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Marriott Bonvoy ‘Ambassador Elite’ Level : Ambassador experiences [Master Thread]

Marriott Bonvoy ‘Ambassador Elite’ Level : Ambassador experiences [Master Thread]

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Old Aug 22, 19, 4:14 am   -   Wikipost
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Old Jul 12, 19, 11:48 am
  #2731  
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Originally Posted by C17PSGR View Post
Well the survey was about "Ambassador Service" which I think was intended to distinguish between "Ambassador Service" and the Ambassador status tier, although I think that's ambiguous ... but it was their term not mine.

I'm assuming they meant Ambassador Service to mean what existed before their was a separate status tier, meaning the person in the video who "personalizes" your stays to use another term from the program.
I think it meant anything to do with the Ambassador program. But to each, their own!

Interestingly, I had given up on the SLS from a stay a couple of months ago where they wanted to charge me for the one bedroom suite that was available for a one bedroom stay. I gave it another chance for a stay with a GF and they upgraded me to the one bedroom suite two days before I arrived! Then they allowed me to check in mid-morning and have a 4 PM checkout. I'm confident its because of the Ambassador status tier and being a repeat guest, although it again highlights some training issues at the property level based on my previous experience.
Always hard to know, but there’s no doubt IMO that being a repeat guest AND Ambassador makes for a very good likelihood of being very well treated if at all possible.

That being said, for my first SLS stay in 2017 I did get pre-upgraded several days before arrival to what was referred to as a Lifestyle Suite...which turned out to be spacious and well appointed but incredibly dark with barely a window looking out to the central courtyard. On mentioning my appreciation for the upgrade but disappointment with the room on a routine follow up call, the manager apologized, told me about the upcoming (and since completed) renovation to remedy my concerns...and then gave us a $100 F&B credit by way of apology. I was very surprised and tried to decline...but when we were at the rooftop bar, the staff there reminded us we had a credit and pressed us to use it.

That was incredible service. And that made us want to return every time we are in LA.

As for the status tier and recognition at the property level, I'm pretty happy. I'm getting suite upgrades on almost every stay and just cleared an SNA for a seafront suite... My only complaint (which I can't really use that term) is that I used to get a lot of handwritten notes from GM's when I was a legacy Plat Premier under the old Marriott program and more unsolicited room service in the US and that seems to have stopped. But that's more a hmm than a complaint. I'll hit 20K at Marriott this month and probably be at $30-40k at the end of the year depending on work and unpredictable trips (and a few thousand more at Hyatt/Hilton).
The handwritten note is one of those details that I couldn’t care less about. I am often stunned by how much this matters to people. I’d much rather have a nice welcome amenity and upgrade. A note is always lovely when I get it. But I never expect it...or care so much about it.

I think Arne had a horrible communication plan regarding integration and it upset a lot of people. He also failed to put the right resources in upfront -- although he could have saved a lot of resource by communicating better. And I think Arne is out of touch. Plus, a lot of hotel staff didn't get trained in a timely manner/ I realize that upset people (and frankly some people just don't like Marriott) but things seem to be working very well now. OTOH, I'm sure Hyatt and Hilton would like a bigger chunk or all of my hotel spend so I'm glad they're looking into the "Ambassador Service."
I think Arne was promised things that didn’t turn out to be as easily done and set expectations that turned out to be harder to deliver than they were. I also think the SPG crowd was a lot more entitled and afraid of change than it wants to admit and found Arne to be a very convenient scapegoat. I do think most of the nonsense WAS fringe noise. I do think Marriott IT is embarrassing. I do think Marriott really did an amazing job keeping both program running parallel for as long as it did, and did an even better job merging the three programs into Bonvoy—which is basically SPG with a few reductions and a lot more enhancements for the top tiers. I think too many SPGers were too entitled based on little spend. Now I like that Marriott rewards me more as a big spender. Arne helped and hurt. But everyone wants a scapegoat. I don’t need a scapegoat.

