Marriott, SPG and Ritz Merger Details Announced
Today on Facebook Live, in a very odd award show like press conference, Marriott announced some details of a new program that will encompass Marriott Rewards, Ritz Carlton and Starwood Preferred Guest. These will become one program. Marriott has not chosen a name, so for now we’ll just call it Marriott. I’ve highlighted the key details and takeaways and you can definitely expect more detailed posts in the weeks to come, especially as more information is released. Unfortunately, until we know more about the way current properties will be transitioned into new categories, it seems nearly impossible to determine which changes are positive and which are negative. Check out the Official Page for all the available information.
Any outstanding SPG points will be transferred at a rate of 1 to 3 into the new program. Elite Status will also be granted based upon current tiers and the benefits seem to be similar for the most part. One interesting thing is that your stays in 2018 at any of the current brands will be combined to figure out how many elite nights you earn credit for. Among the changes are new elite levels, different earning structures, new credit cards and new award charts. We covered shared credit card issuer rights between American Express and Chase a few months ago.
The timing of changes seems to be all over the place. Some of the credit cards are expected to be available in May but the actual programs will merge in August. And then the rest of the changes will be rolled out in 2019, whatever that means.
New Earning Structure
One positive change that I can be confident is actually a good thing is that starting in August, you will earn the same amount of points across all brands on room rate and other incidentals that can be charged to your room, such as spa and dining. Previously, only select Rewards brands offered point earning on incidentals. (Element, Residence Inn and TownePlace Suites will earn differently, this is way less than the current exclusions and that’s a good thing!)
New Elite Levels and Changes to Earning Lifetime Status
For the most part the elite levels seem to be comparable. Here are the new levels and their benefits. Below you’ll find how the current levels will be transitioned into the new program. I noticed something interesting in the conversions, Marriott Gold Members will transition to Platinum in the new program but SPG Gold will only transition into Gold Elite. This is odd since you can match Marriott Gold Status to SPG. The new Elite Tiers and Benefits Chart can be found here
Marriott Members Elite Status Chart
More Credit Cards
New Award Chart
Continuation and Expansion of SPG’s Airline Transfer Program
A few airline transfer options will be added including my personal favorite, Jetblue. The only thing that seems to be changing here is the actual numbers will be multiplied by 3, so for every 3 points you will get 1 mile and 15,000 points for every 60,000 points you transfer to airline miles, for a total of 25,000 miles in the airline program of your choice.