Marriott Tells 100 Night Elites: Stop Emailing Your Ambassador, You Won’t Get A Reply

When Marriott acquired Starwood they also acquired the Ambassador program which offered a single point of contact for the chain’s top customers, to make reservations, interface with hotels on requests, and act as a concierge more broadly. While the quality of individual concierges varied, the best ones developed personal relationships with customers that kept them truly loyal to the brand.

Marriott’s new Bonvoy program required not just 100 nights to get an Ambassador assigned, but also $20,000 in spending. (For 2021 ‘Ambassador status’ requires $14,000.)

Yet in pre-pandemic times Marriott had too many Ambassador members to deliver personalized service with some agents assigned as many as 300 top customers and too much competition for upgrades. Suite upgrade awards don’t clear even for Ambassador members.

In fairness, in 2019, Marriott did send Ambassador members a cheese board (it’s unclear why, although certainly Marriott cut the cheese when branding Bonvoy).

During the pandemic Marriott has walked away from offering a personal touch to its best customers. They laid off some Ambassadors in March followed by a mass layoff in August.

Marriott still advertises a “personal point of contact” for Ambassador Elite members, but now they’ve even told Ambassador members to stop e-mailing specific concierges “as personal ambassador email addresses will no longer be monitored.” Instead they’re given a general email box – ambassador.service@marriott.com – that can be dealt with by Marriott customer service team members.

At a time when hotels remain far below historical occupancy levels, they need their best customers more than ever. Yet Marriott is reducing its investment in these customers. It’s a good thing they’re basically giving away status this year.

It’s worth noting that Hyatt still offers dedicated concierge agents and requires only 60 nights (with no minimum spend) to have one.

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. This happened with Amex Platinum Travel many years ago which used to have dedicated travel reps, before they changed the product from a card focussed on making travel more convenient and comfortable, into a modern version of S&H Green Stamps – which you pay $600 for the privilege of “clipping” your coupons (aka “offers”) to get your prizes (aka “benefits”).

  2. Most ambassadors aren’t going to travel to hotels regardless in 2021 and maybe most of 22. I have moved about $10K per year spend to vacation rentals. I’m sure many are doing the same. They need to follow the money, diversify and focus on other earning opportunities. The road warriors might start picking up late ’21 but lots of these are not usually Ambassadors in normal times.


  3. At a time when hotels remain far below historical occupancy levels, they need their best customers more than ever. “

    Gary, Gary , Gary – there is the difference between Bonvoy and its competitors. Marriott has never felt that it “needed” any customers . If anything , it appears that their real customers are the property owners .

  4. It’s a shame that the excellent service provided at specific properties is colored by the Bonvoy program antics. If Hyatt could just quadruple its footprint tomorrow there could be real competition.

  5. What a misleading headline. All Ambassador elites still have the Ambassador services of the global Ambassador agent team —which has been providing just as responsive Ambassador service for everyone as much as, if not even more quickly than, the personal Ambassador agents did before this pandemic crisis.

    I’ve had just as much success and just as responsive assistance from the global Ambassador agent team as I did with my personal “unicorn” Ambassador — albeit with far fewer stays during this pandemic crisis, understandably. Almost all of the 1400+ Ambassador elites worldwide in our Ambassador Facebook group also share that they’ve had just as good — if not even better — responsiveness and assistance from the global Ambassador agent team as they had previously with their own personal Ambassador agents.

    It seems the few same whiny Ambassador elites who previously complained about how lackluster their personal Ambassador agent service was now are complaining that they don’t have their personal Ambassador agents. It also seems that many former Ambassador elites who lost their status are piling on to assuage their bruised egos. It seems the common thread are those over-entitled Nurse Ratched elites, themselves.

    It also seems this is a perfect excuse for Hyatt Globalists — who only have 475 or so full service Hyatt hotel options worldwide — to feel better about such a limited portfolio compared with the amazing breadth of optics enjoyed by Bonvoy elites. Even the mere Titaniums.

    Puh-lease. The search for elite victimhood continues for over-entitled elites.

  6. My Hyatt concierge is helpful, responsive, and seems to be able to occasionally pull a string or two. I really enjoy working with her.

  7. I see bhrubin is back and ready to tell everyone who will listen that Marriott is Good, Actually (and driving seven figures in business to them has nothing to do with the treatment that results).

  8. This reminds me of a broker dealer I used to work at. When they set up shop, all the trade confirmations and notices were supposed to go to this one particular operations guy, who had a very uncommon name. Everything worked fine until he left the firm, and management realized they should have used “Head of Operations” as the address instead of his personal name.

    They considered changing the notification address with thousands of counterparties, but then realized that it was easier to just to rename whoever took his job. So we had a few different people cycle through the job, each of them going by the same name at least as far as clients were concerned. I wonder of Marriott considered this alternative, which would work especially well for email.

  9. @ Dan — I never left. This isn’t about whether or not Marriott is good. This is about the nonsense that anything has changed suddenly about Marriott Ambassador Service. It hasn’t. The Marriott Ambassadors have been enjoying dedicated Ambassador service from the global Ambassador team since March 26.

    Of course, your red herrings try to to deflect from that simple fact. Unfortunately for you, (1) the bulk of 1400 other Ambassador elite members of our Facebook group have great hotel experiences that mirror my own, (2) the bulk of 1400 other Ambassador elite members of our Facebook group have had extremely positive experiences with the global Ambassador team since the pandemic began, and (3) I had but 10 nights at Bonvoy hotels in 2020, 8 nights of which were after Covid19 began, and still had amazing stays.

    Oops. Playing the victim isn’t as smart as one might think.

  10. OMG, who did not see this coming?! Who is surprised by this?

    Thank God I took my 100+ Marriott nights a year and walked away. I decided to leave the instant the merger went through in summer of 2018, and although I still look to make reservations with Marriott, I always end up going elsewhere. Marriott is never the best game in town, in any town, these days.

    Does anyone have a betting pool on what will be the next elite benefit Bonvoy axes?

  11. I’m sure all 1,400 members of the VERIFIED Facebook AMB group are tickled pink about Marriott right now

  12. I am only Titanium but I can say Bonvoy has the worst program among all major hotel brands. What is the point of having elite program if they can never honor anything? No welcome gifts, no upgrades, WORST customer service reps, not responsive, inconsistent experience across properties, I can go on and on. It’s a joke!

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