All (?) you need to know about the new merged Marriott and Starwood hotel loyalty programme

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Last night Marriott held a major event in New York to outline the first steps of the integration of Marriott Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards.

This is what was announced, along with some other information supplied to me in advance.  It covers almost everything I wanted to know.

You will be able to find the official version of the news on the Marriott website here.

When do the changes start?

August 2018.  From that date you will be able to permanently combine your existing Marriott Rewards, The Ritz Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest accounts into one account.

You will be able to book and redeem at ALL 29 combined Marriott and Starwood brands on both the Marriott and Starwood websites.

The individual programme names will continue until the end of 2018, but from August all earning and spending benefits will be unified between the legacy schemes.

What will the new programme be called?

I don’t know.  We won’t find out until 2019.

What is the point earning structure?

The current Marriott Rewards points structure will be the basis of the new programme.  Starwood Preferred Guest will also adopt this earning structure from August to December, before the new scheme launches in 2019.

You will earn ten base points for every dollar spent at all brands except for Residence Inn, TownePlace Suites and Element which will be five points per every dollar spent.  There will also be elite status bonuses.  In August, all members will begin earning points for food and beverage and qualifying incidentals on their folio, rather than just the room rate.

Here are the status bonuses (based on the new tiers, not your current tier):

  • Silver members will earn 11 points per $1
  • Gold members will earn 12.5 points per $1
  • Platinum members will earn 15 points per $1
  • Platinum Premier members will earn 17.5 points per $1

Marriott says “members will earn more points faster than under the prior programs — on average 20% more points for every dollar spent”.  This primarily reflects the improvement in ‘points per $’ earning at the Starwood brands.

What is happening to elite tiers?

From August, there will be FIVE elite tiers going forward.  These will be based on your COMBINED SPG and Marriott nights in 2018.

You can no longer earn status based on stays, as SPG members can now.  All qualification will be based on nights.

Silver – will require 10 nights

Gold – will require 25 nights

Platinum – will require 50 nights

Platinum Premier – will require 75 nights

Platinum Premier (elite) – will require 100 nights and $20,000 of spend, in return for a personal ambassador

Existing lifetime status benefits will continue to be honoured.

Your existing Marriott tier will be ported to the new programme on this basis in August:

Silver (10-24 nights) = Silver

Silver (25-49 nights) = Gold

Gold = Platinum

Platinum = Platinum Premier

Platinum with 100+ nights and $20k spend = Platinum Premier with Ambassador

Your existing Starwood tier will be ported to the new programme on this basis in August:

Preferred Guest = Silver

Gold = Gold

Platinum = Platinum

Platinum with 75+ nights = Platinum Premier

This is a problem.   This potentially means that if you have Starwood Gold via American Express Platinum, even if you have matched it to Marriott Gold, you will only receive Gold status in the new programme as your status is ‘officially’ driven by your Starwood level.  This will mean that people like myself, who currently receive lounge access and 4pm check-out with a Marriott Gold comped from an SPG Gold, are going to suffer a loss of benefits in August.  We will even see our elite status bonus cut from 50% to 25%.  I await firm confirmation of this though.

What are the status benefits apart from extra base points?

Silver – nothing except points bonus

Gold – 2pm check-out, welcome gift, preferred room

Platinum – 4pm check-out, lounge access, welcome gift, suite upgrade certificates for 50 nights

Platinum Premier – additional suite upgrades for 75 nights

Breakfast benefits are being expanded

Platinum members (current Gold members) will receive free breakfast or lounge access at most of the 29 brands.  For the first time, free breakfast will be offered at resort properties.  Courtyard, AC Hotels, Moxy and Protea will offer free breakfast for the first time.  Some brands will offer a breakfast credit instead of ‘all you can eat’.

You will not get free breakfast at EDITION, Gaylord, The Ritz-Carlton, Marriott Executive Apartments, and Marriott Vacation Club.

However, current Marriott Gold members who were matched from Starwood Gold will LOSE their breakfast / lounge benefit as they will remain Gold in the new programme.

What is happening to points redemptions?

The new reward chart will have peak, standard and off-peak pricing for all hotels.

There will be no blackout dates.

From August to December, all hotels will be available at standard pricing for all dates.  Peak and off-peak pricing will be added in 2019.

Marriott Travel Packages will continue but we do not know the exact details.

