Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest are Merging – What this means for your points

** The SPG Amex Canada changes are now live. Read my review of the SPG Amex and SPG Business Amex to learn more.

It’s official, Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) are merging into one unified loyalty program as of August 2018. Members will soon have access to earn or redeem points and book stays across 29 participating global brands comprising 6,500 hotels in 127 countries and territories. This merger puts iconic brands such as The Ritz-Carlton, Sheraton, St. Regis, W, Westin, and JW Marriott under one roof.

I’ve been sitting on this info for a while, but due to strict embargos, I haven’t been able to talk about this merger. Some of you may have seen the leaked info, but my info is all confirmed directly from Marriott or American Express. In addition, I did some extra digging and got all the info about how this announcement affects your points and transfer partners. Here’s a quick breakdown of the changes which I’ll go into greater detail below.

  • Marriott to merge with SPG come August 
  • SPG points will be tripled and you will need to merge your accounts via a digital portal
  • Nights stayed will be merged and new tiers of status are being introduced
  • All hotels to be recategorized from 1 – 8
  • A category 1 hotel will require 7,500 points for a free night, category 8 will require 85,000 points
  • A Free Night Award chart with peak, standard and off-peak pricing will be introduced in 2019
  • Additional airline transfer partners announced
  • Moments experiential platform is expanding
  • 5th Night Free, Flight and Hotel Packages remain (some changes to points requirement)
  • Changes to sign up bonus for the Starwood Preferred Guest credit card from American Express
  • You can still transfer Amex Member Rewards to SPG

Marriott Rewards merger

Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest merger breakdown

Once the merger happens,  Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest become one. That means all your stays across the 29 brands will earn you status, and the points you earn can be redeemed at any property.

Come August, members will earn 10 points per dollar spent at all brands except for Residence Inn, TownePlace Suites and Element where you’ll earn 5 points per every dollar spent. In addition, all members will begin earning points for food and beverage, spa services,  and qualifying incidentals.

SPG points will be tripled come August. So at that time, if you have 1,000 SPG points, you’ll have 3,000 Marriott Points when you merge your accounts. Even if your accounts are already connected to the transfer website, you’ll still need to formally merge your accounts via a new digital portal. Marriott will provide detailed instructions for that process at a later date.

Status merger and new tiers being introduced

The Marriott status tiers are being expanded and are as follows:

  • Silver elite status – 10 nights
  • Gold elite status – 25 nights
  • Platinum elite status – 50 nights
  • Platinum Premier elite status – 75 nights
  • Ambassador – 100 nights and $20,000 of spend
  • Members who have achieved Lifetime status will continue to have their status recognized

Any nights you’ve accumulated between SPG and Marriott will immediately be merged come August. That means if you had 7 accumulated nights with SPG and 4 with Marriott, you would now have 11 total nights which would put you in Silver elite status.

Alternatively, let’s say you were Gold Elite at Marriott with 60 nights, but you only had 15 eligible nights at SPG hotels with no status. Well, due to the merger in August, you’d have 75 qualifying nights which would give you Platinum Premier elite status.

With these status tiers, you’ll earn an additional 10, 25, 50, and 75% in points per dollar spent for Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Platinum Premier tiers respectively.

Breakfast, welcome gifts, and lounge access now start at Platinum elite status across all brands which is up from Gold elite status at Marriott.

starwood preferred guest merger

Free nights changes

The biggest change comes in the redemption of free nights. All hotels are being recategorized across the board, but I’ve been told that more hotels are being moved down as opposed to up. Once the merger happens there will be just 8 categories and it’ll cost you the following for a free night.

CATEGORYSTANDARD
(effective August)
OFF PEAK
(coming 2019)
PEAK
(coming 2019)
17,5005,00010,000
212,50010,00015,000
317,50015,00020,000
425,00020,00030,000
535,00030,00040,000
650,00040,00060,000
760,00050,00070,000
8
(Coming 2019)
85,00070,000100,000

There are a few things that instantly standout here. The obvious thing being the introduction of peak and off-peak pricing come 2019. It makes business sense to introduce peak pricing. I have confirmed that hotels will have being dynamic control (where hotels can make adjustments based on demand). They can change it 14 days in advance so book your hotels asap. Remember, you don’t need the points in your account when making a reservation so you can cancel or get the points at a later date.

