Inside the Marriott-Starwood loyalty program turbulence
Marriott still faces issues around four main areas: accurately showing elite status, redeeming suite upgrade awards, getting points restored when award reservations were canceled and missing credit for stays.
Two years into the megamerger of Marriott and Starwood, the world’s largest hotel company still has serious kinks to work out, leaving many frequent travelers furious and frustrated.
Travelers say stays at hotels haven’t been recorded in their loyalty accounts. Crucial data about qualifying for elite levels disappeared. And customer service has been unhelpful. Check your account closely—you may be missing credits and not know it.
“Marriott is broken,” says Erich Stedman of Atlanta, who spent 160 nights this year in Marriott hotels. He could make new reservations but otherwise couldn’t get into his Marriott Rewards account for four weeks, until it was fixed Nov. 14. “Not being able to see your stays and do basic things—it’s ridiculous,” he says.
Trouble started Aug. 18, when Marriott moved the Starwood loyalty program, SPG, and Ritz-Carlton Rewards into its own Marriott Rewards. While most of the 120 million members had no problems, there were some widespread issues that Marriott says “were quickly prioritized for correction.” Most involved data conversion and software bugs.
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