Posted by William Charles on April 16, 2018
Hotel Booking

Published on April 16th, 2018 | by William Charles

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Marriott & SPG Merger Details – What You Need To Know

Marriott has announced that they will be creating a unified program with SPG as of August 2018. A new name for the loyalty program will be released in early 2019. Here are additional details about the new program, don’t forget to read our post on American Express SPG changes as well.

Award Chart

  • They will add standard and off-peak pricing in 2019
  • Award chart is as follows

Credit Cards

View our dedicated post on this here.

Elite Status

There will be five elite tiers as follows:

  • Silver: 10 nights
    • 10% bonus points
    • Priority late check-out, subject to availability
    • Dedicated elite reservations line
  • Gold: 25 nights
    • 25% bonus points
    • 2PM late check out, subject to availability
    • Welcome gift of points
    • Room upgrade subject to availability but excluding suites
  • Platinum: 50 nights
    • 50% bonus points
    • Guaranteed 4PM late check out (subject to availability at resorts only)
    • Welcome gift of points, breakfast or an amenity
    • Executive lounge access
    • Annual choice of 5 suite night awards or a gift
  • Platinum Premier: 75 nights
    • 75% bonus points
    • Another annual choice of 5 suite night awards or a gift (e.g you get two of these)
  • Platinum Premier with Ambassador service: 100 nights plus $20,000 in qualifying spend
    • Ambassador service
    • Your24 (check in/out over 24 hour period)

As you can see earning elite stays through stays is no longer possible, it’s all based on nights.

Lifetime Status

There are some changes to lifetime status, for those with existing lifetime status you’ll receive the following status:

  • Lifetime SPG gold members will become lifetime Marriott gold members
  • Lifetime SPG platinum members will become lifetime Marriott platinum members
  • Lifetime Marriott Gold/Platinum members will become lifetime platinum members

Lifetime Platinum members do not receive the annual choice benefit of 5 suite night awards or a gift. This is disappointing as that’s a primary Platinum benefit and one that most elites would want. For those wanting to qualify for new lifetime status the rules are:

  • Lifetime silver elite: 250 lifetime nights + 5 years elite status
  • Lifetime gold elite: 400 lifetime nights + 7 years gold elite status or higher
  • Lifetime platinum elite: 600 lifetime nights + 10 years platinum elite status or higher

Hotel Points To Airlines

You’ll be able to transfer your Marriott Rewards points into airline miles (like you currently can with Starwood Preferred Guest). For every three points you transfer you’ll receive one airline mile, you’ll also get a 5,000 mile bonus for every 60,000 points you transfer. This is also the same as the current SPG program. The Marriott hotel + air package will be sticking around, but prices will change (no firm details yet).

They are also adding new airline options. In total there will be more than 40 airlines. New airlines include Qantas, JetBlue, Turkish & more.

Our Verdict

It’s hard to determine how bad the award chart changes really are without also knowing what properties will be in what property. Previously the highest Marriott award category was 45,000 points, after the change it will be 85,000 points (and then up to 100,000 points during peak in 2019). That’s kind of a ridiculous change, but if that new category is solely SPG luxury properties then it’s not as bad as first glance would make it (although it’s still awful).

Overall these changes aren’t as bad as I was worried they would be, but I’m going to reserve my judgement until I’ve had a better look at the entire program. What are your first gut reactions? Also keep in mind I really thought these changes would be really really really bad. So far I just think they are really bad.



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Category 6 and above – the difference between peak and off peak increases to 20k points. I guess we can predict where most hotels will fall.

Any chance they pull the 5th night free? Also, what is going to happen to Marriott free night certs now? Bumped to cat 5/30k?

Fortunately looks like they’re keeping it:

“Stay for 5, pay for 4” https://members.marriott.com/redeem/

Do they keep the SPG flights program as well? You could redeem SPG points at 1.25c for flight tickets.

Sure, it’s less popular, as you could get better value through transfers, but it does give a floor to the point’s value, not something you can say about, say, Hilton points..

The peak/off peak thing is a little killer because a lot of people tend to go during peak days (duh) and so you are now getting penalized even more than you were previous to this merger for it. So the net negative in points used is even more severe.

I’m thinking of just getting a vacation package certificate in July and then working with that instead if it makes more sense?

ChurningForDays
ChurningForDays

Doc, I think you mean “you’ll also get a 5,000 mile bonus for every 60,000 points you transfer,” not 15,000.

RC hotels were already 60k (tier 4) and 70k (tier 5)

Do you have a pointer for “The Marriott hotel + air package will be sticking around, but prices will change (no firm details yet)”? I didn’t see any mention of the Marriott packages in Marriott’s website, though maybe I missed it.