That being said, this chart does potentially create an opportunity for guests to get value at tourist places e.g. Mont-Tremblant at a lower price during the low season as opposed to paying a fixed price year round in the current system.

Even with these changes, there could be some good value still especially for hotels that traditionally cost 20 – 40K points. Category 8 hotel will now cost you 85,000 points for a free night, keep in mind that the top SPG hotels previously cost 35,000 SPG points for a free night which works out to 105,000 Marriott Rewards points.

The chart with specific hotel categories will roll out in August and I should be able to get in advance, so I’ll keep you posted.

Many people will be disappointed by these changes, but to be honest, it makes business sense for Marriott to do this now and it’s not fair to complain until we see what hotels end up where in the category chart before passing judgement. 

Transfer partners update

One interesting piece of information I got from Marriott was the fact that new airline partners would be introduced for a total of 40. I didn’t get the list of partners, but 10 new partners is great news. Marriott indicated that the ratio for point transfers would remain the same.

In the previous SPG program, many airlines had a 1:1 transfer ratio. In the new program 1 SPG = 3 Marriott Rewards, so it’s likely that it’ll take 3 Marriott points for 1 airline partner. Of course, not all airlines had a 1:1 ratio in the past so keep that in mind.

I did confirm that the 25% transfer bonus still applies. That would imply that you need to transfer points in 60,000 increments to get that bonus. In theory, it would be something like 60,000 points would get you 25,000 Aeroplan points (20K, + bonus 5K)

American Express Membership Rewards points can still be transferred to Marriott Rewards under the new program. I have yet to confirm the ratio, but it sounds like there would be no devaluation. If you currently have membership rewards points, you’ll still be able to transfer points to SPG on the 17th of April.

Slight change to the SPG credit card from American Express

The Starwood Preferred Guest credit card from American Express in Canada will see two big changes. As of April 17th, 2018, the 20,000 sign up points bonus is being replaced with a statement credit of up to $250. You’ll get $100 after charging $1,500 to the card in the first 3 months and another $150 you charge $200 or more in purchases to your Card at participating Starwood or Marriott properties in your first 6 months.

In addition, the referral bonus of 5,000 SPG points is now gone and replaced with a $25 statement credit. I have confirmed with American Express that these offers are temporary as they prepare for the Marriott program changes and attempt to ensure a smooth transition for our card members.

American Express also told me that you’ll also have access to more properties and different ways to earn and burn points come the 17th.

There was no update available when I asked them about what the new transfer ratio would be when the new Marriott Rewards program launches, but this may simply be due to the fact that things have not been decided yet. I should also note that American Express has yet to be formally introduced as the official Canadian credit card partner now that Chase is gone, but I wouldn’t read too much into that.

Read my review of the Starwood Preferred Guest credit card from American Express now for my thoughts on the changes.

ritz carlton merger

Moments experiential platform is expanding

110,000 new Moments experiences in 1,000 destinations are being added to the 8,000 exclusive, member experiences that only can be redeemed with points. Those new moments can be purchased with cash and do not require a hotel reservation, but in the future, you’ll be able to use points to redeem them.

These moments are incredibly popular and range from unique day trips such as live shark cage diving in Gansbaai, South Africa, to once-in-a-lifetime events such as VIP experiences to coveted sports events like the Super Bowl.

Moments Live is also being introduced which focuses on musical and culinary events. Expect VIP access and exclusive performances to some of the top musicians and some stunning dining experiences with superstar chefs.

Additional notes about the merger

With all these changes, many people are likely curious about some of the other perks and benefits that currently exist and how they’re affected. I’ve confirmed all of the following directly from Marriott.

  • Redeem for 4 Nights, Get the 5th Free remains. There are no changes to this promotion
  • Flight and Hotel Packages also remain, but there will likely be some tweaks to the points required for a redemption. Marriott told me that they have not decided on the final changes yet
  • Members can still make points reservations without having the points in their account
  • It’ll still take two years of account inactivity for your points to expire
  • You’ll be able to choose from all 6,500 participating hotels when making reservations online or via the mobile app
  • Members will be able to check-in or check out and receive Room Ready Alerts via the app

If you have any other questions about the merger or how certain benefits will or will not change, please leave a comment below. I do not comment on rumours and only post facts, so I’ll try my best to get the answers you’re looking for.

