MGM Marriott Partnership – No Reciprocal Status Match
These past couple of weeks have seen a lot of news in the hotel/casino loyalty space. Specifically, MGM and Hyatt made big waves last week when they announced the end of their decade long partnership. While there was some speculation as to who MGM would choose to partner with, we didn’t need to wait long to learn that Marriott will be their new pal on the Vegas Strip.
MGM’s Hyatt Partnership Was Valuable
While the MGM/Hyatt partnership evolved over the years, at times it has been quite lucrative. For example, in the early days of the status match Hyatt Diamond members (equivalent to Globalist today) received MGM Platinum status. That was eventually taken away in lieu of MGM Gold status, but it opened quite a few doors while it lasted.
The other major way this partnership became valuable was with the introduction of MGM Rewards. Under that program MGM Gold members (matched from Hyatt Explorist or Globalist) receive waived resort fees among other perks. Many people took advantage of that to book cheap MGM stays midweek at hotels like Luxor and Excalibur.
The MGM Marriott Partnership – What to Expect
While we didn’t get the full details of the partnership in yesterday’s press release, there are a few things that stand out to me. First, it seems like perhaps the days of a two-way status match are done. Here is how they describe the benefits that members of each program will receive.
The agreement between MGM Resorts and Marriott will also benefit members of both companies’ loyalty programs. Members of MGM Rewards, MGM Resorts’ acclaimed loyalty platform with more than 40 million members globally, will be eligible to link accounts with Marriott Bonvoy and receive select member benefits. Members of Marriott Bonvoy, Marriott’s award-winning loyalty platform with over 180 million members globally, will be able to earn and redeem points for stays at all MGM Collection with Marriott Bonvoy properties.
If I read that correctly then it seems like MGM members may receive a match of some sort and benefits at Marriott’s properties. The same language isn’t used going the other way though. They only say that Marriott Bonvoy members “will be able to earn and redeem points for stays at all MGM Collection with Marriott Bonvoy properties.”
Why MGM Probably Won’t Match Marriott Status
While I have no inside information, I could see this as a way for MGM to reset the terms given what has worked and not worked in the past. On one hand Hyatt elites filling up their low demand nights without resort fees may seem like good revenue, but perhaps they didn’t get what they wanted from the status side of the partnership. MGM no doubt is looking to get customers to spend with this type of partnership and a $30 room night with no resort fees probably isn’t what they are looking for.
Marriott is also larger than Hyatt by quite a lot. That means a lot more members who would receive perks in Vegas if they offered a status match. That’s more people who wouldn’t pay resort fees or for parking. By giving Marriott members a way to earn points and elite nights without giving up the revenue from parking, resort fees, etc. MGM seemingly comes out ahead.
Matching Hyatt to MGM to Marriott
While the Hyatt to MGM status match is officially over, hopefully you matched your Hyatt status to MGM. That status will be good through January 31, 2024 which means you could potentially benefit from the Marriott partnership. While we don’t know exactly how any match would work or to what level you would be matched, you should be able to take your MGM status (perhaps gained through Hyatt) in October and match it to some level of Marriott status.
With that said, I have a hard time believing Marriott will match to anything meaningful. Marriott Platinum status comes with free breakfast and suite upgrades at a lot of properties, so I doubt you will get that. My guess is matches from MGM to Marriott will top out at the Gold level, but we shall see. Either way this might be a once in a lifetime way to match Hyatt to MGM to Marriott, even if the Hyatt to MGM part is already over as of July 14.
One other new thing coming from this partnership is Marriott’s integration with BetMGM. We will see how this is all implemented, however Bonvoy members will receive points on some transactions and also receive exclusive offers and promotions, etc. I suppose this is big for BetMGM people, however I doubt it will be a big gamechanger when choosing loyalty.
Other Improvements for MGM Loyalists
Rounding out the news i think there are a couple of other good things here for MGM loyalists. First off, the Cosmopolitan is staying with Marriott. Ever since MGM purchased that property last year we were wondering what would happen long term and now we know. If you are someone who stays at Cosmo you’ll probably be happy to see most everything stay the same. (Although Cosmo’s casino loyalty program will change to MGM Rewards at some point.)
Another unique quirk of this partnership is that it includes properties outside of Las Vegas. MGM’s Hyatt partnership was Las Vegas only, however Marriott will be adding Borgata, Beau Rivage and the MGM Grand properties in Detroit, Springfield and National Harbor as well. Those are all decent hotels so another win for Marriott customers, although who knows how the award pricing will end up.
MGM Marriott Partnership – Bottom Line
While the new MGM Marriott Bonvoy partnership affects different people in different ways, if you are someone who has enjoyed matching status from Hyatt to MGM in the past, I suspect this new deal won’t be as lucrative as you hope. There is still a lot to learn before this new partnership goes active in October, so let’s hope for some pleasant surprises and maybe we should pour one out for MGM/Hyatt, because it was a pairing that great for many of us.
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