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Starwood, Marriott Programs to Remain Separate in 2018, Minor Changes Announced

Starwood, Marriott Programs to Remain Separate in 2018, Minor Changes Announced

Sometimes no news is good news.

Marriott announced that Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest would remain separate loyalty programs through 2018.

Marriott Rewards and SPG members will continue to enjoy their reciprocal elite status and the ability to transfer points between programs freely until the programs are combined. However, it seems that integrating the two programs is proving to be technologically challenging, and complications from credit card issuers’ and timeshare companies’ sides likely have contributed to the longer process as well.

In the meantime, the programs are introducing a couple of new perks to members.


Hertz Benefits

Starting in early 2018, Marriott and SPG Platinum members will be able to register for a Hertz Gold Plus Rewards Five Star Status. Marriott Platinum Premier members and SPG Ambassadors will be able to register for a Hertz Gold Plus Rewards President’s Circle status.


Starpoints Won’t Expire for Starwood Lifetime Elite Members

Marriott Rewards points expire after two years of inactivity, and Lifetime Status holders are exempt from the rule. Starwood has a stricter rule when it comes to points’ expiration dates. Starpoints expire if there’s no qualifying activity for 12 months, but Starwood Preferred Guest Lifetime members will be able to keep their points intact as well.


Last Year for Rollover Nights, Status Buyback

2017 is the final year for Marriott elite members to roll over elite nights earned in excess of status requirements. Marriott members can still roll over their elite-qualifying nights toward 2018 qualifying year, which will make it harder for members to re-qualify for elite status. It will not be possible to buy back status in 2019, either.


In Conclusion

Most of these changes are minor, but getting rid of rollover nights and status buybacks will likely disappoint some Marriott members. What’s to keep them from exploring their options and staying at another hotel chain after reaching Platinum status? Not to mention, we do not fully know what the programs will look like once finally merged, so there’s gotta be some fantastic incentives to keep them.

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