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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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Ambassador Service general email address: [email protected]

Ambassador Service general phone line (USA): (866) 924-9885

Europe: +353-21-4861 222
USA: +1-866-924-9885
Asia : +86-20-38157156

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Old Apr 29, 18, 7:35 am
  #16  
 
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I don't have SPG 100 this year - been 100 on and off - I found the odds of getting a suite better when I was on a family trip and specifically asked for a roll-in bed for my son (he is 8 now, so various ages below that) - other than that - I don't think it really made a difference. The Westin Cancun once decorated my suite with birthday decoration - but I have reason to believe they did this on their own.
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Old Apr 29, 18, 8:20 am
  #17  
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This is all about managing expectations as well as a better of understanding of the linkage between freebies and profitability.

While disappointment is focused on an individual Ambassador, the fact that some people routinely wind up in a suite or find a full sized bottle of Moet in their room while others find a wedge or packaged cheese and crackers is more tied to the revenue you (or your employer) generates.

Or more precisely, whether *W calculates that if it shows you a taste of the good life, you might spend on it the next time.

The Ambassador is the vehicle to personalize all of this and it's a good marketing gimmick. But, whether you are a HVC or likely to become one is more important.
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Old Apr 30, 18, 6:38 am
  #18  
 
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Posted about this recently on a different thread, so in short - My ambassador experience has been virtually nonexistent. I travel weekly, 180+ nights and and $40-50k in spending and get nothing from my ambassador.
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Old Apr 30, 18, 11:40 am
  #19  
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Post Merger Ambassador Program

I am a current SPG Platinum 100 Ambassador guest and thought it might be helpful for Marriott Platinums and others curious about this experience to learn more. There are numerous threads on this topic in the Starwood Forum, and I imagine those eventually will be folded into this thread when the Marriott, Starwood, and presumably Ritz-Carlton Forums are merged here on FlyerTalk.

For the record, I absolutely love the Ambassador program. I love my Ambassador. I have had tremendously positive experiences with my Ambassador and with many other members of the Ambassador team when my Ambassador is not available. I also have had a few less impressive experiences with an Ambassador, but those few do not tarnish in any way my esteem and delight with the program overall. For 2018, I currently have 106 nights with SPG, have 58 nights with Marriott (including 3 nights with Ritz-Carlton), and I would estimate my spending at SPG/Marriott/RC this year so far to be $100,000 based on the total charges I have spent on my SPG Amex Business card at SPG/Marriott/RC hotels. I not only stay at SPG/Marriott/RC hotels for my personal stays (usually at StR, RC, LuxColl, W) but for my own business group stays (most often Sheraton, Renaissance, Westin, Le Meridien, Four Points, and Courtyard). I don't just stay often at SPG hotels, but I also love to order room service and dine in the very nice restaurants when they have them. My spending reflects that.

There are many SPG Plat100s who believe the Ambassador experience is overrated and/or largely worthless. The Starwood Forum is replete with those examples. I could not disagree more with their assessment.

For years, I have indicated my belief that my better Ambassador treatment was due to (1) my very high spending at SPG hotels and (2) the fact that I stay more often for leisure stays at luxury level SPG hotels. In the SPG Forum, those beliefs most often were attacked and considered baseless. I believe the new $20,000 spend minimum to attain Ambassador status is evidence that I most likely was accurate in those assessments.

In my experience, Ambassador service is best executed at better hotels. Ambassador SERVICE is an individualized SERVICE. The hotels that execute personal and individualized service better are the ones that also tend to execute Ambassador service the best. An Ambassador might indicate to a hotel that I like chocolates and strawberries as a welcome amenity and that I require my room to be preset to 67 F, but the hotels must execute those requests. Not surprisingly, luxury hotels offering better service most often execute those requests better than upscale hotels, and upscale hotels most often execute those requests better than midscale hotels. If you stay most often at Marriott and Sheraton and Four Points level hotels, not only will one likely have a tougher time reaching the $20K minimum, those hotels also don't execute special requests as well as hotels with better records for individualized service. I expect more from a St Regis than I do a W, and I expect more from a W than I do a Sheraton. I have concomitant expectations for the Ambassador service execution at those hotels, too.

