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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Lifetime status – for silver for instance, if I hit the nights requirement in my 5th year in a row qualifying for status, do I get lifetime from that point forward, or not until the next calendar year?


Hi Doc, there are still some lingering questions regarding the merger that aren’t completely sorted out. For example, will a newly minted Platinum Premier in Aug be downgraded to a Platinum in 2019 if he/she does not maintain the status (as it would under the old program, where downgrading is only for one tier lower)? When will the full award charts be released? And also, will the Cat 5 anniversary free night from the old Marriott card be worth 35000 points under the new chart? I think these are all connected and potentially impact decisions regarding what credit cards to sign up for, and whether to “use up” or “save” more points for future travel etc. Do you know when there can be definitive answers?

Many thanks and really appreciate your help!


One more question regarding the statuses – is room preference/bed type guarantee still going to be included and what status level?


Do we have any idea yet what counts towards the $20,000 ambassador status? Will it just be room rate? Or entire bill excluding taxes? Very interested if anyone knows. Thanks!


Hi everyone I’m getting really confused with this and I want to know. I have 60k Marriott and 40k SPG. I only use these points for airline transfers. Should I transfer to Airlines before the change or after ? Or does it not matter.


Vincent, for your points you have now, it does not matter, the transfer rate will stay the same.


Question on lifetime status… I would have qualified for SPG Gold Lifetime in August this year (based on nights). I’m guessing that this grandfathering of lifetime status is only as of August 1, 2018? And since I would not achieve until mid-August, I would miss that timing and would have to achieve new goal of 400 nights (years of elite is OK for me)?
–> If so, then I’ll stop trying to hard


If you book a room with spg points now and have to cancel it after the merger, how many points would you get back, the original number or that number multiplied by 3? In other words, is it better to not book until after August so your spg points are multiplied?


Doc, a question for you:

If currently have 440 lifetime nights with marriott and 65 lifetime nights with SPG, and I’ve got 1.58M marriott points lifetime and ~50K SPG points lifetime, can I combine these into getting lifetime gold with marriott right now?

The current requirement for lifetime gold is 1.6M and 500 nights and I’m just getting in. If I can do that, I can potentially get grandfathered into the new program at lifetime Platinum. Do you think that’s possible?


My notification said those with Lifetime Plat Marriott will be “grandfathered” in to LIfetime Platinum Premier Elite. Is this not true?


How long before y’all think they add back in Categories 9 and 10 to the top of the chart in a big devaluation? 5 years? Seems like an obvious play.