By |2018-08-21T13:01:05+00:00April 16th, 2018|Credit cards, Travel, Travel news|

71 Comments

  1. Jeff April 16, 2018 at 5:16 pm - Reply

    Is the 30k per year spend on the SPG Amex to achieve Gold status staying? If not if we hit it before August are we Gold for the next year under the new system? Along with the weekend night at 40k?

    • Barry Choi April 16, 2018 at 7:52 pm - Reply

      Hi Jeff,

      I’ll check with Amex and get back to you.

    • Barry Choi April 24, 2018 at 1:55 am - Reply

      Hi Jeff,

      Amex indicated that Gold status and the free weekend night still applies with no increase

  2. Ck2200 April 16, 2018 at 6:20 pm - Reply

    Will Amex platinum keep giving you gold status at Marriott?

    • Barry Choi April 16, 2018 at 7:52 pm - Reply

      For this year, your gold status will be set to platinum. Nothing has been announced for next year, but I’m assuming you’ll only get Gold from the Amex platinum

      • Gwen Nielsen April 18, 2018 at 1:32 pm - Reply

        Not happy with the idea of the new Gold next year being included with the Amex Platinum card. Hotel Lounge access is says starts now in Platinum level it looks like.

        • Barry Choi April 18, 2018 at 1:44 pm - Reply

          Gwen,

          I’m disappointed too, but I should note that the Amex personal platinum was never supposed to give you lounge access and breakfast at Marriott hotels. It gave you Gold status at Starwood hotels and then Marriott just generously matched status when they acquired them. I’m not surprised at all at this change.

          Then again, things could change in the future for the better. . . or worse.

  3. Snesh April 16, 2018 at 7:33 pm - Reply

    Am surprised at this news. This infact is few months old news. We SPG and Marriott members been notified few months back and as a matter of fact we merged the points as well.

    • Barry Choi April 16, 2018 at 7:53 pm - Reply

      Snesh,

      You could transfer points before, but this is a formal merger. All points will count as one come August.

  4. Jimmy April 16, 2018 at 9:37 pm - Reply

    Hmm, they’re getting rid of the ability to earn (spg) status via stays, and instead making it nights only. That sucks for me since most of my trips are over night and only 1 stay, so I earned platinum via my 25 stays every year.

    I have 6 years of spg plat status, and about 4 unique years of Marriott plat status. Combined I’ll have 10 years as plat, and over 600+ nights lifetime. I can only hope that perhaps combined, I’ll qualify for lifetime plat status… Seems like I’ll be stuck as gold lifetime if I don’t increase my travel…

    • Dan April 17, 2018 at 1:17 am - Reply

      I have the same concern. I rarely stay more than one night per stay and have been earning SPG Platinum status the last few years. Are stays now irrelevant?

      • Barry Choi April 17, 2018 at 8:00 am - Reply

        Jimmy, Dan,

        I’m going to look into this.

        • Dale Guise April 17, 2018 at 10:12 am - Reply

          While looking into this, it would be great to understand what it means to the lifetime qualifications overall. If currently a Marriott lifetime silver it seems that should shift to gold, etc. I’m getting close to Marriott lifetime gold by current requirements, but would expect that to become lifetime Platinum to maintain breakfast, welcome gift, lounge benefits.

          • Barry Choi April 27, 2018 at 1:14 am

            Hi Dale,

            Marriott formally announced the lifetime status mapping. Your silver lifetime would become gold if you averaged 25 – 49 nights a year. If you have gold come August, you’ll be put in Platinum.

            https://members.marriott.com/marriottrewards/

          • Dale Guise April 29, 2018 at 8:06 am

            Thanks. Barry. Has Marriott stated how average nights are calculated?

          • Barry Choi April 29, 2018 at 2:59 pm

            Hi Dale,

            Can you clarify what you mean by average night?

          • Dale Guise April 29, 2018 at 3:50 pm

            You mentioned lifetime silver to to lifetime gold if you averaged 25-49 nights a year. I’m curious about this average. Is it taken over the course of membership, or most recent years or what?

          • Barry Choi April 29, 2018 at 3:53 pm

            Dale,

            I’m assuming it’s over the course of your lifetime membership.

  5. Jason Terrace April 17, 2018 at 1:27 am - Reply

    Ant idea what will happen with Starwood vacation owners. We used to get spg gold and the ability to transfer or timeshare to spg points. There was an agreement between starwood vacation and spg after the split but will it still transfer to the new marriott plan?

