Marriott offers Ambassador service to their top customers, a carry-over from Starwood. Members used to have an agent specifically assigned to them to take care of all of their stay needs, including making requests and customizing things with hotels and assisting with any arrangements.
The promise was that this person “gets to know you over time” and “provide the personal touches that make each trip special.”
Unfortunately Marriott has increased the requirements for becoming an Ambassador compared to the Starwood days ($20,000 minimum spend in addition to 100 nights), and has stopped providing an actual Ambassador to Ambassador members.
During the pandemic, Marriott performed mass layoffs of the representatives who took care of their best customers. And while Marriott still advertises “Your personal point of contact is always at your service for every stay” Ambassador members no longer get a personal point of contact and can no longer reach out to an individual agent directly as those “addresses will no longer be monitored.”
A reader shared a recent Ambassador interaction that underscores just what the experience has become. They were asking for help with a stay next weekend and followed up after not hearing back about their request for four days. Some snippets from the response they received:
- “I apologize it is taking a bit for us to get back to you via email currently we are on a 5 day response time.”
- “I implore you to call into our Global Ambassador Service…We are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week with a short hold time.” (Emphasis mine)
- Calling instead of making them handle requests via email will “help us work towards returning to our 48 hour email response time.”
It’s taking 5 days for Ambassador members to get their emails returned. Marriott considers two days to respond normal. That makes Delta Air Lines call centers seem downright responsive. Even when an Ambassador calls into Marriott, they’re expected to wait on hold.
This member was not pleased with the brush off, telling him to wait, and as a ‘one-time exception’ they offered him assistance after it had been only four days since he’d made a request via e-mail. However they were scolded, “Please keep in mind any requests moving forward will be subject to the time frame for email response unless you call in.”
When I was a Starwood Ambassador I remember wanting to take advantage of both 24 hour check-in and a suite upgrade on the same stay. The problem was that the “Your24” request would be cancelled by the Suite Night Award clearing within 5 days of check-in, and would have to be re-made.
My ambassador pointed out that I could redeem 1000 points for an ‘SPG50’ award (2nd night 50% off) and book the suite directly for the same price I was paying for a base room. I’d meet my goal of having the suite and guaranteeing both early check-in and late checkout. She was awesome, she understood what my goals were and offered the best way to meet them.
There’s no longer a designated person getting to know you and understand your goals and figure out how to organize that for you. Ambassador at Marriott seems more akin to an airline elite desk call center, not a concierge.