Underwhelming: The new My Millennium Prestige tier

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Millennium Hotels & Resorts has relaunched My Millennium (again), with a new Prestige tier. Here's why it's not worth your time.

If you ever need a case study of a loyalty programme with an identity crisis, look no further than My Millennium.

Prior to 2019, My Millennium had three tiers. Top-tier Elite members enjoyed perks like two guaranteed suite upgrades, 20% off F&B and club lounge access- not too shabby, considering the relatively low threshold of just 20 qualifying nights. 

Then in March 2019, My Millennium decided to compress all members into a single tier, in the interest of “simplicity, inclusivity, value, immediacy and access for guests”. That’s right, everyone would receive the exact same benefits whether they’d just joined, or stayed 100+ nights a year. It was a slap in the face to existing Elites, who were understandably ticked.

And now, barely three years later, My Millennium has revamped itself yet again- this time as a two tier programme. If My Millennium were a gif, it’d probably look something like this. 

You might say we’re now in the third millennium…

The new My Millennium programme

Grand Millennium Kuala Lumpur

Here’s a summary of My Millennium’s latest incarnation, which went live in April 2022.

 MemberPrestige
QualificationN/A10 nights in 12 mths
Earn PointsRoom: 10 pts per US$1
Incidentals: 4 pts per US$1
Room: 15 pts per US$1
Incidentals: 4 pts per US$1
Member Rates
Double Points Every 10N
Priority Check-in & Check-out
3X Points & 20% off F&B for Birthday Month
Welcome Amenities* 
Room Upgrade 
Early Check-in & Late Check-out 
Kids Eat Free* 
Invitations to My Millennium Events 
*Not valid at New Zealand hotels

While earn rates can potentially be decent, the benefits leave a lot to be desired. 

Earning & burning points

Member and Prestige tiers earn 10 and 15 points per US$1 respectively for room spend, and points are worth 0.5 US cents each when redeemed for hotel stays (you can also redeem points for dining vouchers or gift cards, but you get only 0.3-0.4 US cents/point this way). 

This means the effective rebate is 5% and 7.5% for Member and Prestige respectively. That’s roughly on par with what members in other fixed-value programmes like Accor Live Limitless (5-8.8%) and GHA Discovery (4-7%) can expect.

Every time you complete 10 nights, you’ll receive a bonus equal to the points accrued over those 10 nights. For example, the member below has earned a total of 15,000 points from spending US$1,500 on rooms during nights 1-10. Upon completing the 10th night, he will earn an additional 15,000 points. 

NightRoom RatePoints
1US$1001,000
2US$1001,000
3US$1001,000
4US$1001,000
5US$1001,000
6US$2002,000
7US$2002,000
8US$2002,000
9US$2002,000
10US$2002,000 + Additional bonus of 15,000

This means your effective rebate doubles once you hit the 10th night. Member and Prestige tiers will also earn 3X points during their birthday month, capped at one room booking per member. 

However, the earn rates are significantly nerfed for incidental spending, such as F&B, laundry, and spa treatments. Member and Prestige tiers will earn 4 points per US$1 spent on incidentals (incidental spend in New Zealand will earn nothing at all), a mere 2% rebate. Unlike points from rooms, points earned from incidentals do not double every 10 nights. 

It’s a very poor value proposition, given how other major chains offer the same earn rate on rooms as they do incidentals. It’s also puzzling to say the least. Shouldn’t you be incentivising guests to spend more during their stays?

Points expiry

A major drawback of My Millennium is its strict expiry policy. Points have a hard expiry of 12 months from the date of issue, and keep in mind My Millennium didn’t offer any extensions even during the COVID period!

Given the small footprint of Millennium Hotels, it’s relatively more difficult for members to earn or redeem points for stays. So why not adopt a more customer-friendly policy like a longer expiry period, or activity-based expiry?

I mean, Marriott has a portfolio 70 times the size of Millennium Hotels, so members aren’t short of earn and burn options. And yet, their points never expire so long as they earn or redeem at least one point in a 24-month period!

