Marriott Eliminates Elite Telephone Reservations For Silvers and Golds Without Notice

“Dedicated Elite Reservation Line” has been a published benefit for all Marriott Bonvoy elites. Here’s the Google Cache of Silver benefits and here is the cache for Golds. This was in the program terms and conditions up until this week (emphasis mine):

v. Elite Reservations Line. Exclusive reservations number available for Elite Members (United States and Canada only: (800) 228-2100
vi. Dedicated Elite Support: Dedicated Elite support available for Elite Members (United States and Canada only): (800) 321-7396

Marriott has taken away elite telephone support from Silvers and Golds. They haven’t informed elite members that their benefit is gone. Indeed, members earned their benefits with stays in 2019 for 2020 but the benefit has been taken away during the 2020 benefit year and most elites do not even know it.

Now, according to Marriott’s latest update to its terms and conditions, only Platinum elites and higher have access to an elite reservations line (emphasis mine):

ix. Dedicated Elite Support for Platinum Elite Members (United States and Canada only: (800) 228-2100)

…iv. Dedicated Elite Support for Titanium Elite Members (United States and Canada only: (800) 399-4229)

Add this to the list of changes Marriott has made to the brand new program since launch, that is negative for affected members and that members weren’t notified about.

Now when Marriott Bonvoy Silvers and Golds call, it seems, they are no longer elite.

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 »

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Comments

  1. Heck even Ambassadors are “barely elite” when they call or email these days

    Desperate need of a C-suite shakeup

  2. There were far to many riff raff Gold and Silvers
    Get them to the back of the bus immediately
    Mere plebeians.Let them deal with the overseas call centers at best
    They have become just a sea of massive cockroaches in our hotels
    Next we have to thin out the massive amount of Platinum’s they too have been proliferating
    more than ever before
    Many are a disillusioned bunch of overly entitled elite customers
    thinking their SPG former affiliation would carry over and extend to Bonvoy
    Well the honeymoon is over we will stick it to them with capacity control our hotels and raise point redemption through the roof
    Welcome to Bonvoy!

  3. Greg has a good point in most programs these days unless you’re in the top two tiers you’re mush. Been that way for awhile. I have a couple of “token” silver/gold status with airlines/hotels and only once can I remember it helping and that was on a SA flight from JNB to CPT getting my wife and I up to premium coach from all the way in the back due to travel agent screwing up.
    I do however think it’s bad form to simply drop the line access without forewarning. Well certainly the equity capital guys have gotten to Marriott

  4. 10 and 25 stays are nice but true elite begins at 50,75, 100+

    As an Ambassador I’m sick of being on hold (since the Marriott merger) for 30 minutes or more when it used to be 3-4 minutes with SPG.

    Also gone is the ability to dial my Ambassadors extension!

  5. It cuts those who receive elite status through credit cards. Example, Gold Elite through AMEX Platinum. It must have added thousands of Elites.

  6. And while they are at it…they should change the checkin process at the individual hotels.
    Elite line is EVERYTHING from Silver to Ambassador.
    Those lines are longer than regular lines. Should be Plats and higher only

  7. And united MileagePlusPremier Gold gets Bonvoy Gold too….

    Thin the herd!

    @Andy Can’t agree with you more re checkin

  8. Why do you people stay with Marriott while they beat you over and over and over like a Canadian baby seal? Why?

    Stockholm Syndrome?

    This is why God invented Hyatt. Join us.

  9. Marriott makes another move that’s bad for the customer. I wish I was surprised. The only real question I have is whether there is a specific team solely dedicated to finding new ways to make customers’ lives more miserable. A few years ago, that question would have been satire. Now, not so much.

  10. I’m Platinum so this doesn’t affect me, but I don’t think I have ever once used this line. What are people calling Marriott for?

  11. I’ve got Hilton Gold through Amex Platinum, and it’s actually been useful.

    Which is why Hilton gets first crack at my business when I’m booking a hotel.

    I’m very happy I ditched my SPG card

  12. LOL, I used to complain about IHG… ???
    I am so glad I never patronised Marriott.
    Pimping for @Gary, great time to talk about Hyatt and the X benefits you get if you fly AA….

  13. Who under the age of 80 is calling Marriott? What can a phone agent do that isn’t accomplished faster using the app/website or reaching out to the Twitter team?

    I’m sure they’re just laying off call center employees and making this change to keep hold times consistent.

  14. @Jerry – the things you can’t do online are legion, that is when the website doesn’t error out to start with. For instance what if you want to book an award for a family member using your points? As for the twitter team maybe you’ve had better luck there than I have, they usually just tell me to call.

  15. I have 18 years Platinum or higher with SPG/Marriott and I have never called anyone…..ever. I didn’t even know they had dedicated lines. Who calls them and why?

  16. “Jerry says:
    Who under the age of 80 is calling Marriott? What can a phone agent do that isn’t accomplished faster using the app/website or reaching out to the Twitter team?”

    Occasionally, points do not post, or, when changing a reservation date or location, or if there is an error in the account, the internet does not easily or quickly accommodate these types of issues. Hence, a more efficient resolution is achieved if reaching a live person where you can get a name and department.

  17. I was never an elite with Marriott and probably had less than 10 stays in my entire lifetime. Thus, I can’t say whether all the comments here about “thinning out the herd” etc. are right or wrong but I can imagine that with the merger it has just gotten too much for Marriott. From an outsider point of view, the real problem seems to be that all these “negative changes” are either poorly executed or happen without any notice – and at worst, both. I can’t help but feel really bad for people who have been loyal for many years to either SPG or Marriott and don’t blame them at all if they feel like Marriott doesn’t care about them. And I simply don’t understand why they take away benefits every other month. Why not have the customers bite the bullet and eliminate everything at once. It seems to be the more intelligent approach from a marketing and PR perspective.

