Leaked Memo: Marriott’s Targeted Rapprochement With Top Tier Elites

Frequent Miler shares an internal Marriott memo on how they’re trying to surprise and delight top tier Ambassador elite members. The Ambassador level now requires spending 100 nights per year with Marriott and spending at least $20,000 which strikes me as unreasonable in some markets and entirely to US-centric for a supposedly global chain with a heavy presence in Asia.

Not all Ambassador members will be targeted for better treatment, and not all of the targeted better treatment will actually be delivered.

  • Some Ambassador members on award stays April 22 – July 31 will have the most expensive redemption night of their stay rebated back to their account.
  • They’ll also get a letter from their Ambassador (something that really should be happening anyway) and from David Flueck, Marriott’s Senior Vice President of Loyalty
  • And hotels are being asked to deliver an elevated amenity, but the cost to do so is on the hotel and there’s no requirement that they actually do this.

In addition starting May 1 targeted elites will receive electronic Marriott gift cards via e-mail.

April 2019

Our members mean the world to us. The 2019 Elite Thank You Gift initiative is a company-wide approach to showing our appreciation to our Marriott Bonvoy Elite members.

At your hotel, there are tow parts to this approach:

From April 22 through July 31, this initiative will focus on targeted Ambassador Elite members at their upcoming redemption stays. You will be provided with and asked to print a personalized letter from David Flueck, Senior Vice President of Global Loyalty, and the member’s personal Ambassador, and to deliver that letter directly to the member. This letter will thank the member for their loyalty and let them know that Marriott Bonvoy will be treating them to one night of their redemption stay, crediting points for one night back to their account

  • Best Practice: Have the General Manager and/or Loyalty Champion deliver the letter to the Ambassador Elite member.
  • Take Note: Not all Ambassador Elite Redemption Stays will be targeted stays.

In addition to this letter, you’re encouraged to deliver a local elevated amenity, e.g., a food or beverage specialty from your region or another local token. We know you’ll have great ideas, so please share your pull-through approach by submitting pictures via the Marriott Bonvoy in Action submission form.

Beginning May 1, the Marriott Bonvoy team will continue to engage with targeted Elite members, recognizing them with a gift of an electronic Marriott gift card, good to redeem for a future on-property experience. Targeted members will receive these eGift Cards through email. You should follow your hotel’s existing processes to redeem Gift Cards.

It’s something, but the unwillingness of Marriott to actually fund or require their planned elevated amenity means that delivery will often fall short of what the program hopes. And top elites with award stays during the promotion period who aren’t targeted may feel left out. Nonetheless, this is more generous than not doing anything.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. Seems like a way to allay some feelings, but quite possibly create even more distaste… Especially considering how flawed past execution has been.

  2. @ Nick…double elite qualifying nights means nothing to Lifetime Elites that have had service issues

  3. Frequent Miler shares an internal Marriott memo on how they’re trying to surprise and delight top tier Ambassador elite members

    Pretty sure they have the surprise part down pat.

  4. BonVoy by Marriott has an affiliate program now for all affiliate marketers and those in the “side hustle millionaire” mindset. Just wanted to let you know cause they might be paying nice $ gUaP $ to affiliates, and I know you support them. 🙂

  5. Pretty poor half-measure in my opinion. Double points for cash? PointSavers (or even better) promotion for elites only? I would like to see how many people actually receive any benefit out of this promotion.

  6. Booked over 120 nights with Marriott/SPG last year spent over 170K on cobranded credit cards. Marriott has annoyed me, just spent two weeks in Europe not one Marriott night. They will lose more than half of my nights this year. Moved all but 1K of my credit line from the Marriott Bonvoy card to Hyatt so i could spend taster there. Still have my Amex Bonvoy, taking advantage of 15K monthly points bonus and then I am done with them for the year. Already shared this with Gary, I am sure he is getting tired of me griping but he has tried to help. Now its Marriotts loss.

  7. The shift in award pricing and loss of earning power through every day spend is too great for them to overcome. There’s no going back until they rectify that situation first. Then they need to figure out free breakfast for Gold’s.

  8. One fun thing about leaving a loyalty program is that you can still enjoy the view of the dumpster fire.

  9. I know this is a tough question since rates vary on demand but how much of $20,000 would be actual profit to a hotel? That would help know what kind of benefits a hotel could actually afford.

    In the current economy and with all of the fees (especially the ever growing resort fees) I can’t imagine hotels are losing any money. At the same time I think a lot of people have pretty unrealistic expectations for benefits. Although it is certainly understandable that a hotel should live up to promised/guarantee benefits. Playing games with room classes is something I don’t think should be allowed.

  10. Where there’s smoke there must be fire. Double elite-qualifying nights, double points for all stays, double points for all meetings and events, and now this. Oh yeah, then there’s the Marriott junket to Hong Kong for bloggers. Obviously, the “noise” that Sorenson complained about is more than noise.

    Also, it’s not really a personalized letter if the hotel is printing it out. Are they signing Flueck’s name?

    It’s pretty sad that Marriott has to remind properties to recognize ambassadors, but only some ambassadors. You would think that the properties of high-end and luxury brands in Marriott’s portfolio are already doing this for each and every ambassador. I guess not.

  11. >Pretty sure they have the surprise part down pat.

    That’s comedy gold.
    Diamond, even.

  12. This is stupid. The top level elites (who requalified) came out just fine with Bonvoy except for the devaluation and even that probably did not hit them as hard as others because they presumably earn tons of points annually.
    Marriott does not seem to understand that the real loss is at the Gold level where benefits were gutted… people like me who are departing in droves to Hyatt and even Hilton. These are the people Marriott needs to reach before they develop attachments to other properties and programs. If they were smart they would copy Hyatt and send lounge upgrade certs to these folks.

  13. In my 18 years with Platinum/Titanium status, I don’t think I have ever come close to spending $20K in a given year, so I will never receive this “targeted offer”. Thoroughly enjoying my Hyatt Globalist status without all the Bonvoy heartburn and may return to Marriott, if they ever get their act together again.

  14. So us Titanium members with 150+ nights but under $20k spend are not worth a “surprise”?

  15. How about fixing the broken IT, hiring competent cs agents, and enforcing T&C against outlaw properties?

  16. Yawn….so what? Marriott is clueless. So glad, I was smart enough to stay away from Marriott, YEARS ago.

  17. As a shareholder of Marriott International, I was pleased to give Arne some “noise around the edges” today by not voting for him for the Board od Directors on my proxy ballot today. Also voted no to approving executive compensation. Of course I will be outvoted but

Comments are closed.