In my experience, Ambassador service with suite upgrades is almost always better at luxury level hotels because they just have more suites! There are exceptions, as with everything. But just about any time I stay at a St Regis, Luxury Collection, or W hotel, I am upgraded to a suite (almost always without any SNAs). In some cases, I am even pre-upgraded to a suite a week or two or even earlier before my arrival. I just returned from a weekend stay at the St Regis Atlanta, where I was pre-upgraded almost 3 weeks before arrival to a St Regis Suite. In mid April, I was at the W Boston where I had been pre-upgraded a month in advance to a Wow Suite. Both bookings were for paid entry level rooms.

My Ambassador can't always get me pre-upgraded, but she or my status get me upgraded to a suite an awful lot. My most recent luxury hotel stays have included suite upgrades at the StR Atlanta (paid entry room), W Boston (paid entry room), StR New York (paid entry room), StR Punta Mita (discounted paid upgrade to villa!)...and those are all in 2018. In 2017, I enjoyed suite upgrades at the StR San Francisco three times (paid and award entry rooms) in Nov and Dec, The Gwen Chicago (paid entry room) in Dec, W Westwood three times (paid entry rooms) in Nov and Dec, Prince de Galles Paris (award entry room) in Oct, Hotel Imperial Vienna (award entry room) in Oct, the Nines Portland (paid suite) in Aug, SLS Beverly Hills (award entry room) in June, Westin Richmond (paid group room) in Apr, Westin Charlotte (paid group room) in Apr, Sheraton Phila Univ City five times (paid group rooms) in Mar and Apr, Le Meridien Arlington five times (paid group rooms) in Mar and Apr, Le Meridien Cambridge (paid group rooms) and Mar and Apr, the StR Washington (paid entry room) in Apr, the StR Bahia Beach Puerto Rico (paid entry room) in Feb, etc. Some of those suite upgrades were to specialty suites that aren't normally provided in upgrade pools.

In my experience, Ambassadors can do a lot to help. But they aren't miracle workers--even when sometimes they can be! I had a prepaid stay at the St Regis Bora Bora in May 2016 for 7 nights, but our Air Tahiti Nui flight was canceled, causing us to arrive a day late and miss 1 of our 7 nights. My first call to the St Regis and the Ambassador team didn't get me any help...but my Ambassador persisted and managed to get me the missed 1 night's stay credited to my account as a food/beverage credit. THAT alone saved me $2,000. I didn't expect it, but her persistence and dedication went above and beyond for me and saved me a lot.

On the other hand, this past weekend at the StR Atlanta, I had to wait 90 min after arriving at 4:30 pm to get my pre-upgraded suite, despite a 3 pm check in time--and the Ambassador team rep (not my Ambassador, who was out for the weekend) was not particularly helpful at all.

I also know that I am treated often as a VIP when I stay at SPG hotels--especially at the luxury level hotels like StR, LuxColl, and W, but also at Le Meridien, Westin, and even sometimes at Sheraton and even Four Points! People tend to know me by name more often than I might otherwise expect, even at a StR or W. Even this past weekend at the StR Atlanta, my first stay there ever, by the second day people knew who I was throughout the hotel. That's impressive service by any measure, and that's directly related to my Ambassador service IMO.

In the Starwood Forum, I firmly believe that many people who complain about their Ambassador are staying at hotels that simply don't execute Ambassador requests--or any special requests, for that matter--particularly well. So they blame the Ambassador--rather than considering that the hotel may have been the culprit. I also believe that people too often complain about not getting upgraded when they stay at hotels that most often are at high occupancy, have few suites, or have so many elites and high paying guests that there just aren't many suites available. When people don't share the hotels where the issues arise, it's a good hint that it's not a great hotel!

I also know that not all Ambassadors are as good as others. There are many examples of Ambassadors who don't respond to requests or who seem to drop the ball too often. When this happens, you can contact the Ambassador team and request a new Ambassador. Please do! The only way the program can recognize bad Ambassadors is by members having the ability to share that information and the details.

I am hoping we all can share our Ambassador experiences here, both good and bad, so we can have a more balanced view on what the program can do for everyone. I think the details are important, so I encourage everyone to share the identity of the hotels in question so that we all have proper perspective.

