Marriott’s Loyalty Program May Soon Have An Even Bigger Image Issue


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Bonvoy was a terrible name for Marriott to call the merged Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest programs and whatever they paid the company that came up with that name was too much….but that’s the least of Marriott’s problems right now.The move to Marriott Bonvoy has been anything but smooth and not a day goes by without my Twitter feed being filled with people complaining about one thing or another to do with Marriott’s loyalty program. There’s an incredible amount of dissatisfaction out there.

Right now there are three main kinds of Bonvoy members who are annoyed with Marriott:

  1. Those whose accounts aren’t working properly and haven’t been displaying the correct nights and points balances for months.
  2. Those who don’t like various aspects of the new loyalty program (increased award costs, devalued credit card certificates, hotels allowed to opt out of various benefits etc…)
  3. Those who have accounts which aren’t working AND who don’t like various aspects of the Bonvoy program.

As the critical comments continue to appear (en masse and on a daily basis) there’s one thing that started to happen that I haven’t seen too many people really pick up on – Bonvoy is slowly being changed from a noun to a verb….and that’s really not good news for Marriott.

Bloggers have started to use the word “Bonvoyed” as a way to describe something negative that Marriott has managed to do (here’s Tiffany from OMAAT)…..

…and Marriott Bonvoy members have started to use the word too….it even has its own hashtag on Twitter…..

and its own account!

Awards not pricing correctly? You’ve been Bonvoyed!

Hotels not honoring benefits? You’ve been Bonvoyed!

Marriott IT not working? You’ve been Bonvoyed!

Bonvoyed has even become a word used as a reason for a status match request to other hotel chains:

“Bonvoyed” is rapidly becoming the word to describe absolutely everything bad about Marriott and its Loyalty program…and that’s pretty bad for Marriott when it’s in the process of spending a fortune trying to get “Marriott Bonvoy” recognised as a good thing.

It may not even be long before “Bonvoyed” evolves from just being associated with bad things related to Marriott and gains a new lease of life as a colloquialism for bad things in general.

How soon before we hear phrases like….

“I got completely Bonvoyed by AT&T on my last bill” or….

“I really thought James would come through for us in the play-offs but he’s Bonvoyed every one of his past 3 games!”

How soon before some sports fan comes up with a GIF of a player falling over just a yard short of scoring a Touchdown with “You’ve been Bonvoyed!” emblazoned across the screen?

Words can quickly gain a life of their own and if Marriott isn’t careful more people may soon associate the word “Bonvoy” with something negative in the world than with their loyalty program…..and then what do they do with the name?

Essentially “Marriott Bonvoy” would have grown to mean “Marriott screw up” and who wants that as a name for a loyalty program?

Bottom Line

Ok, yes, I’m probably taking things a little far by suggesting that “Bonvoyed” will become a widely used colloquialism….but there’s still a serious point that Marriott needs to address here.

As long as travelers are using the name of its loyalty program as a word to mean something negative Marriott has a big, big problem on its hands.

It has just paid an enormous amount of money to launch “Marriott Bonvoy” and it’s now spending even more money to get the name recognized worldwide…but what does it do to stop the name being used in a way it clearly didn’t forsee it being used?

Has Marriott just been Bonvoyed?

5 COMMENTS

  1. Thank for update as a now lifetime Paltiumin member with Marriot over 2,000 nights with them but moved to SPG for better service. Now I took time last week to call and ask several questions .1 not more by price ranking also unable to access information and still not answers on my SPG issues.
    Customer service reps response we have a lot of customers upset about all the changes but there is nothing you can do about it SORRY
    I still travel over 200 nights a year and I am heading to Hilton as quick as I can.

  2. Don’t forget that we also have a site for people to tell their stories of being Bonvoyed! One of our favorites identified themselves as “Someone at Corporate” and said “I told them to stick with Marriott Rewards. We Bonvoyed ourselves.” Take a look to see the other experiences and add yours today.

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