Marriott lays off Ambassadors; top tier status may now be without dedicated agents
With hotel demand in the U.S. remaining low and leisure travel tapering off as fall approaches, it seems some temporary changes hotels made to their loyalty program to cut costs are going to become permanent.
View From the Wing reports that Marriott has laid off a number of its dedicated Ambassador agents, charged with taking care of Marriott's most valuable customers, after temporarily suspending assigned Ambassador agents back in March.
No numbers are available yet as to how many Ambassador agents have been let go. TPG requested comment from Marriott and will update this post with additional information.
Marriott had previously said elite members who stayed 100 nights in a year in addition to spending $20,000 would have the Ambassador team as a whole to help them. It seems that with the Ambassador team getting smaller, elites having a dedicated agent may not be a perk of the status moving forward.
The permanent cuts follow a series of changes this year to the Marriott Bonvoy program. In July, Marriott issued an extension to the suspension of elite benefit guarantees through September 15. But, not all changes are negative: Marriott extended elite status until Feb, 1, 2022, free night certificates through Jan. 31, 2021, and points expiration through Feb. 2021.
I find it curious Marriott would cut its best reservation agents that keep its most valuable members happy. It effectively de-incentivizes Titanium elites from becoming Ambassador elites as there's now no added bonus outside of Your24.
It's hard to read about people continuing to lose their jobs as the impacts of COVID-19 continue for months with no end insight. According to Ambassador agent posts on LinkedIn, many of these reservation agents had over 10 years of experience and loved their job. We wish them all the best and hope they land on their feet somewhere - perhaps as a Hyatt Globalist My Concierge whose program remains intact.
Featured image by Yuriko Nakao/Getty Images.