Until our fellow Marriott members have the chance to enjoy an Ambassador starting on August 1, I and other Ambassador guests are happy to answer questions about the program.
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Old Apr 30, 18, 11:47 am
  #20  
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Originally Posted by j1194 View Post
Right, but what's the point then? I can book my own rooms much faster than a phone call.
Did you expect that an Ambassador would be faster to book a property than typing in a city, dates, and "Search" online?

I've heard others have sent a "please book a room at XX on these dates..." but it never occurred to me to give up control and try to communicate all of my preferences via email/phone rather than just doing it myself.


Originally Posted by j1194 View Post
If I wanted to talk to someone I could call AMEX Plat concierge or Sapphire Reserve concierge.
How could they help you find the construction status of the Sheraton Port Douglas when the completion date continued to be pushed closer and closer to your travel date?

What exactly were you expecting?

As noted above, multiple times, a single point of contact for odd situations, problems, specific requests, is what I expected. When I had a layover night in MIA but was going to try to go standby the night before, I reached out to my Ambassador. She told me not to worry about the cancellation deadline - if I was able to catch a stand-by evening flight, I'd be fine. Those are the scenarios where I expected/appreciated the extra help, not booking a room faster.
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Old Apr 30, 18, 11:55 am
  #21  
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Note that Marriott *does* currently offer Ambassador service as an unpublished invitation only benefit on an experimental basis. So it's simply not true that Marriott members don't have the chance to enjoy an Ambassador before August 1st.

OTOH I'm personally skeptical about the quality of Marriott ambassadors since I've found (on the basis of more than ten years as SPG Plat and about a half dozen years as MR PP) that generally SPG Plat Concierge has been much better that the agents I reach on the PP line, despite PP being a special unpublished invitation only level, presumably based on several consecutive years of 100+ nights and an undisclosed revenue requirement that AFAIK exceeds $20,000 but is less than $100,000 per year.
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Old Apr 30, 18, 12:05 pm
  #22  
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
Note that Marriott *does* currently offer Ambassador service as an unpublished invitation only benefit on an experimental basis. So it's simply not true that Marriott members don't have the chance to enjoy an Ambassador before August 1st.
My apologies! I didn’t meant to impugne the current Marriott concierge service. I just know that the parameters for the invitation-only and largely undescribed Marriott Platinum Premier concierge service and the very public and obviously earned SPG Plat100 Ambassador service are distinct.

I am assuming that the new Marriott PlatPremier with Ambassador level will more closely emulate the SPG Ambassador service. If I’m in error, I’ll be the first to admit that!

OTOH I'm personally skeptical about the quality of Marriott ambassadors since I've found (on the basis of more than ten years as SPG Plat and about a half doze2n years as MR PP) that generally SPG Plat Concierge has been much better that the agents I reach on the PP line, despite PP being a special unpublished invitation only level, presumably based on several consecutive years of 100+ nights and an undisclosed revenue requirement that AFAIK exceeds $20,000 but is less than $100,000 per year.
I may be getting confused by your interchangeable use of concierge and Ambassador terms. SPG “regular non-100” Plats don’t get an Ambassador or concierge; there are Platinum telephone agents dedicated to serve their interests and needs, of course. The invitation only Marriott “concierge” service supposedly was meant to let Marriott experiment with and learn how to emulate and potentially evaluate the SPG Ambassador service program.

Either way, as of Aug 1 it is gong to be a public Ambassador service intended to emulate the current SPG Ambassador program as far as what Marriott execs have stated publicly and what the current SPG Ambassador team has stated privately.
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Old Apr 30, 18, 12:39 pm
  #23  
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Originally Posted by bhrubin View Post


My apologies! I didn’t meant to impugne the current Marriott concierge service. I just know that the parameters for the invitation-only and largely undescribed Marriott Platinum Premier concierge service and the very public and obviously earned SPG Plat100 Ambassador service are distinct.

I am assuming that the new Marriott PlatPremier with Ambassador level will more closely emulate the SPG Ambassador service. If I’m in error, I’ll be the first to admit that!



I may be getting confused by your interchangeable use of concierge and Ambassador terms. SPG “regular non-100” Plats don’t get an Ambassador or concierge; there are Platinum telephone agents dedicated to serve their interests and needs, of course. The invitation only Marriott “concierge” service supposedly was meant to let Marriott experiment with and learn how to emulate and potentially evaluate the SPG Ambassador service program.

