It never ceases to amaze me that loyalty program still choose to use the term “enhancement” nowadays when they announce changes. Of course with the way they try to package things, it might seem like an enhancement on the surface, but even a minute of investigating reveals otherwise. I wish these programs would just be straightforward and start hitting us with the changes the way they are, but of course that’ll never happen.
Anyway, via Marriott Concierge on FlyerTalk:
Based on feedback from our members, I am excited to announce a number of program enhancements being made effective January 15, 2009 – and we are announcing it here first. The official announcement will be made tomorrow on Marriott.com and by email.
Blackout dates will be eliminated. Starting on January 15, 2009, every hotel will have standard rooms available for redemptions every day. While this does not mean you will never again have difficulty booking a redemption stay, it does mean these difficulties will be rare. Hotels will only be able to limit the number of rooms available for redemption on a very limited number of nights.
Platinum Elite Bonus will increase from 30% to 50%. In order to strengthen our elite program and recognize our most valuable members, the platinum bonus will increase from thirty to fifty percent of the base points earned.
Redeem for 4 nights and get the 5th redemption free. You will also see changes in the way hotel rewards are priced. We will migrate to a one night award structure with redeem for 4 nights, receive the 5th night free award option.
We are very excited about these program changes. I encourage all of you who are interested in knowing more to look over the information that has been posted online at: http://www.marriott.com/marriott.mi?…tRoomAvailable and let us know what questions you have. It is our goal to make this program upgrade as simple and rewarding as possible.
Now, there most definitely are some real enhancements here, but they come at the expense of more points being required for free nights. First of all, Marriott has created an eight category of hotels, which will make the top hotels more expensive. Furthermore, one of the great things about the Marriott program has always been the ability to redeem at a substantial discount for longer stays. That’ll be a thing of the past, and is now being replaced by the fifth night free.
Overall these changes will probably balance out for Platinums with the extra points they earn, but all others have nothing to look forward to with these changes. Of course I’m certain I’m wrong, since these “enhancements” were made “based on feedback from our members.” 😉