Read My Lips, “No Devaluation,” Says Marriott CEO

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Thanks to The Points Guy for posting this clip where Marriott’s CEO Arne M. Sorenson says, “To state the obvious, devaluing points or member benefits is not the way to preserve and strengthen these programs.”

He uses the right lingo but can we believe what he says? I’d like to give Arne the benefit of the doubt but I’ve been hurt too many times before. Furthermore, when the merger does go through he can stand behind his words that he didn’t devalue the SPG program because he genuinely believes that the transfer ratio should be 1:1 or 2:1 or whatever terrible ratio is ultimately decided.

To put it simply, unless the Aloft Bangkok remains at the rate 2,000-3000 points a night I don’t see how he ‘preserves and strengthens’ the programs.

What do you think of his speech and more importantly his choice in shirts?

You can't enhance Sukhumvit 11: Leave the aloft alone!
You can’t enhance Sukhumvit 11: Leave the aloft alone!

 

4 COMMENTS

  1. Well, we SPG Plats will have an interesting transition since many of us earn through stays which might translate to be short of the 50 nights required, while MR Plats only get it for nights, and require the 75 that get one SPG’s Plat+ tier…and could drop SPG Plats down to Gold (50 nights) or even Silver (25 nights). So there will be some delicate maneuvering to be had in the 2nd half of next year once the business matters are completed.

    • I don’t like the sound of any of that. I just requalified for SPG plat for next year and was hoping that luck would be with us and it would be a Hyatt-SPG merger so I could keep top status in both. Now I don’t know what to do.

  2. Its all relative. It is nice to know that Marriott is aware of the concerns of the SPG customer base, especially with regard to points devaluation and other elite benefits. That being said, Marriott’s view on what is devalued and SPG members’ views are likely to be considerably different. ANY change is likely going to devalue SPG points in some way, shape, or form–even if Marriott thinks it’s a fair change. Marriott’s strength is in consistent business friendly but otherwise unremarkable hotels that are available almost anywhere one wants to travel in the USA; Starwood’s strength is in worldwide higher level and business friendly hotels, as well as amazing, aspirational, and unique hotels and locations, but still in more limited big city and resort locations compared to Marriott. The customer profile is considerably different, and the customer expectations and wants from a loyalty program are also considerably different. Starwood customers, especially elites, value SPG points not only for hotel awards but also for airline awards; the reason I stay at SPG over Hyatt is largely because of the fact that my earned points have more versatile uses for my award travel. No other hotel chain offers that. Marriott already will be devaluing SPG points if it eliminates those airline transfers or the 25% airline transfer bonus. So even if Marriott gives fair market value conversion from SPG to MR points, if that doesn’t come with airline transfers, it won’t matter as much–the points STILL will be devalued significantly.

    • Well put Bill. Though I don’t transfer spg to airlines, I recognize the benefit. You are correct in the differences between Marriott and spg consumers. To put it simply my dad who hates points loves Marriott and I am just the opposite. Why do all good things always come to an end?

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