I have a saying that those close to me have heard many times: “Trust is earned by the thimbleful, and lost in buckets.”
Marriott has lost my trust. In buckets. In fact, recently, by many buckets.
Many bloggers have noted the myriad issues with the Marriott loyalty program, primarily beginning last summer. There are so many issues and articles that I won’t recount or even recap them here. And it didn’t help when Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson infamously dismissed the problems as “noise around the edges.”
This week, Marriott implemented a major stage of what we’ve called the Massive Marriott March Devaluation. Award prices went up for almost 400 Marriott properties – most importantly, including 66 of the most desirable, aspirational hotels in the entire Marriott portfolio, which increased by a whopping 41.7%, from 60,000 points per night to 85,000.[And remember, there is another shoe yet to drop, when Marriott introduces Peak/Standard/Off-Peak award pricing.]
We wrote extensively about the upcoming Massive Marriott March Devaluation and urged Middle Age Miles readers to make their award reservations before the category changes on March 5:
- Preparing for the Massive Marriott March Devaluation
- UPDATED 2/11/2019: Preparing for the Massive Marriott March Devaluation
- Reminder: One Week Left to Make Award Reservations at Marriott Hotels Increasing in Points Price (especially Category 8 hotels!)
- One Final Reminder: Last Day to Make Award Reservations at Marriott Hotels Before the Increase in Points Price (especially Category 8 hotels!)
One hotel we identified in our articles as being a great aspirational place to book before it increased to Category 8 was the St. Regis Rome. When we published our first article in late January, we noted that the St. Regis Rome had award availability for the majority of days in May, 29 out of 30 days in June, and every day in July and August.
At some point, though, Marriott pulled award availability from the St. Regis Rome. By the time we published our “final reminder” article on Monday, there was no award availability for at all for 5 straight months – April, May, June, July and August (save for 1 lone day in June).
We were fortunate to grab a screenshot. As of Monday, when the award price was 60,000 points per night, here was the award calendar for the St. Regis Rome in July:
Not one single day of availability.
Magically, however, once the award price increased to 85,000 per night, award availability somehow re-appeared. Here’s what it looks like today:
How about that?
Likewise, now every single day in August miraculously re-gained award availability at 85,000 points.
It’s clear that Marriott played games with award availability prior to the award price increase. It clearly blocked award bookings at pre-devaluation pricing.
Marriott, you have lost my trust. When you disrespect your customer, it will eventually catch up to you. Maybe not today, but it will catch up to you at some point. And at that point, it’s too late – you simply can’t regain the trust you’ve lost.
I’m a points-and-miles and travel blogger, and Marriott is the largest hotel chain in the world. I can’t just ignore it. Our mission at Middle Age Miles is to help you live your dreams through travel and points – and we simply can’t fulfill our mission without talking about Marriott.
Thus, we’ll still have Marriott stays, and we’ll still write about them. We’ll also talk about Marriott promotions and how to earn extra points from your stays. It’s all part of our mission. But we’re very sad to do this for a company that has lost our trust.
What are your thoughts and experiences on Marriott and the current state of affairs? Please share with us in the Comments.
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