    • Barry Choi April 17, 2018 at 7:59 am - Reply

      Jason,

      Marriott implied to me that everything is business as usual for non rewards related items. I could look into this for you.

  6. Jason April 17, 2018 at 9:26 am - Reply

    I’d appreciate it. Hotels seen to be distancing themselves from timeshare and I don’t know if marriott is trying to distance themselves from spg’s old obligations

  7. Pratima April 17, 2018 at 9:41 am - Reply

    What about credit cards Chase or AMEX for Canada. They just cancelled the Chase Marriott and pushed out to the AMEX SPG but AMEX is not as widely accepted in Canada so it less useful than the Chase card. Any news yet about Credit Cards for Canada?

    • Barry Choi April 17, 2018 at 10:58 am - Reply

      No official announcement about the credit card partners in Canada as of yet.

  8. Santina Khan April 17, 2018 at 10:41 am - Reply

    Will the points given to a Canadian Dollar increase to American points earned? This is one of the pet peeve I have with the SPG program.

    • Barry Choi April 17, 2018 at 10:59 am - Reply

      Agreed with how annoying it is, but doubtful that will apply.

  9. Jeff April 17, 2018 at 1:57 pm - Reply

    Great article! I’m wondering if the SPG points merged into my MR account in August will count towards lifetime status under the current MR rules. I am MR lifetime silver, about 60k short of lifetime gold, but I have around 50k lifetime accumulated SPG points (150k after they merge). If these merged points count, I would become lifetime Platinum in the new program but if they don’t I’m stuck at silver.

    • Barry Choi April 17, 2018 at 2:38 pm - Reply

      I don’t have the answer for that right now. Lifetime status is the trickiest thing with this merger since there were so many variables involved.

      • Pratima April 17, 2018 at 5:17 pm - Reply

        Yep… just posted the SAME question.

  10. EDward April 17, 2018 at 2:41 pm - Reply

    What happens if I make a reservation today for a Starwood property in Vail Colotado for January 2019 for 16,000 SPG points a night and when the nrw chart comes out it will cost significantly more. Will they honor my reservation for the 16,000 points per night?

    • Barry Choi April 17, 2018 at 2:49 pm - Reply

      I’ve inquired with Marriott directly about similar scenarios and am waiting to hear back.

      • Edward April 17, 2018 at 3:26 pm - Reply

        THank you Barry !

  11. Mark April 17, 2018 at 3:45 pm - Reply

    Unclear on how the SPG lifetime gold will translate? And is that correct, total nights only not just number of stays?
    Thx. Great article

    Mark

  12. Pratima April 17, 2018 at 5:15 pm - Reply

    Looking for a 2nd opinion to validate all I have read since the announcement.

    I am currently Lifetime Gold at Marriott and I am about 10K reward points away from Marriott LTP (which in the new program will be grandfathered into LPP). I have more than enough night but i need to get to the 2M lifetime points. I am not travelling much at the moment so not earning any Reward points. I am in Canada and they cancelled the Chase Marriott VIsa in March. Just got the SPG Amex. However, from what I can tell from all the reading of these forums, any SPG points will NOT help me achieving Lifetime Platinum at Marriott even in August when things are ‘combined’. I think the only way is to earn / buy Reward points.. as SPG will not count. Did I get that right or is there a way for SPG points from the SPG AMEX to help me towards Marriott LP when things ‘combine’ in August.

    • Barry Choi April 27, 2018 at 1:18 am - Reply

      Hi Pratima,

      I asked Marriott for comment and still haven’t heard back.

    • Barry Choi April 28, 2018 at 10:11 am - Reply

      Hi Pratima,

      Marriott has confirmed that points merged from SPG to Marriott count towards lifetime status come August

  13. Peter April 17, 2018 at 11:19 pm - Reply

    Is the 5th night free for redemptions still only for the equivalent of SPG Category 3 and above properties after August ? I thought the fifth night free was for all Marriott Categories under current rules but am still new to the Marriott side of things.

    In addition to Spa services, do you now which incidentals previously not categorized as eligible spend for SPG will become eligible from August ?

    Thank you for your informative article.

    • Barry Choi April 18, 2018 at 7:57 am - Reply

      Hi Peter,

      There was no category limit with Marriott. I was told that this benefit is not going away which implies you’ll be able to use it at ALL properties come August.

