Marriott has officially launched a new name for its loyalty program today. There’s no more Marriott Rewards, Ritz-Carlton Rewards, or Starwood Preferred Guest. There’s now only Bonvoy.
- We knew what Rewards meant. That’s all about earn and burn.
- Preferred Guest was all about how a loyal member is treated.
- Bonvoy literally has no meaning. It is not a word.
- Yet Marriott has spent untold millions coming up with it, market-testing it, and producing materials.
- When they have underinvested in actually getting the program to work right, and when they could have just not planned to charge members more for award nights (and increasing top pricing again later in the year).
Here’s Marriott’s announcement. Literally nothing changes besides names — the name of the program, and the names of the top two elite tiers (75 night Platinum becomes Titanium and 100 night Platinum becomes Ambassador Elite), the names of the co-brand cards. And, of course, Chase becomes the exclusive issuer of mass market consumer cards, and American Express of business and premium consumer cards for the program.
With Bonvoy Marriott claims to have literally created their own language for travel. Kind of like Esperanto. I wonder if anyone will speak it?
Joe Brancatelli suggests Klingon. More people actually speak Klingon, though. Either way they could kill two birds with one stone, fight online travel agencies and promote Bonvoy by hiring William Shatner to represent the rebrand. (SideStep once had Patrick Stewart as its spokesperson.)
Unfortunately they haven’t provided a translation guide on their website, but I’ve started working on one. Given their IT challenges here’s what I’ve started with:
Many Marriotts will have complimentary cocktail parties to celebrate Bonvoy, which I guess is like toasting the end of something great. We’ll see 9-to-1 increases against decreases when hotels change award categories March 5, and then later we’ll see the introduction of low season pricing. As a result the most expensive Marriott redemption will go from 60,000 points per night March 4 to 100,000 points per night at some point this year when Marriott figures out the IT.
If I had been running the program I’d have simply called it Marriott Rewards, or if I felt the need to rebrand to represent the end of the Starwood Preferred Guest program I’d have called it either Marriott Preferred Guest — or reverted to Marriott Honored Guest, the original name of the chain’s loyalty program.