Marriott pulled a fast one on loyalty members last August. Their social media representatives made posts implying that Marriott would treat members who purchased travel packages generously, but once it was too late, Marriott revealed that they would take the low road. The only plausible reason for hiding the information was to fleece their own members. They partially relented in how they would deal with people who bought the worst possible packages, but it wasn’t nearly enough.
Last month Marriott foisted the ridiculous Bonvoy name on us and now they have ads in which they ridiculously attempt to make it into a verb. (Disclaimer: The ad below contains non-tznius images.)
So let’s try it.
They Bonvoyed up the grand old Starwood AMEX, they Bonvoyed up award availability at hotels, they Bonvoyed up cash deposits on some awards, and they Bonvoyed up the cancellation policies on other hotels with ridiculous nonrefundable award reservations at hotel like the S. Regis Bal Harbour. The website and app are often Bonvoyed up for days at a time. And they really Bonvoyed up good old SPG customer service.
I currently have Marriott Bonvoy Titanium Elite status (MBTES?). 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. Diamond would have far been logical, but nothing about this merger makes much sense.
Sadly even with MBTES, customer service is beyond atrocious. SPG used to give top-tier elites an amazing chat service to take care of anything, and Marriott promised to continue that. But that service got Bonvoyed as well, so I had to call in for my issue.
I spent 540K Marriott points on 120K Alaska miles and a 7 night Ritz Carlton Tier 4-5 package last August.
I booked a Ritz Carlton for this summer, but really I wanted to book a week at the S. Regis Bal Harbour for next winter. I should have been be able to directly convert the Tier 4-5 package into a category 7 certificate and then book the S. Regis Bal Harbour before it goes up to category 8 tomorrow.
I made 8 phone calls on Friday to try to make the conversion.
- On some phone calls the representatives said I had to call back as I needed to try with another department that they couldn’t transfer me to.
- On several phone calls the representatives claimed that the certificate had to remain for Ritz-Carlton hotels only. No other brands would be allowed.
- Some representatives said that the only conversion they would do would be to a category 1-4 hotel.
- I spoke to supervisors who said I was trying to violate Marriott’s terms by asking for a conversion.
The whoppers I heard were simply amazing. Bonvoy!
There’s a very handy Wiki on Flyertalk that contains the confusing award codes for the old and new certificates. But even with the codes I got nowhere until my 9th phone call after hours of time on the phone, when I finally got hold of a competent rep. The 9th call took 40 minutes and it did get converted and attached to the S. Regis Bal Harbour, but the rep accidentally debited my account for 315K points for a 2nd certificate. She tried to cancel and refund it, but the points didn’t go back. She said to check back soon for the refund to process.
I still don’t have the points back. I supposed that means I’ve been Bonvoyed?
Marriott has the potential to easily dominate the loyalty and hotel industry based on their scale and brands. But it needs to start with fixing woeful customer service issues and proving that loyalty is a 2 way street. Here’s hoping they find a way to do that.