  18. Well I’m here to impress as United Airlines elite Silver member eat your hearts out as I upgrade all the time to First Class by dressing nicely and being polite

  19. Why? I ask that question because surely it doesn’t cost anything to have a standalone number that just dumps into the general Marriott line but includes a customer prompt. Even if any standalone agents are reassigned you can still give the appearance of dedicated customer service for the lowest levels of elite status. This just strikes me as very poorly thought out, especially given a couple of the recent devaluations that have never been communicated to members. I encourage everyone to email David Flueck at david.flueck@marriott.com.

  20. More Bonvoy!

    As another posted mentioned above, Hilton Gold status (which is complimentary with some Amex cards) is superior to Marriott’s Gold and even Platinum status. Marriott’s acquisition of SPG was the high-water mark for both once-proud chains. It’s been on a long slide to oblivion ever since.

  21. So what. I’m ambassador and the elite “service” I get from Marriott would be right at home with service from the DMV

  22. 26 year Lifetime Titanium, I’ve never called a single time. What for? Who the hell wants to listen to “listen carefully as our menu options have changed” and get slow walked through 38 different options, none of which are what you’re looking for.

  23. @shza

    I called to get points posted when they were screwed up (didn’t get my points, didn’t get points for second room on my reservation, got points for someone else in my roomblocks but not myself).

    I has 6 events at Marriotts last year with only a courtesy block, and not a single one posted my room points correctly. I didn’t want to call, but people over email weren’t understanding.

  24. As a lifetime Titanium when I call from my cell it recognizes me and after 1 or 2 rings I have a rep, mainly to get something corrected

  25. I book directly through the hotel or the app. Regardless of their flawed business decisions lately, I’ll choose a Marriott over an brand anytime!!!!

  26. Just another sign of Marriott Silver and Gold being more or less useless levels to go after with regular paid stays or any other substantial investment given the opportunity cost of sticking to Marriott when alternatives work.

  27. “This is why God invented Hyatt. Join us.”

    If only it were that easy. Sadly, Hyatt’s limited footprint is a deal killer for a lot of us. That makes it extra hard to rack up the 55-60 nights needed for the only Hyatt status comparable to Marriott Platinum, Globalist.

    Marriott Gold has become nearly worthless after the merger. If I didn’t average more than 50 nights a year, I would choose Hilton over Marriott every time. At least Hilton Golds get breakfast. Marriott Golds get nada.

    The Marriott/SPG merger seems to be playing out much like the United/Continental merger of yesteryear: Take away benefits, devalue loyalty points, repeat.

  28. You must talk to an agent when using the hotel portion of a travel package. The agent has to attach it, and it have to be a special agent who has access to both the rewards system and the packages. If not, the system deducts the points even though the certificate is attached. I spend hours trying to get these attached properly.

  29. As an mere Amex Platinum Gold on Hilton and Marriott, I about as often as not get a room upgrade (most recently at the superb Royal Hawaiian in Waikiki), and usually get an extension of checkout if I need it. Once I used a phone call to settle an inadvertent double booking (my fault), and it was resolved quickly and politely. I have no complaints.

  30. It is disheartening to read the condescending remarks by some of Marriott loyalists here. Not everyone has the benefit of time, finances, or corporate sponsorship to amass the number of stays to qualify for Platinum or Titanium status. However, they may still remain loyal to the brand. Adding a layer of customer service to satiate the woes of the esteemed precious metals seems all too simple a solution. The obvious is such a resolution is counterproductive to the bottom line. Greed.
    I once had divided loyalty between JWM & SPG. Recent activities are making it difficult to reconcile the cost of loyalty to diminishing benefits. Perhaps it is time to burn my paltry 100k points and seek better appreciation elsewhere.

  31. Regarding changes without notice, I’ve noticed that I no longer receive a complimentary elite night for my birthday anymore in Bonvoy. I cannot really complain because it was a Marriott freebie that was intended for goodwill, but they did end it. I think I last received one in 2018.

  32. For those that say they have been elite for xx years and never called them or make demeaning comments about those that do let me ask you a question – have you EVER used your points to make a reservation for your spouse, kid or another relative? Well you CAN’T do that on their website (unlike on most airline sites) so you have to call.

    Also I’m surprised at people who say they are Ambassadors and wait on hold. I’m just Lifetime Titanium and can’t recall waiting over a couple of minutes or having any problem quickly making points reservations for family.

    Also I am Hilton gold ( was diamond for 15 years) and frankly feel I get more benefits as Bonvoy Titanium than I did as Hilton Diamond. YMMV but it seems there is a group, with Gary as the main cheerleader, that bash ANYTHING Marriott does. Not my experience and I also understand the “real” world instead of just the one inhabited by points chasers and the blogs that feed them so I don’t care about the changes they make to improve overall profitability.

    Grow up people!

  33. AC: I am both Marriott Titanium and Hilton Diamond.
    Bonvoy is terrible!!!!! Every other stay or so, I have a problem with some aspect of the billing, points accrual or benefits. Unbelievable stuff, like removing points from my account for a cancelled reservation, a month after the date I would have stayed.
    Add to that the constant drumbeat of devaluations and benefit cuts, and there is just no way anyone can defend the program.
    I’ve already cancelled my Marriott Chase card. My Amex Brilliant is next, when the annual fee comes up later this year.
    Is Hilton Diamond great? No, but is it more consistent than the dumpster fire that is Bonvoy at any level of membership? No question.
    If I was not required to stay at Marriott properties frequently for work, I would be done with them. But I just stay around and get flogged like a whipping boy…..

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