I’ve been very frustrated with the finalization of the merger between Marriott and Starwood Preferred Guest. The new program changes remove key benefits that were available pre-merger and make their mid-tier Gold Elite status completely worthless. Personally I see no point in having status with Marriott anymore unless you can get to their Platinum Elite tier.
Benefits you used to get with Gold Elite like 4PM late checkout, breakfast, and lounge access have been completely wiped out unless you are their top-tier customer. Marriott simply doesn’t care about you unless you hit that top status and even then after as much as you put into Marriott it still doesn’t seem worth while.
I tend to be a brand loyalist, if I find a product I like I will stick with it because I like the experience and recognition. I only maintained the Gold Elite status for the free breakfast and 4PM checkout. Those were the main attractions which kept me retaining my status and continuing to stay at Marriott properties.
I’ve only stayed a few times after the finalization of the merger into one unified program, since then my stays just haven’t felt right. I don’t feel recognized like I once was and I’ve had to fight for the little things. What was once an easy request to get 4PM late checkout I’ve now been reduced to 2PM checkout and having to argue with the check in person for them to recognize that Gold Elites get the perk. this has happened at three different properties to me so it can’t be an isolated incident.
My perception of Marriott and their properties is dwindling, from having sub par experiences to losing the great benefits I was once offered, I find no reason to be a brand loyalist anymore. On top of this their earning rates and redemption rates have taken a deep dive down in the trash. I feel absolutely betrayed on travel packages.
Travel packages were a somewhat hidden gem of Marriott, it was an easy way for converting your Marriott points into miles while also getting a 5-7 night stay. During the merger their conversion for their baseline travel package puts them below par with the new property values and leaves those of us who have a few of them in the dump.
From a customer standpoint, this merger has not gone well. Slashing benefits, converting to worse earning rates, downgrading existing travel packages, and an overall horrible customer experience has left me with a horrible taste in my mouth for Marriott.
Lately my preferred hotel chain of choice has been Hyatt. Their hotels have seemed much cleaner and friendlier staff over what I’ve seen at Marriott. While I don’t currently hold status at Hyatt I am already more than half way to making status but I don’t feel I really need it. The redemption rates are much better, and being a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards it makes it too easy for redemption.
Marriott used to be the go to hotel of choice when I was traveling, I feel like they’ve lost a lot of credibility and business by their recent practices. Marriott post-merger has been extremely anti-consumer and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. For now I will be avoiding Marriott where possible and focusing my efforts on other hotel programs.
How has your experience changed post merger?