Marriott Bonvoy is not a program know for making customer-friendly moves so it comes as a surprise to find out that Marriott is reducing the award cost at a lot of its properties for a (very) limited booking window, making elite status a lot easier to earn this year, and that it's throwing in an extra (albeit temporary) benefit for its most loyal guests.
Unlike a lot of loyalty programs who have been discounting their miles and points for years, Marriott didn't start selling its currency at a discount until April last year. Since then, however, we've seen at least two further sales and now the hotelier is back with its biggest bonus to date.
Marriot has just announced that it has raised $920 million in cash through the agreements it holds with JPMorgan Chase and American Express and, in doing so, follows Hilton in using its credit card partners to raise much needed liquidity during the current crisis.
Marriott Bonvoy acted relatively quickly when, as far back as 13 March, it announced that it would be extending the expiration date of suite night awards and the free night awards that come with various Marriott co-branded credit cards, but it wasn't until 8 April that Bonvoy joined the party and followed Hilton, Hyatt, and Radisson in extending all elite statuses into 2022.
Marriott is in the process of sending out emails signed by Arne Sorensen (Marriott President and CEO) in which the hotelier finally confirms that, amongst other things, it is extending elite status for all Bonvoy members through February 2022.
Marriott's not exactly flavor of the month right now as it tries to deal with another big IT breach and as it continues to be one of only two major hotels chains that have not announced any significant provisions to help regular guests retain or earn elite status this year...but one small piece of good news has now appeared.
If you've ever had any dealing with Marriott you'll probably already know that its IT systems are pretty useless but what you may not know is that its IT systems aren't very secure. In fact, their security appears to be laughably easy to circumvent.
Marriott has just issued a release from its President and CEO Arne Sorenson in which it outlines what it is doing to keep guests safe during their stays, how it is changing its cancellation policies and what steps its taking to minimize the losses by Marriott Bonvoy members.
With the coronavirus putting the world in full-on shutdown mode and with hundreds of travel plans being canceled by the second it wouldn't be unreasonable to expect the larger hotel chains to be doing whatever they can to encourage anyone still traveling to choose their properties. Not Marriott.
As of tomorrow, 4 March 2020, almost a quarter of all Marriott properties worldwide will be moving up a category (and seeing award night cost increase) while only 7% will move down a category (and see their award prices drop), so travelers have less than 24 hours left in which to book their favorite properties that are about to get significantly more expensive.