On February 13th, Marriott will discontinue the Marriott Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest, and Ritz Carlton Rewards names.
Replacing those names will be the new unified program name, “Marriott Bonvoy.” Which is the worst name in loyalty since American added a Platinum Pro level or Hyatt Gold Passport became World of Hyatt with elite titles going from Platinum and Diamond to the awkward Explorist, Discoverist, and Globalist.
There’s a boring new logo to boot.
And to think there are consultants out there that are getting paid millions to come up with this stuff!
The bottom line is that Marriott is now truly massive in scale and they can do pretty much whatever they want without repercussion. And that includes ridiculous program names and logos.
On 2/13 Marriott will change their elite tier names to Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite, Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite, Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite, Marriott Bonvoy Titanium Elite (Currently Platinum Premier Elite), and Marriott Bonvoy Ambassador Elite (Currently Platinum Premier Elite with Ambassador).
I’m not quite sure why Titanium, which is worth significantly less than Silver, is the new level above Platinum. I suppose Titanium is stronger than Platinum, but then again Silver is stronger than Gold. Nothing here seems to makes much sense.
Marriott originally had 3 levels of of Platinum to placate SPG loyalists who didn’t like that top-tier SPG Platinum was being downgraded to Marriott mid-tier status. But sure enough, the old SPG Platinum is now mid-tier Platinum status under Titanium and Ambassador. And the highest level you can earn from credit card spending is now mid-tier versus top-tier with Hilton or Hyatt.
The Starwood and Marriott credit cards will be rebranded as Marriott Bonvoy.
The SPG and Ritz apps will be discontinued.
The new devalued 2019 award chart with 8 categories of hotels and peak date pricing will go into effect on a yet to be determined date in March, so there will still be time to lock in future hotel bargains.
Marriott has managed to completely bungle the Starwood merger. IT issues have plagued Marriott.com since the merger and those still have not been resolved. Marriott phone agents are undertrained and can’t seem to resolve any account issues.
I wrote about many of the issues they were facing here, 2 weeks after the merger. Aside from IT issues, Marriott faces a loyalty disconnect. They tricked people about lifetime elite benefits and about their travel packages and frankly aren’t worthy of loyalty.
I still have my Starwood cards for the new annual free nights that they come with. But they no longer get any of the swiping action like they used to. The value for actually using the card for spending, especially after category 8 goes into effect, just isn’t there anymore.
I’ve come to terms with the death of SPG. Starwood cared about their guests without needing to claim that they live by the #GoldenRule. Marriott simply does not care.