I recently wrote a post outlining Marriott’s six tiers and the differences between them. When writing that post (and others about hotel statuses), I noticed that Marriott’s competitors all have four tiers each. Most of their competitors’ individual statuses are different enough from each other where earning the next level is meaningful. Such is not the case with Marriott, whose six tiers are diluted and should be combined into four. Therefore, Marriott Bonvoy should streamline their status tiers.
In the vein of last week’s Chase Freedom series post, I’m going to speculate how Marriott could possibly streamline their status tiers.
Marriott currently has six tiers: Member, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Titanium, and Ambassador. Here’s how I would change them:
Combine Member and Silver Tiers
This change will give the perks from the Silver tier to regular members, eliminating the Silver tier and increasing the value of regular membership. After the changes, Marriott’s regular membership will be more competitive with those from Hilton and Hyatt.
I would also remove the meager 10% points bonus that came with Silver Status. Most standard memberships with competing hotel chains don’t come with any points bonus.
Regular members would now have late checkout, ultimate reservation guarantee, and the dedicated reservation line in addition to the existing benefits. Furthermore, this would reduce the number of tiers to five.
Combine Titanium and Ambassador Tiers
The second change would occur at the top of pyramid. Ambassador Status does not give that much more than Titanium Status. Therefore, I would suggest combining the two to form a new Ambassador Status. Titanium Status would go away because the new top status would have the namesake Ambassador service.
The second change would reduce the number of tiers to four, bringing Marriott in line with its competitors.
Also, the new tier should maintain the $20,000 spend requirement from the old Ambassador tier. But the stay requirement should be lowered to 75 nights per calendar year. These new rules are a combination of the old Titanium and Ambassador rules.
Improve Status Offered with Credit Cards
The third change would involve the complimentary statuses given with the Marriott Bonvoy credit cards. After the changes, complimentary Silver Status on the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card and the Marriott Bonvoy Business Card would be no more. This also applies to the American Express Platinum Card.
My solution is to offer Gold Status with those cards and Platinum Status with the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card. Offering the remaining lowest tiers drastically improves the value of Marriott’s entire card lineup. I am not suggesting altering the Gold or Platinum tiers in any way but to only to offer them with credit cards. Currently, Platinum Status is not attainable by simply applying for a credit card. However, Gold Status is attainable via the Brilliant Card.
Offering the Gold and Platinum Statuses would help Marriott compete with Hilton and their card lineup. American Express, the issuer of both card series, will also be happy collecting more annual fees.
Change Credit Card Spend Requirements
The current spend threshold to obtain Gold Status on the Boundless card and its business counterpart is $35,000. I would keep this threshold but change the Gold Status to Platinum Status.
Furthermore, there is a current $60,000 threshold to obtain Platinum Status on the Brilliant card. I would eliminate this threshold since there is already a spend threshold and a stay requirement for Ambassador Status.
After merging the two top and bottom tiers, Marriott would be left with four streamlined tiers. To summarize, I’m going to list the benefits and requirements from each modified tier.
There are no spend or stay requirements for this tier. Members will receive the following benefits:
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
- Mobile Check In
- Member Rates
- Late Check Out (no set time)
- Dedicated Elite Reservation Line
- Ultimate Reservation Guarantee
Gold Status would become the first earned tier. Everything would remain intact, including the existing 25-night stay requirement. Alternatively, it could be earned with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card or its business counterpart.
Gold members will receive standard membership benefits plus the following:
- 25% Points Bonus
- 2 PM Late Check Out
- Complimentary Room Upgrades (not including suites)
- Welcome Gift
Like Gold Status, Platinum Status would remain the same as would its 50-night stay requirement. Alternatively, it could be earned with the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card.
Platinum members will receive all the benefits from Gold Status plus the following:
- 50% Points Bonus
- 4 PM Late Check Out
- Complimentary Room Upgrades (including suites)
- Welcome Gift
- Annual Choice Benefit (5 choices)
- Guaranteed Lounge Access
Finally, Ambassador Status would remain Marriott’s apex. Achieving this level would require staying 75 nights and spending $20,000. Like before, this level would be reachable directly through applying for a credit card.
Ambassador members will receive all the benefits from Platinum Status plus the following:
- 75% Points Bonus
- 48-Hour Room Guarantee
- Annual Choice Benefit (6 choices)
- United MileagePlus Silver Status
As it stands, Marriott’s six statuses are diluted with benefits spread too thin. A sense of unattainability exists for the upper echelons of Marriott status for many travelers. I hope someone at Marriott figures out that simplicity is better and extends this notion to streamlining the chain’s status system.
Note that these are only suggestions. Marriott is not changing its statuses as nothing official has been announced.