Does anyone know what’s your elite status in 2019 would be if you already complete the 25 stays in SPG before August?

You’ll be Plat through 2019 in that case.

But based their announcement, current SPG/Marriott Platinum will be Platinum Premier after August. Not sure if it would still stay as PP in 2019, kind of to good to be true.

Hi, I am currently a Marriott Platinum and SPG Platinum. I only achieved this status through Marriott Platinum status challenge last year, so I am definitely below 50 or 75 nights. Will I still get Platinum Premier in August?

also, what is the difference of current SPG 50 night platinum and 75 night platinum?

I’m in the exact same position. I’m pretty sure we’ll get Premier Platinum Elite status, but what I really want to know is whether or not we’ll get the Suite Night Awards.

Thank you for responding! Yes, I am certain now I will get Platinum premier as well. And yes let’s hope we will get the suite night awards too. Additionally, let’s hope that we will only get downgraded by one level in 2019 (I.e. from Platinum premier to Platinum)

SouthFayetteFan
SouthFayetteFan

Did you mean 5,000 mile bonus for 60,000?

SPG is 5K bonus for 20K miles
Since the SPG conversion rate is 1:3 then the15K bonus for 60K miles is correct and it’s the same as it always was.

SouthFayetteFan
SouthFayetteFan

Actually that is incorrect. DoC has fixed the post now – you get 5k bonus miles for transferring 60k. It’s difficult to think through but it is correct (5k for 60k)

Typo
what properties will be in what property.

The current highest Ritz category is Tier 5 which costs 70000 MR points. The current highest SPG category is Cat 7 which cost 35000 SPG points or 105000 MR points. Until 2019 these will all be capped at 60000 (or 70000 for peak season) which is fantastic!

This is my idea to book these super luxury properties from August to December

You likely can book them for anytime next year as well, as long as you make the booking before the actual change happens in 2019.

That’s an interesting interpretation, I hope you are right. Any confirmation on this? If I cash in my points for a flights+nights package category 7 package right now, I wonder if it will be good for all hotels

I’m a little confused. right now i can book a cat 9 for 45k points a night and it’s going to cost 100k points in peak season now? and when is peak season?

They are recategorizing all SPG and Marriott hotels to fit in a new category 1-8 scheme. I dont know where a cat 9 would fall in that, but i would guess not in category 8 (given that with tiers 1-5, there are plenty of hotels at a higher category)

So they are getting rid of the Ritz/Edition Tier levels? I have a category 6 certificate for a 7 night stay (from flight plus night redemption). Any idea what will happen to those? Any chance I can pay the 60k points to upgrade to a category 8 certificate and then I will be able to use it at any hotel. Seems like the new changes really dont align well with the current flight+night packages, so I am wondering if there is any opportunity to take advantage of the system during this process

+1, wondering the same thing. Thinking about using my SPG points for Marriott air and hotel package for level 8. One would think they will just transfer to the new category 8 after August 1. Looking at a trip to Kauai next year and staying at the St. Regis Princeville Resort for a week seems enticing to say the least.

As some other commenters have pointed out, new category 8 doesnt even come about until 2019, so its possible you could get a category 7 package that covers all marriotts (post-transition, if the cert stays valid for new category 7). As i said, I currently have one 7 night certificate, and I am thinking about going in on another flight+night package in hopes of capitalizing on this transition. Two 7 night certificates at any marriott or SPG sure would be nice! Possible that they say old Category 8 is equal to new category 6, or something along those lines (but that would be a hard sell as there would be some people losing out as many categories converge to fewer categories ie. say tier 1 and tier 2 7 night certificates both convert to new category 7, tier 2 would lose out). It seems they took care to ensure the category 1-5 free nights associated with the credit card benefit line up nicely with the new tier system, but they’ve gotten themselves in a sticky situation with the higher tier/category marriotts not lining up (fortunately for them, these certificates are rare and only associated with the flight+night packages).

That was a bad example on tier 1 and tier 2 because the 7 night certificate is for tier 1-3, and the next level up is tier 4-5. So comparing tier 3 vs tier 4 would be a better example, to see how those match up in the new category system

So the current Chase card gives cat 1-5 cert which equates to 25K points redemption. The new Premier Plus card, being just an “upgraded” version of the old card, will give cert for 35K properties which according to the new award chart will include properties up to Cat 5. So it looks like at least the lower level properties should remain in the same categories.

The status change sucks. went from lifetime gold which was the 2nd of 3rd tier to 2nd of 5th tier.

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