Happy 25th Anniversary Marriott Rewards!

November 20, 2008

25th_AnnvLogo_4C It's a very special day for our company, the 25th anniversary of Marriott Rewards, our guest loyalty program.  With 30 million members, it's one of the largest hotel loyalty programs in the world.  I know many of you are Marriott Rewards members and I thank you very much.

I remember when Marriott Rewards began as a grassroots effort by some of our hotels.  They wanted to recognize their most loyal customers.  When we first started the program, we had a lot of critics and non-believers, but we were onto something good.

Other hotel companies soon joined us.  Back then, the industry loyalty programs were divided by brand. Guests could only redeem points for the same brand where they had been earned. In 1997, we became the first loyalty program to change that, so guests earning points at Courtyard or Fairfield Inn could redeem them for stays at full service Marriott hotels or any other brand in our system.

Now, one out of every two guests that stay with us is a Marriott Rewards member.  They consider themselves more than customers.  Members write to me how the program has allowed them to go places they never would have dreamed of and to take their families on special vacations they could not have afforded without the points they've earned. 

One member, Tom Troja, describes how he uses his Marriott Rewards points.  He said, "I have played golf in Desert Springs, drank a pint in London and gone to Oktoberfest in Munich-Taught my kids to play golf at Absecon, New Jersey, tanned on Caribbean islands and lost golf balls at Doral in Miami.  Shortly before my dad passed away, I went skiing in Vail with him and my brothers - the resort upgraded us to the presidential suite.  It was really great to see Dad in that hot tub."

Now, as many of you know, we made some major changes to the program last month.  We talked to many of our members and decided to make these changes, including eliminating blackout dates, after learning that they were looking for ways to use their points whenever and wherever they want.

For the most part, the feedback from our members has been very positive, but from some, it has not been.  I have read your comments on the Marriott Rewards Insiders community and your letters, too.  It's a balancing act anytime we make a change, but I believe these changes will benefit the majority of members.

In the past 25 years, our Marriott Rewards program really has come a long way.  It's grown from just a handful of members earning points at select brands to 30 million members being able to redeem nights at over 2,900 hotels around the world. And today, Marriott Rewards is growing fastest outside of the United States as our company expands globally.   Happy anniversary, Marriott Rewards, and thank you to all of our loyal members.

I'm Bill Marriott and thanks for keeping Marriott on the move.

Happy 25th Anniversary Marriott Rewards

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Happy Anniversary! I am a platinum member spending over 100 nights this year in the Marriott family of hotels. I commend you and your associates for making these nights away from my family, as pleasant as you all have made them. I wish you continued success and growth. I hope that the Marriott chain is successful in being included as the developer/operator of the five star hotel planned for Plymouth Rock Studio's "Hollywood East" complex in my home town of Plymouth, MA. Our community is sorely in need of the Marriott experience. Russell Shirley

We've been Marriott Rewards Program members for about five years. We think it's a great way to work toward a super vacation, and usually try to earn then when we can. Last year, we contracted with the Marriott Vacation Club International (MVCI) to purchase two timeshare vacation weeks. Part of the incentive offered was a 25,000 bonus Marriott Rewards Points for each six-month period we maintain the financing for the purchase with Marriott Mortgage Banking Operations, at a somewhat high interest rate. We evaluated the net additional cost compared to the benefit of the accumulated bonus points, and decided it would be a reasonable program. Three days ago, less than a year into the program for us, we received a letter stating that Marriott was suspending the incentive program. What a wonderful way to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Marriott Rewards Program! Of course, we're expected to continue to make our monthly payments, and keep up OUR end of the contract, with no relief from the high interest rate which funded the program. We really don't expect this response to be posted, but do hope it reaches Bill Marriott. We wish you well, Bill, on this 25th Anniversary, but have lost a whole lot of respect for Marriott.

I must have been part of that grass roots effort as the first six numbers of my rewards card was 000510, because it seems longer than 25 years, more like 30-32 years. In all the years I had stayed at Marriott's I can never recall a single incident where I was not treated with the highest respect and courtesy. It takes incredible leadership and teamwork for so many individuals in an organization the size of the Marriott Inc. to execute, day after day, in such a competent and efficient manner.

Lifetime Platinum member. Over the years there may have been an occasional problem but never an unresolved one handled with care and attention.

Recently we stayed at the Marriott in Iowa City, Iowa. Upon our arrival there was some confusion with our reservation. Your staff at this facility was very helpful and had the problem resolved in a timely manner. We also need to note that the staff they provide on the 8th floor is absolutely the best. We always bring the Grandkids with us and they are more they patient with them and very helpful.
We will continue to stay at the Marriott in Iowa City, finding the most outstanding facility there.
Thanks so much,
Vicki