It’s Official: Marriott Says Bonvoy-age to SPG and Marriott Rewards

Marriott launched its new loyalty program August 18, 2018 aligning the benefits of Marriott Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest, and Ritz-Carlton Rewards. All accounts were moved over from the Starwood platform to Marriott.

However they kept all 3 program names, even though there were no longer differences between the programs. This has to do with contractual obligations. For members all that was left to wait for was the new program name.

In November the new program name Bonvoy leaked and then at the beginning of the month the new logo leaked, too.

As a result it’s fairly anti-climactic that Marriott is announcing the new name and branding for their loyalty program, Marriott Bonvoy. This change will happen February 13th.

  • This is just a rebrand, there are no changes to benefits at this time.
  • As leaked earlier, the names of the top two elite tiers will change. Platinum Premier Elite will become Titanium elite and Platinum Premier Elite with Ambassador will become Ambassador Elite.

The elite tier name changes better distinguish Platinum tiers and make clear that ‘mere’ 50 night Platinum is only mid-tier. This is a shift away from Starwood’s strategy to say that Platinum was top tier, and that there were just additional benefits for staying more than 25 times or 50 nights.

Marriott continues the corporate trend of rebranding with intentionally vague names. What exactly is Bonvoy?

  • It sounds like bon voyage or good wishes for a journey.
  • Marriott’s Chief Commercial Officer Stephanie Linnartz says it “represents more than a loyalty program…providing endless inspiration for members to keep traveling and pursuing their passions.”

The claim to being ‘more than a loyalty program’ suggests they’ve been drinking whatever’s in Hyatt’s water. Meanwhile frustrated members are already calling the program Bonfire.

The rebrand comes at a time when the program has struggled to deliver benefits or a consistent experience to consumers, problems that Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson calls “noise around the edges”.

Marriott had one of the biggest data hacks in history, they’ve had ongoing IT problems delivering member benefits and even getting accounts merged correctly, and members are frustrated with the program. So what are they gonna do? Just like Stringer Bell in The Wire they’re changing the name of the product.

They’ve been putting tremendous effort into this rebranding, but apparently couldn’t do better than this new name. The time and investment comes when their clear focus needs to be on IT. Instead they’re investing in rolling out a “logo and branding…across all consumer touch-points, including on property, marketing and sales channels, digital, mobile and co-brand credit cards bolstered by a multi-million-dollar global media campaign starting in late February.”

The multi-million dollar campaign should have focused on making the basics of the program work.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »

Comments

  1. I would say lipstick on a pig, but this is not even nice lipstick.

    I wonder if this is a deliberate strategy by the consultants who came up with the Bonfire name. In a couple of years I could see them pitching to marriott that they really need a name that is more authentic/real which better describes the program interaction for the customer……maybe something like ‘rewards’ or ‘preferred guest’

  2. IHG Spire Status sounds good by comparison.

    Maybe this is rock bottom. Maybe, going forward, programs will simply be called “______ Rewards” with Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze tiers.

  3. I think it is funny (hilarious) that by minimizing the size of the “o” they draw attention to it. Had they used the same size font throughout the logo I doubt that my first take upon seeing it would have been “oy!” To be fair, that does pretty well sum up how I feel about the rebranding.

  4. I hate it. Good use of a marketing degree (sarcasm there folks). After 20+ years, and Platinum Premier Lifetime (my Plat lifetime status was earned the old way, 1000 paid nights, 2 million points and 10+ years of Platinum) I think Marriott Rewards was a fine name. And there are so many “elite” members, they need to do something to make us old timers feel appreciated.

    But, Bonvoy? That was a waste of someone’s time and money.

  5. Should’ve just called it Dysfunctional, but maybe it had too many syllables for this generation of vague terms with little value.

