A tradition at any BonVoy launch event is to share a story, says Anjali Mehar, Senior Director Communications for Marriott International.
Speaking at the Open Doors to the World event, showcasing its exclusive BonVoy Moments held at 15 on Orange on Tuesday, she shares how as a young girl, learning about the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi in school made her dream of visiting Cape Town and South Africa. She even joked about coming to SA with her child's in-laws, before the planning of their wedding. But the dream only became a reality for her after being appointed head of the Starwood Preferred Guest Programme’s Middle East Africa Division more than a decade ago, before the big merger with Marriott.
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And needless to say she has visited South Africa countless times, saying she now knows full well that it’s the stories and experienced driving outstanding loyalty programmes the world over.
Marriott Bonvoy - the travel program that replaced Marriott Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards - is tapping into this with curated offers through Bonvoy Moments also available in South Africa, Marriot’s largest market in Africa and ranking in the top five for the biggest hotel group in the world.
Marriott Bonvoy will soon be presenting all things couture with a "unique, thoughtfully curated, member-only experience at an event created by Red Carpet Creative in collaboration with Runway Prestige New York". To be held at Cape Town Marriott Hotel Crystal Towers from 11th to 13th October 2019, the event "extends the glitz and glamour of global catwalk into South Africa with a group of New York Fashion Week designers showcasing their creativity in the Mother City".
Internationally, these Marriott Moments include exclusive member concerts, VIP experiences to coveted sports events like the Super Bowl and music festivals like Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, as well as hands-on master classes with some of the world’s top athletes, musicians and chefs, including actor and musician Jared Leto, chef Daniel Boulud and Mercedes-AMG Petronas driver Lewis Hamilton among others.
Closer to home, Middle East and Africa members have had access to exclusive Moments at Dubai International Jazz Festival, music concerts like Gwen Stefani and Craig David, VIP experiences during F1 in Bahrain & Abu Dhabi with Mercedes AMG Petronas, NBL and Colour Run in South Africa.
But how does it work?
Anjali explains that it’s an enhanced gamification of the rewards programme, aiming to tap into the passions of its individual guest.
As a travel programme with over 133 million members to inspire, across 132 countries and territories, Marriott BonVoy Moments is aiming to take it beyond the cookie cutter experience.
Members traditionally earn points by staying at one of over 7 000 Marriott BonVoy participating properties globally, including Protea properties locally – click here for more info.
These points can be used as a currency to place a bid to secure an exclusive experience via the Marriott Moment platform.
Marriott says it knows its guests want travel to be seamless and intuitive, with the Marriott BonVoy Moments creating their “experiential marketplace where members can pursue their passions by bidding their points for money-can’t-buy, exclusive experiences”.
These moments are only available to members and can only accessed by using points.
According to Marriott data, in 2018 members redeemed more than 783 million points, on 8 640 exclusive Moments. But by the sounds of it these are for the travelling, loyal die-hards with a reserve bid set, in relation to the experience offered.
Moments bids can range from 15 000 points all the way to several million points per experience.
To put this into context, Marriott details that one night at top properties like St Regis Bora Bora resort or the Al Maha Desert Resort and Spa in the UAE earns 85 000 points a night in Peak Season.
“Marriott Bonvoy’s partnership with the NFL enabled us to offer more than 200 exclusive member-experiences around the Super Bowl. One member redeemed over 3.2 million points (a record) for the Ultimate Courtyard Super Bowl LIII Sleepover”.
"With a companion, they spent the night in a luxury suite at Mercedes Benz Stadium, designed to be a Courtyard guest room (they are the official hotel of the NFL) the night before the Super Bowl and woke up to watch all the action from there. They also hung-out with Jerry Rice, Aaron Rodgers and JJ Watt, and broke bread with Terry Bradshaw. No other travel program can offer something like that".
But what if you’re unable to bid on a moment?
Anjali suggests checking our Marriott Bonvoy Tours & Activities – available to everyone, offering more than 200 000 options across more than 100 countries around the world.
"These experiences are open to everyone and can be purchased with points and a credit card. Members also earn points through each purchase".
*Compiled by Selene Brophy
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