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Last edited by bhrubin; Jul 12, 19 at 12:04 pm
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Old Jul 12, 19, 3:26 pm
  #2732  
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
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Originally Posted by bhrubin View Post
But there’s always room for improvement. My list is just a wish list of added benefits or adjustments to benefits that can vastly improve the program and status and make it even more worthwhile.
I only wish that Bonvoy could provide consistent elite treatment for all their elites on all their hotels.
Extra benefits for Ambassador tiers would be great, but only if that can be executed properly at property level.
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Old Jul 12, 19, 4:56 pm
  #2733  
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Originally Posted by kaizen7 View Post
I only wish that Bonvoy could provide consistent elite treatment for all their elites on all their hotels.
Extra benefits for Ambassador tiers would be great, but only if that can be executed properly at property level.
No loyalty program perfectly provides consistent elite treatment for all their elites at all their hotels. Marriott is much bigger, and it still does better with far more hotels and far more elites in far more destinations than any other program.

Hyatt, for all its vaunted elite benefits, has massive issues with award availability at some of their most aspirational hotels--and they don't have that many aspirational hotels to begin with! There are issues with awards, issues with IT, issues with TSUS not being eligible at the best and most aspirational properties, etc. And then you gotta find the places where there actually are Hyatt properties.

SPG, for all the vaunted elite benefits, didn't deliver consistently either!

IHG and Hilton barely have elite benefits. Accor is just now trying to actually offer some.

Marriott Bonvoy is doing pretty well. But it can be better. It always will be better for those who spend more...and I'm approving of that.
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Old Jul 12, 19, 4:58 pm
  #2734  
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Originally Posted by EuropeanPete View Post
Am I the only person who didn’t get it?
I got the survey some months ago and made very strongly negative comments.
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Old Jul 12, 19, 7:43 pm
  #2735  
 
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I started by saying I don't remember who my ambassador is.

Last edited by dimramon; Jul 14, 19 at 9:37 am
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Old Jul 12, 19, 8:48 pm
  #2736  
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
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I have noticed that some facilities do not know that I am an Ambassador Elite. The checkin desk welcomed me and thank my loyalty as a Platinum Elite (not even Titanium Elite). I suspect the IT system is not updated properly.
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Old Jul 13, 19, 1:04 pm
  #2737  
 
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Originally Posted by bhrubin View Post
No loyalty program perfectly provides consistent elite treatment for all their elites at all their hotels. Marriott is much bigger, and it still does better with far more hotels and far more elites in far more destinations than any other program.

Hyatt, for all its vaunted elite benefits, has massive issues with award availability at some of their most aspirational hotels--and they don't have that many aspirational hotels to begin with! There are issues with awards, issues with IT, issues with TSUS not being eligible at the best and most aspirational properties, etc. And then you gotta find the places where there actually are Hyatt properties.

SPG, for all the vaunted elite benefits, didn't deliver consistently either!

IHG and Hilton barely have elite benefits. Accor is just now trying to actually offer some.

Marriott Bonvoy is doing pretty well. But it can be better. It always will be better for those who spend more...and I'm approving of that.
Judging that Marriott still struggling to provide proper breakfast benefits on their hotels means they really have to improve on these consistencies.
The breakfast rule is clearly (a bit convoluted I admit) written on their T&C.
So there are no reason that a Courtyard failed to provide say $10 F&B voucher/ night / person for their guest.

And also, we have some Ambassador members with great ambassador (you ) and then we also have member who have their ambassador missing in action

Marriott already made very good move by updating their system to show member's tier and make these unique name for each tier.
Less confusion for the properties.
They need to continue their effort in these issue.
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Old Jul 14, 19, 9:39 am
  #2738  
 
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Is the number on the phone app the right number for ambassador service?
It's always answered by the "titanium line", and never overly helpful.

What it boils down to is that I am always told to just call the hotel myself.
Some examples:
- Airport pickup in Mumbai
- Questions about parking in The Hague
- ...
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Old Jul 14, 19, 9:44 am
  #2739  
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Originally Posted by dimramon View Post
Is the number on the phone app the right number for ambassador service?
It's always answered by the "titanium line", and never overly helpful.