Here is the reward chart

Read this as standard / off-peak / peak:

Category 1 – 7.5 / 5 / 10

Category 2 – 12.5 / 10 / 15

Category 3 – 17.5 / 15 / 20

Category 4 – 25 / 20 / 30

Category 5 – 35 / 30 / 40

Category 6 – 50 / 40 / 60

Category 7 – 60 / 50 / 70

Category 8 (2019 only) – 85 / 70 / 100

This is a very good result, in general.  Some of the top SPG hotels will become cheaper, noticeably so off peak, as will some The Ritz-Carlton Hotels.

We do not know at present which hotels will be in which list.  However, unless a ludicrously huge number of hotels went into Category 9 I would imagine that the majority of high profile redemption hotels, especially off peak, will be cheaper.

What will happen to airline transfer rates?

Marriott is keeping the generous SPG system.  3 points = 1 mile with a bonus of 5,000 miles if you transfer 60,000 points.  This is IDENTICAL to the current SPG structure.  It seems that most (all?) partners from all three schemes will remain on board.

You really couldn’t ask for more than this.

What happens with the SPG airline ‘in flight’ partners?

Crossover Rewards with Delta will end as of 15th July.

The partnerships with Emirates and China Eastern will continue for now as long as you are registered.  I am guessing that registration may cease at some point even if the benefits continue.

The Marriott partnership with United will continue.

What happens to the UK credit cards?

The free Marriott UK credit card, issued by Creation, will re-open for new applications in August.  Don’t all rush at once at the opportunity to earn 1 point per £1 spent.  Although, ironically, it will be a better Avios card on that basis than the Lloyds Avios Rewards Mastercard!

The bonus of 10,000 Marriott Rewards for signing up is a tasty 3,333 free Avios though.

The Starwood American Express card will continue.

What happens in 2019 remains to be seen.  Will we really have an American Express card from one issuer and a Mastercard (for the same scheme) from a different issuer?

It appears, at least in the US, that American Express Platinum will continue to give Gold status.

Moments is being expanded

The Moments experiences platform is expanding.  One part of this is commercial – you will be able to buy, for cash, 110,000 (!) experiences.  Special events will continue to be exclusively available for members using points.   There will be a new bespoke Moments Live event series with Keith Urban as one of the first artists to appear.


If Marriott didn’t have such a bad reputation for legging over its loyalty scheme members over the years, we shouldn’t have been surprised by anything here.  The two programmes have been slotted together neatly.  No major feature have gone, no major features have been added – and everyone benefits from having a wider footprint to earn and redeem.

The reality is that most people will be pleasantly surprised by this, as am I.  This is despite the fact that it seems I will lose lounge access and 4pm check-out in August as my Marriott Gold was not earned but comped from my Starwood status.

I am meeting Marriott this morning and if anything else interesting turns up I will write it up later.

For now, though, you can stop worrying and go back to something more productive!

More information is available on this special section of the Marriott website.

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

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  1. RIccatti says:

    Suite upgrade certs for 50 nights??

    Isn’t it where Marriott cuts itself because it removes the need to book the larger room unless absolutely and completely necessary?

  2. Duck Ling says:

    Phew. OMAAT blog is reporting that there will be a ‘transitionary’ period and those with Amex Plat will be matched to Marriott Plat during this period (AUG 2018 – JAN 2019.

    • Cate ⛱️ says:

      No disrespect to OMAAT but we need credible sources i.e. Marriott employees to start showing up with answers to questions.

  3. wally1976 says:

    Anyone know if you’ll still be able to book reward nights without having the points upfront?

  4. Doug M says:

    I’m in a Marriott as I type this, Anaheim California. I’m a gold through Amex. Room was booked through but they gave me breakfast, the late check-out is not important to me on this trip. I don’t tend to use a chain, but I have to say this Marriott even with benefits is quite poor. The reception area is very nice, and it has all the meeting rooms and corporate bing, but the little things are really poor. Very poorly designed suite, odd stains on sofa and carpets, and furniture is from a different century. Wish I’d booked an Embassy Suites. Even the breakfast is a voucher, for the buffet side of the main restaurant. But servers bring you coffee, so you’re billed, which is then wiped, but of course this allows for you to be pressured to tip, and consequently subsidise their staff for them. I don’t see this experience switching me to Marriott’s.

    • thehornets says:

      Thanks for this mini review.. this hotel is (was) on my list for next Summer.

