Ambassadors were a concept of the original SPG program for their best customers. A personal concierge would assist with reservations and communications with the hotels on preferences, special occasions, and the like.
When Marriott bought Starwood Preferred Guest, they kept the program but stretched their staff way too thin and customers became unhappy.
Rather than hire more Ambassadors, Marriott removed personal Ambassadors leaving top tier Ambassador members, who stay 100 nights in a year plus meet a minimum spend of $20,000 a year, with only a general line to call
Contrast that with Hyatt Concierges who are more like the original SPG Ambassadors – assigned directly to give personalized attention.
In what is tremendously good news for Marriott Bonvoy loyalists and top tier Ambassador members is that Marriott has heard the dissatisfaction loud and clear and is bringing back personal Ambassadors for members.
Here is their release below with all the details (which includes a rise in the threshold spend for Ambassador status to $23,000 USD in a year):
In mid-2023, Ambassador Elite members will be assigned personal ambassadors based on the language and time zone that matches their preferences. Personal ambassadors will work directly with members to assist with planning travel involving the Marriott Bonvoy portfolio. The program is also expanding its self-service preference tool. Ambassador Elite members will be able to voluntarily share additional information about what is important to them to further enhance the personalized service they will receive.
Personal ambassadors will perform a variety of assistance including booking or changing hotel stays and services, such as spa and golf appointments and dining reservations, as well as helping facilitate other specific requests members may have, such as tickets for tours and activities, dining options, and ground transportation.
Personal ambassadors will be available during their working hours and our ambassador service team will be available should members require assistance at other times. Until the assignment of personal ambassadors, the current ambassador service remains in place. Additionally, beginning January 1, 2023, the minimal Annual Qualifying Spend requirement for Ambassador Elite status will be $23,000 USD. There will be no change to the 100+ Elite Night Credits requirement. Ambassador members who have spent the minimum of $20,000 USD and have a minimum of 100 ENCs in 2022 will retain their status through February 2024.
Emails to members with Ambassador Elite and Titanium Elite status are being sent today and follow-up emails will be sent in 2023 in preparation for the assignment of personal ambassadors.
I think this will be great news for currently dissatisfied Ambassadors that have remained loyal to Bonvoy and probably take some of these high spenders back from other programs.
The key, of course, will be in the execution. They will no doubt be directly compared to Hyatt Concierges which do set a high bar.
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