Response Time From Marriott Rewards Needs Improvement

When Marriott Rewards offered an incentive last month to stay at either some or all of the 29 brands which now comprise Marriott International, Incorporated since the acquisition of Starwood Hotels and Resorts, I sought clarification as to the details to ensure that I reported them here correctly…

Response Time From Marriott Rewards Needs Improvement

Marriott Atlanta Perimeter

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

…but what I received was yet another testament to the numerous ways in which the pains of the integration of The Ritz-Carlton Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest and Marriott Rewards into one frequent guest loyalty program still exist and are being felt by customers: the response time to inquiries.

Before I detail my experience, please allow me to review the current offer.

Bonus Marriott Rewards Points For Staying at Different Brands 2018

Sheraton Atlanta Perimeter North Hotel

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

Along with the introduction of the game known as 29 Ways to Stay — which has since ended — another way to earn Marriott Rewards points was announced as an incentive to stay at either some or all of the 29 brands which now comprise Marriott International, Incorporated since the acquisition of Starwood Hotels and Resorts.

Now, you can earn:

  • 10,000 bonus points when you stay at 10 brands.
  • 29,000 bonus points when you stay at 29 brands.

Register Now For MegaBonus by Marriott Autumn 2018 — Including Starwood Hotel Properties

AC Coslada

Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

As I first reported in this article on Wednesday, September 12, 2018, you can earn 2,000 bonus points on all stays of a minimum of two nights with the latest iteration of the MegaBonus promotion from Marriott Rewards — as well as 1,000 bonus points per brand, starting with your second brand — at any participating hotel or resort property worldwide between Wednesday, September 26, 2018 and Thursday, January 31, 2019.

Registration is open for the MegaBonus promotion, which ends on Monday, January 7, 2019 at 11:59 in the evening Eastern Standard Time. You must register for this promotion in order to participate in it, as registration is a requirement.

The 29 Participating Brands of Marriott

The Westin Dublin

Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

For the first time ever, the choice of 29 brands of Marriott International participating in this promotion — including all of the former Starwood brands and a few brands of Marriott which had not previously participated — are as follows:

My Experience Communicating With Marriott Rewards

At the time that the aforementioned article was written, the option to earn bonus points based on the number of brands at which you stay was not yet part of the promotion. It was added when the aforementioned 29 Ways to Stay game was introduced; and despite what was written in other weblogs, I was initially confused about the specific aspects of this promotion — specifically, whether or not an expiration existed for earning those bonus points — as the verbiage was not completely clear to me at that time…

…so on the morning of Tuesday, October 16, 2018, I sent the following message to the official Twitter account of Marriott Rewards: “Question: is there an expiration date to earning 10,000 bonus points when you stay at 10 brands and 29,000 bonus points when you stay at 29 brands; or is this an ongoing incentive? Also, does this mean that one can earn a total of 39,000 Marriott Rewards points?”

Greater than 24 hours later, I received no response; so I asked, “No answer to my simple questions after greater than 24 hours?”

Finally — on the afternoon of Thursday, October 18, 2018, which was almost 2.5 days later — I received the following response: “Hello! Earning for the Q4 MegaBonus in More Places promotion runs September 26, 2018 – January 31, 2019. For all the information, you can visit this link:

At the time of this response, the specific information pertaining to the bonus points for staying at hotel and resort properties under different brands was not yet added to the terms and conditions; so I replied with “With all due respect, the answer to either of my questions is not found in the link which you provided to me.”

I never did receive a response.

Summary

TownePlace Suites by Marriott Tampa

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Perhaps I am being harsh, but I found the lack of information in the delayed response as unacceptable. Social media is a platform through which communication should be faster than many other vehicles of information. The companies which optimize the use of social media and do it right are the ones with which responses to questions asked by customers and potential customers are virtually immediate. By that standard, Marriott Rewards failed miserably — both in the speed of the response and the lack of information which it contained.

Staying in hotel and resort properties at 29 different brands is not an easy task — even for frequent travelers — due to a number of circumstances. For example, only 12 Moxy Hotels properties exist in 12 cities in the United States at the time this article was written — and unless you find yourself in one of those cities prior to the conclusion of the promotion, you likely will not stay at one. A myriad of other factors which may influence your decision to stay at a Moxy Hotels property include price, location, benefits and amenities.

Some lodging companies quietly — or not so quietly — have offered at one time or another a bonus when staying at hotel and resort properties of all of their brands within a calendar year on a permanent basis. As Marriott currently has the largest portfolio of hotel brands, it should offer this benefit on a permanent basis, in my opinion. 39,000 Marriott Rewards points is not exactly the best incentive to stay at all 29 brands on a permanent basis — let alone for a limited time.

“The most frequent complaint I hear from members is how long they have to wait on the phone to fix a problem”, according to this article written by Edward Pizzarello of Pizza in Motion. “The least frequent thing I hear are updates from Marriott. They are losing the PR battle right now. Communication goes a long way, even when it’s not all positive news. Technology is hard, we all get it. But, Marriott kept their platform in place for their hotels. They integrated SPG to their platform. And yet, Marriott bookings have many of the same problems SPG ones do. Why is that? Explanations have been largely absent.”

I completely agree.

All photographs ©2014, ©2015 and ©2017 by Brian Cohen.


 

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