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Is Marriott backtracking on 5-months of Platinum status for American Express Platinum cardholders?

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The upcoming merger of Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest is, frankly, turning out better than most people hoped.  Marriott is genuinely taking the best of the two existing programmes.  If anything, I think they may have overdone it as the new scheme will be very complex due to the number of benefits and benefits.

I won’t go into the details again but you can find them in my article here.

There has been one big outstanding issue for UK holders of American Express Platinum cards.

American Express Platinum comes with Gold status in Starwood Preferred Guest.

Now (and try to follow this!) …..

From August, SPG Gold members receive Gold status in the new merged scheme, which has few benefits (no lounge access, no 4pm check-out, no breakfast)

However, SPG Gold can currently be matched to Marriott Rewards Gold, and Marriott Rewards Gold members receive Platinum status in the new merged scheme.  This has lots of benefits – lounge access, 4pm check-out and free breakfast among them.

Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest merger

From 2019, there is no doubt what will happen.  American Express Platinum will offer Gold status in the new scheme, which gives few benefits.  This is, to be fair, no worse than SPG Gold used to be so no-one has lost anything.

However …. we thought that, from August to December 2018, anyone with SPG Gold via Amex Platinum who had matched to Marriott Gold would receive Platinum status.  That meant five months of lounge access, 4pm check-out and free breakfast.

Marriott itself was confused about this:

In the UK, Business Traveller and HFP were told (separately) that Amex Platinum members would get five months of Platinum in the new scheme

In Australia, local Marriott management told Australian Business Traveller the same thing

In the US, however, a video interview given to The Points Guy said that they would not

Two things now make me thing that American Express Platinum cardholders are going to lose their lounge access, breakfast and 4pm check-out benefits at the end of July:

This statement has appeared on the Marriott ‘merger’ website:

I ALREADY LINKED MY SPG AND REWARDS ACCOUNTS. WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO MY MATCHED ELITE STATUS IN AUGUST?

The current status matching opportunity is tier for tier (e.g. Gold gets Gold, Platinum gets Platinum), even though the qualification requirements and benefits between SPG and Rewards are quite different. Given this, the following Elite status mapping will occur in August (unless a member has also qualified by nights for higher status):

SPG Gold (10 stays/25 nights) is status matched to Rewards Gold (50 nights) and in August will be Gold Elite (25 nights)

SPG Platinum (25 stays/50 nights) is status matched to Rewards Platinum (75 nights) and in August will be Platinum Elite (50 nights)

Rewards Gold (50 nights) is status matched to SPG Gold (10 stays/25 nights) and in August will be Platinum Elite (50 nights)

Rewards Platinum (75 nights) is status matched to SPG Platinum (25 stays/50 nights) and in August will be Platinum Premier Elite (75 nights)

I accept that this is – still – not crystal clear.

Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest merger

However, US site Frequent Miler submitted a written question to Marriott and got this statement back:

Q: If I obtained SPG Gold status through a credit card (Amex Platinum card or $30K spend on an SPG card), and now have Marriott Gold status thanks to linking my SPG and Marriott accounts, what status will I have in August when the programs combine? [As a reminder: SPG Gold will map to new program Gold, but Marriott Gold will map to new Platinum]

A: You will have Gold status in the new program.

This seems pretty clear, unfortunately.  If you currently have Marriott Rewards Gold via a match from SPG Gold which you got from American Express Platinum, your luck is out.

Frankly, I am not 100% convinced that it will actually happen.  I’m sure that Marriott can work out which Marriott Gold members got matched from SPG Gold, and then go back one step further to see which of those got their status via American Express Platinum.  Given that the combined scheme has 100 million members you need to question whether they actually will.

However, be prepared.

If your Marriott Gold status comes indirectly via Amex Platinum, do not make any reservations for August and beyond if lounge access, breakfast and a 4pm check-out are deciding factors.  You are probably not getting them.

PS.  Two weeks ago I wrote this article where I explained why I was pondering doing the Marriott ‘Platinum challenge’.  This would give me Platinum status in return for doing nine stays within three months.  I decided to go for it, and a combination of HFP and personal trips redirected to Marriott properties plus a couple of £50 mattress run nights at the Moxy at Excel means that I should complete it within five weeks.  This means that I will receive Platinum Premier status from August and until at least February 2020.

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Comments (66)

  • Adrian says:

    It’s not too much to ask that when you start the year with a set of benefits and plan your stays accordingly, that those benefits are honoured. The fact that gold loses 4pm checkout, breakfast and lounge access is huge. Why these changes aren’t just effective from Jan 19 is beyond me, then no one can have any complaints (even if we don’t like it). The bad press, confusion and bad feelings towards them are of their own making.
    I’m a leisure only traveller so can never get 50+ nights but the changes mean that Marriott will get zero nights and all 30-40 will go largely to Hilton.

  • JZ says:

    I linked my SPG gold with Marriott from the very beginning of the merger, and a few months later I got the Chase Ritz Carlton card which is supposed to give me gold status at Ritz Carlton. Not sure what would happen in my case.

  • ankomonkey says:

    Rob, do you know if you get Platinum as soon as you start the challenge or only after 9 stays? I know many challenges match straight away and downgrade if you don’t make it.

    • Rob says:

      No. You stay with Gold (you can only do the challenge if you are currently Gold, you can’t do it if you have no Marriott status) until all 9 stays are done.

  • lecteurist says:

    I emailed Marriott directly asking this exact question as I have 12 nights booked in September across Europe. I too will consider moving my bookings and the replacing AmEx Platinum card if I’m going to lose lounge and breakfast access on these bookings I made a year out. Here was their response to the AmEx Platinum status match question:

    “Thank you for contacting Marriott Rewards.

    In August 2018 since your Marriott Rewards account is current Gold Elite status your account will be upgraded to Platinum Elite status through January 2019. In order to have the Platinum Elite status for the rest of 2019 your will need to have 50 nights on or before December 31, 2018 between your Marriott Rewards account and your SPG account.

    So since your account will be moved to Platinum Elite status in August 2018 you will still have access to the lounge for your stays.”

    At least this one cancels out what Frequent Miler was told, but again, I’m still not holding my breath.

    • JZ says:

      Amex Platinum card only offers SPG gold (basically nothing useful), not marriott gold. You get breakfast and lounge access at Marriott merely as a short term surprise for SPG customers after the take over. We all know this won’t last long.

  • S879 says:

    With the recent changes, is it still a good deal to buy a Marriott air package? If yes, which categories would work out best?

  • Nick says:

    It’s pretty bad that they would back track their initial statements.

  • Jay-Marc says:

    Even more of a slap in the face for those who in February might otherwise have used (for the last time) the opportunity to renew Marriott Gold via use of Reward Points, but didn’t because of the status bestowed upon them by the SPG linkage.

    • Rob says:

      Agreed. Arguably not matching and doing a Gold challenge would have been better for some.