This 4hotelier article recounts results from a recent Deloitte study, and it seems to tell us that loyalty, like public opinion, is a very volatile and very iffy thing: Loyalty can be earned one day and jettisoned the next for many travelers.
Travelers say they are in need of benefits as well as points, for their stays. Innovation, such as one-upping the competition, seems to work to keep a wavering loyalist loyal.
Many programs, like Marriott Rewards, are long in the tooth and seemingly losing their appeal due to perceived or actual diminution of benefits. Coupled with addition of new categories and loss of other benefits to the most loyal, these programs seem to be fading in their purpose. They need to be tweaked in the future if they are to survive in the market place.