After it was confirmed that Marriott would be acquiring Starwood, Starwood loyalists anxiously waited for further news of what would happen with the loyalty programs.
Today Marriott announced three new benefits that guests will undoubtedly be pleased with.
Taken right from the press release, they are –
- The new Marriott Rewards experiences marketplace gives all members, including The Ritz-Carlton Rewards members, even more access to a collection of unique, curated experiences.
- For an initial group of Elite members of Marriott Rewards, a new Elite concierge service will provide them with a dedicated concierge so that their travel experience is both seamless and tailored to their individual needs.
- Guaranteed late checkout will give Gold and Platinum Elite members of Marriott Rewards and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards increased flexibility and peace of mind when they travel.
The first item of “unique, curated” experiences seem to be similar to SPG Moments, which offers special behind the scenes experiences that ordinarily people wouldn’t have access to.
The clarification from Marriott seems to lend itself to that comparison as well –
With the experiences marketplace, all Marriott Rewards and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Members can pursue their passions by choosing from a wide array of curated special events and opportunities for discovery. Whether it’s tickets to one of the hottest shows on Broadway; a once-in-a-lifetime chance to hang out with your favorite sports team; or a private cooking lesson or wine tasting with a world-famous chef or sommelier, members can redeem Marriott Rewards or The Ritz-Carlton Rewards points to access a marketplace of unique experiences that allow them to explore their personal interests in the most meaningful and memorable ways. The experiences marketplace will be available globally to all members in late May.
The second item classified as Elite concierge service could be compared to Starwood Ambassadors, which give those with 100 nights a year personal travel assistance to customize their stays according to their wishes.
Again, Marriott’s statement aligns itself –
An initial group of Elite members of Marriott Rewards will be invited to participate in a new Elite concierge service. By developing a relationship with the member, the concierge will be able to anticipate their unique needs, ensuring the member’s preferences are recognized and their desires are met before, during, and even after their stay. The concierge will be able to reserve on-property amenities like restaurants, spa treatments and golf, as well as make arrangements for special occasions. The service will launch in late May first for U.S. members of Marriott Rewards traveling worldwide and will continue to expand. Marriott Rewards will actively engage with this group of charter members and seek their feedback to refine the service.
The third item is guaranteed late check-out for all Marriott Gold and Platinum Elite members. Starwood offers guaranteed 4pm check-out to all of their Gold and Platinum members, and per Marriott’s clarification it will also be 4pm (excluding resorts, timeshare properties, and convention hotels) –
The guaranteed late checkout benefit will be available to Gold and Platinum Elite members of both Marriott Rewards and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards who will enjoy a more seamless travel experience when planning their trip. These members will receive a guaranteed late checkout, which could be as late as 4pm. Members can request the late checkout when making a reservation by phone, when checking in using the Marriott Mobile app, or upon arrival at the hotel. This benefit is available at all fully participating Marriott Rewards hotels with the exclusion of resorts, convention hotels and Marriott Vacation Club. Marriott Rewards and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards will continue to offer Silver Elite members the benefit of requesting late checkout on their day of departure. Guaranteed late checkout launches globally on May 16.
Guaranteed late checkout of 4pm for all Marriott Gold and Platinum Elite starts May 16, 2016 worldwide. This is a huge step in the right direction, which will create some goodwill with both Starwood and Marriott fans. Keeping the equivalent of SPG Moments and Starwood Ambassadors just makes sense, as the programs are undoubtedly beneficial for both members and the company.
The elephant in the room, suite upgrades and how they are used once Marriott acquires Starwood, will continue to keep Starwood loyalists biting their fingernails for now.
(HT: View from the Wing)
What do you think of Marriott’s added new benefits?