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.
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.
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.
Want to earn more points from credit cards? – September 2022 update
If you are looking to apply for a new credit card, here are our top recommendations based on the current sign-up bonuses.
In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.
You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:
You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the best of the other deals currently available.
EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.
British Airways American Express Premium Plus
25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold
Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express
60,000 points, £200 travel credit and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review
Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard
15,000 points bonus and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review
Earning miles and points from small business cards
If you are a sole trader or run a small company, you may also want to check out these offers:
American Express Business Platinum
40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review
American Express Business Gold
20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review
British Airways Accelerating Business American Express
30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review
Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa
50,000 points bonus until 2nd October – the most generous Avios Visa for a limited company Read our full review
For a non-American Express option, we also recommend the Barclaycard Select Cashback card for sole traders and small businesses. It is FREE and you receive 1% cashback on your spending.