What it boils down to is that I am always told to just call the hotel myself.
Some examples:
- Airport pickup in Mumbai
- Questions about parking in The Hague
- ...
Pretty sure the app hasn’t been coded for the Ambassador line. Worthwhile changing your details, as it really is significantly better than the normal Marriott customer service (even if it’s still somewhat unreliable on follow-through).
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Old Jul 14, 19, 10:16 am
  #2740  
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Dallas, TX
Programs: AA Ex Plat, Bonvoy Ambassador, Alaska MVP Gold, UA Silver
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I don’t know what Ambassadors are supposed to do

I’m still struggling to understand what the Ambassador Service is suppose to do for its elites? I’ve asked a few times but have received vague responses from them and other Marriott team members so I’ve just been trying to use them as a central point of contact for resolving general Marriott issues with very limited success. This is a summary of my experiences year to date:
  1. I forwarded a folio for a $20 something line item charge marked “Point redemption fee” for a stay at the Aloft Tulsa. Received a response two business days later from a backup ambassador that this was a resort fee and could not be waived. I sent a follow up email email questioning this logic which was acknowledged but the agent refused to review the issue again. A quick 5 minute call to a general reservation agent in Manila was able to resolve the matter quickly by contacting the hotel which confirmed this was a clerical error and should have been a back charge to Marriott corporate.
  2. I was planning a point redemption trip to London and wanted to shift the dates of the reservation, I reached out to my ambassador received a response from another back up ambassador three business days later that the rate was unavailable at my preferred hotel and suggested a few alternates. I replied with my alternate, and after waiting another day for a reply, I decided to do it myself and discovered I was able to rebook my preferred hotel on the new dates without issues. Granted the inventory may have changed during this time but felt this process should not have taken a week.
  3. Accidentally booked to hotels for the same work trip, discovered this on the day of check in. My Primary Ambassador was able to successfully cancel one of the hotels without incurring a fee. Success!
  4. Two weeks after booking a room for a planned trip I discovered a bug on the Bonvoy Mobile App that will occasionally list a prepaid rate in the list of results when searching on a corporate rate (even if the prepaid rate is lower than the corporate rate, it usually excludes them), adding to the confusion, the return results will bold in red that the corporate code was used in the return results when displaying prepaid rates. With 3 weeks remaining before the trip I reached out to my Ambassador who worked on it for a few days but was advised he was unable to get the franchisee to waive the fee. Decided to make the trip based on this information, figured I’m out the $500 regardless, might as well get the points, right? At check in, I casually asked the desk agent if they ever make exceptions to the cancellation fee on this rate and was told with my status it would not have been an issue, he also noted there were no notes in the reservation indicating I wanted to cancel it.
In the end I feel my experiences with the Ambassadors have damaged my relationship with Marriott.
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Old Jul 14, 19, 10:45 am
  #2741  
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Originally Posted by N9931E View Post
I’m still struggling to understand what the Ambassador Service is suppose to do for its elites? I’ve asked a few times but have received vague responses from them and other Marriott team members so I’ve just been trying to use them as a central point of contact for resolving general Marriott issues with very limited success. This is a summary of my experiences year to date:
  1. I forwarded a folio for a $20 something line item charge marked “Point redemption fee” for a stay at the Aloft Tulsa. Received a response two business days later from a backup ambassador that this was a resort fee and could not be waived. I sent a follow up email email questioning this logic which was acknowledged but the agent refused to review the issue again. A quick 5 minute call to a general reservation agent in Manila was able to resolve the matter quickly by contacting the hotel which confirmed this was a clerical error and should have been a back charge to Marriott corporate.
  2. I was planning a point redemption trip to London and wanted to shift the dates of the reservation, I reached out to my ambassador received a response from another back up ambassador three business days later that the rate was unavailable at my preferred hotel and suggested a few alternates. I replied with my alternate, and after waiting another day for a reply, I decided to do it myself and discovered I was able to rebook my preferred hotel on the new dates without issues. Granted the inventory may have changed during this time but felt this process should not have taken a week.
  3. Accidentally booked to hotels for the same work trip, discovered this on the day of check in. My Primary Ambassador was able to successfully cancel one of the hotels without incurring a fee. Success!
  4. Two weeks after booking a room for a planned trip I discovered a bug on the Bonvoy Mobile App that will occasionally list a prepaid rate in the list of results when searching on a corporate rate (even if the prepaid rate is lower than the corporate rate, it usually excludes them), adding to the confusion, the return results will bold in red that the corporate code was used in the return results when displaying prepaid rates. With 3 weeks remaining before the trip I reached out to my Ambassador who worked on it for a few days but was advised he was unable to get the franchisee to waive the fee. Decided to make the trip based on this information, figured I’m out the $500 regardless, might as well get the points, right? At check in, I casually asked the desk agent if they ever make exceptions to the cancellation fee on this rate and was told with my status it would not have been an issue, he also noted there were no notes in the reservation indicating I wanted to cancel it.
In the end I feel my experiences with the Ambassadors have damaged my relationship with Marriott.

