved by hotels. They also turn to dust if not used. I have always chose other gift options since when SPG first launched these I had more than 20 expire unused.
These is also an issue getting these credited back to accounts if first properly applied and stay later canceled.
Your24 is a benefit for those that spent 75 nights with Starwood last year or who reach Ambassador status with Marriott Rewards. These requests are now entirely manual and sent to the hotel by email instead of by request done on SPG’s website. A waste of time for every party involved.
Hotels need to approve these manually based on the emails received and approval rate is not what it used to be.
7. Award Redeposits
I have had great difficulty getting points refunded for two award reservations that I have canceled. My Ambassador claims that the points for one have been refunded (it has not – need to do a spreadsheet to prove this) and another one is being dealt with by a “supervisor” now for more than a month.
There must be tens of millions of points that are lost by members when Marriott Rewards doesn’t credit them back to member accounts.
8. Manual Processes
Many of these issues above are derived from the fact that Starwood legacy hotels moved from away from their reservation system and integrated to Marriott’s old Marsha that requires far more manual reporting. I believe that hotels are manually posting stays to member accounts resulting plenty of misses and follow ups.
9. Old Marriott Tricks
Marriott has already started to backpedal on their promises as we reported earlier this week. The No Blackout Dates-policy is back to what it was earlier. Marriott legacy brands can have blackout dates for months at a time.
Here’s our coverage of the program merger issues:
- SPG Data Integration Issues (Report Yours Here)
- It’s Monday & SPG Side Doesn’t Have Access To Booking Systems
- What Was Marriott Thinking & Trust Left?
- Update: Mr. Marriott’s Office Of Consumer Affairs (Customer Relations Escalation) Can No Longer Be Reached Via Phone
- RANT: New SPG Number & Consequences
- Marriott Make A Green Choice-Program Points Earned Cut By 67% At Starwood Hotels
- Marriott Rewards Travel Package Downgrade & Attachment Troubles
- Reader Email: Marriott Cheated Me John!
- Reader Rant: SPG Award Reservations Canceled & Points Gone?
- Marriott’s Starwood Priority? Get The Bible & Book Of Mormon To 300,000 Rooms!
- Reader Question: “That’s nice, we are Marriott.” – Where To Go?
- Reader Email: Going insane with Marriott (Cannot Login & Password Reset Done 30 Times)
- How To Contact Marriott Rewards & SPG During These Difficult Times (Without Being On Hold For Hours)?
- Reader Question: Why No Coverage Of Marriott’s Lies Towards Their Elite Customers?
- Marriott & SPG Program Merger Two Weeks Later (Report Your Issues!)
- SPG Account Update: Gained 10 Nights For 2018 & Lost 50 Lifetime Nights
- Reader Question: Lounge Access As Platinum Amenity At Legacy SPG Brand Past Merger?
- Reader Question: SPG Platinum Amenity Gone After Merger ? (When Lounge Is Closed)
- Reader Email: Marriott & SPG Booking Woes!
- Marriott Rewards Pulling A Fast One With SPG Best Rate Guarantee Claims
- Marriott “Green Choice” Or Greedy Choice? (Housekeeping Hours Cut)
- Marriott / SPG Platinum Elite Amenity: Breakfast vs Mediocre Points Credit – What To Choose?
- Reader Email: SPG/Marriott Merger Problems Rant!
- Marriott & SPG Ambassadors Moving From 200 To 300 Clients?
- One Month After Marriott Rewards & SPG Merger Blunder (Report Outstanding Issues)
- Reader Question: SPG/Marriott Merger – Still Don’t Have Correct Lifetime Platinum Premier Elite Status?
- Reader Email: The Marriott/SPG Gets Worse – Status Dropped From Reservations?
- Reader Question: Trouble Contacting Marriott Rewards & Where To Go?
- Reader Email: Is Marriott The New Black Hole? (Ambassador Program Issues)
- Marriott & SPG Merger Madness Continues: Hotels Losing Guest Stay History & Some Status
- NYT: “Marriott’s Merger of Hotel Rewards Programs Tests Members’ Loyalty”
- Marriott Rewards Deceives Members On Points To Miles Conversions
- Employee Strikes Now Affecting 23 Marriott Hotels Around The US (Book Away!)
- Reader Email: Marriott Rewards Award Disaster & Customer Service Of No Help!
- Marriott Rewards Email Alert: Points Expiring In 23 MONTHS!
- Reservation Management Function On SPG App & Website (Marriott Skin) Now Entirely Useless
- Marriott CEO Sorenson: “(Program Merger) Little Bit More Bumpy Than We Anticipated”
- Marriott Rewards (SPG) Points & Stay History Gone For A Week?
- Reader Email: Shambolic Marriott Rewards Customer Service
- Whine Wednesdays: Marriott’s Stabilized Platform?
- Marriott Rewards: Stays From Legacy Starwood Properties Not Posting For Weeks (At All) ?
- Reader Question: Incorrect Information From Marriott Customer Service (SPG Legacy Qualification Criteria)?
- WSJ: “Inside the Marriott-Starwood Loyalty Program Turbulence”
- Update On SPG Legacy Qualification Criteria & Account Status (Incorrect Information From Marriott Customer Service) – It Gets Worse!
- Reader Email:”SNA At SPG Have Gone To Hell…”
- Marriott Legacy SPG Stay Posting Issue Resolved Or Not?
- Marriott Rewards Backpedals On No Blackout Dates Policy (Still Applies For Legacy Marriott Brands)
- Condescending Year-End Email From Marriott Rewards
The program merger was going as well as it could until the disastrous IT and loyalty program integration that started on August 18th.
I still cannot get my head around this merger? How Marriott and Marriott Rewards were so unprepared for all these ongoing issues for the past four months? They had a couple of years to prepare and could have delayed this integration until the end of the year if not longer until they were ready.
If only the IT and loyalty program merger had gone as efficiently as rolling out the BoMs and Pepsi products (Marriott requirements) to legacy Starwood branded hotels…..