  14. […] Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest are Merging – What this means for your points. – Everyone was writing about this huge news from Marriott and SPG the past 48 hours. I’m linking here because this post was published right when the video feed started. […]

  15. Phil April 18, 2018 at 6:30 pm - Reply

    Wow great field work Barry, thank you! I can’t get a firm decision on this: I currently have 1.94 million Marriott points, approaching Marriott Platinum for life, and I have 50k SPG. Noting that if the 50k is multiplied by the exchange value (3x), have you an idea if I’d be granted Platinum for life “before” the grandfathering of tiers, in which case I’d be grandfathered to Platinum Premium as a recognized Platinum for life candidate (if adding the Elite and SPG). Thanks for anything you might know on this matter.

    • Barry Choi April 18, 2018 at 8:36 pm - Reply

      Phil,

      How lifetime status is affected is honestly the biggest question mark right now as there are many people in your situation. That being said, there are so many variables so I have yet to be given a straightforward answer.

      Since you can already transfer SPG 1:3 to Marriott, why not do it now? Wouldn’t that give you the points you require for instant lifetime status?

      If those transfer points don’t count, I personally would just sign up for some credit cards that would give you the points that you need.

  16. Peter April 18, 2018 at 8:20 pm - Reply

    Thank you, Barry, for your quick clarification of the free 5th night redemption not going away. If I could just follow up regarding my question on eligible incidentals under the new rule . . . the reason I ask is that we now need to generate USD 20,000 in eligible spending in addition to the minimum 100 nights to maintain Ambassador service. Would it be possible for you to post an official list of inclusions or exclusions for eligible spending under the new rules please ? I understand that Spa services will be added which are not included under current SPG rules.

    • Barry Choi April 18, 2018 at 8:32 pm - Reply

      Hey Peter,

      Oh sorry, I missed that part of your question the first time. When I spoke to Marriott about this additional spend, they implied that just about everything would be included e.g. meals, drinks, spa, or whatever else you could spend money on at the hotel. I could inquire about an official list, but it’s possible that it’s hotel specific.

  17. Peter April 18, 2018 at 8:45 pm - Reply

    Thank you once again Barry ! Very good news ! And I understand that some spend may be hotel specific, especially with tenanted shops/salons operating in the Lobby etc. From now on I will enquire at every hotel I use in preparation for next year. Certainly Spa services, transportation/tours and retail shop spending are are not eligible under current SPG rules. I am based in Southeast Asia where many nightly rates tend to be cheaper than other regions, and have found out that my 2017 eligible spend did not reach USD $20,000. This year is not a problem but I will need to be careful beginning January 1st 2019 if I wish to maintain Ambassador status. You have been a great help. It was also wonderful to hear from you that Marriott does and will allow free fifth night redemptions for Category 1 and 2 hotels as SPG only allows this for Category 3 and above. Good news.

    • Barry Choi April 18, 2018 at 8:56 pm - Reply

      Peter,

      To be honest, besides breakfast being taken away from Gold status and the new peak pricing for free nights, this merger is actually quite positive. Ever since Marriott acquired Starwood, I would say all announcements have been mostly positive. The only crap news have been related to co-branded credit cards and that is usually dependent on region. I’m based in Canada and the changes to the SPG credit card are awful (as noted in this post). That being said, other regions currently have decent SPG cards.

      Despite the fact that I spoke to Marriott directly, some of my info may not be 100% accurate as they even told me not everything has been settled.

  18. Dan April 19, 2018 at 4:07 pm - Reply

    So, unlike most of the comments on this board, I don’t have a ton of miles because I don’t get to do much traveling. My question is this, I can see how the new point system could benefit SPG points (x’s 3), but doesn’t this work against Marriott points? I only have a 110k points because I’ve been saving my points to surprise my wife with a trip to NYC in the future as a thank you for being so awesome with our recent triplets. With that said, under this old plan, I could have received 3 nights for 135k points, or 120k using the point saver method, but now it looks like my Marriott points have extremely devalued under the new chart. I’m assuming NYC hotels will always remain top category hotels, which will now cost me anywhere from 255k to 300k points for the same 3 nights. This news is deflating to say the least. Any idea if Marriott points will get a boost too come August?

    • Barry Choi April 19, 2018 at 4:26 pm - Reply

      Hi Dan,

      SPG points were always “worth” 3 Marriott points so your points aren’t being devalued.