      • Doug M says:

        I’d reconsider. This place looks great in reception and public areas, but the room I have is poor. The air con is set to 70, but the room temp hasn’t been under 75 in 4 days. There’s a coffee machine in a piece of furniture designed for an old big TV, but the lighting is such you can’t see what you’re doing. The toilet/bath is accessed through two doors, from sitting area, and from bedroom. But the bedroom link to the bath/toilet contains the hand basin, so it’s not accessible if the bedroom door is shut, should you have people using the sofa bed.. There’s zero thought in the layout, stuff has just been fitted in regardless of purpose. The breakfast is nice, and the service very good, but the room is just poor.

    • I got vouchers at Doubletrees in the US, too, based on my Hilton Gold status. Of course, you are expected to tip, just like you tip for free drinks in AA‘s Admiral Club.

  5. Rob can you confirm?

  6. JamesB says:

    Good luck getting breakfast, 4pm checkout and a lounge at IHG 🙂

    • Brian S says:

      I’m not expecting much from IHG but as Plat from experience I have always been given access to the Lounge and the Ambassador status comes in handy too if i’m in a city with an IC Hotel.

      Marriott was perfect though, relatively inexpensive hotels with free food, free drink, late checkout and normally an upgrade.

      • JamesB says:

        I was quite surprised by how competitive Marriott UK pricing is outside London.but the downside for me is that even the merged Marriott SPG presence is not all that great in UK. Also, many of the properties they do have are not in the best of locations. I lijed having tbe choice with current gold benefits but without them Marriott is done for me too except perhaps Residence Inn.

  7. Very frustrating for those of us that have made bookings based on the Marriott status. I wonder if Marriott will honour the promised benefits that were made when the booking happened?!

    • +

      I’ll be mightily peeved if they don’t given I booked in good faith and if those benefits weren’t available when i booked I’d have gone straight to Hilton.

  8. Do we have any news on Travel Packages yet?

    I’ve got over a million Marriott Points at the moment. I get the feeling the amount of points needed for reward nights at most Marriott properties is set to increase. Some will see very large increases. Starwood properties however will see the reverse.

    Probably time to start spending some of these points on Marriott stays!

  9. Got email from Marriott. Gold will be Platinum.

  10. Also, looks like Marriott cc is MasterCard. Looks like spg amex is going in the bin.

    AUGUST 2018.
    Starting in August, Marriott Rewards®, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards®, and SPG® will come together as one powerful programme to give our members more. And as a Marriott Rewards® Mastercard member, you have the exciting opportunity to take advantage of even more benefits and access than ever before.

    The ability to earn and redeem at our extraordinary collection of 6,500 hotels across 29 brands and Silver Elite status are just a few of the exciting new opportunities waiting for you in August.

    Check back often—we will be showcasing all the exciting new benefits here. In the meantime, continue to book, stay, and earn with us.

    Marriott Rewards® Mastercard

    No annual fee
    4x at participating SPG and Marriott Rewards® hotels abroad

    2x at participating SPG and Marriott Rewards hotels in the UK

    2x for all other purchases abroad

    1x on all other UK purchases

    • This card has been there for some time, although they were not taking new applications.
      The two may continue in parallel as in USA, or not.

  11. I am (see Insta) at the ‘new Marriott scheme’ launch party and the European loyalty head confirm Amex Plat gets Marriott Plat until December.

    • Find out about travel packages pls! That is probably one of the most pertinent points to myself and most others!

    • Genghis says:

      Great news! At least gives us a few more months. Thanks for confirming.

    • Rob MC says:

      Fantastic, will this then get matched to SPG til December aswell???

    • Graham Walsh says:

      This is excellent news as I booked the basic room in Dubai planning on the Gold status to get breakfast and lounge access. Thanks for finding out Rob.

      • I was thinking about your booking at Habtoor when this came up!

        • Graham Walsh says:

          Indeed, especially as I rebooked the standard room. Good thing is that I could have rebooked to upgrade again. It has worked out nicely in the end.

    • ankomonkey says:

      Are the drinks and canapes given to party guests based on current status level or August level? Some had to pay to get in and must buy their own refreshments, other got in free, got a comfier seat with a better view and can gorge on as much as their bodies can handle or until they get thrown out?

    • JamesB says:

      Great news, how much did David Davis agree to pay for this one?

    • Cate ⛱️ says:

      Thank you Rob!

    • Great, will enjoy my complimentary Brekkie at JMW in SIN in October

    • Mr Dee says:

      what about people who spent 15k on the spg card for gold status?

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