In case you didn’t know SPG will formally merge into Marriott Rewards on August 1st, 2018 (with a new name coming in 2019). Overall I think the changes are mostly negative but they do present a few interesting opportunities. Let’s discuss what they are.
If you currently have gold status with Marriott, you will receive Platinum elite status in August. If you currently have SPG Gold status you will receive Marriott Gold status in August. The thing is that if you’re currently SPG gold and you link your accounts you’ll automatically receive Marriott gold status and that should convert to Platinum status come August. The only issue is that during an interview with TPG Marriott’s SVP on Global Loyalty, David Flueck said (via US Credit Card Guide):
“… For members who have matched, they will be getting then the Gold Status, which is really more equivalent to the SPG Gold …” – 9.24
Personally I don’t really see this as an opportunity as it looks like Marriott won’t be giving anybody with matched Marriott status Platinum status. Marriott should have made this clearer in their matching charts in my opinion, but I wouldn’t get your hopes up. This would obviously affect people with SPG gold status from the Platinum cards.
Top Tier/Award Properties
The new award chart will look like this:
As you can see the most expensive property will cost 60,000 Marriott points until the end of 2018. That’s more than top tier Marriott properties cost, but less than what top tier SPG properties currently cost. For example category six properties cost 20,000-25,000 SPG points (60,000-80,000 Marriott points) and category seven properties cost 30,000-35,000 SPG points (90,000-105,000 Marriott points). Useful links:
There are some SPG properties that are suite only and don’t appear in the standard award chart. View From The Wing was told these will not be included in the standard Marriott award chart either. Ritz-Carlton tier 5 (highest tier) properties cost 60,000 points so no savings there.
There’s definitely some value to be had here if you wanted to book category six/seven SPG properties. Personally I don’t find them to be the best use of points, but I also don’t highly value expensive hotel rooms so that will vary from individual to individual.
Along with the new loyalty program changes, there are significant changes coming to the Marriott & SPG credit cards issued by Chase & American Express respectively. We’ve already covered those changes in detail here. We also answered the two following questions:
- Should You Sign Up For The American Express SPG Cards Now?
- Should You Sign Up For The Chase Marriott/Ritz-Carlton Cards Now?
In addition to that we are also seeing a number of reports of higher than normal retention offers. In particular on the Chase Marriott Business card and the American Express SPG personal card. I suspect this is due to the fact that Chase/American Express will no longer be able to issue those cards after August 1st (they can still maintain the current cardholder base). If you haven’t already then read our guide to retention offers here.
There are some limited opportunities here. I guess we won’t have a good idea about some of them until August 1st comes along (e.g the all suite properties). Still it’s important to try and find the silver living in these types of changes.