Marriott inherited a well-liked Ambassador program from Starwood Preferred Guest. Despite fears it would go away, they decided to add a spend minimum and re-launch it as a separate status level within Bonvoy (there are invitation-only Cobalt and Ambassador 5-Star levels).
The purpose of the Ambassador program was to provide personalized service through account-specific ambassadors that were a one-stop-shop for everything Marriott related from reservations to dealing with property level requests. It seems that account specific Ambassadors are gone based on an email that Marriott sent out.
You can access Marriott Bonvoy’s page for the Ambassador level here.
Here’s email that Marriott sent out:
In text format:
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.
For now, we ask that you reach out to the Ambassador Service by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call:
- North America: (Toll-free) 1 (866) 924-9885
- Europe/Middle East: +00353 214 861 222
- China: +86 20 3813 1068 or (Toll-free) 4008807211
- India: +91 124 6199 722 or (Toll-free) 18002582512
- Singapore: +65 62339854 or (Toll-free) 18002339854
- Japan: +81 3 4334 2498 or (Toll-free) 0120558803
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.
Please be safe and stay healthy,
Senior Vice President, Global Loyalty
There are these two levels higher than Ambassador with Marriott:
Marriott is closing hundreds of hotels and furloughing most employees:
You now effectively have the same customer service personnel replying to Ambassador-requests that deal with all other customer segments. Not sure how they are supposed to provide the promised personalized service?
Marriott has or is in the process of furloughing most of its corporate employees (read more here) that must eventually mean contact center employees as well. There just isn’t need for the same number of warm bodies if your business drops 90%. Hundreds of hotels are temporarily closing, and those still open have significantly reduced staffing levels to match occupancy rates.
Marriott, however, needs to be very careful here. Surely they don’t want to displease members who spend more than 100 nights and $20,000 with the chain yearly? Once the pandemic is over, there are many hotel chains eager to win over their business.
I have been part of the Ambassador member for three or four years between SPG and Marriott. I have not received promised benefits from the personalized service (assigned Ambassadors were generally so bad that I started to email the general address) to anything meaningful at the property. I would assume that Marriott didn’t, event at the best of times, assign adequate resources (read budget) to successfully run the program.
Marriott also hints on the email that they are reviewing the elite requirements for 2020. Hilton Honors already announced that they would extend everyone’s by a year (read more here). Will it be too difficult for Marriott just to follow what Hilton did?