First, sorry you’re having challenges with the program!

Second, there are a myriad of possibilities with the scenarios you shared.

Marriott IT can be terrible as you know. Ambassadors get stuck with bad IT just as we do.

If you aren’t often enough hearing from your own Ambassador during the week and regular business hours, you should—with a 1-2 day delay in email. You should share your frustration wilt your Ambassador in a polite but firm phone call, seeing if you can find ways to speed up response times and to get better responsiveness. If this fails after a few months, then you might want to contact Ambassador management and get a new Ambassador.

When hotels tell you they have no record of any contact with Ambassador, it’s easy to assume the Ambassador didn’t do as promised. But it’s just as if not more likely in my experience that the hotel goofed—and the right hand and left hand at the hotel don’t even know it. So they blame the Ambassador. So you blame the Ambassador. Usually, IME, the hotels executing the actions and requests are the ones that get it wrong more often than not. The fact that every hotel now can see your Ambassador status well in advance of your arrival (something that wasn’t true with SPG) makes it even more obvious in most cases. Just food for thought.

I would try to think of Ambassador STATUS as the issue. Your status can make a big difference in getting upgrades and better treatment at well managed hotels. Poorly managed hotels will not necessarily treat you better. But none of that has to do with your actual Ambassador anymore. Except for special occasions, hotels now can recognize your status and act to treat you accordingly (or not) all on their own. The actual Ambassador is now a more convenient contact person for your other needs and issues.

