I'm giving Hilton an honest opportunity to reclaim a large percentage of my business. I was just comp'ed Gold with the usual 90 day, 21-stay challenge for Diamond which will be no real challenge at all. As Lifetime Platinum is secured and renewal of Platinum on its own is already covered (although PP is obviously at risk, but who'd notice?), I can focus on what Hilton offers me at the functionally equivalent level.
I was granted Gold mid-stay in Charlotte, my profile and the front desk were brought up to date overnight (and I was offered a move to an Executive floor room, which I declined), so next week at the HGI in Scottsdale will be the first real "test".
I'm not giving up on Marriott, just taking an opportunity to evaluate the relative merits side-to-side, or Diamond to Platinum, if you prefer. One thing that will be part of the new reality is that there will be no Courtyards for the remainder of this year at the very least, unless that is the only Marriott property with no Hiltons in reasonable distance. Some trips will include both, others will be exclusively one or the other; all brands (other than the now-accursed CY) will be used to gauge who gets the majority—or all—of my business beginning in 2014.
I can now understand the hold on travelers that loyalty programs have; moving even the smallest part of your business is a substantial decision on our part, and they're counting on that, knowing that we will endure the known substandard product out of comfort and familiarity rather than risk upset learning a new way, a new look, and new program rules. I'm done playing the fool for someone else's marketing department, no longer the presumptive 125+ room night cha-ching in the annual revenue goals. You now have to compete (again) for my dollar, my word-of-mouth recommendation, and my loyalty. The days of taking me for granted as a lifelong, diehard customer are most assuredly over. Fool me once, and all that.
Now if I can just find the Hilton Insiders forum...