      All hotels are being recategorized. So if a hotel you were looking at used to cost 45K Marriott points, then it’ll likely fall into categories 5 – 6. Off peak pricing could obviously wreck your plans, but I suspect most hotels will end up in similar categories to where they were before the merger.

      • Dan April 19, 2018 at 5:32 pm - Reply

        Thanks for your response, Barry.

        I guess I’m only looking at this through a NYC lens, as that’s where my wife has always wanted to go. I’ve been saving up my Marriott points for the last couple of years in hopes that I can make it out to NYC and stay close to Broadway. So under Marriott’s current point chart, a category 9 hotel is 45k points. Even though we still don’t know the breakdown, based on your response, do you think all Marriott hotels off Broadway will be reclassified as a 5-6, or will it stay closer to a category 7-8? I only ask because if I had the ability to book now, I could get a category 9 hotel at 45k points a night, but if I book after August, those points are looking closer to 60k to 85k a night. So wouldn’t this mean my points will have been devalued? I highly doubt New York City Marriott hotels off of Broadway will be reclassified as category 5-6 hotels…what are your thoughts?

        • Barry Choi April 19, 2018 at 7:45 pm - Reply

          Dan,

          My assumption is that Marriott hotels likely won’t see a big difference when it comes to how many points it takes to make a redemption. So if a Broadway hotel currently costs 45K points, I expect it to be the same in the chart which would put it around 5 – 6.

          Now I could be wrong, but Marriott told me that more hotels would go down as opposed to up.

          Here’s the thing about NYC that you’re forgetting. It’s great no matter where you stay. There are plenty of SPG and Marriott hotels all over Manhattan that would be good. Don’t get focused on staying off Broadway, your hotel is just a place to sleep.

        • Barry Choi April 26, 2018 at 12:15 pm - Reply

          Hi Dan,

          Marriott released a teaser of what new hotel categories and prices will be which include New York.

          https://members.marriott.com/tophotels/?

  19. R.C. April 21, 2018 at 5:40 am - Reply

    Hi
    I am currently Lifetime Silver with Marriott
    I have 600 nights
    This is my 11th year with Marriott and my historical Elite Status is as follows:
    Year 1 Silver/Gold/Platinum
    Year 2 Platinum
    Year 3 Platinum
    Year 4 Platinum
    Year 5 Platinum
    Year 6 Platinum
    Year 7 Platinum
    Year 8 Platinum
    Year 9 Gold/Platinum
    Year 10 Platinum
    Year 11 Gold/Platinum

    Come August I will definitely meet the NEW requirements for Lifetime Gold ( e.g. 400 nights plus 7 years gold or higher status)

    But my question is

    Will I meet the NEW requirements for Lifetime Platinum? (e.g. 600 nights plus 10 years Platinum Status)
    In the years where i was Platinum for only part of the year, will those years be viewed as Platinum status?

    Thanks in advance for your help with this

    • Barry Choi April 21, 2018 at 1:22 pm - Reply

      Marriott has not released any specifics about how status is going to work people who were close to earning lifetime so it’s hard for me to comment at this time.

    • Barry Choi April 27, 2018 at 1:20 am - Reply

      RC,

      I looked into this and am still awaiting official comment. The good thing is that since you already have lifetime gold, you’ll instantly be put into Platinum.

      https://members.marriott.com/marriottrewards/

    • Barry Choi April 28, 2018 at 9:30 am - Reply

      R.C.

      I got an official answer from Marriott.

      “Lifetime members will be mapped to tier with existing benefits. For example: Marriott Platinum Lifetime grandfathered to Platinum Premier Lifetime / Marriott Gold Lifetime to Platinum Lifetime / Marriott Silver Lifetime to new Silver Lifetime

      • RC April 29, 2018 at 12:55 am - Reply

        Thank you for the follow-up

  20. Rob April 23, 2018 at 11:17 pm - Reply

    Thanks! Great article.

    Thoughts on getting a hotel/miles package before this happens? I wa going to wait til January and get southwest miles to jwcimize a companion pass…. but I’m worried it will be better to do now. Do you think we will know the new package costs before they are changed?

    • Barry Choi April 24, 2018 at 2:07 am - Reply

      Hi Rob,

      I know that the hotel and points packages are changing based on the category of hotel, but that info will not be available until August at the earliest.

