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Ever since the merger of Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest and the subsequent rebrand of the program to Bonvoy, there’s been a small but loud minority of loyalty program members who are furious with the changes and the new product. They’re very active on social media. They launched Bonvoyed.com. But it was never clear how representative they were of the total body of Marriott loyalty members.
Last week, some hard data surfaced to help color that narrative. For the annual Freddie Awards, which rank loyalty programs, Marriott dominated the loyalty category, taking home the prize for Program of the Year and Best Redemption Ability in North America as well as Best Elite Program in Europe and Africa.
Over seven million business traveler votes were counted to tally this year’s Freddies. “What’s sometimes forgotten in this day and age of everyone having a microphone is that Bonvoy has 120 million members,” said Randy Petersen, founder of Flyertalk, Boarding Area, and the Freddie Awards. “The negativity hasn’t come from 120 million members. Marriott, much like other programs that have been around this long, know the ‘silent majority,’ who have mostly not been affected by the changes.”
This isn’t to say that Marriott and the Bonvoy program should be free from criticism — this year, they lost the top spot for best elite program and best customer service to Hyatt and Caesars, respectively. What it does suggest, however, is that the silent majority in Marriott’s network is soldiering on despite the changes — and that Marriott will too.
— Grant Martin, Business of Loyalty Editor
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Grant Martin [firstname.lastname@example.org] curates the Skift Business of Loyalty newsletter. He is director of product marketing at TripActions. Skift emails the newsletter every Monday.