InsideFlyer Throwback Thursday – What Were Loyalty Programmes Like 20 Years Ago?!

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We have been sifting through the hallowed InsideFlyer archives to take a look at how airline and hotel loyalty programmes have changed over the decades. Was there ever really a ‘golden age’ for loyalty programme members – and did they know it at the time?

Way back in August 2002, InsideFlyer’s founder, Randy Petersen, was looking at Marriott’s (then) innovative approach to rewarding their Platinum members:

“Marriott recently changed the way in which they reward their Platinum members. In the past we (Platinum and proud) would shuffle into our rooms late at night and look around for the Platinum guest box of gift water and other goodies. It saved us from a no-dinner headache many a time, but we always felt compelled to lug around that box when leaving the hotel lest we be perceived as ungrateful.

Now Marriott has adopted a new approach. Available in U.S. and Canada locations, Platinum members should ask for a “Platinum Arrival Gift Menu” upon check-in at full-service Marriott and Renaissance Hotels. You can select a beverage (choices are Coke, Diet Coke or Sprite; bottled water; 1/2 bottle of Meridian Merlot; 1/2 bottle of Meridian Chardonnay or a Sam Adams Boston Lager) and a snack (cheese and crackers; premium mixed nuts; pint of ice cream). Take the menu, call room service and your choices will be delivered to you. We find this to be one of the best new innovations of the year among hotel program benefits.

Inside Thought: Did you ever in your wildest dreams think that your loyalty to Marriott Rewards would earn you a Sam Adams Lager?

Bottom line

These days Marriott Bonvoy rewards Platinum members with a host of benefits such as a Welcome Gift Choice and lounge access (if available) with drinks, snacks, and complimentary breakfast.

Does anyone remember the Guest Box from back in the day? Or perhaps choosing a Sam Adams lager from the Gift Menu? How does the current offering compare with 20 years ago – or even earlier if you can remember?

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