  6. The changing of the elite status names is important because most of the hotels after August didn’t understand or didn’t care to understand the difference between platinum, platinum premier and platinum premier ambassador. They viewed all of these distinct statuses as the same, which resulted in many guests with platinum premier or platinum premier ambassador statuses not getting upgrades. Of course, the bigger problem is Marriott still isn’t defining the key elite status benefits, such as breakfast, in a way that forces consistent delivery. There are too many properties cheating and refusing to provide breakfast or providing a breakfast that’s below the quality that one gets at a Fairfield Inn.

  7. The way they’ve stylized the “VoY” part of the logo makes me think I’m looking at a little man with claws for hands, waving his arms in the air!

  8. It sounds like Bon Voyage but also like Bon Voyeour. Just saying…

    vo·yeur
    /voiˈyər,vwäˈyər/Submit
    noun
    a person who gains sexual pleasure from watching others when they are naked or engaged in sexual activity.
    “he stood transfixed, a voyeur feasting on the swell of her buttocks”
    a person who enjoys seeing the pain or distress of others.
    “a voyeur of death”

  9. BonVoY-age Marriott! Let me know when you improve and I may come back. But then I haven’t been anxiously Marriott-engaged since about 1998…so don’t hold your breath!

  10. It sounds like Bon Voyage, and also like Bon Voyeour. Just saying…

    vo·yeur
    /voiˈyər,vwäˈyər/Submit
    noun
    a person who gains sexual pleasure from watching others when they are naked or engaged in sexual activity.
    “he stood transfixed, a voyeur feasting on the swell of her buttocks”
    a person who enjoys seeing the pain or distress of others.
    “a voyeur of death”

  11. BON = good (French) voy = I go (Spanish)

    So good, I go (the question is whether to marriott or go from Marriott…

  12. Why can’t they just focus on doing things right instead of rebranding, recreating, merging and making things look fancy and pretty. I just canceled my free night (after having to explain my 25K pt free night should be 35K after the upgrade) and it disappeared. It took 30 minutes on the phone to get it put back onto my account. That’s all we want. I’ll take average, decent and accurate.

  13. Maybe they should go with “BON CHANCE” as in “Good Luck” to all you Platinums, Titanium’s, and Ambassadors hoping to be upgraded to a Suite or enjoying more than a continental breakfast at any of our full-service brands! I would have been happier if they went with “World of Marriott” and matched the Top Tier Benefits of “WORLD of HYATT”!

  14. 50 nights for mid tier status? No thanks. Bon voyage Marriott, was nice knowing you. Back to easy Hilton Diamond via Aspire.

  15. Man I love (not really) the level of Marriott hate on here. Maybe old Starwood members that are whining. Marriott bought you and there are consequences as anyone who has been with a company that is acquired can tell you. As for me I am lifetime Platinum Premier (not Titanium) I guess based on previous lifetime status. Not even offering lifetime Titanium status after 2018 (had to have already hit lifetime Platinum or achieve it in 2018 so I’m happy to be at a level others can never reach on a lifetime basis. Also, the benefits of the new program are better for me than under the previous Marriott program. I understand the properties are inconsistent in what they deliver but that is pretty much true of ANY loyalty program (long time Diamond Hilton member and current Diamond Caesars and Diamond Wyndham). Frankly the biggest whining I see if about breakfast. I mean REALLY?? Can you not afford to buy breakfast worst case? Also, many don’t even need to eat 3 meals so skipping breakfast (or having a more limited offering) is probably doing you a favor. SMH

  16. Alan C- I feel bad for you if you were a Marriott loyalist. None of us SPG loyalists want you Marriott people at OUR hotels, so stay out!
    Enjoy your time at the Courtyard and Springhill Suites – you must have really loved it to be a Marriott loyalist.

  17. You could say they moved away from the Marriott Rewards name because they admit their program is not rewarding anymore.

  18. Have loved SPG all these years. All over, I guess. Marriott Bonvoy is THE worst attempt at a rebrand in any industry that I have ever heard of. A complete blowout failure by their agency and the mar comm people who approved the work. I think many loyal SPGers will leave!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *