Well, it's final four weekend but that's not what I was thinking about. Rather, I was pondering the tipping point, the point at which a brand no longer maintains a grip on your travel preferences.
For me, this tipping happened first with major airlines--after being a loyal United Airlines frequent flyer for years I was unable to maintain my status as an elite flyer and the airline dropped me quicker than a hot biscuit out of the oven! So, in this case the tipping point was the lack of legacy points, the who needs you attitude, and of course the United motto (we are bankrupt but we know you'll use us anyway!). Now, as revenge, I use them never! My current flyer friends tell me that they airline is getting better, but can't give me a specific way in which that is happening.
Now onto lodging chains: Marriott, to which I have been loyal for nearly three decades, is nearing that same tipping point. First it was the devaluation of points, the restriction on award use, and the treatment of loyal guests at check-in that got my attention. Now it continues with what I perceive is decreased customer service on the phone. I am not there yet and do not want to be, but it's getting harder to be loyal when the loyalty is only one way--from me to them.
I don't have an answer, but I am sure one is out there. I hope Marriott can see that for many of us, it's coming, and do something about it.