Reviews and recommendations are unbiased and products are independently selected. Postmedia may earn an affiliate commission from purchases made through links on this page.
As superstar singer Pink soared overhead on her trapeze contraption and confetti rained down across the Bell Centre, music fans felt the rock stars of her final song.
The concert was outstanding in its own right with the crowd raucously showing its love for the pop star. But for members of Marriott Bonvoy‘s rewards program, its new partnership with Live Nation took it to a new level.
For a select few who redeemed their points, the VIP treatment included a private pre-show lounge with food and drinks, an afterparty in the venue’s Bazarette lounge, concert merchandise, and a stay at the luxurious new Honeyrose Hotel in downtown Montreal.
The two powerhouse companies – a premiere events promoter and a major international hotelier – teamed up to offer unique, many-can’t-buy experiences ranging from sports and culinary to entertainment and lifestyle. Some include hotel stays while others are behind-the-scenes exclusives, only available by redeeming reward points for Marriott Bonvoy “Moments”.
“I felt like a VIP and loved getting to experience a luxurious, special event that I may not have attended otherwise,” was the online feedback from one Bonvoy member who cashed in their points to get Suite Seats for a Coldplay concert in Vancouver in September.
Melissa and Rick Cable of Vancouver redeemed for a Shania Twain VIP experience on Oct. 25 at Bell Centre in Montreal. It included a pre-show lounge with snacks and beverages, lower bowl seating, merchandise, autographed souvenirs, the opportunity to go on stage during the show and a group photo with the artist, and a three-night stay at Le Centre Sheraton Montreal Hotel.
“Oh, my goodness. This was an extraordinary event!… I appreciate how we are treated every time we walk into a Marriott property and these types of opportunities just confirm your commitment to our loyalty,” was their assessment.
Some of the other unique experiences have included an Eric Clapton concert paired with the opening night gala of the Toronto Film Festival in September; a VIP KISS concert in Winnipeg where guests attended soundcheck, a Q&A and photo session, and got merchandise; and a joint hockey-concert experience with Shania Twain and the Montreal Canadiens. The lucky guests saw the concert and then had VIP pregame access to the NHL team, autographed jerseys, and a three-night hotel stay.
There are also cooking and dining experiences around the world including dining or cooking masterclasses with Michelin chefs in Tokyo, New York, and Aruba. Sports fans might be interested in suite seats for Manchester United vs Chelsea at Old Trafford in December, VIP experiences at Athletic Madrid soccer matches, tickets and tours at the Australian Open in 2024, or premium access to NFL games.
“Our goal is to continue to develop these kinds of experiences. These are one of a kind,” said Beatriz Fuentes, area director of marketing, Canada, for Marriott International.
“People want something different. They want to know their loyalty program is delivering something that has value. Offering tickets isn’t new but the way we are delivering the experience is very unique.”
Fuentes said they chose to partner with Live Nation as it allowed the hotel chain to have a much broader reach and they identified a trend worth exploring. Their research showed that many Canadians travel to follow a favourite artist or sports team.
“Music and travel are a natural combination and it only made sense. Live Nation is a great partner and when you look at our portfolio, where artists perform, we have hotels. It made sense.”
Fuentes noted Marriott Bonvoy has one of the largest hotel rewards programs, 191 million, and Live Nation is the No. 1 event promoter, including a relationship with Ticketmaster.
“We have the opportunity to say ‘Are you looking for a great place to stay? We have the right hotel, the right place and the right city.”