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Marriott

We’re Answering All of Your Questions About Starwood & Marriott’s Program Changes

We’re Answering All of Your Questions About Starwood & Marriott’s Program Changes
Joe Cortez

With Starwood Preferred Guest and Marriott Rewards merging in August 2018, there are many questions frequent flyers have about what it means for their rewards. FlyerTalkers are already actively studying how the change will affect their plans and have begun answering our burning questions about life in the future.

The announced merge of Starwood Preferred Guest and Marriott Rewards has changed everything. Instead of having eight more months to plan future rewards, shifts between the two will begin on August 1, starting with moving lifetime elite status and new earning plans for current elites.

FlyerTalkers are already combing through the fine print of the changes and sharing their knowledge of what the new program may look like in four months. As answered by FlyerTalkers, these are the answers to ten burning questions you may have about the new Marriott Rewards.

How many points will I earn in the new Marriott Rewards program?

Marriott Rewards Insider posted the full rundown of changes on the FlyerTalk forum shortly after the announcement was made official. Under the combined Marriott Rewards program, you will earn 10 points per $1 spent on eligible hotel charges at most hotels. At Element, Residence Inn and TownePlace Suites hotels, you will only earn five points per $1 spent, while at Marriott Executive Apartments you would only earn 2.5 points per $1 spent.

If you are an elite in the new program, you will also get a bonus. Hockeyinsider posted the full elite benefits on the forums:

  • Silver: 10 percent bonus on points earned at hotels.
  • Gold: 25 percent bonus on points earned at hotels.
  • Platinum: 50 percent bonus on points earned at hotels.
  • Platinum Premier and Platinum Premier Ambassador: 75 percent bonus points earned at hotels.

Will the elite tiers change? How will I know what my status will be after August 1?

Starting on August 1, the elite tiers will change as well. Once again, hockeyinsider translated the changes for elites post-merger:

  • Silver Elite with 10-24 nights becomes Silver Elite
  • Silver Elite with 25-49 nights becomes Gold Elite
  • Gold Elite [50-74 nights] becomes Platinum Elite
  • Platinum Elite [75-99 nights] becomes Platinum Premier Elite
  • Platinum Elite with 100 nights and $20,000 in qualifying spend becomes Platinum Premier Ambassador Elite.

The Marriott Rewards Insider notes that your elite status will be defined based on how many Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest nights you have credited to your account from January 1, 2018. So, if you had 25 nights in one program and 30 in the other, you would be moved to Platinum Elite in the combined program.

Will I keep my lifetime elite status?

Yes – getagb (and others) note on the forums when the transition is complete, current lifetime elites will be moved to one of three lifetime tiers: lifetime Silver Elite, lifetime Gold Elite, or lifetime Platinum Premier Elite. Lifetime Platinum Premier Elites will be grandfathered in – meaning those who can’t reach lifetime Platinum Premier status by the end of 2018 will still be required to qualify for Platinum Premier every year.

An important change to note: lifetime status will only be granted after you have held that elite status for consecutive years. To be a Silver lifetime, you will need five consecutive years of at least Silver elite status. For Gold, you will need seven consecutive years of Gold or higher status, while Platinum requires 10 years at or above Platinum.

What if I can’t earn lifetime status before the merger is complete?

The good news is that you may already have lifetime status and not know it. According to the official post from Marriott: “You can qualify for Lifetime status based on your combined Rewards and SPG nights and Elite years. If you achieved Elite status in both SPG and Rewards in one year, you’ll receive credit for two Elite years.” Therefore, if you have multiple years of dual status, they will be combined and counted in your merged account, with the appropriate status granted.

If you are still working towards lifetime status, time is on your side. CJKatl notes that while you will get lifetime status in the combined program starting August 1, you will have until the end of 2018 to qualify for a higher lifetime elite. Thus, if you are one year short of making lifetime Platinum Premier Elite and qualify for that status this year, it may be possible to qualify for lifetime Platinum Premier Elite status.

I need to earn more Marriott Rewards points to reach lifetime elite status. Any ideas?

FlyerTalkers who are just short of earning lifetime elite status are already plotting on how they can finish in their respective programs on the highest possible note possible. Major G started a thread detailing how to finish the lifetime elite status race and the ideas are flowing. Plans to make lifetime elite status include buying points, converting Chase Ultimate Rewards or United MileagePlus miles to Marriott Rewards, or earning points from the Marriott Rewards Credit Card (before changes come in May 2018).