Either way, as of Aug 1 it is gong to be a public Ambassador service intended to emulate the current SPG Ambassador program as far as what Marriott execs have stated publicly and what the current SPG Ambassador team has stated privately.
My statement is a comparison between the SPG Plat Concierge (PlatMinus and above) phone agents and the Marriott PP telephone agents based on my years of experience with both, including a number of overlapping years. I am not confusing SPG Plat Concierge with SPG Ambassadors (although when the Ambassador program was introduced, I had the impression that many of the better and more experienced Plat Concierges became Ambassadors and the remaining Plat Concierge agents were much less good than before).Marriott PP has much higher qualification standards (unpublished but there's lots of evidence and anecdotal reports on FT to support my claim that it's 100+ nights for several consecutive years plus a revenue requirement, so in fact it's distinctly higher than the way every Plat100 on the SPG side has gotten an Ambassador for about a half dozen years now), so I would have expected PP to be superior to Plat Concierge, but IME the opposite has been true.

If you wish, I can also compare my experience with Hyatt Private Line Agents for (some) Diamonds and then My Hyatt Concierge for Globs.
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Old Apr 30, 18, 12:47 pm
  #24  
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Thanks for this very informative post.

I've been a Marriott PP (staying mostly at medium-high tier properties) for a couple years now, but am not assigned a Marriott concierge, and will almost certainly qualify for the new Ambassador level in the combined program.

Question: how do you make your reservations when you get this level of service? Do you need to reserve via your ambassador, or can you do it on the web site and they just notice your reservations and do their magic in the background? I ask because while I might be willing to call for a special occasion every now and then when I'd really like some kind of special thing, I am much more comfortable managing my own reservations and making them on the web, etc.

BTW, as a PP I found the service I get to be not much different than when I was a regular Platinum. In particular, I find (and found) I get much more attention, better upgrades, etc., at (higher end) properties where I'm a regular than at those where I stay only rarely. I assume local management will always recognize what it perceives to be its own best customers, regardless of formal status in the rewards program.
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Old Apr 30, 18, 12:54 pm
  #25  
 
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Originally Posted by mab View Post

Question: how do you make your reservations when you get this level of service? Do you need to reserve via your ambassador, or can you do it on the web site and they just notice your reservations and do their magic in the background? I ask because while I might be willing to call for a special occasion every now and then when I'd really like some kind of extra I am much more comfortable managing my own reservations and making them on the web, etc.

BTW, as a PP I found the service I get to be not much different than when I was a regular Platinum. In particular, I find (and found) I get much more attention, better upgrades, etc., at (higher end) properties where I'm a regular than at those where I stay only rarely. I assume local management will always recognize what it perceives to be its own best customers, regardless of formal status in the rewards program.
I,m very much interested with this ambassador service as well.
Normally I just book the room from my SPG apps

bold : That interesting that PP and PLT treatment is quite similar. Maybe that will happen with the new programs as well .... we never knows for now
I guess local recognition most likely override the program status.
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Old Apr 30, 18, 12:58 pm
  #26  
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Do Ambassadors receive commissions on the reservations they make? Is there an implicit revenue productivity standard for them? {Hyatt seems to have something like this.]
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Old Apr 30, 18, 1:00 pm
  #27  
 
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I have been a PP for several years and a charter of the Marriott Ambassador program. I'm around 110 nights so far this year (with rollover) and haven't used my ambassador this year. I make my reservations on line and get suite upgrades 30-40 percent of the time. I used my ambassador last year a couple of times (get a person added to the res/prepay with a credit card/ask for help with a suite upgrade).

So ... I'm still trying to understand what I should be expecting.

For example, are people receiving benefits calling the ambassador to book the hotel rather than doing it online? Is the ambassador automatically sending strawberries and chocolate to your room when he/she sees your reservation? Do you get charged for that?
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Old Apr 30, 18, 1:03 pm
  #28  
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
I can also compare my experience with Hyatt Private Line Agents for (some) Diamonds and then My Hyatt Concierge for Globs.
Actually, I would love to hear your comparison in a year or two between the Marriott PlatPremier with Ambassador experience with that of the Hyatt Concierge for Globalist experience.

