I fully understand hotels/airlines want to reward the biggest spenders. That is business and the bottom line is important to the company and its shareholders. The big spenders do deserve rewards and points.
There are also those of us who operate on a limited budget and travel quite a bit for our work and/or vacations and family. We are not able to spend a great deal but choose to stick with a hotel or airline. Usually due to location(s) near to where we travel or the little perks almost anyone can get - a mattress you do not have to get used to when most of your stays are one night, free luggage, consistency, a good guest service ethic, etc.
I am able to pay a few dollars more for these perks and usually try to choose Marriott properties when I travel. Even then, I still have to shop for lower fares and room rates which are not out of line. I imagine single nights at a Fairfield are most of my Marriott nights. Also, as my career has evolved there have been some years I do not travel at all for work and all my stays/trips are personal. There have been years I earned status and hardly stayed at all in a Marriott the next year when the status would have been beneficial.
I have over 500 nights in Marriott properties, with I think 7 or 8 years as Gold or Platinum. But because of my own limitations I only just recently hit 1,000,000 points after 25 years in Rewards. The current 1.6 million for LG was not going to happen. Even the 1.2 for LS would likely have taken me a while. I figured Lifetime status of any kind may be out of reach, or for at least a couple of years.
I know, “real world” terrible problems.
I have always wished (thought, hoped, etc.) airlines and Marriott might find a way reward those of us who had brand loyalty over a long period of time but did not – or were not able to – hit the spending minimums or chase the points. Those of us who actually stayed at Marriott properties many, many times and many, many nights by choice and on a budget.
I do understand Marriott does indeed reward customers like me in the years we do stay frequently with the perks earned by nights alone the following year. But I, of course, would also like the perks in the years I don’t stay as often, and when I retire in a couple of years and all my travel becomes personal. That means Lifetime status or a credit card for minimum status.
So, for someone like me, I like the way to earn the new Rewards lifetime status levels. I may not have the lounge in those rare stays in a full service Marriott, nor the 48-hour rule which has come in handy for last-minute trips, nor all the nice upgrades. But it looks like I will at least have some Lifetime status under this new plan, and a shot at those other perks if I manage to get a few more 50-night years before I retire.