When you start to travel frequently, you figure out who your brands are. Spreading your travel thinly over many companies just means barely any status anywhere. So we think about which brands we like and we make a commitment. I made mine years ago, with Marriott and United. As a lifetime Platinum for Marriott, it was a good choice.
Now that I hit my lifetime status, I can stay other places, but I also like my status with Marriott. I like the automatic upgrades, late check out and free water. Things that matter in business travel.
I have noticed over the years though, that travel reward programs often take the "what have you done for me lately" stance. And while I think Marriott as a company understands my value as a customer, I'm not sure that the brand experience extends very well. I've encountered some tough situations over the years, with local hotels and brands that don't understand my value. And don't seem to even care. My all-time favorite was a front desk person at a Spring Hill Suite who told me that mobile check-in did not apply to her hotel (contrary to the sign on the desk), and whatever I did in "that app" did not matter in the slightest.
The power of the customer is stronger today than ever before, due to social media in a large extent, so everyone representing the brand needs to be aware of that.
And rewards programs should reward the customers that are actually loyal. It's not hard to figure out. Use your data wisely folks!