This is intended to be direct feedback to MRI marketing. I have no need for seeing others follow me but I am curious how many other Platinum Elites are where I am.
I started transitioning my rewards programs & committing to one program in 2008. I had never committed to one brand and optimizing any particular program. In 2008 I started traveling near full time as a consultant. My busiest year was 135 + legs in the air and over 270 nights per year in a hotel. I committed to programs, brand bonuses and even managed my engagements to optimize points accruals. Several hundred thousand points a year was a reward for the sacrifice I made away from home and family; and 5 night vacation stays were free vacations. Albeit, my wife and kids spent more points traveling than I probably did. Since then I have occasionally followed insiders posts. For years I have seen frustration over roll overs, points, upgrades; some seemed valid and some seemed trivial. I was at the point that I reached 450 paid nights that things started changing for me. The loyalty became a badge of honor for me. Being a data analytics guys, I started counting the costs of time away, nights of my life on the road versus the value of rewards & the cost of redeeming them. 15,000 points was not $1,500 in spend it was 2 weeks of my life away for friends and family. I've never spent a lot of time in large metro areas so most of my points were on $100 ish stays at Fairfields or Courtyards. Maybe not a big deal to some but $120 all in versus $95 all in a Hampton Inn's seemed to make a difference to my company's financial team when I submitted my expense reports. I say all this to say, I had to work to stay committed to MRI and whether I had to drive an extra 20 miles, or make 5 phone calls to find a price that fit within my per diem, I have been loyal.
here is where I am going with this.
I vividly remember sitting in the lobby of a Marriott on the 500th paid night and expecting someone might actually give two @#%@# that this was a mile stone. I thought it was a monumental moment of recognition. When I checked in, I received the same old, have you stayed with us before? No upgrade, no recognition. I didn't even disclose it until later that evening, while talking to the bar tender, and asked do you know what today is? Having no clue, I stated this was my 500th night and she said oh, is that a big deal? I asked what you would say if you were away from your loved ones for almost 2 straight years of your life and she said, I guess that would be hard. Moving on.
When I starting following up on this Platinum Premiere argument, i realized I was typically in the group but it really meant nothing. Some insiders said, don't worry about it; when you don't have enough points to maintain your status it will show up. True, but that misses the point. You have a central server system that knows who we are and how long we have been in the program. Why in the hell doesn't the attendant at the counter see screens flashing a breakscreens saying; HEY This is a Platinum Premiere that has stayed in THIS VERY HOTEL 40 nights in the last 6 months, ACT LIKE YOU KNOW THEM! PRETEND YOU ACTUALLY CARE ABOUT THEIR LOYALTY TO US AND YOUR HOTEL!!!!
I crossed 750 paid nights a year or so ago, a Lifetime Platinum milestone piece, again no recognition. I have bee chasing the lifetime points requirements for about 3 years and it keeps moving on me. I am now over 930 paid and the thought of 1,000 paid nights,which used to be a huge milestone, means virtually nothing because the disappointment I anticipate from no one else giving 2 @#$%@ is more than the personal satisfaction of achieving it. I anticipate traveling professionally for another 15 years and so what. I've now started switch programs to maintain elite status with MRI competition and minimizing the effort to travel. I haven't added up all the nights at competitors since I started losing the fire for MRI but Its probably 50 plus nights a year that I stay at competitors.
Here is the latest straw that is about to make me call it quits. Your pricing algorithms are disingenuous and bordering outright deceitful. I am sick and tired of MRI playing games with pricing. Quit saying its the best price! Quit using corning grocery store loss leader pricing tactics that border on bait and switch. Quote me a damn price for the stay and knock off the BS here's your price but the price changes on the 2nd, 3rd, 4th day. I have intentionally watched your pricing system and seen it drop out, OOPs and error happened, then gotten pricing that was 25 or 30% higher when I logged back in. don't tell me the rooms were simultaneously quoted to other guests and the price went up. I've logged out and checked back as a guest in another browser and seen different pricing. I have a idea, Give the Platinum Elites a personal rate. We have to make 5 different phone calls to local management to get a discount rate they can apply to get us back to a reasonable rate. I booked a room in Little Rock for over 40 nights at $105 and one day out of the blue it changes to $130 but I can move to the Courtyard and get the same rate I had. 2 Months later the prices flip again. I have an idea, track your lost sales. Your pricing games are fine for the general retail buyer but for a committed professional traveler, your jacking with the people that pay your light bills.
I am tied of the work it takes and more importantly the lack of simple respect for your customer. If I treated my best customers this way, I 'd be out of business. You may not need my business. I'm ok with that. At one time, I had 300 nights to go to earn a status that meant something. I have no skin in the game anymore. I can understand the message, you don't care!
PS. you should be calling me up and saying hey get to NY or San Francisco, Miami, pick your spot. 500 nights is big deal. Here is a couple nights on us as a simple way to say thank you! Same thing at 750 or 1,000. You know your variable cost on a couple unsold rooms is about $20.
Anyone else feel the same?