(The Hyatt footprint doesn't work for me, unfortunately, but I am a fan of the Park Hyatt brand in most locations. I am so-so with Andaz and Grand Hyatt. To each, their own, of course! But I had a very nice stay at the PH Sydney in May 2017.)
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Old Apr 30, 18, 1:18 pm
  #29  
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Originally Posted by mab View Post
Question: how do you make your reservations when you get this level of service? Do you need to reserve via your ambassador, or can you do it on the web site and they just notice your reservations and do their magic in the background? I ask because while I might be willing to call for a special occasion every now and then when I'd really like some kind of special thing, I am much more comfortable managing my own reservations and making them on the web, etc.
You'll be fine! I almost always book my own reservations online, too. I can't imagine asking my Ambassador to do what I so easily can do. I want her to work on big ticket items that have a lot of impact for me, not the nitty gritty that I can handle so easily on my own! Of course, YMMV as with all things.

I can't even recall asking my Ambassador to book a room--though I've asked my Ambassador to change a rate plan from time to time. (My Ambassador also has changed my rate plan a few times without me even knowing because she noticed a new lower rate; I only realize that when I receive the automatic emails indicating the new rates.)

My Ambassador usually (but not always) sends me a reminder about my upcoming reservations. Sometimes, I have just too many for her to do that all the time...which I never mind. She usually asks if I know my arrival times, departure times, things that she can do to arrange so I don't have to bother--but usually I do it on my own. Sometimes, when I tell her I'll arrive earlier than check in (but I don't care to bother with a Your24), she might submit the Your24 for me--and often (but not always) gets that done for me.

usually email my Ambassador to let her know when I really am hoping for a big or special upgrade or when she needn't bother. I really try to do everything with her via email as much as possible, since I think that's easier for both of us.

BTW, as a PP I found the service I get to be not much different than when I was a regular Platinum. In particular, I find (and found) I get much more attention, better upgrades, etc., at (higher end) properties where I'm a regular than at those where I stay only rarely. I assume local management will always recognize what it perceives to be its own best customers, regardless of formal status in the rewards program.
I had excellent service as a regular SPG Plat. But I've enjoyed Aman-level service often as a Plat100 Ambassador staying at StR, LuxColl, and even some W properties. (We've stayed at many Amans since 2009.)

Of course hotels at which we stay most often are going to treat us very well. But as a Plat100 Ambassador, I've been treated super well by many hotels at which I've never stayed. Heck, the Gritti Palace Venice in Oct 2016 and Hotel Imperial Vienna, StR Rome, and Prince de Galles Paris in Oct 2017 are places I'd never before been...that treated us like royalty. Our stay at the StR NYC in Mar 2018 was similar--they really were incredible with us. (Keep in mind that I don't mind to pay a lot for things I want...so the hotels almost certainly know this and reward us for that behavior.)

I think there is a relationship between what you spend and how well these programs can treat you and reward you. As with most things!
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Old Apr 30, 18, 1:24 pm
  #30  
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Originally Posted by C17PSGR View Post
For example, are people receiving benefits calling the ambassador to book the hotel rather than doing it online? Is the ambassador automatically sending strawberries and chocolate to your room when he/she sees your reservation? Do you get charged for that?
My Ambassador usually sends a note to her team at each hotel to indicate what I like and need. That includes that I like strawberries and chocolates, most often when I stay at luxury hotels! (I don't think I've ever gotten those at anywhere but a luxury hotel!) Other hotels send me a bottle of wine or even a cheese tray (which I also love). But the hotel executes that--or misses. The StR Atlanta never gave me any welcome amenity at all. That, to me, is the fault of the hotel and not my Ambassador. Others might disagree, but I think I have a good sense of how it works! Yet that wasn't a big deal fo me at the StR Atlanta.

When the air con isn't preset to 67 F, however, there will be hell to pay!

Of course we don't get charged for that! That's just a nice welcome amenity--most often when I stay at luxury hotels. When I'm at the Sheraton Times Square, I have gotten a bottle of wine or even some fruit/nuts as a snack. It's all relative. But it's always a free gesture to welcome me.

I don't personally mind when a hotel forgets the welcome amenity, but I almost always appreciate them--just like the handwritten note from the Guest Relations Manager or GM. Some people get their panties in a twist when a hotel doesn't include those, but I just move on.

As with all things, I suspect your spending and relevance to that hotel might impact your welcome amenity. YMMV
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