The merger of the Marriott and Starwood hotel groups completed this morning. It creates the largest hotel company in the world with a – frankly crazy – rota of 30 brands and 5,700 properties.
Some details of how the merger of Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest will work have been revealed. The key point is that you can status match immediately from Marriott to Starwood or vice versa. You can also transfer points back and forth.
You can claim your status match via this page but do keep reading first.
This is a MAJOR win for Starwood Preferred Guest Gold members. Starwood Gold doesn’t get you much, to be honest, but you will now be Marriott Gold. This gets you guaranteed lounge access at most brands, which includes free lounge breakfast. The full list of Marriott Platinum, Gold and Silver benefits are here.
As I revealed yesterday, the transfer ratio between Starwood and Marriott points is 1:3. This is as good as you could realistically hope for.
If you are a Marriott Rewards member:
You can now get your hands on some of the great SPG Moments redemptions, such as the latest list of concerts at the O2 I highlighted yesterday
You have access to the 30+ airlines who are Starwood transfer partners, a far bigger range than Marriott Rewards offers
You have access to a far wider range of upmarket hotel redemptions than Marriott ever offered
If you are a Starwood Preferred Guest member:
You have access to some good value redemptions. The most expensive Marriott hotels, excluding Ritz-Carlton, are 45,000 points. This includes places like the JW Marriott in Venice where I was recently (review) and which lets you upgrade a reward night to a Junior Suite for just €110 extra. Using 15,000 Starwood Preferred Guest points for such a hotel is a fantastic deal.
Similarly, the Grosvenor House on Park Lane in London, at 45,000 points, is a steal if you are using Starwood points. It makes the higher end SPG redemptions like the Park Tower look terrible value.
You can now access Marriott Travel Package rewards. These are EXCELLENT value and – using SPG points – are bordering on fantastic for people with large SPG balances. I will write a separate article on this over the weekend for the benefit of SPG members who are not familiar with them.
The first thing to do is get your status matched
You need to go to this page on the Marriott website.
At the top of the page is a button called ‘Link Your Account’. In my case, I was matching my Starwood Gold (free with American Express Platinum) to Marriott Gold.
My Marriott status was upgraded instantly to Gold.
I will write more on the merger and what it means for you over the next few days, but you can start now by matching your Starwood status to Marriott, or vice versa. If you don’t have an account with the other programme, you can do it during the matching process.
Ignore any references to Ritz-Carlton Rewards – you are better off with Marriott Rewards and, if necessary, can switch later anyway.
How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards (September 2021)
There are various ways of earning Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.
The official Marriott Bonvoy American Express card usually comes with 20,000 points for signing up, 2 points for every £1 you spend and 15 elite night credits per year.
You can apply here.
You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points by converting American Express Membership Rewards points at the rate of 2:3.
Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Marriott Bonvoy Gold status for as long as they hold the card? It also comes with Hilton Honors Gold, Radisson Rewards Gold and MeliaRewards Gold status. We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.
Until 2nd November 2021, The Platinum Card comes with a sign-up bonus of 60,000 Amex points. This converts into 90,000 Marriott Bonvoy points.
You can also earn American Express Membership Rewards points with American Express Gold (30,000 bonus points – special offer to 10th November 2021), the American Express Rewards Credit Card (5,000 bonus points) and – for small business owners – American Express Business Gold (20,000 bonus points) and Business Platinum (40,000 bonus points).
(Want to earn more hotel points? Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)