Will I still be able to challenge for Marriott Rewards elite status?

As of today, FlyerTalkers are still requesting status challenges for Marriott Rewards status, with the hopes of taking advantage of the new elite structure. Forum member metoo registered for the “Taste of Platinum” status challenge, requiring nine stays to qualify for the current Marriott Rewards Platinum Status through 2019. If you can complete the challenge before the program merge is complete, it is plausible your current Platinum status would transfer to Platinum Premier status when the merge is complete.

Can I still earn rewards through the Starwood/Delta Air Lines Crossover Rewards benefit?

Unfortunately, Starwood/Delta Crossover Rewards are coming to an end. FlyerTalker ethernal posted an official note from Delta, noting Crossover Rewards will officially close on July 15, 2018. Any Starwood Preferred Guest stays will not earn Delta rewards after that date.

However, MSPEconomist notes that the program may not be ending forever, considering Delta wrote: “We expect to have more to share on this program before July 15.” The FlyerTalk Posting Legend’s take on the changes: “There’s also talk from [Delta] of doing something to replace crossover, but I’m not optimistic that it will involve [Marriott or Starwood].”

For now, it appears that the Marriott partnership with United Airlines, RewardsPlus, will stay active. According to FlyerTalker kavok, the partnership will still allow Marriott Platinum elites to earn United MileagePlus Silver Premier status aboard the airline.

After the merge, can I still book Marriott Travel Packages?

Once a favorite of Marriott Reward elites, it appears that Marriott Travel Packages will stay but not necessarily at the same value. FlyerTalker pinniped cites “a couple of the bloggers who have interviewed Marriott execs” who claim combination of frequent flyer miles and hotel certificates will still be available, but how they will work is yet to be seen.

Back in the official thread, Marriott Rewards Insider notes members of the new program can transfer points to over 40 airlines starting in August at a ratio of three Marriott Rewards points to one frequent flyer mile. But nothing is directly mentioned about Marriott Travel Packages.

I was a fan of Starwood Preferred Guest, but the change to Marriott Rewards hits hard. What are my other options?

Many FlyerTalkers feel the same way and are supporting each other with ideas on what to do when Starwood Preferred Guest and Marriott Rewards come to an end. Both traveler18 and spgplat21 are moving their spending to cards earning Chase Ultimate Rewards, while others have not decided what to do with their Starwood Preferred Guest and Marriott Rewards credit cards.

In the forums, the general consensus is to move to either a flexible points program, or a cash-back program. FlyerTalker ENIAC is considering switching to the Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature card, which offers two percent cash back on spending and “comparable warranty extension to the SPG Amex.”

 

Have more questions? Talk about it in the FlyerTalk forums!

If you’re not already registered, joining the thousands of FlyerTalkers sharing information is free! Simply visit our registration page and sign up for an account, or link your Facebook account. From there, navigate to the forum of your choice and start sharing information in the world’s largest frequent flyer forum.

Some of the more popular threads right for questions, comments and concerns are:

View Comments (3)

3 Comments

  1. aero0729

    April 18, 2018 at 12:48 pm

    Jose:

    There are FOUR possible outcomes for lifetime status:
    1. Silver (Lifetime Marriott Silvers)
    2. Gold (Lifetime SPG Golds)
    3. Platinum (for SPG Platinums or Lifetime Marriott Golds)
    4. Platinum Premiere (For lifetime Marriott Platinums who have already achieved Lifetime platinum status)

  2. sdsearch

    April 18, 2018 at 3:09 pm

    United Mileage Plus will require Platinum Premier, not Platinum, after the elite levels are renamed. This is correct in the linked post, but incorrect in the article above.

  3. puntamita

    April 18, 2018 at 3:10 pm

    I wish you would clarify with Marriott about all of LIfetime Platinum Starwood members with well over 750 nights and 2 million points. I called Marriott and Starwood. It does not sound like we will be grandfathered into Lifetime Platinum Premier Elite program. I was pretty much told no that is how it was set up. Your comments above sound like there might be hope but wonder if you are just assuming? Here is your statement above:

    “Thus, if you are one year short of making lifetime Platinum Premier Elite and qualify for that status this year, it may be possible to qualify for lifetime Platinum Premier Elite status.”

    Are you sure that goes for Starwood members?

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