Elite benefits

Members who stay 10 nights in a 12-month period will be upgraded to the Prestige tier. That’s a relatively low threshold, but the elite benefits are nothing to get excited about either.

Apart from the upsized earn rate, there’s only two benefits of any real consequence, and both are subject to availability: 

  • Room upgrades are capped at a Club Room. Suites are explicitly excluded from the upgrade pool
  • Early check-in and late check-out are limited to 2 hours before/after standard timings

That’s it. There’s no free breakfast, no club lounge access, no premium Wi-Fi, no dedicated helpdesk. Unless the welcome amenity is something out-of-this-world (though most likely a fruit basket or some random chocolates), I see no reason to go out of your way to earn Prestige status. 

In fact, the new Prestige tier is even worse than My Millennium’s pre-2019 ‘Elite’ tier, which at least offered guaranteed suite upgrades and club lounge access. True, it required 20 nights instead of the current 10, but at least it gave members something aspirational to work towards. 

It’s evolving, just backwards.

How does this compare to other programmes?

Millennium Hotel London Knightsbridge

Given Millennium’s relatively tiny footprint (~130 properties), its loyalty programme needs to be compelling for customers to go out of their way and stay at a participating property.

It’s an uphill task, but far from impossible. What smaller chains like Hyatt (~1,150 properties) have shown is that you can tussle with the big boys like Marriott (~7,500 properties) and Hilton (~6,800 properties ), provided you give customers a good reason to return. Hyatt Globalist status is undoubtedly the most generous in the industry, with its guaranteed suite night upgrades, complimentary breakfast, club lounge access, waived resort fees, free parking, plus its share-the-benefits Guest of Honour feature.

My Millennium Prestige, by comparison, is rather anaemic. Yes, its qualification threshold is much lower, but there’s very little incentive to achieve it anyway. 

You might say that free breakfast and club lounge access are too much to give at a 10-night threshold, and you’d probably be right. But that begs the question: why structure the programme like this in the first place? There’s a reason why most loyalty schemes have at least three tiers: it gives you more room to play with. An entry-level tier, a mid-tier with some improved perks, and a top-tier with all the bells and whistles. As it is, the benefits of My Millennium Prestige fall squarely within mid-tier. 

In fact, if you only have a handful of nights lined up, you’d be better off booking those stays with GHA DISCOVERY, which not only has a larger footprint (~500 properties), but lets you earn top-tier Titanium status with as little as three stays. Titanium members enjoy double category room upgrades, check-in from 11 a.m and check-out till 4 p.m, plus the option to share status with a loved one. Yes, these benefits are subject to availability, but I wager it’s an altogether better proposition than what My Millennium has to offer. 

Conclusion

Studio M Singapore

If you already stay at Millennium hotels due to convenience or company policy, then the new My Millennium at least improves on the previous single-tier scheme. I mean, it’d be hard not to.

But if you’re weighing a stay at a Millennium hotel versus some other chain, there’s no reason why My Millennium should even factor into your decision. And to the extent that My Millennium isn’t attracting incremental business, it’s failing as a loyalty programme. After all, if you’re just rewarding those who would have stayed with you anyway, the programme is pure cost.

In any case, I wouldn’t worry too much. Given My Millennium’s penchant for change, it’s probably only a matter of time before we see a further iteration, perhaps with 7 tiers this time.

Parkour! 

Aaron Wong
Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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Yawnnn

Yawnnn

Tony

This is the latest iteration of the Millennium Group program. I was the top tier of their program with lounge access and upgrades. The hurdle rate to redeem it was good value for money. Simple but effective. I stayed at their properties in NZL, Jakarta, KL, Shanghai, Chengdu, Wuxi etc…was my first choice. But each subsequent change seems to be a mutilation of the first program. I put up my hands and gave up after no lounge access etc….Maybe they kept changing their loyalty manager.

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