Former Marriott Rewards members have started a campaign to shame the hotel conglomerate over real and perceived slights following the integration with the Starwood Preferred Guest loyalty program and the formation of the new Bonvoy rewards program. Disgruntled elite travelers have even created a “bonvoyed” website to allow unhappy guests with status to air their many grievances.
Marriott International’s acquisition of Starwood Hotels and Resorts hasn’t exactly gone off without a hitch. Now, some of the hospitality giant’s most loyal customers are going to great lengths to get the company’s attention.
In recent months, Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) members have quietly suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. The combined loyalty program has left some members feeling cheated out of elite status. The thorny loyalty integration was soon followed by a particularly severe reward redemption and benefits devaluation. To make matters worse, Marriott revealed that its elite guests may have been victims of the largest data breach in history.
Even the name of the combined rewards program, “Bonvoy,” earned a collective ‘meh‘ from weary customers. The number of unhappy Marriott customers has reportedly been a boon to the Hilton Honors program which reports it has won millions of new members, in part, because of Marriott’s woes. Other loyal Marriott customers, however, have vowed to take arms against a sea of troubles.
Skift’s Grant Martin reports that a group of activist Bonvoy members have created a “bonvoyed” campaign to draw attention to their plight. The bonvoyed.com site gives dissatisfied members a public forum to air grievances about everything from long hold times, difficulty using or receiving reward points or seemingly unfixable IT issues. Some users take to the site to simply reminisce about the glory days prior to the Marriott/SPG merger.
In October, Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson attempted to appease dissatisfied customers. He promised to evaluate the company’s most unpopular recent moves.
“We are really interested and eager to see the results of that now over the next few months, but there’s a lot of work yet to be done,” Sorenson said in public comments. “When you look at the program from a credit card perspective or points earned or elite status, yes, there are some changes that are not loved.”
For the most part, unhappy Bonvoy members were not impressed by the hotel executive’s admonishment to members to “hang with us.” The bonvoyed campaign appears determined to send the message that time is up.
“Sorenson’s comments are one of the main reasons that we started this site,” Jeffrey Brownson, one of the creators of the site told Skift. “He clearly has no idea how these ‘outlying’ problems are affecting Marriott’s everyday customers.”
[Image Source: Marriott]