Marriott Surveying Members On How To Improve Ambassador Status

Marriott’s top tier Ambassador status requires 100 elite nights and $20,000 spend to earn. And they’ve failed to deliver benefits consistently to Ambassador members, and reduced the service provided as well over the past two years. Now they’re surveying members to see what’s important to them as they consider whether to invest more in their best members.

This program is 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.” (Update: Marriott has removed this listed benefit.)

When I spoke to Marriott Senior Vice President David Flueck about the program in the fall he promised that Bonvoy “will be “investing in the Ambassador program specifically going into 2022, to improve the overall experience of our best members.”

Now they’re in the midst of surveying Ambassador members. How happy are they with the level itself, and how happy are they at a property level?

Marriott wants to know what elements of Ambassador they value most?

This question actually concerns me. Ambassador status should provide all of the above. Members can only pick three that are most important – higher earning rate, an… Ambassador… which is distinguished from customer service that solves problems, on-property recognition, and consistent delivery of an elevated experience on property?

How can an Ambassador not expect all of these things, along with the historic surprise and delights along the way where a member’s designated Ambassador would learn their preferences and send tailored items to their guest room?

This survey creates a false choice. At the point where Marriott has the most difficult to earn published elite tier of any program, the benefits and experiences of that tier need to hit their marks across all of these areas the way the program promised and the way that Starwood used to, which certain exceptions because of course the experience was dependent on the particular Ambassador you were assigned to (mine was exceptional when I had one).

Last April Marriott surveyed about interactions with the Ambassador program and didn’t make improvements. However at the time they didn’t ask about benefits of the Ambassador level. They didn’t ask about lack of consistent delivery of benefits or experience.

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, 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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  1. I’m sure Marriott will use these surveys as a way to improve
    things…..for themselves!

  2. It’s a lot more tactful than asking the question directly: “Which benefits can we eliminate without costing ourselves business?”

  3. I was once an Ambassador level, but stopped using Marriott as much after they started mistreating ALL of their loyalty members. I imagine they will cut benefits to Ambassadors and claim it’s an enhancement (which really means it enhances Marriott’s bottom line).

  4. Uh, eliminate it? Marriott has already shown its true colors — why should we expect it to change? Ambassador provides no meaningful value to the member and the property owners certainly don’t give a poop about it. And, if there’s no meaningful value, what’s the point in having it — to shore up an otherwise fragile self-image?

  5. Marriott needs to simplify Ambassador status to:
    Spend $x with us in a year (and simplify yet such that total folio price inclusive of everything is counted for points/spend thresholds)


    Stay 100 nights


    Earn x Elite Nights for every $y spend on Co-Branded Credit Cards (aka like how Hyatt does it)

  6. Screw those Ambassadors ! They are always wanting special treatment from us
    A bunch of bottom feeders
    Pay up and shut up
    And no more late Check outs! We have other more important guests to serve
    Leave the hotel now!
    what more do you want?
    After all you received a 10 dollar breakfast voucher for your family.
    So move on!

  7. @Alex -you are spot on but , unfortunately, this rational approach has fallen on deaf ears for years at Marriott. It is still inconceivable to me that Bonvoy has no path to earn or advance status via spend . It is a major competitive disadvantage for Bonvoy . Your suggestion catches all – the road warrior at 100 nights and the high revenue guest . I can’t believe that the property owners haven’t picked up on the fact that Bonvoy actually discourages the low frequency high daily rate traveler from being loyal to Marriott.

  8. I’m currently a Bonvoy platinum for life and was an Ambassador status member. The treatment by Marriott has fallen to such a level I had to ask myself “why”? I spent $23,000 last year with >100 nights. The nickel and diming, no breakfast food available, dirty rooms, frazzled and overworked staff-no more.
    I’m 100% an Airbnb user now. I get a real “home from home”, no rip off parking fees, ubereats will deliver to me-there’s now no choice of going back. Don’t start me on price either, my travel budget is down by 40% in spend.
    Hotels need to check themselves. What they offer is garbage. Services cut because of the “Covid excuse”, prices up.
    Count me out. Good riddance. I don’t need your BS “status”…..

  9. Marriott, like most big companies, have become more focused on trying to find ways to cut customer service thus putting more money into the shareholders pockets. They obviously have forgotten how great customer service and “perks”, brings great returns….

  10. Through out my membership I have never gotten an upgrade. Using the last of my points and will stop using Marriott. Dirty rooms, rude front desk people,. They are going the way of Howard Johnsons.

  11. Bonvoy: give us all your money or get a hole in the head.

    We’re listening to you.

  12. Marriott took the Starwood program and stripped everything good about it. I am Titanium for life and get nothing. I had to call and complain to get them to approve 3 of those nearly useless suite upgrades. I get them every year, but when I try to use them I get an email saying they don’t have suites available. The next daythar. I get an email to buy an upgrade from $10-$22. 23 years of loyal service reduced to less than $25. Marriott sucks and couldn’t care less what any loyal customers think, but they appreciate your input.

  13. @Tony Stark

    I’m a tad bit surprised. I’m not an Ambassador (far from it), but I’ve earned both Diamond at Hilton and Platinum at Marriott through stays, and while not exactly 100% satisfied, you can’t really claim that you don’t get anything as an elite member compared to Airbnb where everyone gets the same (poor) treatment. When I travel, I enjoy executive lounges, breakfast and so forth, but what I really want is flexible check-in/-out, staff on site 24/7 if something goes wrong or if I need to change rooms, and as little hassle as possible, which I personally feel is a major competitive advantage for hotels vs Airbnbs. And I’ve yet to see any substancial savings by switching to Airbnb. Sure, hotels’ elite recognition is worse than before, but it still beats Airbnb by miles, IMHO.

  14. Marriott urgently needs to improve Ambassador experience: Guaranteed Upgrades at time of booking, frequent Surprises, flexible checkin/out. Since the Starwood takeover things got really worse.

  15. I have been ambassador elite for over a year now and I really don’t see much of a benefit. I promise things and then they always are based on availability. One thing we should always be able to do is use our points for free nights. To have to pay money when we have all these points, but a hotel doesn’t have any more free nights available to be had with points, but if your willing to pay cash, we can make a room for you is the worst deal ever. I stay for over 100 nights and now I can’t use my points for a free night,, but I can use my cash? What kind of BS is that?? That’s offensive. I will be looking around at other places for more perks than what Marriott offers.

  16. I am a Titanium member. I feel as if no one ever really cares at check in. The hourly employees are great at the front desk though. I guess the only thing that is nice is my really late afternoon check-out at the hotels. Other than that, I xfer all my points to airline miles due to the fact that I cannot even stay one week at a nice property for vacation without it costing millions of points. Almost 100 nights and I cannot get a nice 1 week paid for at a Ritz or St. Regis. Not user friendly. And, it is about to get worse. I am looking back at HYATT, seriously.

  17. Marriott Bonvoy points are becoming the ruble of award currencies. March 29 will ensure this.

  18. How about Marriott just going back to actually recognizing all of their ‘elites’ and according provide the published benefits. As a Titanium member, the last two years have just been an excuse to not provide services when they should have been rewarding members who continued to travel.

  19. Coming from Starwood ambassador elite it is always a disappointment now when going to Marriott facilities. They’ve cut breakfast unless you want to pay extra 40 bucks for some eggs and bacon. I like having multiple selections of places to stay at but Marriott should have got rid of all of its people and kept all of the Starwood people working there.

  20. I never received a survey or email or phone call! 25 years being the highest level with Marriott. Ambassadors for last 5! Why?

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