Home Points & Miles How To Love Marriott Bonvoy In One Step: Lower Your Expectations

How To Love Marriott Bonvoy In One Step: Lower Your Expectations

by joeheg

There are endless posts about Marriott Bonvoy and how it’s a terrible hotel loyalty program. Even the most loyal members don’t get the benefits they’re promised. The number of points required for a free night at almost every property in the US has increased dramatically over the past decade. Individual hotels regularly ignore the rules and Marriott’s corporate office does little to keep them in line.

Then why does Marriott Bonvoy seem to win virtually every audience award for the best loyalty program?

The easiest answer is that Marriott has a massive membership base and even if 1/20th of its members vote, every World of Hyatt member would need to vote, even to make it close.

That’s ignoring the fact that Marriott members wouldn’t take the time to vote if they were unhappy. Many people out there think Marriott Bonvoy is just fine. Ignorance is bliss.

We think those people are crazy but understand we’re the outliers. Programs aren’t designed to make us happy. In fact, I don’t think they could if they tried.

I have a different viewpoint from most because I knew almost nothing about hotel loyalty programs except for the past decade. I picked hotels by which one was closest to my destination with a reasonable price. IHG Rewards Club was my program of choice and I’ve been a member for over 30 years. I don’t need suite upgrades, club access, full menu breakfasts, or early/late arrival times to enjoy my stay.

For those who spend months out of a year staying in hotels, their status levels are earned. If you stay 50, 75 or even 100 nights at a hotel brand, it’s understandable to expect to get treated differently from the average guest. When you don’t get a suite upgrade even if the hotel is selling them when you arrive, or if the hotel lounge is closed for no other reason than they don’t want to open it, don’t get frustrated.

Take this hint from me. You can’t get upset about not getting a benefit if you don’t expect to get it. Maybe this is why so many Marriott Bonvoy members vote for the program every year. If they stay that much with the hotel, they know the program and set expectations appropriately.

Don’t expect Hyatt-level treatment from a Marriott. You’re probably not going to get that suite upgrade at check-in but you might get better than the worst room in the hotel. Your Suite Night Upgrades probably won’t clear at the hotels you want them to but you can get a room with a balcony for your pre-cruise hotel.

If you’re expecting a complimentary breakfast, the rules are so complicated that sites have compiled pages to help you understand what to expect, depending on where you’re going and what brand of hotel you’re staying at. Unless you’re somewhere that provides free breakfast for anyone, nothing’s guaranteed.

The smaller benefits like getting the fastest internet speed are honored if you can connect to the network.

By not expecting anything, you’ll be happily surprised for the nights when you get upgraded to a suite. You’ll feel like royalty when the hotel restaurant serves hot breakfast and you can pick anything you want from the menu.

The lower you set the bar when dealing with Marriott Bonvoy, the better. Less chance you’ll end up feeling #Bonvoyed.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


Christian February 10, 2022 - 8:38 pm

I’m not sure that expecting Marriott to suck so you won’t be unpleasantly surprised is really a viable long term loyalty strategy. Otherwise I’d just as soon make a major upgrade to a mediocre program like Hilton. If I have to constantly figure the various ways that Marriott is going to try to weasel me as a customer despite written promises, I’m going to blame the company rather than myself for trusting those written promises.

Tcseal February 10, 2022 - 9:23 pm

It’s rare we disagree, but this time…

Deciding to, “be ok” with poor treatment makes one a doormat, and invites even worse treatment, whether from a company, a friend, or a partner. It is exactly the attitude that, at its most extreme, allows battered spouses to stay with their abusers.

I am in the service industry, and my integrity and desire to do my best for living beings would never allow me to simply not honor promises I’ve made. I lose respect for, and leave relationships with, people who treat me otherwise.

Gary Rosen February 10, 2022 - 10:20 pm

100 % true but when these hotels charges 1k plus per night you expect a certain level. And unfortunately they don’t deliver. It’s unfortunate they I seem to get better service at my business travel hotels than when I travel with my Family on vacation


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