      If you plan on booking a travel package regardless, I would advise just doing it now and then calling in to complain later if they make it a better deal for you. E.g less points required.

      They may not give you any potential extra airline miles, but they’ll probably return any MR points.

      Of course, if prices go up, you in theory would have locked in a price.

  21. Dan April 26, 2018 at 1:58 pm - Reply

    Barry,

    You are awesome, my friend! Thank you for taking the time and following up on a post I made last week. I really appreciate the followup, particularly the link you provided me to the new teaser rates/hotel categories for NYC.

    This is spot on with what you thought and great news. While some of the downtown NYC Times Square hotels went up in points, a few (not far from there) went down in points.

    Thanks again for keeping us posted and for your incredible followup and help in this transition. You rock!

    • Barry Choi April 28, 2018 at 9:28 am - Reply

      Hey Dan,

      Glad this change worked out sort of for you. TBH, the changes made to the NYC properties make sense to me. Fortunately, there are still properties that work for you.

  22. Trev April 27, 2018 at 9:03 pm - Reply

    Any word whether the ability to earn status through stays (versus nights) has been removed?

    • Barry Choi April 28, 2018 at 9:28 am - Reply

      Hi Trev,

      It appears that stays will only be earned via nights come August

  23. Avi April 30, 2018 at 6:40 pm - Reply

    Hi Barry,
    I am in Australia and have an Amex that I can transfer points to SPG but not to Marriot. Am concious this option could disappear post August so in that case would want to move all my Amex MR points to SPG and then get the x3 in august.

    Is this the right move?

    • Barry Choi May 1, 2018 at 12:59 am - Reply

      Hi Avi,

      Australia already announced Amex as the official Marriot partner, so I’m pretty sure that you’ll still be able to transfer your points then.

      That being said, who knows what the new transfer ratio is. I don’t think it’s a bad thing if you decide to transfer a ton of points in advance. I likely will.

  24. Kara May 1, 2018 at 10:20 pm - Reply

    Hi Barry,

    I’m currently an SPG Gold member and was on track to reach gold status again for this year (10 stays or 25 nights). I know come August, all SPG and Marriott stays will be combined towards the new status chart but I’m wondering, do I still have until Dec 31/18 to complete my SPG stays to reach gold status for next year, or has that deadline now moved up to August?

    • Barry Choi May 2, 2018 at 12:16 am - Reply

      If I had to guess, that deadline under the old rules moves up to August e.g. 10 stays.

      However, you would still reach the new gold status if you have 25 stays by Dec. 31st since 10 nights would no longer exist.

      I can inquire for exact confirmation if you like, but it may take them a few weeks to get back to me.

      • Kara May 4, 2018 at 12:17 am - Reply

        Hi Barry,

        Thanks so much for your reply. Yes, if you wouldn’t mind checking, that’d be awesome! I would not be surprised to hear that essentially the deadline for the old rules moves up to August however, in the FAQ I came across this, which sounds like SPG will still honor their old rules for SPG specific properties for all of 2018:

        HOW WILL MY STAYS WITH REWARDS AND SPG BE COUNTED TOWARD MY ELITE STATUS STARTING IN AUGUST?
        In August, we’ll notify you when you can combine your accounts. We’ll combine your Rewards and SPG Elite Night Credits from this year and count them toward a singular Elite status recognized equally across all hotels. Elite tiers will be achieved through qualifying nights. However, throughout 2018 we will continue to honor Elite achievement via stays at SPG hotels that occur in 2018. Learn more about Elite status qualification and benefits at our Member Benefits page.

        Am I misunderstanding this?

        Thanks again for your help!

        • Barry Choi May 4, 2018 at 12:45 am - Reply

          Hi Kara,

          Based on everything else announced, I would have to believe that you can still earn status to the end of 2018. However, if you earned it earlier, you would get the perks immediately in 2018.

          There has been little devaluation which is why I’m led to believe that you have until the end of the year. The statement you posted pretty much verifies that.

  25. Michelle Ardois-Salgado May 31, 2018 at 10:47 pm - Reply

    Great Article! I have a question, actually a confirmation. I called Marriott to ask whether Marriott and Starwood nights would also merge in August. They advised that they did not have that information. I see that you noted in the article that this would indeed be the case. I have all my nights in Marriott and want to book a family vacation in a Starwood property for June. I want to “double confirm” that the Marriott and Starwood nights would indeed also be combined. Thank you!

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