I am a leisure traveler and while not trying to sound like a pollyanna, I just wanted to say that there are some positive things in the new program. I was never able to reach the old gold at 50 nights, and the gap between 15 nights for silver and then 50 for gold seemed way too big. I like that the new program offers gold at 26-49 nights. I know it's not the old "gold" but at least it feels like I'm getting rewarded for staying a decent amount of nights for a leisure traveler especially since I am paying for all nights or earning elite credits with the Marriott Visa card. I do everything I can to earn points (the Sunday football Twitter trivia, Mega Bonuses, etc). I am hoping that the Marriott Visa I have that offers 1 elite credit per $3000 spent stays the same or that the current holders are grandfathered in if the card is no longer offered to new customers. It will probably take me 7-10 years to earn any lifetime status so I need those elite credits. I also like that they dropped the nights for lifetime gold to 400 and even though you have to have seven years of a status to get lifetime it will be easier to do that now that they dropped the gold level to 26-49 nights.
I will miss this summer's mega bonus as I'm traveling after the July 20th program ending date which is disappointing because it was based on nights and not stays, which is hard when you only travel once during the summer. But, what can I do about it? I'll just keep on earning on the nights I'm staying and move on.
I know a lot of people are upset about the changes to lifetime status but just know that a lot of us out here don't travel for work and may never reach lifetime status and we are envious of your status!