A debate is brewing amongst FlyerTalk members in the Marriott Rewards forum as to whether or not the new termination language found as number 12 under the General Membership section in the terms and conditions of the Marriott Rewards frequent guest loyalty program is the result of the actions of some FlyerTalk members who brag about “beating the system.”
The new verbiage is as follows:
The Company reserves the right to revoke, cancel or suspend any Rewards Program Membership, elite membership status (including Lifetime Silver, Lifetime Gold and Lifetime Platinum status), Reward, and/or any and all unredeemed Points or Miles, or take other action at its discretion, at any time with immediate effect and without written notice, if Company believes the Member has (1) violated any of the Program Rules, (2) failed to pay any bills or accounts due to the Company or a participating hotel or any ownership related fees owed to Marriott Vacation Club, (3) acted in a manner inconsistent with applicable law, regulations or ordinances, (4) engaged in any misconduct or wrongdoing in connection with the Rewards Program, including without limitation, involving Point credit, Mile credit, Reward use, or Member benefits, or (5) engaged in abusive, fraudulent, inappropriate, or hostile conduct in connection with the Rewards Program, the participating hotels or their guests or employees, or the Company or its employees.
FlyerTalk has always been an Internet web site for what is considered to be a relatively small group of active members in a niche market: those who are serious about the earning and usage of frequent travel loyalty program miles and points; as well as the earning of elite level status and the resulting enjoyment of benefits in frequent travel loyalty programs. It would therefore stand to reason that any “abusers of the system” would be too few and far between for a major frequent guest loyalty program to revise its rules in response — although it could possibly be done as a preventative measure for the future.
One can argue that despite having a membership of almost 515,000 members, the membership of FlyerTalk is still a mere fraction of the general memberships of frequent travel loyalty programs overall — but is that equation changing as membership on FlyerTalk continues to grow? Does the proliferation of weblogs which concentrate on earning and usage of frequent travel loyalty program miles and points play a role? Can we expect to continue to see similar revisions of the terms and conditions of the policies of frequent travel loyalty programs in the future?…
…or could the revision of the rules in this case be the result of something completely unrelated to FlyerTalk? Could the answer reside somewhere in the middle?
What are your thoughts?