Marriott has the most exclusive top elite tier with published earning criteria. The Ambassador level requires not just 100 nights in hotels but also a minimum of $23,000 in spend, nearly impossible to achieve in many parts of the world with low hotel rates.
Yet for three years the Ambassador level didn’t even come with Ambassador service. Marriott eliminated dedicated Ambassadors during the pandemic, even while Hyatt (which offers concierges at just 60 nights without minimum spend) kept theirs. The service that Marriott’s top elites received was gutted. Finally this summer, Marriott brought back Ambassadors for Ambassador elites.
- A carry-over from Starwood, members receive 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.”
- Marriott performed mass layoffs of the representatives who took care of their best customers. Ambassador members stopped receiving a personal point of contact and were no longer able reach out to an individual agent directly as those “addresses are no longer monitored.”
Marriott Senior Vice President David Flueck told me in fall 2021 that they’d be “investing in the Ambassador program specifically going into 2022″ but it took to June 2023 to restore the benefit.
Five months into the restoration of Ambassador service, Marriott is surveying its top members to see how it’s doing.
In my experience, as a previous Starwood Ambassador member, my contact would recommend room rates for me that I might not have thought to check myself – for instance using the SPG50 rate to book a suite for not much more than a regular room, rather than requesting a suite (which would likely have confirmed) because that would have meant re-requesting “Your24” 24 hour check-in benefits once the assigned room had changed and I wanted both. They sent me occasional gifts to the room as well.
The quality of individual Ambassadors always varied, and whether a given guest ‘clicked’ with their assigned Ambassador mattered too. So how useful this service is will be different for different members. Nonetheless, it’s great to see Marriott re-invest in members who are already investing the most in them.