Last edited by bhrubin; Jul 14, 19 at 1:01 pm
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Old Jul 14, 19, 11:06 am
  #2742  
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 491
Originally Posted by N9931E View Post
I’m still struggling to understand what the Ambassador Service is suppose to do for its elites? I’ve asked a few times but have received vague responses from them and other Marriott team members so I’ve just been trying to use them as a central point of contact for resolving general Marriott issues with very limited success. This is a summary of my experiences year to date:
  1. I forwarded a folio for a $20 something line item charge marked “Point redemption fee” for a stay at the Aloft Tulsa. Received a response two business days later from a backup ambassador that this was a resort fee and could not be waived. I sent a follow up email email questioning this logic which was acknowledged but the agent refused to review the issue again. A quick 5 minute call to a general reservation agent in Manila was able to resolve the matter quickly by contacting the hotel which confirmed this was a clerical error and should have been a back charge to Marriott corporate.
  2. I was planning a point redemption trip to London and wanted to shift the dates of the reservation, I reached out to my ambassador received a response from another back up ambassador three business days later that the rate was unavailable at my preferred hotel and suggested a few alternates. I replied with my alternate, and after waiting another day for a reply, I decided to do it myself and discovered I was able to rebook my preferred hotel on the new dates without issues. Granted the inventory may have changed during this time but felt this process should not have taken a week.
  3. Accidentally booked to hotels for the same work trip, discovered this on the day of check in. My Primary Ambassador was able to successfully cancel one of the hotels without incurring a fee. Success!
  4. Two weeks after booking a room for a planned trip I discovered a bug on the Bonvoy Mobile App that will occasionally list a prepaid rate in the list of results when searching on a corporate rate (even if the prepaid rate is lower than the corporate rate, it usually excludes them), adding to the confusion, the return results will bold in red that the corporate code was used in the return results when displaying prepaid rates. With 3 weeks remaining before the trip I reached out to my Ambassador who worked on it for a few days but was advised he was unable to get the franchisee to waive the fee. Decided to make the trip based on this information, figured I’m out the $500 regardless, might as well get the points, right? At check in, I casually asked the desk agent if they ever make exceptions to the cancellation fee on this rate and was told with my status it would not have been an issue, he also noted there were no notes in the reservation indicating I wanted to cancel it.
In the end I feel my experiences with the Ambassadors have damaged my relationship with Marriott.
FT fairy tales apart, ambassador service is pretty much worthless. It’s good to have a single point of contact and minor issues can get sorted out in a more practical way than just phoning in to the general ca lines. However my experience aligns with yours: ambassador is not always promptly reachable; reply times frequently take much longer than they should; my ambassador is rarely, if ever, proactive regarding my upcoming stays; and whenever he encounters an obstacle he will simply drop the ball and tell me whatever it is that I want cannot be done (one time he flat out refused to open a ticket regarding a property).
.
As for ambassador status I have yet to see any difference from the P75 status that I’ve had in the last 5 or 6 years (in fact, many properties fail to recognize the status, and thank me for being a platinum member) . I understand this is a transition year with way more ambassador elites than Marriott anticipates because of the SPG P100 holdover and I will make the effort of renewing ambassador for next year just to see if things improve. However if things remain as they are currently I will not bother to renew ambassador for 2021.
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Old Jul 14, 19, 12:11 pm
  #2743  
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
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Why is Marriott not communicating any of these expectations in the first place, the program just doesn’t seem to outline any objectives. I agree that Marriott IT is a mess that is not getting enough attention internally. I was recently advised by my Ambassador that he didn’t receive half of my emails due to an internal glitch which routed them to backup agents, I don’t see how changing Ambassadors will fix this or anything else outlined here.
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Old Jul 14, 19, 1:07 pm
  #2744  
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Unlike @MePlatPremier, my Ambassador status has been invaluable for me since Bonvoy launched in February. I’d have to say my upgrade rate has improved substantially, including at legacy SPG, legacy, Marriott, and at Ritz-Carlton properties.

I think the types/brand segment of hotels we visit makes more a difference in upgrade rates than people realize—nicer hotels tend to have more suites, for example, allowing far better chances for suite upgrades. My impression is that most people complaining about lack of suite upgrades don’t stay at hotels with many suites...or stay at hotels that have suites booked more often and consistently.

The actual Ambassador service is just the now: a service. The status does far more now for us than was ever possible in the SPG days. With hotels now knowing our Ambassador status without needing a call or contact from our actual Ambassadors, it frees up the Ambassador personnel to help with the assorted other details with which we may need assistance. Marriott IT blunders being a chief area where we need that assistance!

In truth, my Marriott Bonvoy Ambassador experience has been even more impressive than my previous and wonderful SPG Ambassador experience.
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Old Jul 14, 19, 1:12 pm
  #2745  
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Originally Posted by N9931E View Post
Why is Marriott not communicating any of these expectations in the first place, the program just doesn’t seem to outline any objectives. I agree that Marriott IT is a mess that is not getting enough attention internally. I was recently advised by my Ambassador that he didn’t receive half of my emails due to an internal glitch which routed them to backup agents, I don’t see how changing Ambassadors will fix this or anything else outlined here.
If you really don’t see improvement in your experience or believe there will be improvement based on where and when you stay, then you certainly might consider sticking with Marriott only through Titanium and/or staying with another chain more.

A lot of people like Hyatt, though I think you’ll find that Globalist concierges don’t do any more (and often less) than Marriott Ambassadors. But if the more limited Hyatt portfolio works for you, you have them to compare and choose as you prefer. Hilton and IHG don’t have anything close..and have seriously watered down elite benefits and their own IT issues, too...so good luck!
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